I’m a bad blogger. I’ve been meaning to write forever but keep getting distracted. My new job in Youth Services at my local public library has been challenging, but also very enjoyable and I am learning a lot. I started doing Discoverytime (henceforth abbreviated at DT) on my own three weeks ago, and it is Preschool Storytime with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) component added in. Basically I read one nonfiction book and one fiction book, and do some activities or explain something scientific to the kids. I was supposed to train for a month and then do one on my own, but the person I was supposed to train with had some health issues so I ended up helping with two of them with a second person before doing it by myself. It is a lot of fun, though sometimes I think I’m having more fun than the parents or kids. It is supposed to be for ages 3-5, but I usually get a lot of younger kids as well, so it makes for an interesting storytime trying to find something that predominantly 2-4 year olds can understand. I usually will pick the books first and then find activities and songs to fit around it. They normally last 30-40 minutes. Prior to starting this 3 weeks ago, I had only done one Preschool storytime in Library Grad School. Aside from reading to my own 3 yr old son and some of his classmates at daycare, I did not have much experience with this age group. My first week by myself I did one on Bats and Echolocation, followed by Frogs, and the one this week on My Body: Exploring the Human Body. I picked bats because I’ve alwasy kind of been fascinated with them, despite their creepy reputation, so I try to convey that to the kids. I’ve loved frogs forever, so that’s why I picked them and I just thought the Human Body DT would be fun, assuming I made it fun and not too gross or complicated. I will say I definitely know a lot more about these three topics, but I have always enjoyed research so I find that part of the organization fun. I’m going to post my outline for what I did for the Bats below. This is my first DT so it was pretty rough, but the kids had a lot of fun with the activities, even if the songs weren’t that successful. I’ve definitely learned that bubble time is essential to a good storytime.
DiscoveryTime: Bats and Echolocation
- Welcome to DiscoveryTime! My name is Miss Rachel. I’m so excited to see you guys and we’re going to have a wonderful time.
- Welcome Song: Hello Hello
- Book: Endangered Bats by Bobbie Kalman
- Almost 1,000 species (types) of bats in the world
- ¼ are endangered, which means they might die out in the wild, where there is no people
- Bats are warm-blooded mammals that have fur and drink milk from their mommies. Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake and hunt at night. They sleep upside down hanging from trees, cave walls and other structures.
- Two groups of Bats: Microbats (small) which are carnivores (they eat meat, such as insects, fish, scorpions, lizards, frogs or birds) and Megabats (large) are herbivores (eat plants such as fruit or drink nectar from flowers or feed on pollen). Microbats help control insect populations, like mosquitoes from biting people. The smallest bat is the size of bumblebee, and the largest has wings that are nearly 6 ft across.
- Some live alone but most live in colonies with many many other bats
- Bats are losing their habitats (the places they live) to humans that are clearing forest for lumber, as well as farmers who use pesticides (harmful chemicals to kill insects) and pollution.
- Fingerplay: Five Little Bats
- First, make five bats, and tape one to each finger.Five little bats flew out one night (Hold up five fingers.)To have some fun in the bright moonlight. (Move your hand in a circle.)The first one said, “You can’t catch me!” (Move your thumb away to the side.)
The second one said, “Look out for the tree!” (Shake your first finger in warning.)
The third one said, “I love to swoop.” (Make your middle finger do a graceful dive.)
The fourth one did a loop-the-loop. (Move your ring finger in a circle.)
The fifth one said, “Let’s catch some gnats!” (Wiggle your little finger.)
Isn’t it fun being five little bats! (Wiggle all five fingers.)
- Song: I’m a Bat by Mary Flynn (sung to: You are my Sunshine)
I love the nighttime,
The dark, black nighttime,
And that is when I fly around.
I am nocturnal.
I love the nighttime.
‘Cause I’m a bat,
I fly without a sound!
- Book: Nightsong by Ari Berk
- Song: Bats are sleeping Bats are sleeping (sung to: Frere Jacques)
Bats are sleeping, Bats are sleeping
Upside down, upside down
Waiting for the night
Waiting for the night
Then fly around, Then fly around
- Fingerplay: Two Little Bats
- Two little bats (hold up 2 fingers or thumbs)
hanging in a cave (point fingers upside down)
one named Dan (hold up 1 finger)
and one named Dave (hold up other finger)
Fly away Dan! (1st finger makes flying motions to behind your back)
Fly away Dave! (2nd finger flies behind back)
Come back Dan, (1st finger returns)
Come back Dave. (2nd finger returns)
- Activity: Echolocation
- Bats use echolocation, a system of sending out high-pitched sounds that bounce off of objects, to move through the darkness and locate food. Has anyone seen the movie How to Train Your Dragon? The Nightfury Toothless uses echolocation through a plasma blast to do the same thing –so he can find his way in the dark without being able to see.
- Bat Senses
Though bats do not see very well, most bats send out sounds that bounce off objects and return to the bat’s ears as echoes. A bat can decide where objects are, how big objects are, even the shape of objects so they know what is food and what they might run into.
- Have one or two children on one side of the room facing the wall with their eyes closed and behind them on the other side, have another child clap or use the bells/tambourine. Ask the child(ren) with their eyes closed to tell which side the noise is coming from.
- Making paper cup telephones is an easy way to teach preschoolers about how sound travels. Make sure the string is pulled taut. Are the words heard more clearly? When someone talks into the cup, the bottom of the cup vibrates and the string carries the sound to the other cup. Ask them what they think will happen if the string is held loosely and then let the children experiment to find out.
- Make a couple of examples and have the kids take turns with them
- Bubble Time Songs: One Little Two Little Bubbles and I’m a Bubble by Jennifer Gasoi
- Closing Song
- WE WAVE GOODBYE LIKE THIS (Closing Song)
To the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”
We wave goodbye like this.
We wave goodbye like this.
We clap our hands for all our friends.
We wave goodbye like this.
Informational Sheet I gave the kids to take home
Factoids About Bats
- In China, bats are symbols of good luck. The Chinese character wu-fu shows five bats with wings touching representing health, wealth, long life, good luck, and happiness.
- Bat echolocation can detect objects as thin as a human hair, yet researchers can catch bats when they fly into nets. Why? Scientists think bats get used to flying safely along certain paths and sometimes do not notice new obstacles in their way.
- Bats can purr! Like cats, a bat may vibrate, or purr, when resting or content.
- People often fear vampire bats, but a protein from vampire saliva can help heal people after they have strokes.
Did you know Phoenix has a great urban bat-watching opportunity? Each summer several thousand Mexican free-tailed bats and western pipistrelle bats use the Maricopa County Flood Control Tunnel near 40th Street and Camelback Road as a day roost.
Directions to see the bats:
From 40th Street and Camelback Road intersection, head north on 40th Street. (Parking is very limited; please respect private property and restricted areas. You may need to park south of the intersection.) The path (levee) to the tunnel is located on the north side of the Arizona Canal. Head west on the path about 200 yards (past buildings and parking garage). You will see the flood control channel just north of the canal. Head north about 20 feet from the gravel path to the paved path. The paved path will take you to the top of the tunnel (you’ll see bat-watching information signs posted here), and you can look over as the bats fly out of the tunnel.
They exit the tunnel just after sunset each night (total exit time; approximately 45 minutes) throughout the summer months (May through October). If you’re an early bird, you may just want to see them return around sunrise each morning!