Sticks and Stones Story Time

This blog post is brought to you by Deb Kaufmann. She recently did this preschool story time with a group and it was hugely successful. Have fun!

Here is a storytime I did recently that included all of my favorite things: nature, pretend play, gross motor skills, early literacy skills, imagination, music, STEM and books. The theme was “Sticks”. I love building storytimes around objects or activities from everyday life so families can see that life and the world around them is the best curriculum for young children.

This is what we did:

Opening verses and songs: “I Wiggle My Fingers” and “These Are My Glasses”

Book: Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Rhythm Sticks: “This Old Man”

Before we began singing, we practiced different actions for different parts of the song. For the last part of the song (“this old man came rolling home”), we twirled the sticks around each other as you would when you do the rhyme “Roly Poly”. On the last word, “home”, we brought our fists to the floor so the bottom ends of our sticks rested on the floor with a thump. Ending each verse with our fists on the floor created a natural pause before we started the next verse. We practiced that several times. For the rest of the verse, we rapped one stick onto the other stick in rhythm to the song.

I was worried that adding specific actions to the song with the sticks would be too hard for them because our preschool storytimes tend to be mostly three year olds. But I was happily surprised by their ability and motivation to learn the actions. They seemed to love the challenge!

Book: Not A Stick by Antoinette Portis - which segued nicely into the felt board activity.

Felt Board Activity: I cut out 3 long pieces of brown felt to look like sticks. I placed one on the felt board and asked, “What can you make with one stick?” We discovered together that you can make a road, a lowercase ’L’, an ‘I’, a magic wand, and so on. Then I put another piece of brown felt on the board and we found with two sticks we could make a ‘V’, a ‘T’, a tent, and an ‘X’. Finally we made things with 3 sticks – a triangle, the letter ‘A’, a flag, an open box, and an arrow. I told them for the craft at the end of storytime, they would get to make whatever they wanted from sticks.

Gross Motor Skills and Imaginative Play: I asked them “What are giant sticks called? LOGS! Logs are handy for crossing over rushing rivers. Let’s pretend these cardboard tubes are logs and let’s go hiking!” I got four big, sturdy cardboard tubes at a teacher supply store called R.A.F.T. in Denver. They are cut in half, long wise, so they are stable and don’t move when you walk on them. Then I put on some music for us to hike to. I chose “If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” recorded by Jim Gill. The children loved practicing their balance and pretending not to fall in the river! If you don’t have the card board tubes you could do this activity with masking tape on the floor or long pieces of flat cardboard. The end of the music signals to the children that it’s time to stop hiking and move to the next activity.

Book: Stick! by Andy Pritchett

Closing: “Bread and Butter”

Craft: I brought in a bag of sticks about 6 to 8 inches long that I had picked up at a park near my house. I set out glue sticks, yarn, googly eyes, and small pieces of fabric. The children used the supplies to make decorated sticks, fishing poles, and stick people.

It was a fun storytime with something for everyone! The books and activities created lots of fodder for great discussions with the kids and gave them opportunities to challenge themselves.

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