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Robot Storytime

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I’m back in storytime mode after a month of classroom SRP visits. Summertime means enormous storytime groups since kids who missed storytime all year because they entered school can now attend once more, we only offer one storytime a week to make room in the schedule for guest presenters, and we get the odd day care group trying to find a field trip for their suddenly large groups.

Because of the increased attendance, I’ve made two big changes to my routine. First, we have ditched the Hello Song we use during the normal year, which involves singing a verse to every child in attendance. Instead, we are now opening with Jim Gill’s Can’t Wait to Celebrate. We got off to a rough start because I forgot the words immediately, but they came back to me. One of the moms said my brain slip was cute because it made me seem more human, since I usually know everything cold and don’t make mistakes. Okay, we’ll go with that!

I am also dropping crafts for the summer in favor of science experiments that either I can do in a big showy fashion, or the kids can do very simply without a lot of preparation. I simply don’t have time to cut out a ton of little paper thingies right now; I have 4-8 programs every week!

This week’s letter: R is for Robots!

We read:

Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka

Robot Zot lands on Earth intending to conquer it. Luckily for us, he’s only a couple of inches tall and thinks breaking a few appliances equals victory. When he meets the Queen of Earth (a toy telephone), he must find his courage and save her from enemy guards (baby dolls) and a monster (the family’s dog).

Concept: Rhyming.


Rosie & Rex: A Nose for Fun by Bob Boyle

Rex wants to play robots, but Rosie wants to play ballerina princess tea party. But robots don’t like tea! Well, then robots are no fun! When they find a mysterious funnel-shaped object, the robot/tea party debate comes to a head with the realization that they aren’t going to have any fun at all. Fortunately, an honest to goodness robot comes along and solves all their problems.

Concept: Compromise. Don’t assume.
Lots of Bots! by David A. Carter

Cute pop-up counting book with robots. It’s a little small for storytime, but not as small as some of his bug books.

Concept: Counting.

Music and Movement:

Robot Dancing: Obviously I taught everyone to do the Robot. It was practically a moral obligation. I played music (from They Might Be Giants’s Here Comes Science) and we all did the Robot, freezing in weird robot poses whenever I paused the music.

If You’re a Robot and You Know It

If you’re a robot and you know it
Clank your coils (clap hands)
Clunk your gears (stomp feet)
Press your buttons (“Beep beep”)
Power down (sit down)

Source: Future Librarian Superhero (I added the “power down”)


We talked about electricity, which is how many robots run, and the fact that we also have electricity in our body. To demonstrate, we played with an Energy Stick from Steve Spangler Science. It’s recommended for age 8 and up, but I figured we would be fine as long as it never left my hands. We made a big circle with everyone in the room and then all held hands to close a circuit and make the stick light up–oh, and it also makes an incredibly irritating noise. After that, I let the kids line up and try the stick one at a time, but I didn’t let go of it at all! The plastic feels a little fragile.

How It Went:

So, it’s my first storytime back after a month, and a daycare group of 25 showed up without any warning whatsoever. Yipe! I had between 40 and 50 kids, and most of the daycare kids were school age, not preschoolers. Once they’re in first or second grade, they don’t really blend into the preschool group so well anymore, nor do they want to since they’re older than “the little kids.” They feel the need to distance themselves from the little ones, which they do by acting grouchy about everything the little ones love. Primarily, that means any time I say we’re going to do a song, the older kids whine that they don’t want to get up. I tell them they don’t have to participate, but they complain anyway…and then they participate. And then when I say the words, “Our last story of the day…” they whine, “Nooooooo!” Right, guys, you’re not into storytime at all. Big fibbers.

Anyway, older kid angst aside, anything involving robots is a surefire hit. If I did this plan during the school year and had preschool only, I would read Boy + Bot instead of Robot Zot, which I included because it’s fairly complex and I knew I might have elementary school agers show up. The action rhymes were easy and everyone liked them. The parents were pretty amused, too, and understandably so. Imagine 50 kids all doing their own version of the Robot! The star of the show was the Energy Stick; even the toddlers were fascinated. I had several adults asking where they could buy one. I think Steve Spangler owes me a cut this month. Or rather, he owes my friend back in OKC who tipped me off about the Energy Stick.

Next week: Dinos!



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