Sunday, March 16, 2014

This is Not My Hat, a Storytime about Stealing and Awesome Hats (Book by Jon Klassen)

Not my Hat - a Storytime about Stealing

Preschool themes: Hats, fish, stealing, envy, theft.
Bible themes: Covetousness, stealing

Have a variety of hats available to show to the children.  Make the selection as wide and as interesting as possible. Include hats for different occupations, sports, and purposes. Spend some time with the children discussing and modelling some interesting hats.

Ask the children, "What if someone took your favorite hat when you weren't looking? How would that make you feel? Why would someone take something that doesn't belong to them?" Discuss the concept of theft with the children. Discuss need versus want, envy, and the right way to deal with feelings of want.

This Is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen.  Introduce the story by explaining that it's about someone taking something that doesn't belong to them, in this case, a favorite hat.  Enjoy the story with the children, and then discuss how the little fish tried to justify reasons that it was o.k. to take the big fish's hat. Take a few moments to talk about what was right and what was wrong in the story.

Game: Hide the Hat. Choose a colorful hat to be "it." Ask one of the children to hide it. Help the rest of the group cover their eyes and sing a little song or count for a few seconds while she hides it. (Ask a parent helper or other adult to help the child hide the hat.) Then, with the help of the adult, instruct the child to give clues to help the rest of the group find the hidden hat. Tell her to say "warmer, warmer" when the group is close to the hat, and "colder, colder" when they are not close to finding it. Play a couple of rounds of this game, and the children will soon catch on.

Bible Verse: Exodus 20:15 "Do not steal." (CEV)
Ask the children to sit again and take a moment to tell them what the Bible teaches about stealing. Explain that it is wrong to want something someone else has so much that they would take it. Also tell them that although stealing is very wrong, that Jesus loves each of us and is always ready to forgive.

Jennie's Hat, by Ezra Jack Keats
Read the story with the children and take time out to discuss the idea of being disappointed, and how to handle feelings of want and of disappointment in a healthy way. Explain that we don't just take what we want, or sulk about what we do not have. If we are patient, and if we take healthy action, we can be content and will be blessed.

Art Activity:
Paper hats.
Take the creativity of the previous story and run with it! Make "derby hats" with your young ones! ("Derby" here refers to the famous Kentucky Derby style hats.) Don't worry, the boys can have fun with this, too! Be sure to offer lots of fun items to decorate your hats with, including things that will appeal to both girls and boys. Let the children choose the colors and items they want to decorate their awesome hats with!

You will need: lots of newspaper, tape, a stapler, colorful tissue paper, glue, scissors, and lots of items for decorating.

The link below gives fantastic instructions on how to make these fanciful and fun paper hats:
                               Thank you,!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Little Bit of Winter - a Wintry Storytime

A Storytime Lesson Plan for Preschool Children
This story time lesson for preschool age children highlights some of the "coolest" aspects of winter: ice and snow! In addition to some neat winter stories, snowy games, and art, this lesson plan even presents a basic gospel message.

 Show pictures of snowy scenes. Find pictures of your own or from the library that show some of the extremes in winter weather: ice encrusted lampposts, glaciers, or blizzards. Then show some of the more serene winter scenes such as outdoor ice skating, snow skiing, or children making snow angels. Discuss with the children some of the experiences they've had in the snow.

Tactile/Ice Exploration Opener: Have a prepared snowman for the children to see and explore. A couple of days prior to the storytime, pour water into two round balloons. Make one larger than the other, and place in the freezer. On the day of the lesson, take the frozen balloons out of the freezer and carefully remove the balloons from the ice. Place the larger of the frozen balls in the bottom of a shallow baking dish or pan, then place the smaller frozen ball on top. It might help to place a little water on the lower ice ball in order to facilitate the two sticking together. You now have a small frozen snowman. You can freeze three balls for a more traditional looking snowman, but extra care needs to be taken to make sure the three balls stick together. As the snowman begins to melt, it will become more sturdy. Cut some accessories out of felt for the snowman. Wrap a felt scarf around his neck, place three round black felt buttons on his tummy, and make little eyes, a nose and a mouth. If you have a little hat that fits, use it. The children will be fascinated and will see that "A Little Bit Of Winter" (today's story) really does bite!

Story: A Little Bit of Winter, by Paul Stewart. (I have a big book version of this, which is very nice, but any edition will do.) Discuss the wintry aspects of this story. Have the children ever felt winter "bite?" If you live in a warm winter area, the icy snowman will provide a wonderful wintry experience for the children.

Rhyme: "My Pet Snowball" (original author unknown)
"I made myself a snowball, just as perfect as could be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me.
I gave it some pyjamas and a pillow for its head.
Then last night, it ran away, but first - it wet the bed!"

Game: "Pass the Snowball"
Sit in a circle and play wintry music, (such as "Winter Wonderland,") while passing around a "snowball" made of a wad of fluffy cotton or even a ball of wadded white paper. Stop the music periodically, and have the person caught holding the "snowball" sit in the middle of the circle. Continue until everyone has had a chance to sit in the circle.

Fingerplay: "Chubby Little Snowman" (original author unknown)
"A chubby little snowman had a carrot for a nose,
Along came a bunny and what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny was looking for his lunch...
And he ATE that snowman's nose...
nibble, nibble, - CRUNCH!"

Book:  Snowflakes, by Kenneth Libbrerecht. Enjoy browsing through this large photo book featuring incredibly magnified photographs of many actual snow crystals.

Discussion: The Bible talks about snow! Ask the children whether they knew that the Bible mentions snow. Psalm 147:16 says of God: "He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes." God created winter, snow, and ice, and each individual snow flake and ice crystal is an amazing work of art! 

Snow is also used as a representation of spiritual purity.  Explain how God washes away our sins and makes us white as snow. Discuss the imagery of snow, and how it represents purity. These concepts are rather abstract for young children, but they have the ability to understand the basic imagery. Use this opportunity to introduce a simplified gospel message to your audience.

Bible Verse Bracelets: 
(Print out, on a brightly-colored sheet of paper, today's verse repeated down the page. Cut between each verse so that you have 10-15 strips, each with the verse printed on it. Ask the children to form a line, and using tape to stick the ends together, wrap a "Bible Verse Bracelet" round each little wrist. Some children do not want to wear it; in that case, hand it to them and tell them to use the verse as a bookmark. The children love these, and come to expect them at each session! The verses also find their way home to parents and siblings, and help to spread the news about that day's storytime.)

Isaiah 1:18  "I, the Lord, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool." (CEV)

Song: "Whiter Than Snow," the age-old hymn, sung by Keith Lancaster and Rodney Britt. This beautiful version of this familiar song would be lovely to play while showing the pictures in the Snowflakes book!  Whiter Than Snow 

Art: Puffy snowmen. Prepare a mixture of shaving cream, white glue, and silver glitter. The percentage of shaving cream to glue should be about 60/40 or 70/30. Sprinkle in an adequate amount of glitter to make a pleasing sparkling effect. Give each child a piece of dark blue construction paper or card stock. Draw (or have prepared beforehand) the outline of a snowman on each piece of paper. Let the children finger paint the shaving cream mixture onto their snowmen, filling in the outlines. Give each child a construction paper scarf, some buttons, some eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and let them stick these onto their creations. After a while, the puffiness caused by the shaving cream will flatten out, but the artwork is left with a sparkly, feathery effect.

Thanks to for the Snowman parts template!