Friday, June 24, 2011

Tucking in Little Fish

Book: Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen, Illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt
Puppets: Four or Five animals of just about any kind
Props: At least one blanket; even better - several blankets with animal patterns to match puppets
Presenters: One
Audience: Toddler Time (ones and twos)

Here’s an excellent book to use in Toddler Time, then follow up with puppets. The patterned text reads: “Who needs to be tucked in? ‘I do,’ says Zebra [or Hedgehog, Peacock, etc.]. Good night little Zebra.” And as you say the good night, you move the flap in the shape of a blanket from left to right, neatly covering up the animal. Very simple and very effective.

For a Follow-Up, I gathered a few cute puppets and some blankets. We have some fabric with animal patterns on them, so I decided to pull out the “blanket” first and ask the kids whose blanket this might be. Then out pops Fish (or whoever) and we all say: “Good night, little Fish.” Then I wrap Fish gently in the blanket and bundle her on the table, where she’s soon joined by other blanketed animals. If you don’t have animal blankets, though, you could use anything…if you still want the kids to guess, you can give the sound (“ribbit”) or a brief description (“she’s green and she hops”) before the Pop-Out.

The popping out really catches the kids’ attention, and to draw them in even more you can have everyone say a big: “Shhhhhhh…” as you put each bundled critter onto the table. It's fun to hear the sudden quiet in the midst of a Toddler Time as all the kids are earnestly silent as the animal goes to bed.
The book ends by addressing the kids: "Does anyone else need to be tucked in? Do you? Good night, you!" So the last blanket I pull out of my bag is a plain old baby blanket, and I ask them who this blanket is for. A yawn and a stretch clues them in that it’s for me, and I cuddle up with it. Alternately, you could tuck in a toddler or two from the audience. I tend to avoid that sort of thing because we have 20+ kids and there's a risk it would go on too long, but with a smaller group I'm sure that would be an even better finish.

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