This semester our preschool storytime underwent some big changes. The name of the program became Once Upon a Time Storytime, and both the date and time changed. We moved the program from Friday mornings to Thursday afternoons. With so many changes already happening, we decided to do something a little bit different with this group than other storytime programs. In an effort to promote continued attendance, we introduced two things that were ongoing throughout the semester. First, the kids got a single nametag, at their first visit to storytime, and then wore the same nametag all semester, adding a sticker each time they attended storytime. The big project we took on though, was a semester build activity.
We began our very first storytime of the semester with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Then at the end of storytime all of the kids got to “plant” a magic bean on the wall.
Since we didn’t have very many kids for our very first storytime, we allowed newcomers on week two to plant additional beans before storytime. Then after storytime our beanstalk began to sprout, with each child getting to add a piece of the stalk.
On week three, we added leaves to our sprouting bean stalk.
We realized that our beanstalk had stopped growing, so we watered it with raindrops on week four.
On week five then, our beanstalk grew taller again!
Week six we added more leaves to the growing stalk.
On week seven our beanstalk had grown so tall that it was touching the clouds!
Vines curled down from the beanstalk on week eight.
Some sprouts on the beanstalk flowered on week nine, adding some color to the very green stalk.
On week ten the kids craft was to make their own “Jack” (or “Jill”) to climb the beanstalk now that it is full grown. They got to choose a cut out person, then dress them up with different clothing pieces, and color them.
Our Jacks and Jills had reached the top of the beanstalk on week eleven, revealing the giant clouds.
We really wanted to make the final week of storytime special and memorable. We put up the castle before the kids arrived, so when they came to get their name tags we could tell them “Did you see what happened on the beanstalk!?” They were so excited to see the castle, it was wonderful. The best part however came after storytime. We finished with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. However, at the giants part, our head of youth services (who is also a master storyteller), used a microphone from outside the room to say his words. This made it seem as though the loud yelling was coming from nowhere, it was accompanied by a thunder clap, and my partner and I saying “Oh my gosh! What happened!? Come see! There is something at the bottom of the beanstalk!” The kiddos came running out to find little bags of gold lined up at the bottom of the beanstalk, one for each of the kids. The kids were so excited and surprised, it was one of the greatest experiences. One little girl kept saying, “I just don’t know how that happened!”
Going into this project for the first time, of course we had expectations of this beautiful beanstalk that everyone would admire. As you can see by the pictures, that is not exactly how it turned out. But I don’t think I’d want it to go any differently than this, the kids had so much fun, I had so much fun, and it is an experience I hope they will remember going forward. Planning is already in progress for Winter semester’s build (it’s going to involve a lot of mattresses, hint hint) and I can not wait to see how the next one turns out.