Der erste Tag / First day of Story Hour!

Today was our first day back at story hour. It seemed like no time had gone by at all! Except, of course, that the children had grown. They just keep doing that 🙂

I like to start off the new year talking about them! I’m super excited about the activity we did to kick things off! On a large piece of paper, I drew a simple outline of a tree with a bunch of big circles inside. The circles were not just apples, but were meant to represent each child in the group. As they arrived, I called each child over to pick a favorite color and color in the “apple”. Then I labeled each one with their name, age, and a favorite toy or thing to do. Not only did we have a lovely little art project, but I got to know something about them and can use that information to plan future story hours!

In the past, I used books mostly about Körperteile – or parts of the body. But I wanted to also talk about things they like to do. So I used one story about a girl named Frieda who loves to dance. We did include one about the body. And then I couldn’t resist reading the Elephant & Piggie book, Das Buch über uns. The kids just love it! Especially if you use voices 😉

  • Frieda tanzt by Birgitta Sif (Aladin, 2016)
  • Das bin ich by Heinz Janisch (Tyrolia, 2014)
  • Das Buch über uns by Mo Willems (Klett, 2015)

Here are some other books we could have used:

  • Von Kopf bis Fuss by Eric Carle (Gerstenberg, 2011)
  • Heute bin ich by Mies van Hout (aracari verlag, 2012)
  • Der Hase mit dem roten Nase by Helme Heine (Beltz & Gelberg, 2016)
  • Bin ich klein? Am I Small? by Philipp Winterberg (CreateSpace Independent, 2013)
  • Das kleine ich bin ich by Mira Lobe (Jungbrunnen, 2016)

We sang four songs today, since I couldn’t decide on just three!

  • “Wenn du glücklich bist”
  • “Meine Finger, Meine Finger” (Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder, Vol. 3)
  • “Kopf und Schulter, Knie und Fuß”
  • “Das Lied über mich” (Volker Rosin)

You can download the lyrics here: Lieder – ich (PDF).

After we wore ourselves out singing “Das Lied über mich” (I think the moms enjoyed it even more than the kiddos!), the children had a choice of coloring a picture of themselves or filling out a Steckbrief! Some chose to do both 🙂

You can download the activities as PDF here: Das Lied über mich – GitA.

Playground Games

Yesterday was our last story hour before our summer break, and we met at a playground.

We played a quick but fun game of Feuer, Wasser, Sturm. The children run around the playground. When they hear the word Feuer called out, they have to lie down flat. If they hear Wasser, they have to climb up on something high to avoid the rising waters. And if they hear Sturm, they have to hold on tight! It’s a fun, easy game!

Since it was still a story hour session, I did read a book and lead a song. The children sat up on the playground equipment.

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We read Kleiner weißer Fisch by Guido van Genechten (Ars Edition, 2015).

Kleiner weißer Fisch

Then we sang “Fünf kleine Fische.”

Fünf kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Vier kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Drei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Zwei kleine Fische, die schwammen im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagte der eine, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein kleiner Fisch, der schwamm im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Er sagt zu sich, er kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Hier gibt es Haie, und die fressen mich gleich (blub blub blub blub)
Blub blub, blub-blub blub
Blub blub, blub-blub blub blub blub-blub blub
Ein großer Hai der schwimmt im Meer (blub blub blub blub)
Da sagt der Hai, ich kann nicht mehr (blub blub blub blub)
Ich wär viel lieber in einem kleinen Teich (blub blub blub blub)
Denn da sind die Fische und die fress ich gleich (blub blub blub blub)

 

Jingle Bells

Today in story hour, we were celebrating Christmas! For our last song, we sang “Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling”. But you can’t sing that without some jingle bells, right?! So we crafted our own little jingle bell instruments.

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For the craft, you only need 2 materials: pipe cleaners in two different colors and some jingle bells! Make sure your bells have a large enough hole at the top for stringing the pipe cleaner through.

Instructions:

1. String the jingle bells on to one of the pipe cleaners.

2. Twist the second pipe cleaner around the first one with the jingle bells.

3. Bring the ends together to make a circle. Twist the ends to close the circle. Then tuck the ends around the circle. Remember, pipe cleaners often have a sharp end, so try to tuck those points out of the way as best as you can.

Need the lyrics to the song? You can view or download them here: Weihnachtslieder. Also included are the lyrics for “O Tannenbaum” and “Alle Jahre Wieder.”

If you’re looking for some children’s books about Christmas, we read these three in story hour:

  • Frohe Weihnachten, kleine Tiere (arsEdition, 2015)
  • Weihnachten ist bald (arsEdition, 2010)
  • Wir freuen uns auf Weihnachten (Ravensburger, 2010)

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

 

Nikolaus – Free Coloring Page

As we prepare for a visit from Nikolaus, we will be making our lacing boots today in Story Hour. (If you missed that post, you can find it here.)

If you’re looking for something quick and easy, I also made up a coloring page with Nikolaus along with the words to the first verse of “Lasst uns froh und munter sein”.

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You can download the PDF here: Nikolaus Malvorlage GitA

We are expecting some little ones in Story Hour today, so while the older children are lacing and decorating their boots, I thought our young friends could have this picture to color.

Nikolaus Boots

Next week will be time to put out your boot for Nikolaus! Children in Germany put out a boot (not both – you don’t want to seem greedy!) on the eve of December 5th. Oh, and it has to be cleaned first! Nikolaus comes in the night and fills the boot with little treats, like nuts, chocolates, and mandarin oranges.

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Our Nikolaus also brought some lollipops and even some holiday pajamas! (Froggy was disappointed not to get a toy. Oh well!)

To help get ready for his visit, we do a Nikolaus craft. Cut a boot out of folded construction paper (red, if you have it), punch holes along the edge, and let your child use yarn to lace it up! We’ll be making these at Story Hour this year, too.

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This year, I thought we would add an extra step: decorating it with stickers and gluing cotton balls to the top for a “fur” lining.

Meanwhile, if you want to try it, you can download the template here in PDF: Boot Lacing

Fold your construction paper in half and place the template over it. Cut out the boot and then punch holes approximately where the dots are. Cut a length of yarn. Put one end through the bottom hole and tape it to the back. Tie a knot in the other end to make it easier to lace the boot.

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Here are some of our results from Story Hour. The kids got a little creative! I thought the cotton balls would go across the top. But someone had other ideas. Other children also used crayons to color on their boots.

Let me know how it works out!

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So Many Vehicles!

Today in Story Hour, we read and sang about vehicles … cars, buses, trains, excavators, fire trucks, tractors, submarines, ships, hot air balloons, rockets, and even soapbox cars!

After reading our books, singing our songs, and doing a finger play, the children created their own little book based on Kikaninchen: Wer fährt heute mit? Each child had a booklet with each of the days and a place to enter which vehicle was used and who got to go along. They could fill in the information (with help from a caregiver) and then add the appropriate sticker to match. Later on, when Froggy (our 7-year-old) heard about the project, he wanted to do one, too. He was able to write the words himself, with some spelling help. Here are two examples:

To assemble the booklet, you print out the two pages, double-sided, and cut them in half. Then you can staple them together to make the booklet. (You’ll need a long reach stapler to get all the way to the middle of the booklet.) Next, print out the stickers on round labels (1 2/3-inch):

wer-fahrt-heute-mit-stickers-gita-docx-page-001

You can download both documents here in PDF format. Included in the download is a sheet with specific instructions.

The three books we read were:

  • Unser Ausflug. Wir fahren ins Grüne  by Chris Embleton & Louise Martin (Parragon, 2008)
  • So viele Fahrzeuge im Einsatz  by Stefan Seidel (Coppenrath, 2011)
  • Kikaninchen: Wer fährt heute mit?  (arsEdition, 2011)

We also did a fingerplay (Fingerspiel): “Tatütata(click on the link to see a video of the fingerplay)

Tatütata – Wer kommt daher?
Tatütata – die Feuerwehr.
Tatütata – Es brennt ein Haus.
Tatütata – die Schläuche raus.

Wasser marsch!

And we sang two songs:

“Die Räder vom Bus”

Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin, rollen dahin, rollen dahin
Die Räder vom Bus, die rollen dahin
Stundenlang

Die Türen vom Bus gehen auf und zu …

Die Wischer vom Bus machen wisch wisch wisch …

Die Hupe vom Bus macht “tut tut tut” …

Der Fahrer vom Bus sagt: “Fahrkarte, bitte!” …

Die Kinder im Bus machen “Blah blah blah” …

Die Leute im Bus, die schaukeln hin und her …

“Mit der Eisenbahn” (2010, von Ottmar Liedl)

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir machen einen langen Zug
Platz für alle ist genug

Hallo, Du! Du bist dran!
Hallo, Du! Häng dich dran!
Mach die Türe zu
Der Zug, der fährt jetzt ab

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir fahren jetzt in eine Stadt,
die den Namen Passau hat

Hallo, Du! Du bist dran!
Hallo, Du! Häng dich dran!
Mach die Türe zu
Der Zug, der fährt jetzt ab

Wir fahren heute Eisenbahn
und schauen uns die Welt mal an
Wir fahren bis zur Endstation
Da ist die schon

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Der gute Martin

Next week marks the celebration of St. Martin’s Day. I have to admit, while I lived in Germany, I never actually witnessed the children walking through the streets with their homemade lanterns on November 11th. I didn’t know about the special day until I was teaching in the States at a German Saturday School. It’s such a sweet celebration, though! Now I love to share it with the children at Story Hour and in Preschool.

To go along with the celebration, I have created a very simple lantern for the children to make. You can print it out, let them color the paper if they like, and then cut along the dotted lines and assemble it. You can download the template and instructions in PDF format here: martinstag-laterne

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A finished lantern from Story Hour

The songs that go with Martinstag are also very important. We always sing two of the most popular ones at Story Hour: “Laterne, Laterne” and “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne.” When I teach Preschool, I often just do the first two lines of “Laterne, Laterne,” since it is easy to learn and helps the children learn some of the more important vocabulary words: Laterne, Sonne, Mond, and Sterne. To teach the songs, I made up some vocabulary posters of these four words, a coloring page, and a sheet with the lyrics. You can download all of them in PDF format here:

 

Here’s an idea of what they look like:

When I teach Martinstag at Story Hour, I include several books. I have a few about Martinstag itself. This year, we’ll be reading Laterne, Laterne, da oben leuchten die Sterne by Dagmar Geisler and Rosemarie Künzler-Behncke (Ravensburger, 2009). I also like to read the fairy tale “Sterntaler” about the little girl who gives away all her earthly possessions to others in need and is rewarded in the end with a shower of coins that fall from the stars to last her the rest of her life. (I actually made my own book of this fairy tale, so I don’t have one to recommend here.) This year, I’m adding a beautiful new book (well, new to me!) called Der rote Faden by Anne-Gaëlle Balpe and illustrated by Eve Tharlet (Minedition, 2014). In this story, little Oli finds a red thread and by passing it on, he learns how little it takes to help others.

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