Monday, January 20, 2014

Beach Party Storytime!

Oh, winter, is it over yet? Nope. The wonderful thing about books is that they can take you anywhere! Yay! Let's go to the beach!

The Books

 Senses at the Seashore / Shelley Rotner
This will give us an idea of what the beach looks, smells, sounds, feels and tastes like.

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey / Mini Grey
What fun! And one of the characters is named after me:  the fully posable Beach-Time Brenda!

Harry by the Sea / Gene Zion
An oldie but a goodie, my oldest two children (now in their mid-thirties) loved the Harry books and this one was a special favorite. I confess I did the unthinkable: I left out the word "fat" when reading about how Harry walked in lady's shadow.

Sand Castle / Brenda Shannon Yee
There is nothing particularly creative or wonderful about this book or its illustrations just showed a typical time at the beach, and I really wanted to show my Iowa kids what that looked like. No sea monsters, no superheros, no goofy dialogue, just kids playing in the sand with the water nearby. Also, this is a beach at a lake, which may be more familiar to some of our midwestern kids.

More Books about the Beach: 
Sally and the Limpet / Simon James
Stella, Star of the Sea / Marie-Louise Gay
Seven Little Mice Go to the Beach / Haruo Yamashita
Sally Goes to the Beach / Stephen Huneck
On the Seashore / Anna Milbourne
Out of the Ocean / Debra Frasier
Curious George Goes to the Beach / (Rey)
D. W. All Wet / Marc Brown

The Stretches

For Flannel Board Possibilities click here.

Action Song: Baby Shark
 - There are many versions of this hilarious song - just check them out on YouTube and get ready to smile. I actually learned this song from one of my Sunday School kids, who had learned it at church camp. It's one of our favorite songs.

Baby Shark do do  do do dah do
Baby Shark do do do do dah do
Baby Shark do do do do dah do
Baby Shark!

Repeat with Mama Shark, Daddy Shark, Grampa Shark, I went swimming, Saw a shark, Swam faster,
Lifeguard running, Saved my Life

This looks long, but the song goes pretty fast, in the following two videos you will see that the song is completed in 1 min. and 36 seconds.

Click here for video with lyrics and tune.

Click here for video of same version with arm motions.

Cold Water Pokey
I am a Hokey Pokey girl and I use a variety of Pokey songs throughout the year including a Halloween Monster Pokey and a Christmas Reindeer Pokey. Here's the beach or pool version: 

You dip your toe in
You dip your toe out
You dip your toe in
and you jump and scream and shout!  (shout: It's so cold!)
You do the Cold Water Pokey
And you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!  (clap! clap!)

Then do as many body parts as you want. I used toes, waist, shoulders, head, and whole self.) 

After the Stories
Because this was a "Beach Party" I had more than just a craft. I filled a wading pool with playground sand and tossed in some plastic cups so kids could build sand castles. I brought out beach balls (buy them by the dozen from Oriental Trading),  a snack cabana with fruity ice pops (left over from a summer program), and I had many sea shells scattered along the edges of the room so kids could collect them. Each child could take 1 sea shell home. My shells were donated from a patron who spends her winters at Sanibel Island in Florida, but you can buy real sea shells from Oriental Trading as well.

For our craft we made Jelly Fish out of Bubble Wrap and pieces of ribbons. Easy and cute.

We had such a good time at our Beach Party on a snowy, snowy day in Iowa.

The storytime setting.

I am lucky enough to have the jaws of a bull shark.(Thank you to my son Andrew, who has never asked for this after he left home!) Only adults may handle as the teeth are razor sharp! It is fascinating to see the many rows of extra teeth.

A generous patron gave us a huge jar of shells she had gathered at Sanibel Island. I scattered these around the story room so the kids could do some beachcombing after the stories. Each child picked out one shell to take home.

Starfish are also worth examining.

Kids sat on beach towels for the storytime.

Building sand castles was a popular activity!

We made jelly fish out of bubble wrap and ribbon scraps.


One of the best purchases we ever made was a dozen beach balls from Oriental Trading. We gave most of them away as summer prizes, but kept a few for storytimes. They are crazy popular among the wee folks. We bring them out regularly after our baby storytimes. They are light, so they don't hurt the building or people.

Another generous patron donated this little lemonade stand/grocery store. I took off the vinyl awning and replaced it with some shredded cardboard packaging to make it look like a tiki hut. Then I stashed an ice chest full of popsicles behind it so everyone could have a sweet treat.

A good time was had by all!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Flannel Friday Beach Party

I created 3 felt board sets to go along with my Beach Party Storytime. I will use just one, Five Little Sandcastles, and save the other two for another time.

Five Little Sandcastles
Five little sandcastles built by the shore,
Along came a wave and WHOOSH!
there were four. 

Four little sandcastles built by you and me,
Along came a wave and WHOOSH!
there were three. 

Three little sandcastles built by me and you,
Along came a wave and WHOOSH! 
there were two. 

Two little sandcastles built in the sun,
Along came a wave and WHOOSH!
there was one. 

One little sandcastle built just for fun,
Along came a wave and WHOOSH! 
there were none. 

I believe I first found this rhyme at, but I've seen it on many other sites. I don't know the original author. 

I used sandpaper for my sandcastles. My artistic daughter designed them and cut them out for me. I discovered that if I used double-stick tape and attached scraps of sandpaper on the backs of the sand castles, that it worked just as well as velcro and better than flannel or felt. Very cool!

When reciting the rhyme I will use a blue scarf as the wave and swoosh it across the board to remove the castle. You could also pick a child or five children to take away a castle. 

I almost always leave my felt board set up after the storytime so children can play with the pieces.

Five Little Seashells

Five little seashells lying on the shore,
Swish! went the waves
and then there were four.

Four little seashells pretty as can be,
Swish! went the waves 
and then there were three. 

Three little seashells all pearly new,
Swish! went the waves
and then there were two.

Two little seashells lying in the sun,
Swish went the waves
and then there was one. 

One little seashell lying all alone,
I picked it up
and I took it home!

Apparently this is a traditional rhyme and you can find it in many places. I discovered it on Songs for Teaching: 

I made my seashell set using photographs of real shells, laminated. I also made an identical little set for use on a felt storytelling glove. You could use real shells set on a lap board, or the floor if you have a small group. Wouldn't that be fun?

Five Cranky Crabs

Five cranky crabs were digging on the shore,
one swam into a net and then there were four. 

Four cranky crabs were floating in the sea,
one got tangled up in seaweed, then there were three. 

Three cranky crabs were wondering what to do,
one dug a deep, deep hole, then there were two. 

Two cranky crabs were warming in the sun,
one got scooped up in a cup, then there was one. 

One cranky crab was smarter than his friends,
he hid between the jagged rocks, that's how this story ends.

This is another rhyme that can be easily found with a keyword search. I found this version at