Thursday, August 31, 2017

Build your brain: Weeks 3, 4 and 5

In my last post I talked a little about the process of re-imagining my preschool storytime for the summer. Now that summer reading is over I have time to update you a bit about what we did for the final three weeks of the program. My overall goal was to choose a mix of activities that would show parents all the many and varied things they can do to enhance their child's brain development.


Week 3: Sensory Fun

After our usual book and songs, we went into our meeting room for some slightly messy fun. My big message at this program was that sensory experiences help kids make brain connections. It also is a great way to introduce them to vocabulary they wouldn't hear otherwise. For instance, when you are doing sensory activities you may use fun words like squishy or gooey.

Station 1: Painting with pasta 

I had heard of this done several places online and wanted to try it out myself.  It is a not too messy but very fun way to provide a sensory learning experience.

Station 2: Car wash

This station was extremely simple and a big hit. All I did was fill our sensory tubs with water and soap and allow the kids to wash some of the hot wheels cars I keep on hand. I think I got this idea from a parenting blog but cannot remember which one it was. 

Station 3: Texture collage

I've done this at programs before and thought it would fit into the sensory theme perfectly. All I did was set out a variety of craft materials with different textures (cotton balls, tissue paper, feathers, etc) and have the kids create a collage. It allows the kids to be creative while at the same time using up the random craft supplies that always seem to be around.

Week 4: Art

Station 1: Sticker collage

This is another easy art project that allows kids to be creative. I put out a variety of stickers and let the kids make another collage. As a bonus, it was great to see the kids practicing making words with our letter stickers.  

Station 2: Tape resist art

Kids were asked to make designs on paper with tape and paint over them with watercolors. If I had to do it again I'd use regular paints so they would stand out a little more.  

Station 3:  Stamping with toilet paper rolls

I had leftover toilet paper rolls from another program, so I put some out for the kids to use as paint stamps. I figured the circles would also tie into a little lesson about shapes.

Station 4: Coloring pages

I do try to do coloring pages at my storytimes periodically for a few different reasons. Not only are they an easy addition, they are also great to help with kids fine motor skills. Coloring really helps young kids prepare the muscles they will need when they start to write. The ones I picked for this week were all art themed.

Week 5: Parachute

To end the summer we closed out with a whole program focusing on one of my favorite storytime additions, the parachute. We started out our small storytime room with my 6 foot parachute, as a read the book Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin. At the suggestion of Storytime Katie, we added flannel pieces corresponding to the colors in the story and mixed them with our parachute.

We followed the story up with our first experience with our large 20 foot parachute. We did a variety of songs, all of which are detailed on my storytime blog. It was great fun, so much so that our adult services staff commented on how many screams of joy they were able to hear through our meeting room wall.

How it went

For the most part I think this program went pretty well. Attendance was definitely far better than my typical preschool storytime. I'm hoping this holds out into the fall and that the new day and time will be a success. As for the particular activities we did I'd have to say I saved the best for last with the parachute. I look forward to using it often in the future! I hope these suggestions have been helpful, and as always if you have any questions feel free to let me know via comments, email or Twitter.

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