Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime

"There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, So just give me a happy middle and a very happy start." -Shel Silverstein

Storytime Crafts-Do you or don’t you?

on January 31, 2013


I was recently chatting with a storytime mom and we were talking about the importance of doing a craft in storytime.  So it got me thinking, do you use crafts in your storytime?  I put a poll up on my blog, so be sure to answer it, I want to know!

I myself am a big advocate of using crafts in storytime.  For one, I feel like it brings the storytime together at the end and gives the parents and children a chance to talk about all the great things they learned that day.  Second, it gives the child something to bring home and remind them of the good time they had at the library.  I can’t even count the number of times a parent has come to me weeks after a ST and told me that their child STILL plays with the old craft.  And they still talk about the things we did!  I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool.

I know that it may be hard for some to prepare crafts due to time, staffing, huge crowds etc. so I know it’s not for everyone.  I usually have my teen volunteers take care of most of the prep work, which is very helpful.  But I think even having a coloring sheet for them to take home is a great idea.  Again, something for them to TAKE so they will talk about it.

Please let me know if you have any thoughts about this, I am curious!  And be sure to answer the poll on my blog 🙂

20 responses to “Storytime Crafts-Do you or don’t you?

  1. Kendra says:

    For toddlers I stick to activities after storytime that are sometimes artistic (finger painting, etc.). However, our preschool and family storytimers do more than that sometimes. Any craft done after storytime has to be open-ended, though. So we can’t do anything that has one end result (like the things we love from DLTK where you cut out diff shapes and they glue them together to make a duck or whatever). We end up doing a lot of “decorate” projects. Or we give them some medium (cotton balls, glue and paper) and see what they come up with. That’s my favorite thing! Love it when googly eyes are involved with glue, paper and maybe pom poms. So many interesting creations! Kids and parents still seem to love it and occasionally we get fancy and throw out some scratch art or playdough and those are always the days the kids talk about forever!
    I also think doing art projects is a great way for parents to bond with their kids over something they don’t always get to do (art stuff is expensive!).
    Good post, Nik!

    • nikarella says:

      I really like the decorate ideas! Like your window that you have the kids decorate seasonally. They prob LOVE to see that every week! It’s great to see how different each individual person does their STs.

  2. I’m laughing a little bit because I am NOT doing a craft today because nothing I could find was free form enough for me, so we will have a short film instead!

    I kind of roll my eyes when I see the beautiful, carefully prepared patterns, pieces, etc that some librarians make. Sure, they will get 32 ducks that all look alike, but what is creative about that?

    I don’t to toddler crafts. They don’t have any of the skills yet for “crafts” and I saw years ago it ends up being the moms/nannies who do all the work. I do crafts with my 3 and up group though, but it’s lots of minimal instruction activities. The point is to practice with a scissors, learn to use glue, get your hands sticky with dough. It’s thinking about a craft and making one that looks the way you want it to in your head–not like teacher/librarian’s pattern or model.

    I have ranted a lot about this on my blog. One recent post was in November, when my favorite triplets made Thanksgiving hats at a program and each was a very unique creation. It says everything I want to say about crafting:

    • nikarella says:

      I do agree that when the crafts are too hard the parents end up doing them for the kids. That’s something I definitely don’t want. If I ever do toddler crafts (I usually do preschool ST) it’s usually just stuff to glue. They absolutely LOVE using glue haha.
      And I always encourage the kids to create their own masterpieces but some just choose to go along the lines of what I made, and I think that’s ok. They are still using their creative skills even by copying. I know when I began drawing as a child I would start by copying things I saw around me, then eventually ventured off onto my own.
      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it. It’s always nice to see others point of views. I always wonder if I would have the same opinions about ST crafts if I was trained by different people when I began doing ST.
      Thanks for visiting!-Nik

  3. Jessica says:

    We offer Story and Craft programs and walk-in storytimes. Our walk-ins don’t include a craft. It’s really hard to prep for walk-ins if you don’t know how many you’ll be having. We’ve do have the occasional parent who will ask if walk-ins have a craft and then leave when we tell them that it doesn’t. These are usually the same parents that don’t come in to help their children with the craft. Overall I don’t feel that it is our responsibility to provide crafts. The kids enjoy them, but they are a lot of work and I don’t always know that they directly add to the experience.

    • nikarella says:

      Yeah, drop in STs are really hard to figure out. I still do crafts in mine because I know I can’t take more than 20 kids, so I always make 20 crafts and save the leftovers for another time. That is terrible about parents leaving only because of NOT having a craft! ST is about sharing together and reading. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Leona says:

    I usually do two 0-5 drop-in storytimes back-to-back and don’t have the time for crafts. But I do like the kids (and parents) to have a reminder/take home from storytime so I always hand out a sheet w/ rhymes on our theme on one side and a picture to color on the other side. That way parents can go over the rhymes we used and learn new ones, and kids have an activity if they want one. This has worked really well for me and over the years I’ve had parents who collected all the sheets into books. Especially the ones corresponding to my alphabet storytimes. 🙂

    • nikarella says:

      That is great! I used to print out handouts, but people just stopped taking them. They even had color sheets on the back. Not sure why they stopped, but I just stopped printing them out. I enjoyed making those for them too 🙂

  5. Jennifer says:

    Almost all our programs are drop-in, even the ones requiring registration usually are. We still haven’t convinced the patrons to use the registration system (I hate it myself, so it’s hard to talk it up). Our babies get a playtime after storytime, toddlers get a craft – usually a very specific cut, glue, decorate thing. I have a woman from the school district who does these programs and the parents would have a fit if anything was changed, plus it’s just the way she does things. In my Preschool Interactive program we do process art projects, same thing for the concept storytimes included in my We Explore program series. We also have an after school Messy Art Club, which ranges from things like collage and painting to decorating butterfly wings and making quilts.

    • nikarella says:

      Which online registration system do you guys use? We use e-vanced. We got it about 6 years ago and it was a hard adjustment but everyone loves it now. I love the idea for a messy art club!

      • Jennifer says:

        We couldn’t afford evanced, although I am begging hard for it. We are using a free online thing,, it’s awkward to use, a pain to put in the events, and parents hate having to register individually for each event, instead of selecting a range and registering all at once.

      • Jessica says:

        I am not in love with Evanced, though they are rolling out a new product that seems to be better… it’s in beta now and according to our IT head “WE DO NOT DO BETA TESTING ANYMORE!”… but it looks to be easier to use. Our patrons are figuring it out now and I’d say 80% or more register themselves online. We’re really strict about registration because our director likes to go through our stats with a fine tooth comb…. we even register people who come in the day of.

      • Jennifer says:

        My director is very big on stats also, but I’ve found it’s impossible to keep an accurate count. engagedpatrons doesn’t allow you to say exactly how many people you’re bringing (unless you register each child individually) and our small town is very casual. I remember one of my last big programs 80 people registered, 40 of those people came, and an additional 35 unregistered people show up. Plus, I generally run programs alone. About halfway through I’ll stop, look around, frantically count all the heads I can see, and then…forget the number and estimate.

      • Jessica says:

        For my tween programs most of the time I forget to count and during the last 5 minutes I have the kids that are left help me remember who was there. I have a few that are regularly the last ones and they’ve even reminded me to count… It’s nice having regulars. For my preschool storytimes we count them as part of our intro activity… “Let’s see how many of us are here today…” and during that time I get their names, too.

      • Jennifer says:

        Yeah, sometimes I wish my people were more punctual! About half my preschool people come in 5-10 minutes late and my after school clubs are drop in, any time between 3:30 and 5. I usually have about 30 people in the room at any given time and totals ranging from 30 to 80.

  6. Susan Black says:

    We always have a craft. There are a ton of ideas out there thanks to the internet and Pinterest. We have pages and interns that help with the prep work.

  7. Vicki Kouchnerkavich says:

    I spend too much of my valuable time to get crafts ready. So now I have a “stamping” day, “sticker” day, Playdough day, “stringing” day. I rotate these out. I just purchased stampers, stamp pads, stickers, cut lengths of yarn-glue & dried one end-string cheerios, noodles, cut straws, make my own playdough which the children then take home in a baggie. Less stressful and all of these activities use the children’s fine motor skills.

    • These are great hands on crafts! I also should have mentioned that one of the favorite things I do with the kids is simple cooking projects. No stove but we mix pretzel dough before story time, then afterwards they get to see how it has risen and all get a piece to take and bake at home. I also make apple sauce in the fall–we have a microwave to cook it in and the kids all get to slice an apple with the apple slicer and then turn the crank on the food mill to make smooth pink apple sauce! If you have an oven, you can bake muffins–I used to do that, or bake play clay cookies

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