Another year, another storytime series, another chance to try to keep up with my storytime blog. We’ll see how it goes!
This year, the opening week of storytime happened to coincide with our local county fair, so I took a one-week break from testing storytime kits (only 11 to go, y’all!) and put together a fair-themed storytime.
Night at the Fair by Donald Crews
A basic intro to all things fair, minus the stock buildings. Beautiful illustrations of lighted rides! I felt a little bad because the fair in the book is on a much larger scale than ours, but I don’t think the kids will realize that.
Interactivity factor: low
Night Sky Wheel Ride by Sheree Fitch
Brother and sister ride a Ferris Wheel for the first time. The text is verse. Not straight-up preschool-style rhyme, mind you, but verse. I skipped over a couple of parts in my second session, which was up against short attention spans. The illustrations are gorgeous but extremely trippy. The wheel is a wheel…then it’s a washing machine…an apple tree…a bunch of bathtub cars with mermaids in them… You don’t have much interactive potential from the text, but you can talk with the kids about the illustrations FOREVER. Also, you get to tell everyone what “phosphorescent” means!
Interactivity factor: Low
Cows to the Rescue by John Himmelman
This farm family has all kinds of fair-related troubles: broken down truck, muddy duck, pigs who didn’t study, kids who need encouragement to enjoy the fair… Who can help them? Why, the farm cows, of course! They save the day over and over to the refrain of “Cows to the rescue!” Short, cute, funny.
Interactivity factor: Medium
Let’s Count Goats! by Mem Fox
I adore Mem Fox, and this one is also illustrated by the fabulous Jan Thomas! So, this book has nothing to do with fairs whatsoever, but our fair has goats, so I decided to make it work. First, I said to the kids, “Does anyone know why it’s called a COUNTY fair?” I briefly explained what a county is (a group of towns who share things like fairs) and then said, “But I like to think it’s also called a county fair because it’s fun to COUNT things at the fair! Let’s practice counting something you’ll see at our fair: goats!” My storytimers LOVE to count, so this was a hit.
Interactivity factor: High
We did Jim Gill’s List of Dances with this one. Since it was long, I put it between the two most interactive books and didn’t do any other wiggle breaks. It worked great!
Science Experiment: Cotton Candy Soda, based on Cotton Candy Fizz recipe at eASYbAKED
For this you need a clear cup/glass, clear soda, cotton candy, and a straw for stirring.
I poured the soda and showed the kids the cotton candy. I asked questions like, “What is cotton candy made of? What do you think will happen when we put it in the soda? Will it sink? Will it float?” (One answer I got: “I think it will make a more delicious soda!”) Then I dropped a hunk of blue cotton candy in with the soda. If you’ve never done this before, what happens is that the cotton candy fizzes away almost instantly. The soda changes colors. The kids yell, “MAGIC!” We talked about how cotton candy is made of sugar and what happens to sugar in liquids. After that, I also added pink cotton candy and we talked about why the soda then changed to purple. Minds were blown.
Craft: Ferris Wheels
Poke a hole in the center of a paper plate. Poke a hole in a toilet paper tube near the top. Connect the plate and tube with a brad through the two holes, point ends inside the tube. You should be able to hold the tube in one hand and spin the plate with the other. Now, glue on strips of colored paper from the center of the plate going outward, like a starburst. Those are the spokes of the wheel. Then, draw people or animals on squares of colored paper and glue them to the outer ends of the spokes. Those are the Ferris wheel cars. And spin! It would be easier to decorate the plate prior to assembly, but my storytimers are too small to manipulate brads on their own.
How it Went:
Just great! I had small groups for some reason. Maybe everyone forgot storytime was finally starting. Next year, I might try to start the week before the fair, since I think we might have had lower attendance on Thursday because of it.