I decided to do a Valentine’s Day storytime for February 11th and I think some of the ideas I had were very good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really happy with how it went, so I am way behind in getting this posted. I had to think for a while about why this didn’t go as well as it could have.
My biggest mistake was last minute planning – I changed my mind about the craft that I was doing and spent 2 hours cutting crowns out of posterboard the night before. The next morning, when I went to finish a sample, the clear contact paper I had would NOT stick to the posterboard no matter how I tried, so I had to scramble to get together supplies to do collage valentine’s cards. Because of that, I didn’t get done setting up until right as I needed to open the door and did not get a chance to actually go through my storytime materials which I’ve been doing just to calm myself and make sure I have it all in my head in the order I want to do it. It was crazy and hectic and I hated it!!
The other thing I could have had control over and didn’t was the flannelboard rhyme I planned. It was really cute and I think the kids were really excited by it when I brought it out. Because it looked like a toy, they really wanted to hold it and I could have been the adult in charge and said that they could play with the pieces during playtime, but right now I needed them to tell the story. Instead, I went along with it and passed them out and called the kids up to put the pieces on the board. It still worked, but I felt even more out of control than I did before.
Here’s the thing though…when I look back on it, it wasn’t a bad storytime by any means, and I don’t think the kids or parents noticed at all how out of sorts I felt. I think that they even liked the flannelboard more than they would have because they felt like it was interactive. And the craft we did had more room for creativity and practicing motor skills than the one I had planned out the night before. It just wasn’t what I had originally planned and that made me feel bad. After reflecting on it, I realized that is something I have to get used to because sometimes stuff just happens and being flexible is a real strength when it comes to working with kids. The result can sometimes be better than what you planned if you loosen up, have fun, and let it be.
Anyway, here is what I did for Valentine’s Day storytime:
We started out with singing our opening song – Oh, Mr. Sun.
The first book I read was The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting.
I loved this sweet story about a bear couple who wake up from hibernation to share Valentine’s Day together! It was maybe a bit too long for the group I had, but I was able to hold their attention by talking about the pictures, pointing things out, and asking them questions about the story and what they thought would happen.
My flannelboard rhyme Six Little Valentine’s was next. I got this idea and the cute printouts from Sunflower Storytime and I found the felt mailbox at Target for $3!
Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”
Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”
Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”
Three little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”
Two little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”
The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
They really did love the little envelopes and opening them up to see who each valentine was from. It was a really small group, so each child got to hold one and bring it up and open it when their turn came.
Next we sang a song I found in our Storytime files – Oh, Dear Valentine (to the tune of Oh, Susannah):
Oh, It’s finally time for valentines,
That special time of year.
My heart is filled with lots of love
For friends so sweet and dear.
Oh, dear valentine,
I hope that you’ll be mine.
You are a very special friend,
A sweetheart so divine.
We repeated the second verse once for each child, substituting their names for valentine in the first line. I personally loved this song!
Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright was our next book. I got this from another branch and it only came the day before my storytime, but I thought it was so cute and the kids seemed to really like it, too. The loved looking at all of the chocolates and hearing their names and we talked about what our own favorites were.
At this point we needed to move around a little bit, so I gave each child a heart doily and we did some action rhymes, dancing around with our hearts. For the first one, we touched the hearts to the part of our body or clothing mentioned in the rhyme.
Hearts on my knee,
Hearts on top,
Hearts on my shoes,
Hearts on my socks.
Hearts on my arm,
Hearts on my nose,
Hearts on my ear,
Hearts on my toes.
Hearts on my elbow,
Hearts in my hair,
Hearts on my leg,
And for this one, they waved their little hearts around to touch them to the sky and the ground.
Little hearts, little hearts jump up high
Little hearts, little hearts, touch the sky,
Little hearts, little hearts touch the ground,
Now little hearts turn round and round.
Little hearts, little hearts stretch your arms wide
Little hearts, little hearts, lift your knees high,
Little hearts, little hearts take a bow,
Now little hearts sit down right now.
They really liked this and asked to do these rhymes twice! (Unfortunately, I do not remember where I found these two rhymes.)
I ended with Secret Valentine by Catherine Stock. This is a quiet book about a little girl who makes valentines with her mother for her family and her neighbor. This turned out to be a great segue into our craft of making valentines.
At the end we sang a round of If You’re Happy and You Know It before moving on to our craft. All in all, I thought this went pretty well, even if it wasn’t what I originally planned. It definitely taught me that flexibility and a willingness to just go with it and change direction can be a good thing for storytime!