This one is kinda like my opposite storytime, which I’ll write about later, but talking about size is another easy theme. And talking about perception is a great way for kiddos to learn about how to more effectively communicate through classification. So here’s what I’ve used to talk about size.
“I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean” is not only a great size book, but it’s definitely a go-to storytime book in general. When I read it, I put my giant squid up on the board, and I have my kiddos act out all the different animals. We start out as little tiny shrimp and do “shrimp fingers,” then we grow into clams, using our whole hands as clam mouths, and keep growing until we’re sharks with big whole-arm shark chomps! When the squid gets eaten, we use a whale puppet to take him off the board. Parents always love the ending of this book, so that’s a plus too.
“Mouse is Small” is short and sweet. It’s a board book, so it’s obviously pretty small, which is another great opportunity to talk about size. I made flannels for all of the characters and it’s great to reference their sizes as we’re going through the book so we can determine who is bigger.
“You are (Not) Small” is a great one to talk about not just size, but perception and comparison. Because of those concepts, and the fact that the story is mainly dialogue between two characters, this one probably only works for older kiddos. But my flannels turned out cute at least!
“Balance the Birds” is one I can’t wait to use. “Stack the Cats” was great for my Number Storytime, and I feel this one will work just as well. I’ll post the flannel for this one as soon as it’s done.
Songs and Rhymes
For our song, we start out by singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and doing all the hand motions. But then we kick it up a notch by doing the “Bigsy Wigsy Spider.” So to talk about size I tell my kiddos that he is the biggest spider and I ask my parents to do big hand motions, like making a REALLY big sun with your arms hand having REALLY big rain. And I ask everyone to sing in their biggest “Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam” style voice as possible. We finish off by doing “Teensy Weensy Spider” and we talk about he’s the smallest spider. And we do the tiniest hand actions we can and whisper the song as quietly as we can. It’s a lot of fun and a great take on a classic.
The rhymes I use are pretty simple, and you’ve probably used them before. But the actions that we do for them really reinforce the point of size.
“Tall as a Tree”
Tall as a tree. (Stand up and stretch out arms.)
Wide as a house. (Stretch out arms and legs.)
Thin as a pin. (Bring in your arms and legs.)
Small as a mouse. (Sit and be as small as you can.)
“Taller Taller Taller”
When I stretch up, I feel so tall. (Stretch up.)
When I stretch down, I feel so small. (Stretch down.)
Taller, taller, taller. (Slowly grow big.)
Smaller, smaller, smaller. (Shrink and sit back down.)
My wife came up with this activity; it’s really simple! Basically, all the kiddos have to do is color in one of these flowers with a very looooooooong stem.
Then the parents can fold up that stem accordion style, and their kids can make their plant either grow REALLY big, or shrink down REALLY small.
At the end of the activity, we usually as a group we try to make all of our flowers TALL and then make all of our flowers SMALL. I think it gets the point across. You could also hand out a separate piece of cardstock, cut a small slit in it, and run your stem through the slit. Then you can pull on your flower to make it grow tall, and pull back on the stem to shrink it.
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Do you have a pdf or other file of the creatures from “You Are (Not) Small” that you would be willing to share? You did a great job creating them outside of the book and they would be perfect for a classroom activity I do with this book.
I talk about my process here, but basically all I do is I take a photo of the book, print it out, and go from there: https://legolibrarian.com/2017/08/22/library-life-hack-turn-flannelboard-patterns-into-coloring-sheets/