Ever since I started using the parachute during programming, I’ve wanted to provide something for the babies. Today that finally happened. We had our first Baby Parachute Playtime! Now, I know what you’re all thinking, that a chute is way too overwhelming for a baby. What I did was a combination of a storytime while having the chute be a pretty big focus. Due to budget cuts etc., we haven’t had an actual baby storytime in years. Once we had to make cuts, the toddler time and baby time were clumped together into one giant storytime for ages 0-5. Rhythm and Rhyme storytime is oober popular and it’s great to be able to still offer programming for that age group, but there’s something to be said about an actual storytime just for babies. We have these wonderful lap-sit kits that were created several years ago with grant money. They sit in storage and are shared among all our branches. Each kit has 15 copies of a board book and some toys that go along with the theme to be used at the end of the storytime. Some also include a CD and a few other stories for the librarian to tell. These are so handy for putting together a baby time. We all know how important it is to get the books into the hands of these kids and these kits help provide that. So, I used the parachute and one of these kits to form my program. Here is the outline I took in with me:
Babies 0-12 months
- Talk about the parachute. Some babies will love it, some will hate it, some will be unsure and that’s ok. Some of the activities the babies will be laying on the floor in front of you, if they get upset, just hold them in your lap.
- The babies might be all over the place and that is ok. This is all new to them and they love to explore. Feel free to get up and move with them.
- If your child is very upset, it’s ok to step outside the room until they’ve calmed down. We don’t mind.
- Remind parents that they are their baby’s biggest role model; they are looking and listening to them. I’m only here to guide the parents along and instruct them. Participation is a huge part of being here so please join in.
- Introduce the parachute to the babies by playing peek-a-boo. Have them lie on the floor in front of you (or in your lap) and lift the chute up and down slowly.
- Sing a welcome song (babies lie or sit on the chute)-Twinkle Twinkle
- Sing “Row Row Row Your Boat” while holding your baby in your lap and sway back and forth. (2 times)
- Now that your baby is on your lap, let’s read a book! (15 copies are available)
- Show your baby the pictures, talk to them about the pictures, and let them touch the book. If they want to turn the pages out or order, that’s ok. Just let them get familiar with it.
- Sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” while your baby lies on the floor in front of you. The parachute will go up and down as the song lyrics do.
- Sing “Shake Your Rattles like the Leaves” while holding your baby on your lap. Shake the chute if your baby can sit upright by themselves, otherwise just hold your baby and gently rock with them.
- Sing a goodbye song while the babies lie or sit on the chute.-You are my Sunshine
- Parents are welcome to hang out with their babies and socialize and play with the toy blocks provided.
- Thanks for coming!
NOW, here is what really happened:
Well, only two babies came, the rest of the kids were older siblings. There were a total of 9 people. I pretty much stuck to the outline I had prepared, except I didn’t get to talk as much about babies and books as I wanted to. The older kids were pretty crazy running all around so it was distracting. At the end they all loved the playtime! I had blocks with colors on them and a Colorpillar from Lakeshore that was great. Everyone got to socialize and I sat and talked with the moms and the kids. Apparently they all loved the program and had never even been to our library. They all said they were going to come back, so I guess I did something right! I probably won’t do the chute again with that age group only because I can’t tell them that siblings can’t come and with the siblings it was just too crazy. I do want to start offering more baby programs though. I think I will stick with just offering baby storytime because we used to do that in the past and it worked out really well.