We knew Mo Willems would bring in a lot of families so we were expecting a healthy group. Then we heard a local elementary school was promoting the event to their kindergarten classes because they’d just finished a Mo Willems unit. That’s when we knew it was going to be big.
Here’s the flyer I designed. And here’s the itinerary:
Book: Elephants Cannot Dance by Mo Willems
After the book I taught them “Dances of the Decades.” I looked up fad dances from the past 70 years and taught them to the kids. Then we performed the dance to a popular song from that decade. (I planned to start with the 1920s but there just wasn’t enough room to Charleston [there’s a kick!] and I didn’t think there’d be enough time to get through everything. So we started with the 1950s.)
Dance: The Hand Jive
Song: Willie and the Hand Jive by Johnny Otis
Dance: The Twist
Song: The Twist by Chubby Checker
Dance: The Hustle
Song: Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees
(This one was particularly fun!)
Dance: The Electric Slide
Song: Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths
Dance: The Macarena
Song: Macarena — Bayside Boys Remix by Los Del Rio
The kids had a blast and we worked up quite a sweat! Then I told them to teach me a current dance and they taught me how to dab. 😀
After our dancing, we read another book:
Book: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
I wanted to read a Mo Willems book that wasn’t as well known as Elephant & Piggie, Pigeon, or Knuffle Bunny. I think a couple of the kids had seen this one but most hadn’t so it was nice to introduce them to something new.
Song: Baby Shark
Baby shark do do do do do do (shark mouth with two fingers)
Baby shark do do do do do do
Baby shark do do do do do do
Mama Shark (shark mouth with hands connected at the wrists)
Daddy Shark (shark mouth with whole arms)
Grandma Shark (shark mouth like mama shark but with fists)
Shark attack (snap arms overhead)
Swim away (swimming motion with arms)
Safe at last (jazz hands)
Source: Adapted from Kindergarten Nation
This song has nothing to do with our theme but I wanted to break up our two books with something and I thought this was a funny song for any age child that might show up.
Book: The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
And back to a classic Mo character for our last book.
After we read that book everyone scattered to participate in the games and craft we had set up:
In honor of The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? we had a throw the cookie on the bullseye game:
We used masking tape to make the “board” on the floor.
I made the cookies using containers I bought at Dollar Tree. I printed cookie clip art onto card stock and taped the cookies to the tops of the containers (five for $1!). Easy peasy (and super cheap). And they got some good air!
Our other game was Pin the Bowtie on the Naked Mole Rat:
I drew our Naked Mole Rat using the book as my reference. Here’s our other children’s librarian demonstrating how our game is played:
I bought the blindfold at Dollar Tree (notice the chic leopard print pattern) and found a bow tie pattern online. I printed and cut out 50 bow ties. Each child put their name on their bow tie with crayons and colored it if they wished. We stuck a little tape on the back of the bow tie, turned each kid three times, and sent them toward the mole rat. Good fun! We had one kid do a complete right turn and pin it to the side wall. That got a good laugh from the crowd.
Last we had our craft:
A pigeon puppet! We set out the shapes and glue and kids taped the sticks on. Luckily, we had lots of parental help because there were so. many. kids!!
Here are a few pictures of the room set up:
I think my Piggy is a little portly …
Books for loan. This table was empty about two minutes after I finished the last story.
Chairs for the grown-ups.
So that was our Mo Willems party! Phew!! We ended up with 98 people (in a small conference room where I’m sure we were breaking some sort of fire code)!
I always get a little nervous before big events like this because you can never tell how it’s going to go but one of the moms gave me a really nice compliment and hearing that made me think it was quite successful!