By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
On Friday, March 1, an abundance of giggles could be heard from the. There were games, a story time, and even painting. For parents, it was a slight break from the normal chaos their children would whip up at home. For the kids, it was a great way to be entertained and meet new friends. It was all part of a playgroup for toddler to preschool age children hosted by the Needham Library.
"Before we begin, we should sing the ‘Bippity Song,’” said Nathalia Hernandez, the playgroup facilitator. "Bippity, boppity, bumble bee / Can you say your name for me?" she sang, clapping along to the beat. Each child took their turn to introduce themselves to the group. Hernandez took the time to make sure each child, even if they were too shy to share their name with the group themselves, was introduced.
After each child was introduced to the group, Hernandez launched into some songs for the children to sing along together, adding in some jam-packed dance moves to get the restless kids moving. Starting with "The More We Get Together Song,” she soon moved on to the "Twinkle, Twinkle" song.
"Ok, our arms have moved, and our fingers. Now it's time for our legs," said Hernandez. "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes." The group moved through the motions of the beloved song. "So you guys think we can go a little faster?" Hernandez asked. The group of children agreed. They did the routine again, this time a bit faster. "I have a feeling some of my friends can do it really, really fast." Once again, the group did the routine, even faster than they had before.
Even after three renditions of the popular song, the children were still up for more songs. Hernandez led them in singing "If You’re Happy and You Know It.” After finishing the song, Hernandez brought out a stretchy rainbow band. Each child took a place, holding on to a portion of the rainbow rope. The children then began a performance of "Row, row, row your boat." "And remember, if you see a crocodile," said Hernandez, "Don't forget to scream!" The children reacted accordingly.
With the song portion of the playgroup finished, many of the children knowingly gathered and sat at the front of the room for book time. "Can you see the pictures?" Hernandez asked the children. The book for this week was "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen. Some of the children had read the book before, and were ready to hear it again. The children slapped their knees as a sound effect to go with the book as its characters made their way through the forest.
To conclude the children's bear hunt, a craft focused on the outdoors. Organizers of the playgroup had set out paper, paint, and crayons, as well as tree branches with pine needles. Children slapped tree branch on paper and used sticks to scribble paint onto the paper. All of the children created a unique masterpiece.
There was one final song to sing: “The Goodbye Song." The children got back into a circle and took turns bidding each other farewell for the week. "Goodbye Rosie, Goodbye Rosie, we're glad you came today," all the children said to the youngest member of the playgroup.
Parents left with their children, happy not only for an educational playtime, but also because their kids had expended some of their boundless energy to make for a slightly less hectic afternoon.