CHICAGO — For toddlers, every storytime can be a new adventure, while art activities are important for developing impulse control, hand-eye coordination and fine motor dexterity in the hands. Carol Garnett Hopkins’ new book “Artsy Toddler Storytimes: A Year's Worth of Ready-To-Go Programming,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, fuses them together. Designed for children ages 1 to 3 years old, the book’s 52 storytimes promote pre-reading skills such as print motivation, vocabulary and narrative skills. Based on themes familiar to children, including bears, bugs, springtime,clothing and hats, flowers and gardens, weather, music, pets, transportation, pirates and many more, each storytime includes a list of books, action songs or rhymes along with their words, a flannelboard experience, plus instruction for two to three art activities. This complete toddler storytime resource also includes:
- An introduction that discusses the differences between art activities and craft activities, a toddler’s ability in creating art and why children this age should be exposed to art activities;
- Advice for using different art mediums, such as food, plus important safety considerations;
- Pointers on conducting playful yet educational storytimes;
- Tips for finding inexpensive art materials, with a list of recommended supplies to keep on hand;
- More than 100 drawings, all easy to reproduce and modify;
- Weblinks to “Artsy Helper Sheets,” downloadable supplements complete with phrases, tips and tricks that inform parents and caregivers about the benefits of doing art activities with toddlers.
Hopkins is a children’s librarian at a stand-alone municipal library in western Washington. Her specialties include toddler storytimes, programming for children, selecting children’s books and movies, and matching AR books with young readers.
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