Now that it’s summer, many of my preschoolers will soon be facing a new challenge: going to school. So my goal this summer is to help get them ready not just for the academic pressures but the social and emotional pressures of starting school.¬†I may not be quite up to par with the efforts of the Twinsburg (OH) Public Library’s efforts, but that is certainly something to strive for.

I started story time last week by asking my kids “What does being brave mean?” This is a hard questions for grown ups to answer, but I think that’s because we think too much. I heard everything from “I’m brave when I go to the doctor” to “Firemen!” to “Mommy says I’m brave when I take a bath.” (BTW my nephew HATES getting water on his face, so I think he’s brave when he takes a bath, too).


To make sure everyone understood, I asked some questions like: “Are you brave when you see a scary bug in your house?”or “Is it brave to sleep in your own room?” Which brings me to our first book:


In “The Woods,” Paul Hoppe demonstrates bravery in the guise of a bedtime story. The main character goes into the woods in his imagination searching for the bunny he usually sleeps with. He encounters potentially scary things in these woods, but his bravery ears him many friends in the end. This is an excellent pajama storytime book that shows kids how to be brave in a situation they are familiar with.


Our second book was “Ol’ Mama Squirrel” by David Ezra Stein. Ol’ mama Squirrel was certainly brave in this book, but what I found really important about this story was that she knew when to ask for help from the other squirrels when facing a threat too big for her. This book is also very funny, and I have my kids chittering along with Mama Squirrel whenever something came along she didn’t like.

IPAD 6-8-16 192

Finally, we made the charming paper bag puppets you see above to help us either confront our fears or face our fears with a friend. Using puppets is a great way to help preschoolers communicate. I used paper bag puppet templates found here for easy replication.

I know this post is pretty short and to the point, but it’s summer. You know how it is. Hopefully it still laid some ground work to help you customize your own bravery storytime. Thanks for reading!ūüôā



slug needs a hug

Mimicry: Why Do We Wear Clothes?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we wear clothes, and why we choose the clothes that we choose to wear? If I could answer that question with all of its complexities and nuances I would be a fashion mogul. But…


I can, however, introduce kids to the idea that clothes can tell you a lot more about a person than just what colors they like. Take these two “labeled for reuse” images from Google:

I started storytime by showing these two pictures to my kids and asking some of the following questions:

“What time of year do you think it was when the picture on the left was taken? What about the picture on the right? But you can’t see any weather in these pictures, so how do you know?”

“Are the kids on the left hot or cold? What about the kids on the right? How do you know?”

Inevitably the answer to “How do you know?” came down to differences in clothing. The kids wearing coats, long sleeved shirts and closed-toed shoes are probably in a colder climate or season than the kids in flip flops, swim trunks and sun glasses. I even tried to trick¬†my kids, saying “But look, the kids on the left are in the shade, and the kids on the right are in the sun. Isn’t a shady area cooler than a sunny area?” They weren’t buying it.

So we moved on. “Ok, so what kinds of clothes do we wear in the summer? What about in the winter?” And we made a list on the board and talked about why we wear certain things at certain times. This type of lesson could move into different geographic locations, religions, socioeconomic status, climates. Basically you have your pick of science and social science topics to cover based on where you want to go with it. You can even branch into skin protection for the summer and why some people’s skin burns. If you don’t want to take as much time having this discussion so there’s actually time left to read a book,though, here’s a video that will introduce this topic nicely.

My focus for the day’s lesson was mimicry. Once I had the kids thinking about why we wear clothes and it was time for books,¬†I asked the most fun question of the day: “Do animals wear clothes? Why or why not?” After some amazing answers like “My dog was a police for Halloween,”¬†I said “Let’s explore some more reasons why animals don’t need to¬†wear clothes by reading a really funny book.”


I kept asking the kids questions while we were reading this entire book, like “Why do the chicken’s pants look so funny?” and “Do moose have thumbs?” to keep them engaged. I wanted them to work on making inferences¬†while still within the parameters of a storytime and not quite a school lesson. If only storytime could last all day!

Now that we had an idea of why animals do not wear clothes, we read a book about why an animal might want to dress like another animal.


If you haven’t read “Slug Needs a Hug!” by Jeanne Willis, be warned: you will have all the feels. Slug tries to look like different animals to get his mom to hug him, and ends up like this. Check out this “before and after” flannel board for the book.

He tries wearing rose petal wings, horns made of sticks, and other found objects to mimic what other animals say makes them more huggable to their moms. Unfortunately none of the other animals suggested arms, but it’s ok because in the end his mom takes off all of his clothes and gives him a kiss.

Since Slug was trying to dress up like other animals, this was a great way to introduce the basic concept of mimicry to the kids. “Did you know that there are really animals that look like other animals? This is a type of camouflage that can help an animal protect itself.” National Geographic¬†has a great site with amazing pictures to demonstrate this concept, and we took a few minutes to see how mimicry works in real life.

Last but not I printed out some animal coloring pages and we “dressed them up” in clothes or like other animals to help us remember why animals should definitely not wear clothes. Case in point:

Electronic Storytime Kits

MEME THIS POST! Please take a moment when reading the below post to think of a gif, meme, or video that would add to the content and share it in the comments below. I will be updating my post this weekend to make it look nicer, but I wanted to get this content posted now since it’s been a MONTH (!) since my last post. Please and thanks!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post! I took a week off from posting because I took a week off from all work due to a nasty virus back in April¬†and then honestly I just hit a slump. My number of followers was not picking up and while I have a list of over 100 topics to write about related to STEAM in Storytime, none of them was exciting me enough to take the time to flesh out. Luckily two great people stepped in¬†to get me back on track. My ALSC Mentor was the catalyst for this blog and he originally said to get this blog off the ground I should post once a week. But when I mentioned my slump he advised me to rethink posting every week if it was too much for me. He reminded me essentially that advice is not the same thing as a rule and I can run my blog my way. And when I still wasn’t too sure about how to get back into things, enter Bryce from Bryce Don’t Play. She did a whole post on her blog about other new blogs, and now I have new traffic again yay! Hi new readers and welcome! BTW, if you haven’t read Bryce’s blog, DO IT. Her blog is what my blog wants to be when it grows up. Only, you know,¬†with STEAM.

So when I was out sick from work (and life) for almost a week¬†another librarian had to cover all of my programs, including three storytime sessions. Luckily the head of youth services was the person covering, so she is more than capable of cobbling together a good last minute storytime plan. However, I have been asked to create some emergency storytime kits in case the day comes when someone has to cover a storytime program who has no experience with storytimes. I know plenty of libraries that have these types of kits, filled with scripts and puppets, craft materials, etc.¬†We even have some¬†already created form a grant project that¬†people can check out and take to elementary schools as volunteers. These kits have everything one could need to facilitate a good storytime…except¬†an engaging personality/reading voice. I’m sorry, but we all know that one librarian or teacher with the monotone reading voice (usually the one who leads the staff meetings where everyone comes out with a little drool on their shirt).

There’s also the issue at my library that these kits are great for a small storytime of under 20 kids. But when you get 60-80 attendees per session like we do, you need something a bit more crowd pleasing. So I came up with some digital storytime kits that only require someone who knows how to click a mouse. My digital storytime kits live on a flashdrive instead of taking up space in our limited storage area and include all of the tools one needs to have a hands-off storytime in a pinch. Here is the formula I used in case you would like to replicate this idea yourself.


You should have a flashdrive solely for the purpose of your digital storytime kits. This way the content is portable and easily accessible for any sub. Just make sure everyone on staff knows where the flash drive lives.


On your flashdrive, you should have folders with different themes listed. That way the sub can choose the topic they are most comfortable with presenting. In each folder, you should have a step-by-step script of what the sub will need to do for the entire storytime. These scripts do not have to be very detailed. Here is the formula I use for most of my storytimes:

  1. Introduction and Rules – I have some digital puppets do this part for me through YouTube, so all the sub needs to do is click the link and push play.
  2. First book: the rules video ends asking the kids to take a seat, so they should be ready for your first story.
  3. Song/Fingerplay: Of course have the instructions for the specific song/fingerplay in the script, don’t just write “song/fingerplay.” I’ve tried this, thinking other librarians just know this stuff. Turns out not everyone wakes up in the morning humming The Wheels on the Bus like I do.
  4. Second book – title and content link/file with any and all books listed
  5. Song/Dance – really get those willies out
  6. Link to digital game (if time allows)

I try to sort my kits and storytimes by common knowledge themes simply because it helps me with structure, but you can always just have “Storytime Kit #1” and so on and jumble together anything you think will keep the kids engaged with a sub.


I was so excited when I found out my library offers digital picture books with a read-along capability through Overdrive. These books are great for a digital storytime because the book does the reading for you, usually with a feature that highlights the words as they are read so the children can follow along with the reading. Whether your throat hurts or you’re just tired that day, this is a win-win because this type of read along feature really helps children develop their vocabulary.

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If you can’t find a read-along book for all of your kits, don’t despair. Your sub may have to read the book aloud (gasp!) but the most important thing is that they have a script and materials to work with at hand. So scan some picture books and save the PDFs into your digital kits. As long as the kids can see the pictures on the big screen, they don’t care how a story is being read, right? …at least it helps.


There are several ways to save kid friendly songs and dances into a digital storytime kit. Add the URL for a kid-friendly YouTube video to your flash drive, rip some kid-friendly library CDs onto your flash drive and then let customers know the CD is available in your library, or show the customers how to access music through services like Hoopla. Easy-peasy.


These should honestly only be included in your kits if you think you will have some tech savvy subs who want to do a little extra. If you feel you have to include this because you can’t find another book or song to go with your theme, ditch the theme. But having links in the flash drive¬†to little extras from places like PBS Kids, Go Noodle, and ABC Mouse are fun ways to end on a high note for a substitute and will keep these resources at your fingertips if you just didn’t have time to plan that week so you need to use a kit in a pinch.

Thanks for reading as always, and I look forward to seeing the suggested Memes for this post!


4-15-16 001

We’re Mapping a Bear Hunt

Cartography is a science that our society values a great deal, but seldom talks about. I mean, who doesn’t use Google Maps? Even if you aren’t the person making those maps, being able to recognize and read a map is arguably as important of a life skill as being able to do your own laundry. But if you’re like me it seems as though you just always knew what a map was. That’s because maps are associated in early childhood with awesome things like pirates and treasure. It isn’t until upper elementary that they start being associated with things like states and topography, but you have to start somewhere. While I didn’t take the pirate route for my map themes storytime, you are still in for quite an adventure.

First off, we read The World According to Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan. You might recognize these characters from the author’s other works, but this one was perfect for talking about maps. This type of book¬†is an excellent way to introduce non-fiction into your¬†¬†storytime routine. I found that the text is a bit too much for a straight read-through, but as long as you tell the audience that you may not read all of the words on a page or all of the pages in the book (and that’s ok) the kids are fine with it.¬†In fact, the characters are so funny and the pictures are so engaging that if you go into knowing which parts you want to focus on, they’ll rush to check out the book and learn the¬†parts you didn’t read! ¬†If you still aren’t sure about using non-fiction in your storytime, and you live/work in Florida¬†I suggest you look into a webinar I took today called “Using Nonfiction in Storytime” through SEFLIN’s Self-Paced Training program.


I have been wanting to use this book in storytime for over a year, but I could never wrap my mind around a theme. And for me, I need a theme or my storytime falls apart.¬†But this week I decided “I’m using this book, even if I have to cheat and use a vague animal theme.”¬†I really wanted to do something with maps, but everything I found online when I started to look was for older kids and about complicated things like¬†weather patterns and crop production. Then the morning of storytime, Eureka! We were going on a bear hunt, and mapping it!

When I narrowed my search down to this type of activity I was inspired by Pink Stripey Socks’s 3 Easy Bear Hunt Activities, but her downloadable map did not match the places we visit in the song I like to use for my bear hunt (above).So I made my own¬†Bear Hunt Map¬†to go along with the song¬†which you are welcome to use.¬†To introduce the concept of maps, I drew a larger version of the map on the board and explained that a map is a way someone can remember where they went or where they’re going, and a way they can share that information with their friends. I also explained that you can put any symbols or pictures on your map that you want, to help you remember what it is for. My kids loved coloring the map and adding themselves and their bear¬†onto the map. Some even chose to put a big “X” on the cave to mark where we found our treasure (the bear).

After making our maps we had some time left over to play a game together, and we played¬†a¬†great game online which I encouraged parents to use at home to reinforce the mapping and directional skills we covered in storytime. Go! George Go! is an Arthur game from pbskids.org where George needs our directions to deliver ice cream to his friends before it melts. The game’s use of arrows and pictures to direct the George on the screen make this a great choice for even pre-readers.




Frog Game

Frogs and Graphs

Last week I came across this hilarious book called Prince of a Frog by Jackie Urbanovic and I immediately thought: puppet show! If you have not read this book, I insist. I would share the script but I essentially used the text of the book as my script. I just changed the animals our frog prince meets to suit the puppets I already had. For example, instead of a woodpecker I used an owl and instead of a heron I used an alligator.

On top of the puppet show I shared 999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura with my kids. Just seeing that many frogs across two pages, especially up on the big screen, really emphasizes how big of a number 999 really is. And we read a hilarious book by Kes Gray called “Frog on a Log?” that involves animals sitting on things that rhyme with their name. Spoiler alert: guess what dogs sit on?

A frog theme lends itself very easily to science, but for this storytime I actually found some great ways to incorporate math into my lesson. First, I was inspired by TeachPreschool.org to create a non-competitive game board that would help us get our frog friends onto their log, while incidentally introducing the kids to a simple graph. For my gameboard I already had a Five Green a Speckled Frogs set of Velcro frogs and a felt log, so I made a grid on the best investment ever  using blue painters tape. Unfortunately this picture was taken before I could get my hands on a dry-erase marker, but the columns were numbered 0-5 (including the log as #5) and the rows (frogs) were numbered 1-5. Voila! You have a grided pond game board.

Frog Game

Before class I made 25 squares of paper, 5 each for frog #1, #2, #3, #4¬†& #5. The kids got to pull (at least) one square out of the bucket and the number on the square told them which frog they could move forward one space. Seeing the numbers on their square and on the board helps to reinforce written number recognition. And after each child moved his or her frog, I asked “How many spaces has your frog moved now?” And I helped them to point at their frog and move up that column to the number at the top. Thus they were learning how to read a very simple graph.¬†FYI: frog #4 won the race, with #3 coming in a close second!

So once we had 5 speckled frogs sitting on a log, guess what we did?

In case you were wondering we didn’t watch all 65+ minutes of this video, just the very first song. But I can’t believe I never thought to add that little bit at the end of¬†each verse about subtraction. It works so well! This song, with the math problems built into it, will be something the kids remember when they are working on their first subtraction problems in Kindergarten. I think I will be adding this tidbit into all of my 5 Little songs from now on.

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a cute craft to go along with a frog theme Oriental Trading has some adorable Frog-Shaped Doorknob Hangers that the kids love to take home. Here’s mine. Enjoy!

frog craft



Cool Camouflage

This past week I was on a staycation that happened to involve seeing a lot of animals. Animals are great, and we use them in storytime for a reason: they are ADORABLE. Case in point:

My friend Kate from¬†Kate Verna Photography¬†(who took all of the animal photos in this post)¬†was in town from Missouri and she was very excited to see some of the animals we have in Florida, especially our reptiles. We saw over 30 alligators last week in the wild, more than I’ve ever seen my entire life as a native Floridian. And let me tell you,¬†they really do look like logs when you see them in the water. Also, they are not green despite popular belief. They are black, and so camouflage very well in dark canals. Do not be fooled. We also saw a Rhinoceros¬†Iguana that, when laying on a tree branch with its eyes closed, looked like a growth on the tree itself from afar. See what I mean?


These animals reminded me of a very easy activity we used to bring to outreach booths in my science museum days. You take a photo of a nature scene or habitat in bright colors and plop a white chameleon on top of the photo like so: Camouflage Coloring Page. I used a photo I took myself and I drew the chameleon, so feel free to use this in your programs.¬†Then¬†just have the kids color the chameleon so s/he will camouflage with the background. It’s so simple and the kids love it!


So of course we had to read The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle which got many laughs. And then I discovered that there is a new book in The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library about camouflage! Many librarians hesitate to use non-fiction in storytime. However, if you just paraphrase or talk about the pictures you can make the experience easier on yourself and still introduce books to your kids and parents that they may not have looked at outside of an assigned school project.

This is a shorter post, but I hope you enjoy the lovely animal photos from my vacation, and this meme that reminds us all that learning about camouflage is important:

monkey camo

Pi Day

No, preschoolers are not going to understand what pi (the number) is. I’m a little fuzzy on exactly what it is myself. But the whole point of bringing STEAM into storytime is going back to the basics. And what is more basic than shapes? Follow along as I shine a spotlight on the circle.

Here is how I introduced Pi Day to my kids:

Me: “Has anyone heard that today is pi day? What is pi?”

Kids: I got the expected answers along the lines of something yummy to eat.

Me: “That’s true. And what shape is this pie?” And I drew a whole pie on the board.¬†A chocolate pie, if you must know, because it’s the best. (The kids asked, and then I had to color in the pie because chocolate is dark.)

Kids: “A circle!”

Me: “That’s right! But Pi Day does not celebrate the dessert pie, it celebrates the number pi. The number pi – 3.14 – helps us figure out how big a circle will be if it’s this wide (draw a small line on your board) or THIS WIDE (draw a big line on your board). This number is important for the people who make things that are circular. Do you see anything in the room shaped like a circle?”

Kids: Clock, pie on the board, depends on what’s in your room.

Me: “That’s right! What else can you think of that is shaped like a circle?”

Kids: Again, answers vary, such as moon, balls, etc.

Me: “Great answers! Most of those things, like the clock and the balls we play with, had to be made by someone. And that couldn’t happen without the number pi.¬†Who wants to help me find more things in the shape of a circle in our next story?¬†“

There are many great books about shapes out there, but we got some new books at my library recently which inspired me to celebrate Pi Day in storytime and here.


shape shift

Shape Shift by Joyce Hesselberth is a playful book that encourages children to recognize that the world is full of shapes, and that you can make anything you want using basic shapes.

all year

All Year Round by Susan B. Katz encourages children to associate basic shapes with annual holidays, helping them relate shapes to things they find meaningful.

After reading our books, it was time to make pies for our friends! I pulled out the play dough and¬†demonstrated how to roll a piece of dough into a sphere or “ball”¬†in your palm. Once we had a sphere, we used our palms to squish the dough flat, making a circular crust. Then we had to put fillings or toppings onto our pies, which became quite colorful. Finally, we had to slice up our pies to share with our friends, counting how many slices we could get depending upon how big our pie and our slices were. The kids loved this activity, and it was also a great way to slip sharing into a math-based storytime. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this activity, but I will share a much more sophisticated picture from the site that inspired me:


Pi day is also an excellent time to introduce your kids to the compass Рthe one for drawing circles, not the one for telling directions. I found these very cost effective compasses through Oriental Trading. At about $0.68 a piece, I was happy to show the kids and parents how to use them, and then send the kids home with their own compass to practice with. I told the parents that the compass can be used like the Spirograph we all loved as kids, by attaching colored pencils or even paint brushes to the tool and having fun as seen here:


If you have any other ideas for celebrating pi day in preschool storytime, I would love to hear them! Until then, all this pi talk has made me hungry. Ciao!

Guerrilla Storytime – STEAM edition

Last week I was given the amazing opportunity to host a Guerrilla Storytime at the quarterly youth services meeting for my library system. If you don’t know what that means, basically it gives librarians within the same system/region/specialty the chance to share their questions and ideas to become stronger and better as a whole. Typically our meetings involve presentations made by one person with little input from everyone else, so this was a nice change of pace. My administration and some of the participants said they really liked it, and (crossing my fingers) they may want to do something like this for most future meetings. Yay! So here’s how it worked:

Because I love using the big screen, I chose to use this jeopardy game board to present my questions instead of the original Popsicle sticks format. This way everyone who was called on could see the question and mull it over. Also, I pointed out that this gameboard is an easy way to incorporate technology into storytime. 2-in-1 success!

If you look at the game board linked above, you’ll notice most of the questions are not directly related to STEAM subjects. But I was surprised at how many of the answers that were shared involved STEAM in some way. Here are some of the things that were shared in my Guerrilla Storytime session¬†that I would like to share with you:

  • The Ooey Gooey Lady on YouTube

If you have never heard of the Ooey Gooey lady before, you’re welcome. She is amazing! And the Shark Song, which even mentions a shark’s dorsal fin as well as getting kids to think about different family members, ties into science and social science perfectly.

We were talking about how to incoporate different languages into storytime, and someone said they sing a song from the “Rosemary Wells” app in Japanese when they’re in the the shower or driving the car sometimes…you know how that can be. The app showcases versions of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in different languages. The use of a familiar song and characters everyone loves makes incorporating other languages into storytime easy and fun!

Water Color Pencils


If you don’t have a set of these for yourself your kids, you are missing out on some good, clean fun- keyword clean. This is the best new(ish) way to let little ones paint where the only thing they’ll spill is water. And that water is like magic, turning your scribbles into smooth lines like magic. Can you tell I’m obsessed? So if your kids just can’t sit still for one more story, pull these out and let them create some artful magic.

In hopes this will get some future use, I also created a Guerrilla Storytime STEAM edition template. Feel free to use this one as well, and if you do please share some of your ideas here!


Stop Bullying from Birth

Last week at the end of storytime I brought out some early literacy game sets and asked everyone to find¬†some playmates¬†and share. For a group of 3-5 year olds, the kids did pretty well with this concept overall. However, I did notice some bullying behaviors from kids and parents when the games came out, and I’ve been noticing similar behaviors when we pull out the toys at the end of our toddler time.¬†So I decided to create an anti-bullying storytime for this week.

You may be asking yourself what anti-bullying has to do with incorporating STEAM into storytime. As someone who majored in Sociology as an undergraduate student, I am a firm believer that social sciences are just as important as traditional sciences for children and the general populace to become well-rounded individuals. So here we go:

My first step toward addressing bullying in storytime was to simply talk about it. Ask kids if they’ve ever heard the word bully before, and if they know what it means. What I said it means is “someone being mean to someone else on purpose.”¬†Share¬†information on how to broach this subject from stopbullying.gov¬†to parents.¬†And emphasizing that sometimes we don’t intend to be mean, but we have to pay attention to how what we do makes someone else feel. Of course much of the information out there is intended for school-aged children, but is easily adapted to a younger audience. It is important to understand that while the concepts of bullying and empathy seem far too complex for toddlers and preschoolers, you can see signs of bullying and empathy¬†starting to develop even at age two. After talking about it we read Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney¬†in the preschool class and Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger in the toddler class.



Because¬†stopbullying.gov advises teaching social skills to prevent bullying in young children, and because I wanted the¬†take-home message of this storytime to be a positive one, I pulled out my puppet and played a simple game with some props. First I had a cookie, and I said: If I share this cookie with Lavender (my puppet), would it make him happy or sad? “Happy!” the kids would say and he would jump around. Then I said: If I tell Lavender I don’t like his fur, would that make him happy or sad? “Sad” the kids said in a sad voice, and Lavender lowered his head. Then I said: I’m sorry Lavender. We all really like your fur, don’t we kids? “Yeah!” And Lavender was happy again. Other excellent games related to this topic can be found through Parents magazine. A Few of My Favorite Things (#14 of 23 in the article linked) is particularly fun and goes with this theme very well.


Finally, I was inspired by last year’s Choose Peace Week movement¬†and had the kids color and write messages of peace and happiness to post on a Wall of Nice in our library. (I will admit, this is a picture of the larger wall we had from last year and not from last week’s storytime).¬†wall


From Polka Dots to Pointillism

This past week for Sensory Storytime at my library, we used bingo daubers to color these pictures for Valentine’s Day (and work on our fine motor skills.) If you don’t have bingo daubers, you can do similar motor skill work with dot art using q-tips and paint or colored hole puncher dots and glue sticks.pointillism 002

While working on my picture, I mentioned to one of my coworkers¬†how amazing it was to see¬†A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat¬†in person¬†and I¬†wondered aloud: did pointillism start as a painting like the ones above? To which she¬†replied “What is pontillism?” That got me thinking…I was lucky enough to grow up with a father who is an artist and a teacher, so I’ve known from a young age about different artists, art techniques and movements. But what about the kids (and adults) who aren’t so lucky?¬†While I didn’t inherit the raw talent my father has for art, I am well suited to pass along his early lessons and encourage my kids to¬†get art!¬†I just had to find a way to turn these lessons¬†into storytimes so I could get paid while doing itūüėČ.

Enter¬†the Katie series by James Mayhew. Katie has the adventures that we’ve all dreamed about when exploring an art museum: she gets to go inside the paintings! And Katie’s Sunday Afternoon takes her¬†(and her audience) directly into the painting that started this whole idea. All of the Katie books even end with information about the art and artists mentioned in the book, a great and easy way to transition from the story to fun with dots.



Katie’s books are a bit advanced for our toddler age group, so for them I chose the books Dot by Patricia Intriago¬†and Press Here by Herve Tullet. Dot lends itself to a lot of interactive movements and face making. And when you project Press Here on the big screen, it really is like magic when a whole class reaches toward the book to press that dot. To transition from these titles into pointillism, I simply said “Did everyone like the dots we saw in the story? (yes!) Well, what if someone painted a whole picture of just dots? Do you think that would be pretty? Like this one.” Then I projected close-up images of Seurat’s work and said “This whole picture is made up of tiny dots like the ones in our stories. This kind of art, made entirely out of dots, is called pointillism. Now who wants to make a picture out of¬†dots?”

Speaking of dots, let’s talk about The Dot by Peter Reynolds. This book has been so inspirational to budding artists that it has inspired a holiday of sorts. Even though International Dot Day isn’t until September, the downloadable Educator’s Handbook for this event has amazing project ideas to inspire children with their own artwork all year round. A simple dot can turn into planets, emojis, candy, fashion design, you name it.¬†There’s also an interactive whiteboard software for this book that I would *love* to get my hands on if only I had an interactive whiteboard. Has anyone used it? If so, what do you think?


Despite not having an interactive whiteboard, I did find an amazing way to make this storytime even more STEAMy by adding some T to my A. Quiver – the 3D Coloring App – takes your artwork and turns it into an interactive cartoon for free! AND they have a¬†Dot Day page!¬†The first time you use this app, you won’t believe your eyes. For storytime, I made sure that each child had the chance to project their personalized dot onto the big screen if they wanted to. We were all in awe of¬†our art skills after¬†this project, and I’m sure we’ll be doing it again soon. Take a peak at what I mean:

Hopefully some of these books and projects give you the tools to help someone get the point of pointillism. (ba-dum-ching).