This week I hosted a Family Fun Day for our county’s Early Headstart program! Early Headstart serves families who meet federal income guidelines from pregnancy up through kids of age 3. The family fun days stress parent/child interaction, so I planned a mini storytime followed by early literacy stations.
They started with a meal, so everyone was pretty full of wiggles by the time I got them! I introduced myself, and welcomed everyone to the library. EHS has their own open/close songs, so then we jumped right in!
Book: Lola at the Library, by Ana McQuin
Songs: When I do toddler storytimes, I pass out a song sheet to the parents so they can follow along with all the songs we do. I usually just pick a few at random, and this time I made sure we did Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in both English and Spanish since there were a few Spanish speakers. I made sure to stress that the parents were supposed to sing along and move with the kids.
Book: Open this Little Book, by Jesse Klausmeier
Then we moved onto early literacy stations! I briefly explained each station, and encouraged the parents to interact with their children while doing the various activities. I had words and early lit tips around the room at each station to help parents.
Read: I put out a whole pile of board books and let them at it!
Play: I had our new puppet theater with some hand puppets, and a pile of foam blocks. The blocks were by far the most popular item in the room. Also, note to self: kids will figure out how to climb over the stage area of the puppet theater.
Write: For this station, I covered a small table with butcher paper, and left out a container of crayons. I also made library coloring sheets. Surprisingly, more people colored the coloring sheets rather than the table, even after I pre-scribbled on it to invite use.
Sing: This station had a box of shaker eggs, laminated song sheets, and a movement cube. I strongly considered putting out an ipad in guided access mode with itunes for some music, but finally decided against it. In some ways, I think it would have helped draw more people in and do more singing, but it probably would also have ended up on the floor like the eggs, so I’m going to table that idea for now. This was the station that I was least pleased with; kids played with the shakers, but there wasn’t much parent/child singing going on.
Talk: For this station, I put out a sensory box of objects, along with some color sorting boxes that we had, and a sign encouraging parents to talk about the items with the kids. See all those nice words on the wall to prompt discussion? They were torn off before we even started stations, so I’ll have to re-think that idea for next time…
By the end, of course, everything was mixed up and messy, but there was some great playing going on!
After the stations, we came together again and I talked a little bit more about the library and encouraged families to come to the children’s room even if they were worried about being too loud or too noisy. I handed out packets of information, and talked about the upcoming launch of our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
Then we read one last story, Dinosaur vs. the Library, by Bob Shea, and the group looooved roaring like dinosaurs.
I was pretty pleased with the turnout and the interactions that I saw happening. I’m thinking of reusing everything for an early literacy open house!