Playful Crafters: Musical Shakers

This post is part three of my Playful Crafters series. This summer, I did a three-part-art for toddlers (15-24 months) program at the library.

For this session, we made two different musical shakers!

Supplies for the handled egg shakers
– Plastic fillable Easter eggs
-Spoons with a hollow groove in the handle (I purchased mine at Walmart) – 2 for each shaker
-Ribbon (3 for each shaker)
-Washi tape or decorative masking tape

Supplies for the tambourines
-Colorful plastic plates
-Twist ties
-Small jingle bells
-Stickers to decorate
-Single hole punch

The Nitty-Gritty Details of the Craft
The only prep I did for this craft was making little baggies for each child of the 4 bells, 4 twist ties, and stickers that they would need for their tambourine. Everything else I let them choose the day of.  I was not able to punch holes in the plates before the day of the craft either – they won’t line up for the twist ties if you do it before. So, I just punched them as the kids were decorating, it gave me the chance to walk around and talk to everyone. 

Instructions for the handled egg shakers:
1. Using the scoop provided, add a small amount of rice to the fillable Easter egg, snap shut and add a small amount of tape to secure.
2. Tie ribbon onto one tip of one of the spoons, inserting the ribbon through the hold in the end of the spoon to ensure it will not come off with shaking or pulling.
3. Place the bowl of the spoons on either side of the egg, hold in place with one hand.
4. Begin wrapping the two spoons at the tip of the handles, with the egg in the bowl of the spoons.
5. Continue wrapping until the entire spoons and egg are completely covered and a good grip is formed.

Instructions for the tambourines:
1. Decorate two plates on outside (non-eating surface) with stickers.
2. Insert twist ties through loop on jingle bells, and twist to secure, leaving tails for attachment to plate.
3. Line up plates, decorated side out and punch 5 holes.
4. Insert twist ties with bells already attached in 4 of the holes and twist tie to plate.
5. Tie 3 ribbons into the last remaining hole for a bit of flair!


It is ever so fun to give kids things to take home that make noise!

To see the complete album of adorable Musical Shakers pics, visit our Flickr page. And that completes my Playful Crafters series! Stay tuned, I’m doing it again in January! YAY!

Playful Crafters: Bubble Stomp Painting

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp
This post is part two of my Playful Crafters series. This summer, I did a three-part-art for toddlers (15-24 months) program at the library.

For this session, we did Bubble Stomp Painting!

-Bubble Wrap Tubing (Uline) – I used tubing so I could make little “booties” for the kids to wear on their feet. I decided this would be the easiest way to accommodate the most amount of feet!
-Large tarps – we just had some laying around from our sensory storytimes
-Duct tape, packing tape
-Washable paint in your preferred colors
-Sponge brushes
-Heavy White Construction Paper
-Black Felt-Tip markers (For writing their names)

The Nitty-Gritty Details of the Craft
Once you have your bubble wrap tubing, you have to cut it to make it into booties. I cut one 100′ roll into 10″ sections.  From those sections I made the booties by folding up end and taping it closed.  I just used regular packing tape.  Note: it did come loose when we were stomping.  However, I don’t think staples are a better idea.

The day of your program you will need to tape down your tarps and our out your paint, but cutting up the bubble wrap booties was all the prep this program required.  It was a blast! Some of the children didn’t want to wear the booties on their feet, so they wore them as mittens, which worked just fine.  I do have some children who attend with sensory issues, but they enjoyed the craft just fine.

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To get the children and their caregivers ready for stomping, I sang Wake up Feet and played Jim Gill’s “The Tempo Marches On” (from Jim Gill sings Do Re Mi on his Toe Leg Knee CD).






For more pictures, visit our Flickr album for this program.

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! Give it a try at your library, school or home!

Check back next Saturday, November 14, for post number three of Playful Crafters, this time on musical shakers!

Playful Crafters: Song & Rhyme Boxes!

This summer we offered art programming for toddlers 15-24 months and their caregivers, something we haven’t done here at the library before! I want to encourage you: do any crafting with toddlers (SO FUN) and please steal any of the crafts I have here to do at your library, house or school!

3x3x3 white boxes (from Uline)
Jingle Bells – large (I used these)
Handout Page 1 (print double sided with page 2)
Handout Page 2
Images (For kids to cut up)

The Nitty-Gritty Details of the Craft
Before you give the boxes to the children, you will need to use a glue gun to glue the bells to the bottom of the assembled 3x3x3 boxes. This makes the chime sound better! I also dripped a little glue down the opening when I was closing the box so the toddlers couldn’t open it again. It was a done deal.
The day of the craft, the toddlers received the image handout to cut apart, a box and glue stick. Kiddie scissors were on the table for their adult-supervised use. Once their boxes were done, I gave them a laminated sheet of the songs/rhymes that went with the box (see pages 1 & 2 of the handout). Once the images are glued onto the box, you roll the box like a die and sing or say the rhyme that it lands on!






This one of three posts about our Playful Crafters programs as presented at the “Tiny Crafters: Art and Sensory Programs for ages 0-5” session at the Illinois Library Association Conference on October 22, 2015 in Peoria, Illinois. Stay tuned for Playful Crafters: Bubble Stomp Painting next Saturday!




Get yo dance on, Tot!

This summer, two of the gals on the Early Literacy Team, Miss Sarah and Miss Kelsey (Library Bonanza) and myself did a series of toddler dance programs entitled Toe Tappin’ Tots. They were every other week on Friday mornings for children aged birth to three and their caregivers.  OH BOY DID WE DANCE. We also packed the house.  I highly recommend doing this type of programming. It’s so choice! WHY? WHY YOU ASK??
Reasons WHY you should do toddler dance programming:
1. It isn’t terribly difficult to plan – you may use any of the following plans as well as these to get you started.
2. Big bang for your buck. It doesn’t cost any money. Really. We didn’t spend a cent.
3. It gets kids and their caregivers up and moving (for at least part of the program).
4. Kids, once warmed up, really like to dance, even if it is in their own way.
5. The program is all about early literacy skills and prompts!

Circle Song

Without further ADO – our planz:
Our welcome song was always “I’m in the mood” by Raffi with the verses singing, dancing, clapping and sitting. We sang the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for a warm-up song each week adding verses to that too, including eensy weensy and great big spider. For our closing song we sang “If you’re happy and you know it” from the Songs for Wiggleworms CD.
June 26 Plan
1. Flannel Song: Oh Dinosaurs!
2. Lapsit Song: When cows get up in the morning
3. Floor Song: Dinosaur went over the mountain
4. Floor Song: Everybody knows I love my toes
5. Action Song: Toes are tapping
6. Free Dance with Props: Word up by Little Mix
7. Free Dance with Props: My type by Saint Motel
8. Bubbles Song: Popcorn by Joanie Leads
July 10 Plan
1. Flannel Song: 5 Elephants in the Bathtub
2. Lapsit Song: Open, Shut Them
3. Floor Song: Tommy Toes is Up
4. Floor Song: Mmm, Ahhh Went the Little Green Frog!
5. Action Song: Spaghetti Legs by Jim Gill
6. Free Dance with Props: Best Day of My Life by American Authors
7. Free Dance with Props: Tightrope by Janelle Monae (clean)
8. Bubbles Song: Popcorn Calling Me by Laurie Berkner
July 24 Plan
1. Flannel Song: Going on a Picnic by Raffi
2. Lapsit Song: Duke of York by Kathy Reid Naiman
3. Floor Song: Wheels in the City by Laura Dougherty
4. Floor Song: Peace Like a River by Elizabeth Mitchell
5. Action Song: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill
6. Free Dance with Props: Shut Up and Dance with Me by Walk the Moon
7. Free Dance with Props: I Want You Back by Jackson 5
8. Bubbles Song: All the Fish by Caspar Babypants
July 24 Plan
1. Flannel Song: Going on a Picnic by Raffi
2. Lapsit Song: Duke of York by Kathy Reid Naiman
3. Floor Song: Wheels in the City by Laura Dougherty
4. Floor Song: Peace Like a River by Elizabeth Mitchell
5. Action Song: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill
6. Free Dance with Props: Shut Up and Dance with Me by Walk the Moon
7. Free Dance with Props: I Want You Back by Jackson 5
8. Bubbles Song: All the Fish by Caspar Babypants
August 14 Plan
1. Flannel Song: Five Little Froggies (Tune: Turkey in the Straw)
2. Lapsit Song: Bar of Soap!
3. Floor Song: Shoo Fly
4. Floor Song: Mr. Sun by Raffi
5. Action Song: Heartbeat by Laura Dougherty
6. Free Dance with Props: By my side by Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
7. Free Dance with Props: Something that I want by Grace Potter (Tangled)
8. Bubbles Song: Bubbles by Heather Bush and the Uppercuts (Rattle & Strum)
August 28 Plan
1. Lapsit Song: Little Red Wagon
2. Floor Song: Wishy Washy Washer Woman by Carole Peterson
3. Floor Song: The Bathtub Song by Carole Peterson
4. Circle Song: The Uninvited Parade by Sandra Boynton
5. Circle Song: We are the dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner
5. Free Dance with Props: I will wait by Mumford and Sons
6. Free Dance with Props: Twist and Shout by The Beatles
7. Bubbles Song: Popcorn by The Barenaked Ladies


If you’d like to see more adorable pictures – check out our Flickr album!


Three wiped out librarians. 5 programs. 580 patrons. Dancin’. It’s all worth it.

Shape Symmetry Game, Activity from Miss Emily

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Want a great activity to teach your child about shapes? What about symmetry? This is it!
What you will need:
An even number of craft sticks. For this game/library program, we used 16 craft sticks per child.
Markers in assorted colors
Brown paper lunch bag


  1. Take two craft sticks and place them directly next to each other.
  2. Assist your child in drawing a shape on the two sticks. Each craft stick with have half a shape on it. Try to spilt the shape evenly between both sticks.
  3. Write the name of the shape on one half from the pair.
  4. Continue step 2 until all 8 shapes (16 craft sticks) are made.
  5. Place the sticks in the paper lunch bag.
  6. Have the child pick out sticks one by one and match the sticks to create the shapes.


The shapes we used were: circle, diamond/kite, heart, oval, rectangle, square, star and triangle. Maybe you could try an octagon, pentagon or hexagon. Feel free to use shapes that your child encounters daily! This could open up conversation about shapes everywhere from the grocery store to a long car trip. A tree, maybe? A cloud? A DINOSAUR?!?!

Playing games like this will help your child recognize the distinct characteristics of each shape. Ask them questions. Talk to them.

Early literacy skills explored: TALKING, READING, WRITING, PLAY (and if you sing about shapes…you will get in all FIVE!!)


Miss Emily is an early literacy librarian at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire, Illinois.  This fun activity was used in our extremely popular Mini-Math Magicians program for kids, ages 3-5.

Just Plane Fun!

Oops, not oops. I love me some cardboard box programming. It started off with a simple drive-in car program. Babies, sitting in cardboard cars, watching a short movie. I ask you. So then we did trains, pirate ships and now…we took to the skies in prop planes! It couldn’t have been cuter. Feast your eyes on these adorable photos. First we are in the hangar constructing planes, then we are on the runway, ready for takeoff! (click for larger images)


Program Details
Book – Planes Fly! by George Ella Lyon

Rhyme: The Airplane
The airplane has great big wings,
Its propeller spins around and sings, “vvvvvv“
The airplane goes up,
The airplane goes down,
The airplane flies high all over town!

Song: I’m an airplane! (Tune: Clementine)
I’m an airplane, I’m an airplane
Flying up in the sky.
Flying higher, Flying higher
As I watch the clouds go by.
I’m an airplane, I’m an airplane
See me flying all around.
Flying lower, flying lower,
Till I land down on the ground.

Song: We are flying! (Tune: Frere Jacques)
We are flying, we are flying
Up so high, up so high.
See the fluffy white clouds,
See the sparkly sunshine
In the sky, in the sky.

We are flying, we are flying
Round and round, round and round.
See the tiny houses,
See the tiny people
On the ground, on the ground.

HOW TO make your own plane: 
I made a TON of modifications to this bloggers already very nice design. I wanted the prop to spin. So I used the long cut-aways from the box as the wings and the short cut-aways as the propeller.  I punched a hole in the center of the cutaway and stuck an extra long brad in the middle! If you would like full details of the plane box project, please contact me via earlyliteracy [at] vapld dot info.

All ‘Ukuleles, Baby!

Ukulele Fest
This week at the library, we have been celebrating “World Play your Ukulele Day”!
On Tuesday, the fabulous Lanialoha Lee (my ukulele teacher) rocked out two back-to-back workshops for ages 3-5 and 6-8.  We even got some really fun press from the Daily Herald.  Then today, we had a Cardboard Ukulele Jam so kids could make their own ukuleles and then jam out to tunes! Feast your eyes on the pics below.
Jam set list:
Row, row, row your boat (traditional with added silly verses – wiggle, bounce, etc)
E huli (traditional Hawaiian song given to me by my teacher)
Keep on strummin’ – Aloha!