I’d like to think the best part about being a children’s librarian is the level of rock star fame you achieve with three year olds—it does wonders for the ego—but really, the best part is witnessing a child’s curiosity be stoked by how cool and weird and awesome the world is. It’s important to me that children grow up knowing they are citizens of the world—citizens of a really big planet, populated by a whole lot of countries and people and creatures completely unlike those in the little bubble we’re raised in.
My travel series of story times were developed as a seven week course spanning the June & July summer months. It kept our weekly story time routines interesting; the travel theme provided a more unique summer-programming experience for those of us who can’t travel around the world for vacation, while maintaining the consistency of our weekly story time hours. To prevent information overload, we kept these weekly programs simple. It breaks down to just a taste of another culture, rather than a whole feast.
I couldn’t have done this without the assistance of the amazing blog Kid World Citizen, supplying endless ideas and resources–doing all this, but a thousand times more in-depth.
Storytime Around The World: Australia!
Take Home Brochure:
Books to Read:
Wombat Walkabout by Sophie Blackall is an extremely cute read, and a great segue into discussing the animals of the outback.
Appropriate for your youngest crowd, working with a rhyme scheme and simple counting.
Forewarning, it does include a bunch of adorable wombats being captured by a hungry dingo—but they do escape.
Who Ate All The Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont is such a fun interaction book for your youngest to your oldest story time kids.
Talking points can include kangaroos and their joeys, and how joeys ride around in their mothers pouches. Fun fact: marsupials are any mammal that use a pouch for their young.
The big discovery of who ate all the cookie dough will get a big laugh. Spoiler, he’s under Mama’s apron flap.
Playground by Nadia Wheatley isn’t exactly a picture book for ages 0-5, but it’s a great prop for a picture walk.
The book is about indigenous children of Australia and the way that they play. Discussing what children do in America (or wherever you live) versus what children did in the pre-European settlers time in Australia is a great connection to make.
We can highlight that all children play and that we’re not so different from children in other countries. What do you find similar and what is different? Great dialogue starter for story time discussion.
Songs, Rhymes & Activities
Australia is a continent that has one big country. It’s called Australia.
It is home to many dangerous and poisonous animals, like snakes and lizards and scary bugs–but also to many cute animals, like wombats and kangaroos. But don’t get TOO close to a kangaroo, they can kick!
In the Disney movie Finding Nemo, there are many references to the famous Sydney Opera House. Nemo and his friends were swimming around in Australia!
I will have photos available for these talking points on our smart board for the kids to see. All photo images come from the free photo site, Pixabay.
I also add a brief introduction to the country’s flag and compare it to our flag. This will be different with each continent, considering Australia’s just got the one. I surround my Kids Room with hanging flags from major countries throughout the seven week travel series. You can get a flag banner here at Amazon for cheap: Hanging Flag Banner.
Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, classic Australian song with lyrics from Aussie Kids
The inland saltwater crocodiles in Australia give us an opportunity to sing one of my favorite songs from JBrary: There Was A Crocodile!
Taste of Australia: ANZAC biscuits
ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Corps) biscuits got their name from their long shelf life when sent to soldiers overseas during WWII. I got the recipe and several other amazing Australia-themed ideas from Parents.com. If you’re an overachiever, you can make these at home and bring them in for your story time kids. Just remember: ALWAYS print out ingredients and provide a visible sheet for parents, so they can avoid allergic reactions.
Ingredients: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tablespoons of boiling water, 3/4 cup shredded coconut. Instructions: Mix all ingredients, form into balls and press slightly flat, bake in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.
Craft: Frilled Neck Lizards
I made the lizard bodies ahead of time with saved up toilet paper rolls. We cut bodies from a template before story time, then let the kids use marker and crayons to add color instead of paints (because that’s really messy.) Then we let them pick their cupcake holder and practice cutting/fine motor skills by clipping a small line into the cupcake holder, then sliding their lizard’s head into it. And voila—your very own Australian pet frilled-neck-lizard! Image and additional ideas from The Craft Train.
ECRR Reinforcement: Drawing what we learned in our Passports!
At the beginning of our seven week journey, the children made passports from this template from Satori Smiles. I downloaded the template, cut and stapled some blank pages together. I kept them in a bin and brought them out at the end of the story time so the children could find theirs or create one from scratch if this was their first week of the program.
Each week the kids got a sticker related to where we traveled (for Australia we had lizard stickers leftover from another craft.) They could also draw something related to the continent. Parents and caregivers helped by writing some fun facts and helped their kids practice writing their names. Printable Template Here