Category Archives: storytime

What do you drink when it’s cold outside?


Are you looking for a fun, easy craft for a winter day?  Try making your own (pretend) hot  chocolate!  Here’s a look at what we did during yesterday’s storytime:DSC02483

(The instructions for the craft are at the end of this post).

First, we read Winter is the Warmest Season


Image from

and Frozen Noses 

Image from

Image from


Then we made hot chocolate.  For this craft you will need:

A paper cup

Construction paper (colored for decorating the outside of the cup and brown for the hot chocolate)


White pom poms

Red and white pipe cleaners


First, we decorated the colored construction paper and cut out a strip to wrap around the cup.  Tape worked best for securing the paper to the cup.

Next, we tore up the brown construction paper and crumpled it up to make the hot chocolate.

Then, we added white pom poms for mini marshmallows.

For the finishing touch, we made candy cane stirrers out of red and white pipe cleaners twisted together.

Thanks to Creekside Learning for the craft inspiration!



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The art of giving

Kids gathered at the Ellsworth Public Library this morning to make gifts.  Here’s a look at what we did today!

We started off with ink blot paintings.

Here’s a colorful creation by one of our storytime attendees.

These are very easy to make, but here’s the website I referenced, in case you want step by step instructions, click here.

Next, we made bookmarks by placing thin pieces of tape on the cardstock to create a design:

Next, we used do-a-dot paint dobbers (similar to bingo dobbers) to paint the bookmark.  For the final step, we peeled off the tape to reveal the design.

For our third project, we made paper snow-globes.  For great step-by-step instructions, check out this site.  Instead of white pom poms for the “snow” we used sequins, so our snow-globes came out looking like this:

For the grand finale, we made clothespin chompers.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  Here’s the inspiration:

To create these, we colored fish and then cut them out and cut them in half.  We glued each half to the side of a clothespin and added a googly eye.  We added a little fish inside the big fish’s mouth so it looks like he is having a snack.  Here’s the result!

What are your favorite gifts to make with kids?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!



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Build a city storytime

Here’s a great activity for kids (or adults) on a rainy day:  design and build your own city!  We did just this during Tuesday’s storytime.

We read Mattland by Hazel Hutchins.  This is a wonderful story about a young boy who is fed up with moving to new towns.  He decides to create his own little town in the muddy yard outside his house.  What begins as a solitary activity becomes a group effort as neighbor children pitch in and lend a hand.  This book provides a great example of channeling negative emotions (Matt is frustrated about moving, he feels lonely and out of place) into something creative and positive (his own town and new friends to play with).

I wish we could have made our own cities outside, like Matt, but the rainy weather definitely called for an indoor activity.  We used a cereal box for the base, decorated with Dot-Art dobbers (very similar to bingo dobbers) and thin, colored masking tape.  We used small boxes for buildings.  This is a great craft to reuse random items around the house.

Here are some of the finished projects from our “Build a City” storytime:

This is a very accurate model of Ellsworth, Maine.

A very colorful creation.

This city has a beautiful garden.

This project features a raccoon trap!




Filed under picture book review, storytime

Bye, bye, butterflies!

We set the butterflies free today at the Butterflies and Bugs storytime.

We walked down by the Union River and found a spot to gather.  And, yes, I am wearing butterfly wings-thanks, Allegra!

Photo credit: Katie Lyons

Then, it was time to open up the “Butterfly Pavilion.”

Photo credit: Katie Lyons

I had never done this before, and I assumed that the butterflies would take the first chance they had to fly away.  It actually took quite a while to coax them out of the enclosure.  Katie and I finally convinced the butterflies to leave by helping them climb onto sticks.

Photo credit: Katie Lyons

The butterflies hung out on the sticks for a while, getting the lay of the land.  We all had the opportunity to study them up close, which was really great.

We returned to the library and I read The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent.  Then, we made butterfly wings and butterfly banners:

Flap your wings!

Have you seen any butterflies recently?  Which kind is your favorite?

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A moose that doesn’t know his alphabet, puppets, pizza, and googly eye monsters!

Last night I hosted a storytime for Maine Family Literacy.  I chose the Moose storybag (mostly so we could read If you give a Moose a Muffin-one of my all time favorite books).  Storybags are themed sets of books, flannel boards, action rhymes, and crafts that are geared toward preschool students.  They are a big hit with both parents and teachers because it’s like having an instant storytime (just add a reader).

Photo from

While the kids ate pizza, I read Z is for Moose, a funny alphabet book.  Moose is so excited to be featured on the “M” page, he can’t wait for his turn and jumps in too early.  Zebra, the referee, has to control his enthusiastic friend while making sure that the rest of the book goes as planned.

We did a couple of action rhymes that were included in the storybag (“Mr. Moose” and “Steps”).

“Mr. Moose” goes like this:

Mr. Moose is very tall.  (stand tall)

His antlers touch the sky.  (reach hands up)

They make a real good resting place,

For birdies passing by.  (make hands like birdies)

Photo from:

Then we read If You Give a Moose a Muffin twice (once by itself and once with a flannel board).  We finished up the evening with a moose puppet craft.  The kids traced their hands for antlers and attached them to a paper lunch bag (for the moose’s head and body).  They decorated the puppets with markers and googly eyes.  Then they decorated themselves with googly eyes and became fearsome monsters and ghosts that ran around the meeting room:

A very good time was had by all.  There’s nothing like storytime to lift my spirits 🙂

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Gerald the elephant (played by Martha) and Piggie the pig (played by yours truly) took over Tuesday storytime to tell two of their many adventures:

#1  I Am Invited to a Party!

#2  I Broke my Trunk

Both performances were adapted from the hilarious picture books by Mo Willems.  It was fun to act out these stories especially because the kids seemed to respond well to this type of non-traditional storytelling.  We plan to do more of these in the future, so, does anyone have suggestions for more “picture book plays”?

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Paper airplanes take off!

Today’s special storytime theme was paper airplanes.  After reading the book I’m Here by Peter H. Reynolds, we got to work on our own creations:

Some of the kids used photocopied calendar templates to make their airplanes and others were fine with just a blank sheet of paper.  Here’s a great site with step-by-step video instructions if you’d like to make your own paper airplanes:

Here are some of the finished products from today’s session:

After we were done folding, we took advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity and launched our paper airplanes from the library’s balcony!

Do you have a tip for making the ultimate paper airplane?  Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments 🙂


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