Today (April 12) is Big Wind Day, a day commemorating the strongest wind ever recorded on the Earth’s surface (231 mph on April 12, 1934 at Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire).
I love building storytimes around obscure holidays, and this one turned out to be so much fun. Coincidentally, we also had gale force winds here on the coast yesterday, so the wind was definitely on everyone’s minds.
Here’s what we did:
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon & Lee White
This is a sweet story about a man plagued by high winds in his house at the top of a very steep hill, and the little girl who helps him by planting trees. The kids enjoyed making wind noises whenever I said “the wind blew.”
Windblown by Édouard Mansour
Cute, simple story about different animals (a chicken, a fish, a frog, a snail, and a bird) who find a collection of colorful shapes blown by the wind. All of the animals are composed of the same shapes, which could easily lead into a craft activity. The kids liked calling out the names of each animal.
The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins
This is a classic picture book about the havoc wreaked on a small town by a mischievous wind that steals hats, umbrellas, kites, shirts, and even the mail from the letter carrier. The next time I do this one, I think it would be fun to print out pictures of each of the items and throw them in the air, or give the kids play scarves to toss in the air each time the wind grabs something in the story.
Songs & Rhymes:
I’m a Little Gum Nut (Pinecone)
I got this one from PreschoolEducation.com, although their version was about a pinecone. In the picnic area at the park where we do storytime, there are a lot of eucalyptus trees, which drop gum nuts all over the ground, so I adapted it. You could do the same for acorns/oak trees or any kind of fruit. The tune is I’m a Little Teapot:
I’m a little gum nut,
Brown and small, (crouch down)
Way up high, in the eucalyptus tall (stretch up tall)
When the cold wind blows,
I dance and hop,
Down to the ground (crouch down)
With a plop, plop, plop! (Clap hands)
Way Up High in the Apple Tree
I did both this rhyme and the gum nut song as a follow-up to Kate, Who Tamed the Wind. This rhyme is an old stand-by, and fun because you can ask the kids to suggest different types of trees. Today we did apples, bananas, and plums:
Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arms up)
Two little apples smiled at me (made circles with the thumb and fingers of each hand).
I shook that tree as hard as I could! (shake imaginary tree)
Down came the apples (lower arms quickly)
Mmmm! They were good! (rub stomach)
Do You Know What Shape I Have?
We did this as a follow-up to Windblown. My coworker, Claire, held an envelope with four shapes cut out of different colored paper (circle, square, triangle, and diamond). Each time we sang the song, she would hold up one of the shapes, and we’d ask the kids to identify it. The song is to the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man?
Do you know what shape I have,
What shape I have,
What shape I have?
Do you know what shape I have?
Right here in my hand!
To go along with the wind theme, I thought it would be fun to bring out the bubble machine, both because the machine itself uses air, and because the wind carried the bubbles all around the storytime area, which the kids loved. Years ago, I did a brief stint as a Kindermusik teacher, and I learned this cute Bubbles song from there. You can hear the tune in this YouTube video posted by Talita Feuerstein.
Bubbles, Bubbles, landing on your nose!
Bubbles, Bubbles, landing on your toes!
Bubbles, Bubbles, floating to the floor.
Pop them! Pop them! Now we’ll blow some more.
Let’s Go Fly a Kite by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
This song from Mary Poppins was the perfect lead-in for our Stay & Play Kite activity. I handed out the shakers so the kids could play along while I sang.
With [G] tuppence for paper and strings,
You can have your own set of [C] wings.
With your [G] feet on the [G7] ground
You’re a [A] bird in [C] flight,
With your [G] fist holding [D] tight,
To the string of your [G] kite.
Oh, oh, oh,
[C] Let’s go fly a kite!
[G] Up to the highest height.
[D] Let’s go fly a kite,
And [G] send it soaring!
[C] Up through the atmosphere,
[G] Up where the air is clear,
[D] Oh, let’s go fly a [G] kite.
When you send it flying up there,
All at once you’re lighter than air.
You can dance on the breeze over houses and trees,
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite.
Oh, oh, oh
Let’s go fly a kite!
Up to the highest height.
Let’s go fly a kite,
And send it soaring.
Up through the atmosphere,
Up where the air is clear,
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Stay & Play: Paper Bag Kites
I found this kite idea on Everyday Chaos and Calm. It basically just a simple “kite,” made out of a paper bag, with a long piece of yarn taped to it to serve as a string.
I put out paper bags for each child, along with glue sticks, markers, dot paint, some random shapes I cut out of colored paper (along with kids scissors and paper scraps so they could cut their own), crepe paper streamers, yarn, and tape to attach the yarn.
The kids had a great time decorating and then “flying” their kites while running and holding the yarn. Claire also turned on the bubble machine, so for a while there were bubbles and kites and kids all over the picnic area.
Happy Big Wind Day!