Hibernation

Today was my Hibernation story time.  Probably a little early, since its still  fall, but the weather in Oklahoma has gotten decidedly cooler….. Lets jut say its that time of year when its nice and warm during the day, and then you need to turn on a heater at night.  Gotta love the bipolar weather in this state.

In any case, it  was starting to really feel like fall now, so I figured doing a story time on what animals do in the fall and how a lot of critters were getting ready to start their hibernation was a reasonably appropriate them.

I actually had a decent group in the morning session.

My first book, Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows, was a cute rhymning book with bright pictures of different animals that sleep though winter.

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At this point in my program a mom decided that there were too many books for her overly fidgety son, an letf  Beside her was a little girl who was attending story time for the first time and thought that his leaving meant the end of the program…. she really jumps up and yells “woohoo! it’s over!” And runs off to go play in the main area.

I couldn’t help but sit there and sputter for a moment before laughing; especially when a few moments later her mom, a younger woman who looked very embarrassed, brought the wayward child back an explained that story time wasn’t over yet.

My next book was the nonfiction book Animals in Fall: Preparing for Winter, by Martha Rustard.  If you follow this blog, than you may have noticed that I’ve used this series numerous times in the last few weeks.  I love, love, LOVE these books.  They are an awesome and colorful nonfiction book that  explains the subject matter in simple terms that a young crowd can easily grasp. And informative! So much information packed into  book that looks like a simple picture book.

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At this point in the program, it is now time fo our game. This week it’s a Hibernate/ Does Not Hibernate challenge.

For this next bit I had to do some research; I didn’ want to do just any animals the hibernate, I wanted to use animals that the children might be familar with. I wanted to use OKLAHOMAN animals; which meant, being a transplant as I am an not a native Oklahoman, I needed to figure out what animals did indeed hibernate in in this state.

Now, I’m not overly poud to admit that this research took me down the metaphorical rabbit hole a bit further than I cared to go. I found out that Oklahoma has some facinating, if unexpected and mildly terrifying critters that call this state home.

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Yea, you see that scaley reptile at the bottom right of the above picture? Yea…that’s an American Alligator; apparently they’re native to the south eastern corner of the state…who knew.

And for the record, this librarian is never swimming in the local lakes EVER again…

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The Does Not Hibernate animals were far less traumatizing; though I had no idea that minks were native to this state either.

Everyone learned something at this story time be it librarian, child and even parent (several of the parents didn’t know that we had alligators or minks either).

Anyway, I printed off several animals from both categories (using the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to verify these critters winter sleeping habits). I gave each of the kids two animals and they got to come up to the board where I told them what animal they had (in case they didn’t know, and the other kids would be able to ‘help’). Then the child had to decide if the animal hibernated or not and put it in the right column.

It was great fun and gave us a chance to talk about animals and discuss which ones hibernated.

After that, our last book was Bed Time fo Bear by Brett Helquist. Cute book about a bear trying to sleep and his two raccoon buddies trying to convince him to come out and play one more time before he goes to sleep.

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Now, in the last few month, since I’ve been doing the story times every week instead alternating with my co-workers, I’ve noticed is that in the mornings I have younger children in the lower portion of my age bracket. While in the afternoon program, I tend to have the older school aged children.

Because of this, I’ve taken to replacing the really simplistic books and adding in ones of slightly longer length. So for the afternoon session, I replaced The Hibernation Station with one called Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart.

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Under the Snow focuses on animals in various habitats and where they spend their winter. The pictures weren’t as bright as the other books, but no less lovely too look at.

Finally, with all books read, it was time for our craft. Initially, I had planned on doing a cheerio bird feeder; something that was very simple and the kids could take home and actually put to use.

However, I got half way to work and realized that I had forgotten to buy cheerios. So, I spent the remainder of the drive devising a substitte idea… and this is what I decided on…
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It took less than 30 minutes to prepare and the kids loved making their ‘bears’ and decorating the cave and its surounding.

And, as always, I had extra Hibernation themed books available for the kiddos to check out afterward.

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On a side note, the young mother of the little escapee approached me during the craft and appologized for the earlier interuption (which I waved off with a ‘it happens, no worries’). At which point she explained that this was their first story time and that her daughter really enjoyed it – whooping for joy and racig out of the program aside – and wanted to know when our story times were and what other programming we were doing because they wanted to come to more of them.

YAAAAAAAY! Now I’m whooping for joy! lol.

So hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them in the weeks to come.

All in all, a good day. Think next week might be on Carnivores…

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