Story time is back for the spring semester!
This week’s theme was world travel! I wanted to focus on the different cultures that the kids might not have heard about before, and I ended up making a few kids’ days because we sang in their native tongue and/or discussed the country from which their family came. So far, this was one of my favorite themes to do. I originally got the idea from a book we have at my branch called Travel the Globe: Story Times, Activities, and Crafts for Children by Desiree Webber et al.
There is a story time for 14 different countries with book recommendations, craft ideas, flannel ideas, songs, etc. The idea is you’d do them all in a semester and give your kids passports to stamp each week to document their “travel.” Though this was something I wanted to do, I wasn’t quite ready to dedicate an entire semester to it just yet. So, I tried to cram as much as I could into one story time. Hopefully I’ll get to do an around the world semester sometime in the future.
We started with our usual opening song: “If You Want to Hear a Story.” Then I introduced the theme by telling the kids that the world was a big place and we may not know a lot about how people in other countries live, how they speak, or what they do. I brought an inflatable globe I bought at a teachers’ supply store with me to illustrate how many countries there are in the world and how where we live is just a small dot in one country.
Then, we sang “Hello To All the Children of the World”
Hello, Bonjour, Buenos dias!
G’day, Guten-Tag, Konichiwa…..
Ciao, Shalom, Do-Brey dien,
Hello to all the children of the world!
We live in different places from all around the world.
We speak in many different ways!
Though some things may be different,
We’re children just the same-
And we all like to sing and play!
There are children in the deserts,
And children in the towns,
And children who live down by the sea!
If we could meet each other,
To run and sing and play
Then what good friends we all could be!
Our first book was How to Make Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
Because I was focusing on travel more than specific countries and cultures in this story time, I had a bit more trouble finding books. This was the first one I found that fit what I was seeking. It worked well with my theme, and the kids enjoyed some of the moments with the leopard and parachuting from the plane in Vermont.
Then, I used a flannel one of the former librarians made for “My Aunt Came Back.”
This is a call and response rhyme where I read the first line, the children repeated it, and we all did the action.
“My aunt came back…
From Old Japan…
And brought for me…
A paper fan (fans self).
My aunt came back from Holland too
And brought for me a wooden shoe.
My aunt came back from Old Chile
And brought for me an itchy flea.
My aunt came back from the county fair
And brought for me a rocking chair.
My aunt came back from the city zoo
And brought for me a monkey like you!”
Then, we talked about how kids in different countries might not speak English which perfectly introduced our next song because we sang “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” first in English, then we sang it in Spanish. (This was also the time I planned to sing “Are You Sleeping” in English and then in French since we have a lot of Spanish speakers and a lot of French speakers, since we do live in Louisiana, but time didn’t often allow it.)
Our second book was Emma’s Turtle by Eve Bunting
This was an adorable book about a turtle who thinks he’s traveling to all the wonderful places in the world that his owner (Emma) tells him about, but he’s really only walking through his own backyard. I liked it because it showed the kids that we can learn about the world in the comfort of our own homes, and they liked it because it was pretty silly.
Then, we just had to sing “It’s a Small World.”
The World Turns Round and Round by Nicki Weiss, but I didn’t have time for that either. Apparently I was a little to eager and ambitious when planning this story time.
I also seriously considered reading I Am the World by Charles R. Smith Jr. This would be a great addition for an older around the world story time, but I didn’t think my 2-4 year olds would enjoy it quite as much.
After that, we talked about all the stuff you need to bring with you when you go on a trip, and we danced to “Bring Your Clothes” by Laurie Berkner. This is such a cute action song, and my kids kept asking if we would do it again next week. I told them that we had a new song for next week that would be just as much fun!
I also really wanted to sing the “Kookaburra” song to represent Australia, and I did manage to squeeze it in at a few of my story times, but I was surprised that very few kids had ever heard of it. I guess I owe my cultural education to Raffi growing up.
Then, we did the “My Hands” rhyme in a few different languages that I found in Travel the Globe: Story Times, Activities, and Crafts for Children.
My hands say “thank you” with a clap, clap, clap.
My feet say “thank you” with a tap, tap, tap.
Clap, clap, clap.
Tap, tap, tap.
Turn around and take a bow.
Then, we said it again in a few different languages like Spanish (Gracias), Mandarin (Xie Xie or “shay-shay”), Italian (Grazie or “gratzee-eh”), etc.
We sang our usual “Goodbye, Goodbye” song, and that was it.
This week, our craft was to make Nesting Dolls from Russia. I found a cute poem about them in Babushka’s Mother Goose by Patricia Polacco that I read to introduce the craft. It was very simple. The kids just colored their dolls, cut them out, and glued a small pocket to the back so they could stack. This was from the Russia story time in Travel the Globe: Story Times, Activities, and Crafts for Children.
I was lucky enough to find some around the world stickers from Dollar Tree last semester soon after I decided I wanted to use this theme. I picked up a pack, figuring the kids would want the people and places stickers, but the flags were by far more popular. I handed them out, and, when time allowed, I would point to the location of each child’s country on the inflatable globe.