Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Snakes Storytime 2017

This week was the 3rd Annual Snake Storytime at my library. This is a program I do every year (hence the ‘annual’ bit), each year is a little different; but I always try to impart some of my love and respect for our slithery garden companions.

This year, my crowd was a bit younger; so for my first book I read The Greedy Python an Eric Carle style book written by Richard Buckley. 

This story has the traditional Eric Carle bright crayon-like illustrations and rhyming words. Its about a snake that eats waaaay to much and just ’bout explodes. The ending has a funny little twist that the kids really seemed to enjoy.

My next book was a Nonfiction book on Garter Snakes written by Julie Murray.

This was an easy to read book that discuss various simple facts about the common Garter snake. The pictures were big and colorful and the facts were easy enough for young kids to comprehend. It opened the way to talking about Snakes more and allowed me to bring out some of my show-n-tell items (more on that later).

After that, was our Make a Snake game using shapes.

Since my crowd was a lot younger then previous years; I shelved the snake identification game…. and went with something more toddler friendly.

I chose 3 different shapes that I thought young children would be able to easily recognize; but weren’t the standard circle, square, triangle.

I went with a heart, oval, and diamond.

I got the template from DLTK’s Growing Together; it was actually a paper craft that I turned into a shape matching game.

I printed the shapes onto colored paper. Then, to make the heads stand out a little more, I added some red glitter to the tongues and google-eyes….because who doesn’t like glitter and google-eyes???

I printed off regular shapes  -sans glitter and google-eyes; on different colored paper. I then handed those out to the kids and had them take turns coming up to the board and putting their shapes next to the snake head. (Just a note: toddlers do NOT get the concept of coming up to the board one at a time. It normally turns into a free-for-all as they all rush the board for their turn.)

After that was our 3rd book; a personal favorite and one that’s enjoyed by both younger and older children – Elephant and Piggie’s Can I Play Too? By Mo Willems.

I love Elephant and Piggie….as I’ve said on many, many occasions. This features a snake and the age old question burning every in child’s mind….. can a snake play catch???  If you’ve never read it, I won’t spoil the ending for you.

Next we did our craft: Snake Finger Puppets.

I got the idea and template from Mr. Printables. The templates come in the 4 colors shown and in a blank version that kids can color and make their own snake patterns.

Folding is a little complicated of a concept for the real young ones; but this craft was to cute NOT to do. So to make things a little more user friendly; I added glue dots where glue needed to go, and a red dot where the piece needed to be stuck.

In hindsight, I probably should have made the dots different colors, because somehow the kids were sticking the glue dot on the red spot on the opposite side of the snake, instead of the dot right next to said glue dot.

Anyway, despite the small road blocks we had; all the kiddos left happy with snakes hissing from their fingers.

Now originally, the template produced a smaller snake. Like so:

I worried that the smaller size would make it more difficult for little hands to work with it…. so I blew it up a couple sizes to make giant snakes…

Now normally, this would be where my program normally ended; but for this Storytime, I had show-n-tell items.

Being the odd ball, pagan, nature lover and mother of a little boy that I am… my mom is always sending me weird things she finds out on her walks so I can show my little munchkin.

One of the items she sent me was a dried ‘petrified’ baby snake; pretty sure its a ring-neck snake.

Not that my mom isn’t totally justified sending me weird crap. I love it. While camping last summer my son and I found a baby snake skeleton, complete with jaw bones (well, we actually found 2 but I could only find one, which was a miracle and a half, since we literally just moved).

I, of course, kept the skeleton… because…well…because its cool alright! I woulda kept it even if I didn’t have a kiddo… but I do, so I have an excuse!

Anyway, later that same summer, we were walking along the outdoor track at our local gym when we found our 2nd petrified snake… this time a garter snake (I think).

Now before anyone asks; no, I didn’t put the them through the laminator… I used clear book tape. This way the kids could pick up the pieces to get a better look without destroying them.

I also had a magnifying glass available for them to get a better look.

And, as I had for the previous years, my rattlesnake head made another appearance.

Kids always like him; its a pity his mouth doesn’t open. The kids always want to see his fangs. Oh well… eventually I’ll get a rattlesnake skull with fangs and a tail rattle.

I also updated my Oklahoma Venomous Snake guide; this year I added a section on ‘Snakes and Your Dog’ that talks about what to do if your furry family companion has a close encounter (just in case you’re wondering….the answer is TAKE YOUR PET TO THE VET!!!!.

And as usual, I made sure there was a cart full of books for the kiddos to check out for further reading.

Well, that’s all for this week! I hope everyone had a great Spring Break! Mine was spent working on getting our new house set up… feels more like I’ve just been moving one pile of crap to another part of the house. But, I don’t mind really; I love we’re someplace new – hate the actual moving process. With all the warm weather we’ve been having; my mind has been fixed on getting my garden ready; since I now have the space for one. I know, technically it’s still to early…. but it FEELS like spring! It was freaking 90 degrees yesterday! Surely it’s time to start shopping for plants….right?

‘Til next time my lovelies. Ciao!




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Aw spring in Oklahoma, what a wonderful time of year. The trees are turning green, the flowers are blooming, tornado season is in full swing and all the critters are waking up.

Which is, essentially,  why I decided that every spring I’m going to do a Snake themed storytime to educate my kids about snakes, and in particular the venomous snakes that are native to Oklahoma.

In May, when I did Snake storytime, I read two (2) fiction books: Boa’s Bad Birthday and Baby Rattlesnake. I also wanted to include a nonfiction book; sadly, I came to realize upon planning this storytime that we had NO books that covered snakes in Oklahoma.


Sure we had some Scary Snakes and Amazing Snakes of the Midwest type books, but they mostly covered rattlers. We had an adult field guide to Oklahoma reptiles and amphibians…. but the pictures in that were to small. I couldn’t show those to a six year old and say ‘now this is copperhead, see the patterns? What do if we see a snake like this?’

No! I needed big, bold, full color pictures so these kids could get a good look at what these reptiles look like. Who knows, one day they might have to tell mommy or daddy what type of snake bit Johnny.

But, I digress. Anyway, I was sorely disappointed in our snake books to say the least. I ended up combining several different books to cover the main venomous snakes of Oklahoma: the copperhead, the water moccasin and the rattlesnake (which there are several different varieties here in Oklahoma).

I also decided to create what I called a ‘Quick Guide to Venomous Snakes of Oklahoma’; where I provided pictures and basic information about the poisonous snakes of our state.  I gave this quick guide out to all the families who came to my storytime so they could take it home and have it on hand. I got all my information from Oksnakes.org

My library caters to a very rural community; it was definitely a good thing to have. Half the adults who came into storytime with their children couldn’t tell a copperhead apart from a garter snake.

I also had a show-and-tell where I brought in the snake head keychain my husband’s friend made him. The story goes that while on a job in Texas, my husband came out of his van and nearly stepped on this rattlesnake that was curled up under the stairs. They had to close this site down for 2-3 hours every afternoon just to clear the rattlers off the pad so the guys could go back to work. Anyway, this snake sadly did not survive the encounter. One of my husband’s coworkers skinned it, dried out the skin and actually cooked up the meat right there on site. The head was saved and, being as this guy apparently was also a taxidermist, he stuffed the head and turned it into a keychain for my son.

How much of that is true, its hard to say. But it certainly makes a good story. And the kids LOVED touching and exploring what a ‘real’ snake felt like. Many were amazed that the scales weren’t slimy; and they were full of questions about snakes…. it was almost pointless to even attempt to read any of the picture books, because all the kids wanted to do was to talk about REAL snakes.

For the ‘game’ portion of my storytime, I had a Match the Snake game. The main point of this storytime was to familiarize the children with Oklahoma’s venomous snakes. So I put on the board a picture of a copperhead, a water moccasin and a rattlesnake. Then I passed out a bunch of different pictures of these three snakes, everything from babies to juveniles to adults. And the kids had to bring their snake up and put it under the correct picture.


*You can also see an example of my Kaa craft and the key chain I used during the show-and-tell portion*

Afterwards, we had a snake wind mobile that I got here from Disney. Yep, that’s  Kaa, from the Jungle Book.

So next year, I think when I do this theme, I’ll put this in my ‘Science Storytime’ section and just do nonfiction books.

*UPDATE 2016*

Did my second Snake storytime. Initially I had planned on making it a complete nonfiction storytime; but after gauging my audience, I realized that the kids that come to my storytimes now are a lot younger then those who came last year.

So this year I went with:

The Snake Who Said Shhhhhhh by Jodie Parachini

A very cute story about a baby snake who can’t hiss properly and just wants some peace and quiet for his birthday.

The nonfiction book I read was Slinky, Scaly, Snakes
Which is an Easy Reader, so it was a nice introduction into snakes for a younger crowd.

The last book I read was <em,Can I play too? by Mo Willem


Because who doesn’t like Elephant and Piggie?

I again played the Oklahoma Venomous Snake match up game. Next year, I think I might get some non-venomous species and see if the kiddo can identify a venomous from non-venomous species.

As for the craft, I decided to go with something different. This year, we did Wooden Snake Bookmarks
Which required very little prep and were super easy to do.

I also made some models to illustrate how a snakes fangs worked…





But ended up skipping that as my lil kiddos were getting a wee bit twitchy.

I did have the snake head keychain that I showed the kids last year and passed it around again.



I had hoped to have a snake skin to show them too, but alas, it was gone by the time my boss went back for it.

And of course, I had a cart of books available for parents and kids to look at and check out.


Plus I had my Oklahoma Venomous Snake booklet I printed off again for parents to take him. This year, I also added a ‘Quick Glance Identification’ guide, which just pointed out some of the more defining characteristics of our local venomous snakes. As well as a ‘What to do if you get bitten’ section too.

You’d be surprised how many people have no idea what to do if they’re bitten by a snake.

I ended up not having an afternoon session as the weather turned severe and we closed early. Ever since Moore got hit a couple years ago, they don’t play around with those closings anymore. Yay!

Until next time! Chow!

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