Monday, September 12, 2016

Celebrating Grandparents–Afterschool Craft Program

Come celebrate grandparents with stories, music and crafts! Feel free to bring your grandparents along to this special event. (K-4)

Open with book: How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan – essential tips for baby-sitting a grandparent in a warm, humorous style. (similar “Grandma” version also available.)

Follow with book: Grandma in Blue with Red Hat by Scott Menchin – a child taking art lessons at a local museum decides his grandmother would be the perfect masterpiece. Includes versions of “grandma” inspired by notable artists (though sadly no guide at the back to the original inspirations).

Craft: Kids and adults alike painted – they could do “grandparent” portraits in the style of great artists (have books of their works available for reference) or just do free-form painting any way they like.  Supplies: 12x18 B&T cardboards, tempra paint, paper plate palettes, water cups, brushes, paper towels for clean up.

Music: Beethoven’s Wig: Singalong Symphonies is fun. Heigh Ho Mozart is another fun choice for offbeat classically-inspired tunes.

Optional display books: The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster, Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman, What do Grandmas/Grandpas Do Best? by Laura Numeroff, Just Grandma/Grandpa and Me by Mercer Mayer, and other grandparent picture books plus books of portraits by distinctive artists – Picasso, Modigliani, Chuck Close, etc.

9/16 BWL.

Related program: Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley – king has self-portraits around his house in the style of famous paintings, e.g. Blue Boy. Fun for kids to emulate…doing their own self-portraits that way. (not yet posted on this blog- email me to ask about details.)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Singalong–Back to School


Say “sayonara” to summer and prepare for a new school year with our frolicking tunes.

You’ll Sing A Song by Ella Jenkins    
Song on: Raffi’s “The Corner Grocery Store”

You’ll sing a song and I’ll sing a song

And we’ll sing  a song together.

You’ll sing a song and I’ll sing a song

In warm or wintry weather.

Continue with: clap your hands, stomp your feet, dance a jig, flap your arms, etc.  close with:  sit right down

Frère Jacques (Puppets)

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don! Din, din, don!

Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping?
Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing, Morning bells are ringing,
Ding ding dong, Ding ding dong.

(can repeat with “Sister Kate”)


Brand New Day Sign language song from Pick Me Up: Fun Songs for Learning Signs

Brush Your Teeth (toothbrush prop)

Song on Raffi’s “Singable Songs for the Very Young”

When you wake up in the morning and it's quarter to one,

And you want to have a little fun,

You brush your teeth, ch ch ch ch ch ch ch ch (2x)

Continue with:

… two, and you want find something to do…

… three, and your mind starting humming twiddle dee dee…

… four, and you think you hear a knock upon your door…

… five, and you just can't wait to come alive…

Repeat final chorus twice.

Action/Book: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush  -- Fatus/Penner version (Multicultural Illustrations…children around the world preparing to go to school)

This is the way we climb out of bed, Climb out of bed, climb out of bed,

This is the way we climb out of bed,

To get ready for school in the morning.

Additional verses:

…pull off our jammies

…put on our clothes

…brush our hair

…eat our breakfast

…drink our juice

…brush our teeth

…climb on the bus    etc.


Action/Book: The Wheels on the Bus (can use the Zelinsky pop-up)

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All around the town.

Additional verses:
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish…
The doors on the bus go open and shut…

The lights on the bus go blink, blink, blink…

The driver on the bus says "Move on back”…

The children on the bus go bumpety bump…

The windows on the bus go up and down…

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep…

Image result for mary had a little lamb bruce mcmillan

Book: Mary Had a Little Lamb (Bruce McMillan’s illustrations beautifully illustrate Sarah Joseph Hale’s song)

Song on “Storytime Favorites” and many others.

Mary had a little lamb,

Little lamb, little lamb,

Mary had a little lamb,

Whose fleece was white as snow.

2. And everywhere that Mary went…

…The lamb was sure to go. 
3. It followed her to school one day…  

…Which was against the rules.

4. It made the children laugh and play…

…To see a lamb at school.

5. And so the teacher turned it out…

…but still it lingered near.

6. And waited patiently about…

‘till Mary did appear.

7. "Why, does the lamb love Mary so? …

…The eager children cry.

8. "Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know! …

              …The teacher did reply.

ABC Song


QRS, TUV, W,X,Y, and Z,

Now I know my ABCs,

Next time won’t you sing with me?

Apples and Bananas

Song on Raffi’s “One Light One Sun”

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.

Continue, changing the vowel sounds:

I like to Ate, Ate, Ate Aypples and BANAYNAYS (2x)I like to Ete, Ete, Ete Eepples and BENEENEES (2x)

I like to Ite, Ite, Ite Iiples and BININIS (2x)

I like to ote, ote, ote opples and BINOENOES (2x)

I like to ute, ute, ute uuples and BINUUNUUS (2x)

But I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas!


Action/Book: Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Jelly  (Nadine Bernard Westcott’s book)

Clap hands-slap knees, clap hands-slap knees, clap, clap

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

First you take the bread and you slice it, slice it

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Then you take the peanuts and crack them, crack them.

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Put them on the floor and mash them, mash them.

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Then you take a knife and spread it, spread it

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Next you take some grapes and squash them, squash them

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Glop it on the bread and smear it, smear it

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Then you take the sandwich and eat it, eat it

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly

Pea- nut - peanut butter, jelly, jelly!


The Ants go Marching (shakey eggs/action)

The ants go marching one by one,

Hurrah, hurrah.

The ants go marching one by one,

Hurrah, hurrah.

The ants go marching one by one,

The little one stops to suck his thumb,

And they all go marching down,

Into the ground, to get out, of the rain,



Two… tie his shoe…

Three…climb a tree…

Four…shut the door…

Five…take a dive…

Six…pick up sticks…

Seven…pray to heaven…

Eight…shut the gate…

Nine…check the time…

Ten…say “THE END!”

Variation:  (Condensed version)

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah

The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah

The little one stops to climb a tree

And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!  Etc

Shadow Song   Piggyback lyrics by Carol Simon  Levin,  (usually omit – no time)

Tune:  “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

It was a very sunny day, sunny day, sunny day.

It was a very sunny day, when my shadow came to play.

Everywhere that I did go, I did go, I did go,

Everywhere that I did go, my shadow followed too.

It followed me when I ran fast, I ran fast.

It followed me when I ran fast, for that's  what shadows do.

Additional Verses:

It followed me when I climbed high…

It followed me when I dug sand…

It followed me when I skipped rope…

It started out pretty short, pretty short, pretty short.

It started out pretty short, in the early afternoon.

Later it grew very long, very long, very long,

Later it grew very long --at the end of day.

When nighttime came, my shadow was gone,

shadow was gone, shadow was gone.

When nighttime came, my shadow was gone,

it had gone away.

R*E*A*D     Lyrics by Carol Levin, Tune:  “L*O*V*E”  from Linda Arnold’s album “Happiness Cake” ( can sign alphabet letters for R*E*A*D)  (usually omit – no time)

Chorus:  R*E*A*D

Reading a book is fun for you and me


You’ll find them at the library!

Reading is a skill

That will take you where you will

No matter where you go...

You can read just for fun

Or to make your model run

And see how much you grow!  Chorus

You can read about the sun

Or a battle lost or won

You can read about a bird who sings...

You can read about a car

Or a place that’s very far

Or a fairy’s magic ring!    Chorus

So no matter where you go

Or what you do and know

Don’t forget to read and read...

No matter where you look

You’ll find knowledge in a book

And kids who read succeed!  Chorus (2x)

SING by Joe Raposo,
Song on “Sesame St. Platinum,” “Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo” and others.

Books to Sing:
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush – Fatus/Penner (multicultural getting ready for school around the world)
or Hillenbrand (nervous – 1st day of school)

Mary Had a Little Lamb – Hale/McMillan

Little School Bus- Roth or Wheels on the Bus - Zelinsky

Peanut Butter and Jelly – Westcott

9/08     9/10  9/11 9/12, 8/13, 9/16– perfect 35-40 min singalong 

  • You’ll sing a song (actions)
  • Puppets: Frere Jacques (& sister Kate)
  • “When You Wake up in the Morning” (sign language from CD “Pick Me Up”) great!
  • Brush Your Teeth (toothbrush prop)
  • Book/Action:  Here We Go Round – Fatus -- this is the Way (around the world, mentioned sequencing, piggyback songs) (do actions with Fatus book)
  • Book: Wheels on the Bus --  Zelinski pop up (actions along) or  Little School Bus – Roth
  • Book: Mary Had a Little Lamb – Hale/McMillan(had lamb on top of easel)
  • ABC Song (ABC poster)
  • Apples & Bananas (Raffi vowel silly song -- pointed out vowel letters on poster, phonemes)
  • Book/action: Peanut Butter & Jelly – Westcott
  • Shakey Eggs: Ants go Marching
  • Sing  (circle, go in and out)
  • Handstamp to “Sing” track #10 on Sesame St. Platinum


(If time/ Older groups can use: “not always that smoothly” Puppets/props: Oh By the Way – Joe Scruggs, “Recess”… Shadow Song (piggyback song- kids guess tune), Book: Here we go round – Hillenbrand (another piggyback, nervous 1st day of school)


READ – make body letters YMCA style)

note: Mary Had a Little Lamb – Trapani (is farm not school)

Peanut Butter Sandwich

Song on Raffi’s “Singable Songs for the Very Young”

A peanut butter sandwich made with jam

One for me and one for David Amran.

A peanut butter sandwich made with jam,

Stick, stick, stick, stick, stick.

I can think of witches good and bad.

But the best which that I ever had was

A peanut butter sandwich made with jam,

Yum, yum, yummy, yum, yum.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Craftacular Spectacular: Connect Four--or More!

(Ages 3-6 & 6-10)

We’ll share a story about the Empire State Building then build our very own skyscrapers. 

As kids entered, they browsed books on structures and NYC – titles from: School Age Storytime: On this Spot: New York City & The Empire State Building–A Trip Through Time and “What’s K’NEX’t?”

Asked who had visited NYC?

Read: Top Job by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (6-10 group only) (After other students in the class brag about their parents’ professions, narrator explains about her father’s job – changing the lightbulb on the top of the Empire State Building! --  Lots of math problem possibilities – fun to work out how tall the building is.   Trivia: Please Touch Museum image of  Statue of Liberty Torch made from toys!)

Read: Sky Boys – Deborah Hopkinson (both groups -- tough for the 3 & 4 year olds, 5+ next year)  (Going back in time 80+ years to see the amazing story of how the “Sky Boys” built the Empire State Building – lots more math here (e.g. translating tons into pounds yields an enormous number!)

Booktalk: On this Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time J574.71 Goodman, Ding Dong Ding Dong by Margie Palatini, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein, showed Sector 7 by David Wiesner.

Shared pictures, some poerms and structures from: Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

Craft: Mini marshmallows and spaghetti to create structures.  Had them build on the 12x18 B&T cardboards, muffin cups to distribute marshmallows..  (Mini-marshmallows went a long way 5 bags for 80 kids! + 3 lbs. of spaghetti).  This is a tricky craft for the pre-schoolers (though fun- they love to nibble the marshmallows).  Straws and Connectors are easier for them to handle.

8/16 BWL

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Craftacular Spectacular: Good Clean Fun (Ages 3-6 & 6-10)


We’ll read books about baths & soap, then have soap bubble fun. Families with children of different ages are welcome to come all together to one program

Display books about baths and bubbles (

Ages 3-6:

Read: Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Sing: “Take Me Out Of the Bathtub” title song from the book by Alan Katz
Read: Bubbles Float, Bubbles Pop by Mark Weakland (530.42 WEA)

Bubbble Bubble

Read: Bubble, Bubble by Mercer Mayer
Go outside for bubble Play.

Ages 6-10:

Open with Reader’s Theater: No Bath Tonight by Jane Yolen (

Read: Casey in the Bath by Cynthia DeFelice
Sing: “Take Me Out Of the Bathtub” title song from the book by Alan Katz
Read: Bubbles Float, Bubbles Pop by Mark Weakland (530.42 WEA)
(tried big book Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy – too long)

Outdoor stations with bubble wands – large commercial ones were fun as were shapes made out of pipe cleaners (hearts, diamonds, pyramids, cubes) . Tried some of the bubble blowers from Soap Science by J.L.Bell but many didn’t work with our bubble solution.  The Zubrowski (two straws with string run through and tied to make a rectangle) worked best when the string length between the straws was less than 6”.  Test solution and wands first next time.

Note: bubble solution from Dollar Store was useless – instead made up solution with dishwashing soap, water, and glycerin (could probably use corn syrup instead of glycerin , was afraid to use that over carpets but did all bubble play outside on the sidewalk beside the meeting rooms.)

Handout: Bubbles – from the Art and Science of Bubbles, Chicago Children’s Museum

Could also do this a bubble art – blow paint with straws – but we had done something very similar for the 4th of July.

BWL 8/16

Friday, August 5, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set…Engineer: Water Water Everywhere & Not a Drop to Drink!


Water Water Everywhere & Not a Drop to Drink! (Ages 7-11)

Join Civil Engineer Carrie Feuer P.E.  as we do hands-on explorations of how water goes from dirty to clean.

Display: books on engineering and on the water cycle.

Opening: Ask who attended  Discussion what is an engineer?  What do engineers do?  Show engineering process diagram.


Read: All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon

Talk about what the title means…All the water in the world is all the water in the world – dinosaurs drank the same water you do. 

Introduce: Mrs. Feuer (“Foyer”) – she is a civil engineer who works with water – what would be the problem with water?  It gets dirty but we have to use it again – how?

Carrie Feuer took kids through the process of making dirty water clean.

1. Kids all added dirt, sticks, stones, grass etc. to a bucket of water –> dirty water

2. Screen the water (rough garden screen to get out the big items  -- Carrie Feuer showed a bunch of things that should and shouldn’t be put down drains

3. Let the water settle so dirt and heavy stuff sinks to the bottom – 5 minuntes – spent time discussing where water is found (air, sea, rivers, clouds, sinks, toilets, drinking glass, swimming pool, etc.)

4. Poured off the water, left solids in pail

5. Added alum & chlorine* to clump solids and dis-infect, stirred for 5 minutes – while stirring read: The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks by Joanna Cole, finished with the last “experiment” in 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill.

6. Voila – clean water!

Coloring sheets to take home.

*source of these chemicals?

Photos to come.

BWL 8.16.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Meet Sparkee! Somerset Patriots Mascot (All Ages)



2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, plus additional group for MLK 2:45-3:30

Join us for some baseball-inspired activities for the whole family, and a special visit from Sparkee, the mascot of the Somerset Patriots baseball team!

Opening music: “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” --Carly Simon (track #1 of CD from book below),  kids started doing crafts while I was awaiting confirmation that “Sparkee” had arrived in the building…

Gather together kids – sit down – who likes baseball? favorite team?

Read: Randy Riley’s Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen (omitted for MLK – they’d heard it Monday) a kid who strikes out but loves astronomy saves his town by designing a giant robot that hits that fireball back into outer space…

Meet and Greet with Sparkee

Read: Moon ball by Jane Yolen (A boy learns that he can hit a home run for his team the “all-stars” (made up of constellations!) when he remembers that "eye on the ball is all"))  -- Sparkee sat down to listen with the kids

Ended with a rousing reprise of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” --Carly Simon  -- Sparkee led the actions for the chorus

Crafts: Baseball Buddy: (12x18 cardboard, gluesticks, scissors, markers), decorate your own visor and/or pendant (ellison dies), take-home baseball word search:

Sparkee mingled with kids doing crafts

Music playing while crafting:

Baseball [music CD] New York : Elektra Nonesuch, [1994] – selections from this soundtrack album.

8/3/2016 BWL & MLK@BWL



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Storytime Craft: Play with Your Food-- Healthy Eating (Vegetable Printing)

Play with Your Food -- Healthy Eating (Ages 3-6 & 6-10)
We’ll share some fun stories then make veggie art prints.
Families with children of different ages are welcome
to come all together to one program.


Opening Music: Don’t Play with Your Food! by the Dave Rudolf
Display:  food books by Lois Ehlert, Saxton Freyman and others for early arrivals to browse.

Opened by asking kids about their favorite foods

Read: Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat (6-10 only, didn’t hold attention of 3-6) – gives a whole new definition to“junk” food!

Sing with Puppets: Raffi’s “Cluck Cluck Red Hen” lyrics:,_Cluck,_Red_Hen

Read: Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert (both groups) – fun to identify both familiar and unusual produce
Sing:  “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas”  lyrics:

Read: Fast Food by Saxton Freyman and Joost Elfers (both groups)  -- veggies and fruit are literally “transported”!

Sing (action song): “Chocolate Shake” – to get their wiggles out 

Doing the Chocolate Shake
You squat right down (squat)
Up you stand (stand up)
Stomp your feet (stomp)
Shake your hands (shake hands)
Wiggle all over (wiggle)
And mix real well (roll hands over & over)
Doing the Chocolate Shake! (clap hands)
Yum! (reach high)
(Repeat, faster each time.)

Read: Vegetables in their Underwear by Jared Chapman (3-6)
Read: Veggies with Wedgies by Todd H. Doodler (6-10)
-- underwear ‘nuff said!

Craft:  Printing with Vegetables & Fruits – Heavy weight 12x18 paper, full-strength liquid tempra on dessert-sized paper plates would work best.  Printed with apples (sliced horizonally to reveal star), peppers, limes, ginger (made lips/volcano shapes that kids loved), mushrooms, cauliflower florets, green beans & parsley to draw with.  Used corn on the cob holders to make handles for the apple and lime halves.

Music playing while crafting: Don’t Play with Your Food! by the Dave Rudolf


8.16 BWL

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