The Hays Public Library Children’s Department has a summer theme of “Dream Big, READ”. I love this theme. Libraries are a great resource. Not only are the shelves filled with resources for entertainment and enrichment. They hold some amazing events.Books and the events held in a library can allow our minds to explore thoughts, to dream.

Libraries offer a variety of creative outlets especially for children. Being invited to share music as a part of this creative outlet is a  total charge for me. Seeing the children develop skills, gather information, take a chance — totally is a blast.

If you are a creative person who likes providing children with safe creative outlets, check with your library about supporting their efforts. If you are a child care provider, these tips might enrich your story times. To encourage you I am taking away a little of the prep work. Here are some highlights to include along with a song from one of my dream sessions at the library.

Include a welcome and a good-bye. It signals it is time to begin or end and reinforces social skills of saying hello and goodbye. If you are a child care provider, have songs that mark the start and end of story time.

People (especially children) learn by and while moving. Include movement songs. I included movement in the welcome, goodbye, egg shaker playing, along with a couple of others.

Use songs with repetitive and nonsense words. It promotes participation in the singing. Depending on the ages of the children and the focus of the session, you can also work on rhyming and beginning sounds of words.

Story telling can be interactive. I shared “Rattlin’ Bog” creating visuals with clip art. After about two verses the preschoolers got the idea and where naming or singing the next part of the song. I also created a little verse to interject into “Plant a Kiss” by  Amy Krouse Rosenthal. There are 4 versions of the verse:

  • Verse one: Sing it twice at the start,  after “Planted  a kiss? Planted a Kiss.”, and after “Doubt. Pout.”
  • Verse two: Sing it twice after “Shout! Shout!” and once after “Stare and stare.”
  • Verse three: Sing it twice after “It’ll go bare!” and once after “With a bow!”
  • Ending is sung twice after “endless bliss!”

Allow for a creative portion. We drew with lengths of yarn while some music played. I floated around the room and asked about the creations they had made. Let your imagination guide you in creating this opportunity.

Send the children home with something. There are lots of options: handouts, homemade instruments, your business cards, stickers. This time I sent home the yarn and my business card.

By yourself or with the assistance of the librarian, provide some books related to your topic the children (or parent) can check out. Reading is an important skill to reinforce. Making books available saves parents time. It also encourages the children to check out something different from they might find on their own.

What would you add to this list if you lead a library program?                                         Share it in the comments below.

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