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Marsupial Storytime

My first instinct was to scrap our ancient Opossums storytime kit. The books were all too long for preschoolers. Plus, what’s cool about possums? They’re nasty, vicious creatures, sort of like rats gone wrong. The only fun fact about them I could think of was that they are marsupials, and so the Marsupials kit was born (and incubated in a pouch for several months). Why stick to possums when you can branch out to more attractive animals like kangaroos, koalas, and wombats?

We read:

Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields

Six little wombats go for a walk in a single file line, but a hungry dingo starts picking them off one by one. Luckily the last two wombats have a clever plan to rescue their mates, and afterward, they walk two by two instead of in single file.

Concept: Counting

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicky Churchill

Little Wombat loves to play, jumping, shouting, and making faces. At the end of the day, though, he just wants to curl up in a ball. We acted out the actions in the book as I read it.

Concept: Action word vocabulary

Opossum by Tom Jackson (Nature’s Children series, ISBN 9780717262748)

Koalas by Valerie Godden

I showed the storytimers pictures from these nonfiction titles and read them a few interesting facts about the animals. The book about possums (no image available) has photos of baby possums in the mother’s pouch at different stages. The koala books is from the Amazing Animals series, which features gorgeous full-page photos of the animals.

Concept: Nonfiction

Pouch by David Ezra Stein

Joey the kangaroo likes to get out of the pouch and explore the world, but he’s a little shy. When he meets new animals, he panics and goes straight back to his mother’s pouch. Every time he gets back out, though, he hops a little farther, until finally he meets a new friend: another joey! We hopped along with Joey.

Concept: Counting.

Action Rhymes:

I do have action rhymes in this kit, but since we acted out two of the books, we wound up not needing to use them.

Flannelboard:

Possums

Old wine in new bottles. We had this set already, but the rhyme was a lame count-down-from-10 job too long for toddlers and preschoolers, so I kept the pieces but wrote a new rhyme that counts the pieces off by twos. They do have velcro for flannelboard use, but since I had to loan the flannelboard out to a coworker, I just used tape to stick the possums directly to the easel.

Ten Big Possums

Ten big possums, hanging upside down
From the old oak tree in the middle of town.
Two possums said, “It’s getting late.”
They scurried down and then there were eight.
Eight big possums, hanging upside down
From the old oak tree in the middle of town.
Two possums said, “This tree’s full of sticks!”
They scurried down and then there were six.
Six big possums, hanging upside down
From the old oak tree in the middle of town.
Two possums said, “Our tails are sore.”
They scurried down and then there were four.
Four big possums, hanging upside down
From the old oak tree in the middle of town.
Two possums said, “There’s nothing to do.”
They scurried down and then there were two.
Two big possums, hanging upside down
From the old oak tree in the middle of town.
Those possums said, “We’re up here alone!”
They scurried down, and then there were none.

Source: Me!

Every time I pulled two possums off the board, we counted the ones that were left, and I added to our ongoing equation on the board. I know the rhyme is a wee bitty bit lame, but the kids liked it. Remember when you were young enough to get excited about doing math? Yeah, I don’t remember, either, but I’m faking it like crazy. I want these kids to feel confident about learning math when they go to school in 1-3 years.

Craft:

We made cardboard tube kangaroos using an online template. Coloring, gluing, done. The kids could do the entire thing themselves as long as they had some guidance on which feet went where.

How It Went:

Session one went great until a couple of families came in late and caused quite a disturbance. Session two drew a big crowd with a lot of under-twos, so about a third of the storytimers had trouble keeping out of the invisible flannel board bubble, and we had a lot of random squalling. Despite the mild baby-induced chaos, the target age group stayed engaged with the topic, the books, and the kangaroo hopping. I love all of the books in this kit

Next week, Mittens!

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