Teddy Bears Lapsit

I did this Teddy Bear Lapsit twice in December. The first time at Main I was able to pull in several families that were in the library looking at books. The second time was at one of our branches and we had a four month old. It has been a while since I had a tot that young at Lapsit, so we adjusted accordingly.

Opening Song: “Hello Everybody”

I love to see the responses the little ones have to hearing their name sung. They perk up and pay attention right away. It is adorable. 

Bubbles and Music – “Teddy Bear Song” by Raffi 

A grandma once commented we should do bubbles at the end because babies hate to put them away. But for now I’m keeping them at the beginning because it is a great way to welcome families into the room and get babies and caregivers to interact, especially those that may feel a little uncomfortable about being in a new situation.

Fingerplay: Open Them, Shut Them 

Read: Baby Bear, Baby Bear by Bill Martin

My library is across the street from the courthouse so we often get parents in the Children’s Room who are trying to keep their kiddos entertained while the other parent or relative is in court. I think this is great because we have a whole audience of people who would not normally come into the library and we get to show them how great it is and hopefully they come back! When a parent said to a child during this program, “Look at the book. She’s reading it to you. It’s like TV.” I knew my reading this book was likely one of this child’s first exposures to books and I was so glad she was there. 

Sing: Skinamirink

I love singing this song with kids of all ages. It always gets a smile. And a great early literacy tie-in with how singing helps children learn by playing with sounds and made-up words. 

Literacy Tip: Talk

Rhyme: Teddy Bear Teddy Bear (action rhyme)

We skipped this one when my audience was babes in arms. But I have to say I love Annie Kubler’s board books with rhymes and fingerplays for toddlers. 

Read: Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

This is a little long for such a young audience, but so rewarding at the end. I skipped ahead a bit because attention was waning. 

Rhyme: Here We Go Up, Up, Up

Here we go up-up-up (lift baby up)

Here we go down-down-down (lower baby)

And here we go back-and-forth

and back-and-forth (rock baby)

And here we go around and

around and around (turn around)

Music and Movement: Dancing with Rainbow Ribbons 

My co-worker made these fantastic rainbow ribbons with colored ribbons and some large rings just the right size for a child’s hand. 

Closing Song:Wave Goodbye

Activity: Color Mixing Bags! 

I mixed primary colors in gallon-size ziploc bags and taped them up to our glass wall in the storytime room. They are young for a discussion of color mixing but not too young to have a grand old time playing with colors and the squishy texture of the paint in the bag. And huge plus, no mess afterwards. 

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Shrinky Dinks!

Have you ever made shrinky dinks?

According to Wikipedia, shrinky dinks reached the height of their popularity in the 80s. I remember doing them as a kid with my Girl Scout troop and thinking they were without a doubt, the coolest thing ever.

I’m not sure if they are exactly making a comeback (like all things 80s it seems) or if teen librarians are the only ones still using them. But I was scrounging around on the internet for things to do with my Manga Club and when I came across this post by our excellent Indiana State Children’s Consultant Suzanne Walker, I knew I had hit gold.

My teens, of course, had never heard of shrinky dinks, but once I pulled the first ones out of the oven, they were hooked. Boys and girls, all ages, backgrounds, interests, they all loved making shrinky dinks! I printed out a picture of Kirara for one girl to trace and you should have seen how happy she was. I made an instant fan there.

Doctor Who Shrinky Dinks

The absolute best thing about shrinky dinks is that you can fit them into any program you want! I was racking my brain trying to come up with a simple Doctor Who craft for our Doctor Who program. There were tons of great ideas online but none really matched our level of limited funds, time, and skills. I thought back to how much fun the Manga Club had with shrinky dinks a couple weeks ago, and I knew we could do Doctor Who shrinky dinks and my teens would think it was just as awesome as any of the complex-looking Doctor Who crafts out there!

My department has a cheap little toaster oven and when I heard you could use a toaster oven to bake your shrinky dinks, I knew that was going to make life a lot easier. However, I had a lot of trouble keeping the heat of the toaster oven constant, and I think this is why our plastic curled up so much. I am sad to report I ruined a couple teens’ projects this way. Thankfully they were good sports about it.

If you are thinking about using shrinky dinks with your teens, do it! Most likely they have never heard of them, and when they see what is possible, they’ll love it. My biggest piece of advice, other than having cool pictures the teens can trace onto their plastic and following the instructions that come with the package, is to use a toaster oven if it makes life easier, but make sure its not a cheapo one without a constant temperature. Oh, and don’t forget to punch your holes into your artwork BEFORE you put it in the oven!

Crafts for babies?

This summer I read a fantastic article in School Library Journal titled, “Read, Play, Grow!” It really inspired me and so I made a change in how I offered my Lapsit program for babies 0-24 months.

For my summer Lapsit in July, after all the circle time activities, I pulled out this surprise:

crinkle paper

I told the little toddlers go at it! They had so much fun throwing the bright green and orange paper. Throwing it in the sky, dumping it on the floor, raining it down on their heads, they loved it. I encouraged parents to talk with their children about the texture and colors and narrate what they were doing together. It was such a joyous experience and there were smiles all around. It really helps if you are willing to allow the little ones to make a mess. I promise, the parents will love you for it!

Play is how children at this age learn.  They are checking out the world around them and learning by sensory exploration. Parents often struggle with making time for play, or not knowing how to play with children this young. It can feel awkward to get down on the floor and tumble blocks again and again with a toddler. But it really takes no skill, just a willingness to be a little silly and talk and explore with your child. Plus, it’s lots of fun!

I really wanted to emphasize to the caregivers that it doesn’t require expensive toys or equipment to learn through play, or to have fun. Many everyday household items can be turned into something to play with and explore. The fantastic green and orange crinkle paper above, for example, is simply packing paper from Mango, a langauge learning database my library subscribes to. Someone in another department opened that box and thought, “The children’s department could find something to do with that!” It only requires that kind of creative thinking to find imaginative ways to play at home as well.

In September, I contact paperwent a little more ambitious and tried a craft. Once again, these parents were impressed. Most had never thought of trying a craft with children this young, but all the children were able to participate in some way.

We just put out the contact paper, dumped out buckets of feathers, pom poms, ribbons, and other fun textured items, and let the little ones select whatever they want to stick to their sheets. They loved it! Sensory exploration is so much fun!