Recently, I got the opportunity to fill in at another branch and do the preschool story times there while their children’s librarian was out for several weeks. It was great! I had a wonderful time planning and presenting preschool storytime again after doing mostly school-aged programs for the last several years.
One storytime the kids and parents really enjoyed was focused on the colors and how they mix to create new colors.
I used the books Press Here and Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet. As I read the book, I let each of the children in attendance that day (It was a small group, so this worked.) do the pressing, blowing, clapping, etc., as the book instructed. I acted as surprised as they were as I turned each page to reveal the changes their actions had created. Even the two year old’s were actively engaged in the stories, eager to see what each page would bring. As I read along, I emphasized not only the instructions they were to follow, but how the colors changed as they met and merged on the pages.
After the stories were done, we made Wizard’s Brew, which the kids loved! For the less mystical among us, Wizard’s Brew starts with baking soda, dish soap, and a drop of food color in a glass container. Vinegar is added, which bubbles up and out of the container, the color of the food color. An eye dropper with a drop of a different color food color is added down close to the bottom of the foam. The foam changes color to reflect the blended colors, then the new color. I kept doing this, adding more baking soda and vinegar, until the 9×13 baking pan I was using for the overflow was dangerously close to overflowing itself. The children were so engaged in the activity that some of their noses were mere inches from the foam, and they would shout and giggle each time the color changed.
When I ran out of vinegar, it was time for their craft. For this activity, I gave each a wax coated paper plate with a small pool of white school glue in it. Then I passed around vials and eyedroppers of food color. Each child took turns putting a drop or two of color in the pool of glue, then trading with someone else. Shortly, every child had drops of every color in their glue pools. They could watch as the colors spread, met, merged, and changed. They could also stir the colors around with the tooth picks that I provided. I suggested that they put them in safe places at home where they could watch them as they dried without the danger of the glue getting spilled. Once dried, they would be able to peel the glue disks from the plates and hang them in the window with a piece of string, where they would continue to change. Since the glue never actually becomes solid, the food color would continue to shift and blend until the whole disk would eventually become the same color. A couple of parents were nervous about glue in their cars on the way home, but I did notice that they all took their colorful plates of suncatchers-to-be home with them!
Several parents were still talking about that storytime activity and craft weeks later! I call that a successful program.