Thursday, July 20, 2017

Outreach: Gardening Sensory Story Time




Ed and I visited two groups of students at Wing Lake last month for a little summer-themed story time. The Wing Lake Developmental Center is a year-round school that serves students, ages 3 - 26 years, in Oakland County with severe cognitive impairments (SCI) and severe multiple impairments (SXI). We try to incorporate many multi-sensory experiences in our outreach here, so that each student is able to participate and enjoy the program. With our Read to Seed Garden at the library planted and growing nicely, we decided to bring a bit of the garden with us. Here's what we did:



Welcome: "Today we are learning about seeds, flowers, vegetables and other things that we see in the garden. What do you like about gardens? Do you like to smell the different flowers? Is there a vegetable that you like the most?"
Corn, broccoli, and potatoes seemed to be the favorites of the day.

Song: "This is the Way We Plant the Seeds" (Tune: "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush")
This is the way we plant the seeds
plant the seeds, plant the seeds.
This is the way we plant the seeds so early in the morning.
(continue with "water the seeds," "pull up the weeds")

Story: Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
This is a nice, interactive story with many multi-sensory opportunities. (We wiggled our fingers to "add some water" - we brought around eyedroppers full of water to let everyone experience the drop of water from the "watering can" in the story. We worked on making our bzzzzing sound when we brought around a bee puppet to everyone, and gave everyone the chance to touch the blossoms from the story when we brought around a couple of flowering plants for the students to touch and feel.)


Flannel Rhyme: "Five Pretty Flowers"

Out in the garden,
growing in the sun,
were five pretty flowers,
and I picked ONE!
(count down until none are left)


Story: Rah, Rah, Radishes!: a Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre
We brought along some veggies for everyone to touch, feel, and smell when we read this story! The garlic was a big hit!



Song: "Up Pop the Flowers!" (Tune: "Pop! Goes the Weasel")
We plant some seeds in the dirt. (Pretend to plant seeds - covering hand with the other hand.)
The rain falls in a shower. (Raise arms and wiggle fingers downward.)
The Sun comes out, and what do you know? (Hold arms in a circle.)
UP pop the flowers! (Lift arms up.)

Craft/Activity: We decorated small cardboard pots, added some dirt, and planted sunflower seeds. Gardening, whether done in the ground outside or in containers/raised beds, is a great activity for everyone of all ages that builds motor skills, understanding of the cause/effect concept, and gives you the satisfaction of pride and accomplishment no matter what your abilities are.




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

After-hours Special Needs Family Fun Night!

This month we hosted our 3rd after-hours event for families of all ages with special needs. It was held on a Friday night after closing, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Attendees could enjoy the library with a reduced number of visitors, which lowers anxiety and limits distractions for many individuals who struggle with sensory overload.

We provided additional accessibility, by placing visuals for each service area and activity around the library.



Our Youth Librarian, Andy, created some fabulous sensory bins for the Youth Room. Kids could dig through the cornmeal "sand" in the one side of this bin and play with sea creatures in a blue jello "sea" on the other side. A larger bin was also filled with water and sponge sailboats.


We also placed many of our adapted toys, books and kits from the Special Needs Collection on tables for families to try out and even check out later to play with at home. Simple crafts to help encourage fine motor development were also placed on tables.






























Sometimes overstimulation can still occur, so we provided a "cool-down" space in our story room for folks to retreat to. We dimmed the lights and provided small weighted lap pads, sensory cushions to sit on, a pop-up tent with pillows for those seeking an "enclosed space" (tall enough to accommodate an adult),  a visual timer, sound reduction headphones, and fidgets for those needing additional sensory input to self-regulate or "chill."




 



Whole Foods Market provided some yummy gluten-free, casein-free, and nut-free snacks for the evening.




















A yoga instructor from Belightful Yoga led a relaxing adapted yoga session for youth and adults with special needs alongside their caregivers. How often do you get the chance to do yoga in the middle of the library?!


































The Adult Services area also had crafts and popular games in a larger format for those who may have difficulty with fine motor skills.



To wrap up the evening, our friendly circulation staff members helped our attendees check out their materials.





We were so delighted to see faces that we don't see on a regular basis at the library. Many families with special needs, who may have avoided visiting the library before, expressed their gratitude for this stress-free evening and are excited to return next time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Shake, Rhythm & Rhyme Story Time: "Feel the Beat!"


We were feeling the beat and dancing around the room this month! Shake, Rhythm & Rhyme is our inclusive story time for children of all abilities, ages 2 - 6. It is adapted with a visual schedule, dimmed lighting, and multi-sensory experiences (similar to our SENSEational Story Time). Here is this month's plan:


Welcome Song: "Shirt Song" (borrowed from Barbara Klipper)

Calling up the children by name, or bringing the board with the flannel shirts to a child with a mobile disability, I have the child choose the color shirt they are wearing and then place it on our large flannel board. We go around the circle until everyone's "shirt" is on the board.

___________ is wearing a (color) shirt,
a (color) shirt, a (color) shirt, 
and ________ is here with us today!

Yoga pose: "Dancer"
(I like to use the Yogarilla card set, which has the pose on one side and an adapted version of the pose on the other side.) I show them both versions, so they can decide which one they want to try.

ASL rhyme: "I Went to a Concert and What Did I Hear?"
(source: Storytime Stuff)
I taught them the ASL signs for piano, guitar, and drums to use when saying this rhyme:

I went to a concert and what did I hear?
The sound of a piano in my ear!
I went to a concert and what did I hear?
The sound of a guitar in my ear!
I went to a concert and what did I hear?
The sound of drums in my ear!

I also used the Garage Band app to play the sounds of the instruments for them. Love this app!


Flannel: "Five Dancing Ballerinas"


Five dancing ballerinas
prancing on their toes.
They twirl and spin and jump
then off the stage she goes.
Continue counting down.
(source: Storytime Katie and adorable tutus for flannel dancers made by our wonderful Clerical Assistant, Jennifer D.)

Story: I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
I gave one of our story time parents our drum to keep the steady beat going as it does throughout this rhythmic story.



Sensory diet rhyme with scarves: "Dance Your Scarves"
Dance your scarves up.
Dance your scarves down.
Dance them to your side,
And dance them all around.
Dance them on your shoulders.
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummies,
And put them to bed!

Story: The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants by Eric Litwin
Story time gold! It's got rhythm, repetition, and movement... and it's just so adorable!!

Story-related sensory activity: Doing the "Polka-Dot Dance!"
I handed out large colored dots to everyone and we did the Polka-Dot Pants Dance (located at the end of the story) waving our dots around. The best part about this dance? It can be done seated or standing!




Parachute activity: "Ring Around the Rosie"

Goodbye Song: "Tickle the Clouds"
Tickle the clouds.
Tickle your toes.
Turn around and tickle your nose.
Reach down low.
Reach up high.
Story time's over--
Wave goodbye!

Sensory craft and playtime: 
We made shakers with plastic eggs, rice, and colorful duct tape. And of course... we got out our instruments for the kids to play with!


 






Monday, April 17, 2017

SENSEational Story Time: Earth Day





On Saturday, we explored nature and recycling to celebrate Earth Day coming up. Here is the plan:



Welcome song: "The Story Time Ball"

Crossing-the-Midline exercise: "Windy Tree" 
Cross arms over the body's center in a "flowing" motion, back & forth, like branches blowing in the wind.

Flannel rhyme: "Five Pretty Flowers"












Out in the garden,
growing in the sun,
were five pretty flowers,
and I picked one!
(Count down until none are left.)

Story: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
We used our new board book set of this title so everyone could interact with their caregiver, touching the tree to see what happens, as we read the story together.

Stretch band rhyme: "Earth Day Song"
(Tune: "Mulberry Bush")
This is the way we pick up trash,
pick up trash, pick up trash.
This is the way we pick up trash
to help our Mother Earth.
(source: Preschool Education)

Story: I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan
We love making all of the fun garbage truck sounds in this story!

Story-related sensory activity: "Feed Stinky the Garbage Truck"



I photocopied/laminated illustrations of Stinky's ingredients for "Alphabet Soup," and hid them in a discovery bin filled with "up-cycled garbage" (old bulletin board paper scrunched up, cardboard tubes and containers, old eReader cords, water bottles, plastic lids, and burlap). The kids searched for the ingredients and then fed them to Stinky. I took our wood touch/feel box and attached my construction paper garbage truck face to the front. (Okay, he kind of looks like an alien garbage truck, but they loved it!)




Tactile beam activity: "Tactile beam song"
(Move slowly and adapt for those with mobile disabilities -- can do movements while seated or with the aid of their caregiver on the beam.)
We can move
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.
Side to side,
Side to side.
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.

Goodbye song and stretch: "Tickle the Clouds"
Tickle the clouds.
Tickle your toes.
Turn around and tickle your nose.
Reach down low.
Reach up high.
Story time's over--
Wave goodbye!

Play time & activity: Planting "flowers"
Gardening is a wonderful way to practice fine motor skills! We added potting soil to our pots and planted some grass seeds. Then we took a green pipe cleaner, folded it in half, and inserted two foam flower shapes with hole-punched centers at the ends for our blossoms. They "planted" these flowers in their pots and added a little water.  Soon they will see a little patch of grass growing around their "flowers!"




Monday, March 20, 2017

SENSEational Story Time: Space!

 


We had fun exploring outer space this past Saturday at SENSEational Story Time! Here is the plan:

Welcome song: "The Story Time Ball"

Crossing-the-Midline exercise: "Around the World"
We crossed our body's imaginary center-line by extending both arms up and around in a large circle, going "around the world."

Flannel rhyme: "5 Little Stars"
Five little stars were playing up high
Twinkling brightly in the sky.
One little star just couldn't stay.
Twinkle, twinkle, he went away.
Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1 little star...
(source unknown)

Story: Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! by Margaret Mayo
Make sure to "scoop up" the moon rocks!

Sensory diet rhyme: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
(Everyone was given one of these cute squishy star finger puppets.)
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.


Story: Solar System by Jill McDonald
This board book is one of the titles in the wonderfully interactive Hello, World! series. Since I had a small group, I walked around with the book and let the kids touch the red planet and trace their fingers along the starry path, etc. This is also available as an eBook, so you can project it to a larger group or buy a set of these board books for 1-1 interaction between child and caregiver (or adult and caregiver - also great for adult sensory story time!).
I also included some sensory experiences while reading the story. Our intern, Maeve, walked around to each child with a "small asteroid" (textured ball), the Earth (soft, tactile globe), Saturn's rings (hula hoop), and a constellation (puffy stars in the shape of the Big Dipper).


Story-related sensory activity: "Solar System in Motion" using giant rainbow scrunchie (Bear Paw Creek)
If you have story time kids with mobile disabilities, they can hold the "earth" and "sun" in the middle. Otherwise, you can be the earth and sun in the middle while they "revolve" around you!
(Tune: "Farmer in the Dell")
The Earth turns around,
The Earth turns around,
Once a day, every day, 
The Earth turns around.

The moon goes 'round the Earth,
The moon goes 'round the Earth,
Once a month, every month,
The earth goes 'round the Earth.

The Earth goes 'round the sun,
The Earth goes 'round the sun,
Once a year, every year,
The Earth goes 'round the sun.

Tactile beam activity: "Tactile beam song"
(Move slowly and adapt for those with mobile disabilities -- can do movements while seated or with the aid of their caregiver on the beam.)
We can move
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.
Side to side,
Side to side.
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.

Goodbye song and stretch: "Tickle the Clouds"
Tickle the clouds.
Tickle your toes.
Turn around and tickle your nose.
Reach down low.
Reach up high.
Story time's over--
Wave goodbye!

Sensory activity: We had two space-themed sensory activities: 
Our lightbox with a dark blue overlay, laminated tissue paper stars, and constellation diagram cards (with holes punched out for kids to place stars over).


I also filled our discovery bin with blue moon sand, foam stars, squishy "planet" balls, plastic astronauts and spacecraft.






Monday, February 20, 2017

SENSEational Story Time: Pets!





The theme of this past Saturday afternoon's SENSEsational story time was pets! We talked about the pets we have and what we like about them. Here's the plan:

Welcome song: "The Story Time Ball"

Crossing-the-Midline exercise: "Fishing exercise"
We pretended to be fishing by casting our "pole" to the other side (crossing our arms diagonally across our body and back).

Puppet rhyme: "Two Little Puppy Dogs"
(I use two different dog puppets and show the kids how to make their hands into "puppets," so they can do the action rhyme along with me.)
Two little puppy dogs sitting on a hill,
One named Spot and one named Bill.
Run away, Spot. Run away, Bill.
Spot and Bill "run" behind back.
Come back, Spot. Come back, Bill.
Spot and Bill come back in front.

Story: (board book set) That's Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt
Touch-and-feel books are wonderful for those with low vision and all developmental ages. You can talk about the different textures and which ones we like and dislike.

Stretch band rhyme: "Clippety Clop"
Clippety clippety clop.
The horsie likes to trot.
The feisty mare goes up and down
Until it's time to stop!
(source: unknown)

Story: They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
We had so much fun with this story! This repetitive story is a great lesson in observation and perspective. "How does the cat look to the dog? Why does it look that way?" "Why does the cat look so blurry and big to the fish?"

Story-related sensory activity: "Lightbox Perception Game"
We continued our theme of animals and our perception of them. I created different animals using colorful shapes on a lightbox. I then asked everyone what they thought it looked like to them, talking about how everyone perceives them differently. (Some "animals" were more obvious than others!) I like using a smaller portable lightbox, walking it around to everyone, making it easier for my kids with mobile disabilities and low vision to really experience the activity.



Tactile beam activity: "Tactile beam song"
(Move slowly and adapt for those with mobile disabilities -- can do movements while seated or with the aid of their caregiver on the beam.)
We can move
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.
Side to side,
Side to side.
Forward and backward,
Forward and backward.

Goodbye song and stretch: "Tickle the Clouds"
Tickle the clouds.
Tickle your toes.
Turn around and tickle your nose.
Reach down low.
Reach up high.
Story time's over --
Wave goodbye!

Sensory activity: "Find the doggy and kitty treats"
I filled our large discovery bin with "pet food kibble" (Cocoa Puffs), "dog bones" (graham cracker Scooby Snacks), and "fish" (Goldfish crackers). They searched for the hidden bones/fish, and I gave them large plastic tweezers to pick up the treats with if they wanted to practice their fine motor skills. Some of them wanted to add their treats to a bowl for Spot and Bill!