Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stuck-at-Home Storytime Presents "The Caterpillar and the Polliwog"

The word of the day is METAMORPHOSIS!  

Every year we order cups of tiny caterpillars for our three-year-old classes and every year I am completely fascinated as we watch them turn into butterflies.   This year our caterpillars arrived right before we had to close our school.  The teachers have been sending pictures to their classes so they can observe the process.  This week the butterflies started to emerge!  So now is a perfect time to share one of my very favorite books about metamorphosis, The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent.

Now, do you want to see our caterpillars and butterflies?  Before we got them, our caterpillars hatched from teeny eggs that looked like this:

When they arrived, our caterpillars were very tiny.  You can barely see them in this cup.

They ate and ate and grew quickly.  Soon they were big and fat. 

As they grew, our caterpillars molted several times. They shed their skin so they could keep growing!

When they were ready to start turning into butterflies, the caterpillars crawled up to the top of the cup and hung upside down.  They looked like the letter "J."

They molted one last time and then their skin hardened into a shiny chrysalis to protect the caterpillar while it was changing into a butterfly.

About 10 days later, butterflies started to emerge!  Aren't our Painted Ladies beautiful?

Can you see how the patterns on the butterfly's wings are the same, but reversed?  This is called a mirror image.  Here's a fun craft you can try at home that will demonstrate mirror images.

Fold a piece of paper in half and cut out half of a butterfly shape.  When you open up the paper, you will have a whole butterfly.

Now squeeze a few dots of paint onto just one side of your butterfly.  Fold it back up and press to smoosh the paint around.  When you open it you will see that both halves of your butterfly are identical, but mirrored, just like a real butterfly.  

Now you can finish your butterfly by adding a body and some antennae. 

If you give this craft a try, have a grownup post a picture so I can see your creation!  On Facebook we are Saint Andrews Presbyterian Preschool.  You can find us on Instagram  @saintandrewspreschoolraleigh. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Stuck-at-Home Storytime Presents "The Dark, Dark Night"

Grab your flashlights and get ready to play with shadows!  Stuck-at-Home Storytime presents a fun story about a frog who was very excited that it was spring:  The Dark, Dark Night.  This story was written by M. Christina Butler.  Jane Chapman drew the pictures.  (Do you recognize her name?  Can you think of another book that we have read that was illustrated by Jane Chapman?  I'll tell you at the end of this post!)

He spends the whole day playing with his friends until finally it gets too dark to play any longer.  Frog heads home to his pond.  But when he gets home - EEK! - he meets a HUGE pond monster!  Will he ever swim in his pond again?  Will his friends come to his aid?  Will they figure out who the pond monster really is?  Let's find out!

Now here's the part where you need your flashlights.  Go get them... I'll wait for you...

Okay!  Let's make some shadows!  Turn off the lights and use your flashlight to cast shadows on a wall like this:

I used little woodland creatures, but you can use anything to make a shadow.  Even yourself!

Send me a picture of what YOU did with your flashlight.  Have your parent post it on Instagagram and tag @saintandrewspreschoolraleigh.  Or post it on our Facebook page - Saint Andrews Presbyterian Preschool.  I'd love to see your shadows!

Did you think of an answer to my question?  What books have we read that were illustrated by Jane Chapman?  Here's the answer:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Stuck-at-Home Storytime Presents "Dragons Love Tacos"

It's Taco Tuesday!  What else would we read but Dragons Love Tacos?  I love this funny book.  Adam Rubin wrote the words and Daniel Salmieri drew the pictures.

Have you ever hosted a party for dragons?  No?  Well here's a tip if you ever do:  Dragons LOVE tacos.  Really!  All kinds of tacos - big ones, small ones, beef and chicken tacos, even several kinds of tacos you've never even thought of.  So, remember, all you have to do when a dragon comes to your party is have plenty of yummy tacos.  If you do that one thing, nothing could possibly go wrong... or could it?

Now let's read the story.

Well that was some fire-breathing fun, wasn't it?  And now we know the second thing to remember when you invite dragons over for some tacos - NO spicy salsa!

Hey, I have an idea!  Why don't we make a taco party of our own?  Let's gather up some craft supplies.  Get things like paper and glue sticks and scissors, paper plates (if you have any), some tissue paper or coffee filters, and definitely some markers.  I also found some of those paper shreds that you put in a gift bag.  Really anything you have is fine cause we are going to use our imaginations to make these tacos!

Now start cooking... the dragons will be here soon.  Remember, no spicy salsa!

Remember, these are YOUR tacos.  Make them any way you like!  Be sure to give them a try to make sure they taste perfect.  They aren't too spicy, are they?

Do you think the dragons will like them?  Good!  Maybe you should open a taco stand next.  Dragons will come from all over town to have one of your delicious tacos.  Better make an extra batch, just in case the dragons invite their friends.

If you want to tell me your favorite part of this story or send me a picture of your tacos, ask a parent to post it on Instagram and tag me: 


See you tomorrow for another Stuck-at-Home Storytime!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Stuck-at-Home Storytime Presents "Stick and Stone"

We may be stuck at home for a while, but that's no reason to miss the stories and activities we are used to.  So for the next two weeks we will have 
Stuck-at-Home Storytime!

Today's story is a tale of friendship and looking out for each other.

Now that you've heard their story, let's go into the backyard to find the characters.  See if you can find a stone that looks like a zero, a stick that looks like a one, and a pinecone.  While you are hunting, see if you can find anything else that might be another character in this story.  Ready?  I'll look in my backyard too.  Meet me back here when you are finished...

What did you find?  Here's what I saw in my backyard:

Stick and stone, of course.  A perfect 10.

And, look, Pinecone has made a friend!  

Along the way I found these guys... Leaf, Bark and Needles!

Now let's think of some things we can do with sticks and stones and even cones.  

Stones are great for making towers.  How many can you stack up with falling?

Sticks are good for practicing your letters in the sandbox.

Look how many different sizes of pinecones I found.  I ordered them biggest to smallest.

Now it's your turn to have some fun.  If you want to send me a picture of what you saw in your backyard or how you played with sticks and stones and pinecones (or anything else you found), ask a parent to post them on Instagram and tag me: 


Saturday, February 15, 2020

This Week in Chapel - Enemy Pie

This past week, we started chapel by playing a game.  I called out a word and asked the children to tell me the opposite of that word, like this:

"In" ..... "Out"
"Black" ..... "White"    
"Open" ..... "Closed"
"Up" ..... "Down"
"Love" ..... "Hate"

So why did we play this game?  I explained that opposites are really different from each other, as different as they can be.  As we learn more about God, we find that God's ways are sometimes the opposite of what we think.

I told the children we were going to talk about the last set of opposites, Love and Hate.

I held up a picture of a heart and asked, "What do you think of when you see a heart?"  Of course, we think of love.

Well, who do you love?  Our parents, our siblings, friends and teachers, grandparents...  It's easy to love these people because they love us too.

Then I asked, "Has anyone ever been mean to you, or said something that hurt your feelings?  What about people who treat us badly or hurt us? Do we love them?"  No, that's hard to do.  Should we really be expected to love our enemies?

One day, when Jesus was teaching, He said some things that really surprised his listeners.  "You have heard that you should love your neighbors and hate your enemies," Jesus said.  "But I say love your enemies, and if someone does mean and hateful things to you, pray for them."

Love our enemies?  That seems backwards.  It's the opposite of what we want to do.  Exactly.

Then we read a wonderful book called Enemy Pie.  

I don't usually read a book cover to cover at Chapel, but this one is worth it.  Enemy Pie the story of a boy who was anticipating a perfect summer, only to have his plans ruined by Jeremy Ross - his worst enemy.  

The boy's father offered to help him get rid of his problem and his enemy by baking an Enemy Pie, a recipe so secret that none of the ingredients could be revealed.  The boy tried to guess what horrible things might be in the pie, but his father wouldn't say.  Still, the boy was sure that this magic pie would do unspeakable things to Jeremy Ross, like make his hair fall out or his breath stinky so he waited for the pie to be done.

After the pie (which smelled delicious - a curious thing for a pie that you would feed to an enemy) was baked and cooling, the boy's father revealed that there was one thing the boy had to do in order for the pie to work.  He would have to spend the entire day with his enemy, Jeremy Ross.  Even worse, he would have to be nice to him!  It sounded hard, but the boy decided he would do anything to get rid of his enemy.

Well, as you might guess, Jeremy Ross wasn't really so bad after all.  It turns out that the two boys had more in common than they thought.  By lunch, the boy started to think that Jeremy Ross might not be that bad after all.  By the time the boy's father had made them macaroni and cheese for dinner, the boy was beginning to think that they should just forget about the Enemy Pie.

Just as his father sliced and served the pie, the boy shouted out, "Don't eat it!" in an attempt to save Jeremy Ross' life.  Clearly, he had changed his mind.  But after seeing that his father had eaten his slice of pie and was none the worse for it, the relieved boy enjoy the pie with his new friend.

"As for Enemy Pie,"  he said, "I still don't know how to make it.  I still wonder if enemies really do hate it or if their hair falls out or their breath turns bad.  But I don't know if I'll ever get an answer, because I just lost my best enemy."

In case you don't have the recipe for Enemy Pie, Jesus offers another solution.  He tells us to love our enemies. 

Love our enemies?  That seems backwards.  It seems like the opposite.  If someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back.  If someone is mean, we want to say a mean word back to them.  But love them?  No way!

Well, it IS hard if we try to do it all by ourselves.  But we have a secret weapon inside of us that helps us to love our enemies - Jesus!  God loved us so much that he sent Jesus.  When we rely on him to do something that's hard, we can do it.  And we just might turn an enemy into a friend!

Learn to Play... Play to Learn

At Saint Andrews Preschool, we believe that children should “Learn to Play and Play to Learn.”  Why play?  Because play is children’s work!  Through play, children develop a real interest in and love for learning.  It’s the foundation for all future education and for life.   

Providing children with hands-on activities and allowing them to have time to be curious, to figure things out for themselves, and to play with a purpose is an approach to learning that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond.  In fact, researchers have found that it is the social skills that children learn in preschool that put them ahead of their peers in many aspects of later achievement. 

What kinds of things do we learn through play? 

Language Development   Dramatic play (pretending) improves and increases a child’s vocabulary.  Children are naturally curious about the world around them.  One of the best ways to learn more about something new is to pretend and play.  We enhance this learning by reading, reading, reading… one of the best things a parent or teacher can do for young children!  

Problem Solving   Playing with other children not only develops social skills but problem solving skills as well.  Learning to take turns, to cooperate, and to compromise are important skills for life.  In addition, play helps children understand cause and effect relationships and to learn self-help skills. 

Self-Regulation   This may be one of the biggest indicators of future success.  Children feel a true sense of accomplishment when they can manage themselves and contribute to the greater good.   The ability to control one’s impulses, to focus attention, and to work independently in a group setting are invaluable lessons learned best through play.


At Saint Andrews Preschool, we combine lots of play with child-friendly and developmentally appropriate academic learning… a winning combination!  Our students learn their ABCs and colors in addition to using their imaginations and learning how to be life-long learners.