Aw, poor little blog. Between the end of summer reading events (giant Harry Potter party) and finally taking a short vacation, it’s neglected.
For our next to last storytime of the summer, I decided to do E is for Elephants. I love elephants! They’re beautiful, majestic, intelligent creatures with a complex society, and I like to share my appreciation of them.
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Elephant receives a box of hats that cheer him up on a grumpy day, so he distributes them throughout the jungle to all of his grumpy friends. You get to yell “Hooray for Hat!” on nearly every page. This book would work best in a hat storytime, but I loved it the moment I saw it and wanted to use it ASAP.
Concept: Emotions. Friendship.
Elephant’s Story by Tracy Campbell Pearson
Elephant finds a book and accidentally hoovers its words into his trunk and sneezes them out! He tries to get his animal friends to help him put the words back in order, but they just want to play, making related words out of the loose letters on accident. Finally he finds the book’s owner, a little girl who shows him how to turn letters into real words.
Concept: Print awareness. Friendship.
Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting
Little Elephant tweaks her mama’s tail to ask questions about the animals they see on their walk and whether she can do what they do. She imagines flying, climbing, and swimming deep underwater! Even the boys “aww”-ed at the baby elephant. A great one for putting motion into a story.
Concept: Action words.
Elephants in the Bathtub
One elephant in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock, (Clap twice with “Knock, Knock.”)
Splash, Splash, (Slap knees twice with “Splash, Splash.”)
Come on in! (Motion with both hands to come in.)
Two elephants elephants in the bathtub… etc.
Five elephants elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
They all fell in!
Source: Storytime Katie
This song is a little slow, but the kids really loved yelling, “No, that’s wrong! That’s frogs!” at me.
We also did Dr. Jean’s version of The Banana Dance, which I have mentioned two or three or fifty times in the past. Elephants like bananas, right? Actually, from what I have read about zoos training their elephants, apples are the preferred treat, but they definitely eat bananas, too.
Science Experiment: Elephant’s Toothpaste
So! The entire reason for a summer elephant storytime? Elephant’s toothpaste! This famous science demo is always impressive, even if you are doing the at-home version which uses yeast as a catalyst (directions from Science Bob here). However, it looks so similar to the volcano experiment that I wanted to do the lab version with the scary chemicals (Instructable here). It gave me a good way to talk about safety first, since it definitely requires goggles.
Because of the iodine, if you attempt this experiment, wear old clothes and find a non-staining surface (I used mud and grass so I could just hose everything away). You should NOT do this experiment indoors. Make sure your audience stands back! The foam created is very hot, it shoots out very quickly, and again, the iodine can stain. Also, you don’t want your guests getting into contact with the chemicals if you are doing the lab version, because 35% hydrogen peroxide is not meant to come in contact with skin.
Here’s me performing the demo (if you know what’s going to happen and aren’t testing a hypothesis, it isn’t really an experiment.) Since I asked the person operating the camera to remain at a safe distance, you can hear the storytimers talking in the foreground. My favorite part: “You’re squashing me!”
How It Went:
Because of the demo, I put more prep time into this storytime than any of the others this summer. The actual storytime components were easy to put together otherwise. Everyone loved this session. The only rough patch came when one kid said something about elephants laying eggs, and the boy who knows so much about animals got upset and yelled, “They don’t lay eggs! It’s called having live young! It’s called giving live birth!” At which point I simply said, “You are correct. Elephants definitely don’t come from eggs! What kinds of animals come from eggs?” thereby a) saving myself from a discussion about live birth which not every parent wants their child having at this age and b) giving the little naturalist the chance to list some facts, which comforted him. Other than that, all was smooth sailing. Well, except for that giant stain on the break room wall, but that’s a story for another time.