Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preschool Fish Storytime

Our storytime theme this week was fish. We had a sort of "red in tooth and claw" thing going on this week -- a lot of fish songs and books are about small fish getting eaten by larger fish.  Who knew?

The Birthday Fish by Dan Yaccarino

A very cute book about a girl who wants a pet pony, but receives a fish instead. I introduced this by asking if any of the kids watched the TV show Oswald. There were some who did, so I pointed out that the author and illustrator of this book, Dan Yaccarino, also created the show Oswald and that the pictures might look familiar. The parents were excited to learn this, and it was a good reminder to me that it's never too early to point out these connections to the kids. I could have done it, for instance, when I read Knuffle Bunny last week, since we'd read another Mo Willems book earlier in the session. 

"Five Little Fishies" Flannel

I took five felt fish from an existing flannel board set and printed out a clip-art shark onto cardstock.  We sang a variation of "Teasing Mrs. Kitty"

"Five little fishies, swimming in the sea
Teasing Mr. Shark, 'You can't catch me!'
Along came Mr. Shark, quiet as can be...
Then.... SNAP!"

I had the kids hold their palms parallel to each other like big fish jaws and clap them shut when I yelled, "SNAP!" I had a lot of fun making them anticipate it.  I would have preferred to have a shark hand puppet, but I just held the cardstock shark in one hand and grabbed the fish with my other hand hidden behind it. Worked well enough!

Where's the Fish by Taro Gomi

On each page, the book asks the reader to spot a hiding pink fish -- he's in a flowerpot, in a jar of candies, in a room full of toys... and he keeps getting harder to spot! I knew my preschoolers would really enjoy this book, although I had worries about how I would share it with a larger audience. I told them upfront that the pictures were small, and it was hard to spot the fish, so that I would be walking around the room and let anyone who was seated have a chance to look at the picture up close.  I showed about four pictures -- not the whole book -- and I alternated which side of the room I started on.  Everyone was patient, and the kids really enjoyed looking for the fish. 

A giant squid is bigger than clams, than shrimp, than an octopus! He thinks he's the biggest thing in the ocean..., but is he? I love this book, and the illustrations are great for sharing. I let the kids shout out which ocean creature was on each page. I was impressed by their vocabulary... thank you, Finding Nemo!  This lead very nicely into our next song....

Check out this pretty adorable video for a demonstration of kids singing the song "Slippery Fish." I did this one a cappella. We did this in the winter session, so some of the kids remembered it, but we did a quick recap of the motions for everyone.

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

I introduced this one to the kids by unfolding the book, showing them the entire cover, and saying, "This is a book about a group of fish, and one of them in particular. His name is Swimmy. He's this one right here." The kids immediately picked up that Swimmy was black, and the other fish were red, which hooked them right into the story. I was  little worried that Swimmy was too quiet and subtle for my group, but they really liked it. Again, they got to show off their ocean vocabulary as Swimmy explored the ocean and we said the word "anemone" a lot because it's so funny.

We finished out with a round of "If You're a Fish and You Know It" (we swam around and went "blub blub.")

Our craft was a paper plate fish, with a triangle wedge cut out and stapled on for its tail, like so. I thought it was adorable, but the kids did not seem to spend so much time coloring and decorating this one as they do with other crafts. I wonder if the plate was hard to color -- maybe markers would have worked better?


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  2. Thanks for the Slippery Fish song! I had never heard it and am glad to add it to my storytime repertoire. It will go well with the book "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" by Kevin Sherry.