We wrapped up our Baby Explorers series oh, over a year ago? It took me a while to get this last post up. But never fear, we continued monthly Baby Times, which start again in September, so I’ll still have baby stuff to post!
Our third session was music themed, with lots of instruments, buckets, kitchen utensils, and general noisemakers.
The shakers and bells didn’t make it into the pictures, but you know what shakers and bells look like.
The last session was a little more storytime-formatted, we started with a book and puppet song (When Cows Wake Up in the Morning) and then I set out animal themed felts and toys to play with.
After the success of these sessions, I re-imagined our baby storytime program. Now marketed as Baby Time, we meet once a month and start off with a new songs and rhymes, maybe a book, and then have a 15-20 minute playtime followed by bubbles.
I found that emphasizing the rhymes and playtime really encouraged people to bring babies. When it was called a storytime, many people were hesitant to bring babies because they weren’t sure what we would do and thought their babies were too little! Now we’re getting a wide age range, from 3 months through toddlerhood, which presents its own challenges, but is a lot of fun!
The new year is such a good time to think about goals! I guess this is why everyone does it. I usually don’t make many concrete resolutions, but I do want to think about my focus for this year. And it’s unsurprising if you know me at all: I NEED A PLAN.
Yeah, for real. I was feeling pretty frazzled during December, and I’m sure a lot of my storytime attendees were too. In my effort to dig in and enjoy the winter the best I can, I was doing yoga at home (shoutout to the free videos at Yoga with Adriene) and I was inspired to do a stress relief storytime. I’ve incorporated yoga into storytime before, but I imagined this as more of a mellow, deep breathing, calming experience. Quite different from my usual, very energetic storytimes.
When I told my director that I was doing a relaxation storytime with dim lights and yoga and deep breathing, she laughed and looked at me like I’m a total crunchy hippie. Not too far off.
I’m finally posting about Trick or Treat at the Library, our Halloween party for toddlers and preschoolers! It’s been going on for several years and was always aimed at very young children, but I got feedback this year that people avoided bringing babies/toddlers because they thought it would be a lot of candy! It’s no candy! And, really, it’s not Trick or Treating. So, changing the title for next year. Our community has another Halloween event for preschool through 5th grade, so we do something for the younger ones.
For December’s monthly Baby Time, we shared some winter fun! We only had two babies, a 4 month old and a 16 month old, but I know that December weekends are busy for everyone! I’ll probably do some of these activities again in January, since, well, it’s the Midwest and it’ll be wintery then too. And in February. And March. And probably April.
Puppets! They can be a fraught topic – I’ve heard a lot of librarians say that they’re just not puppet people and don’t feel comfortable using puppets. And to be honest, I kind of fall into that camp too. But early in my library career, I worked under a librarian who LOVES puppets. We did a big monthly puppet show, had a small kids’ puppet theater and big puppet theater for staff use always set up in the department, and had a truly impressive collection of puppets of all sizes.
Puppets for sale at the 2015 Kids First conference in Des Moines
At the beginning of May, I attended the “Kids First” conference, which is a fantastic conference for Iowa youth services librarians that happens every two years . It was hugely inspiring and refreshing to be surrounded by other children’s and teen librarians from around the state, and I left with so many ideas! It is such a perfect way to kick off such a busy season, and I can’t wait for 2017 to come so that I can go again.
I have been sharing the activities that I did as part of my “Baby Explorers” series in March. See the first baby explorers post for more information on these sessions!
I started our second session with our hello song and a read-along board book, and then we spent the rest of the time letting the babies explore the different activities I set out, all designed to help develop fine motor skills. We ended with bubbles from the bubble machine for the last five minutes.
The room set up: lots of different things to play with! read more
In March, I did a month-long series of baby activities on Saturday mornings called “Baby Explorers.” It was a sort of hybrid baby storytime/playtime.
My library has tried several things to get a baby storytime going, but a weekday morning just hasn’t worked, and previous more traditional baby storytimes on Saturdays weren’t well attended either. BUT, with a combo of better publicity and enticing activities, this worked! I think it’s going to become a monthly event in the fall.
I wanted to focus on demonstrating easy to make toys and explain the benefits of simple activities. I focused on a different broad topic each week, and this post I’ll go over the first one, Sensory Activities. read more
So I was trying to find a flannel to add to my Farm storytime, and I just could not muster the enthusiasm to make a bunch of different felt animals. Finally, I settled on the idea of doing “Little Mouse” with barns instead of houses! I love doing guessing games – they are my favorite type of flannels.