Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Elves, Bells and Reindeers

Gerda and the Reindeer
Edmund Dulac, 1911
Last year I offered a holiday lapsit program for toddlers. The client preferred to keep away from all things Santa and so I designed an Elves, Bells and Reindeers time for the children. I added a special touch by purchasing some small bells and red ribbon from the Michael’s craft store and making personal bell necklaces for all of the children. It was a huge hit!

Below are the fingerplays, songs and story stretchers I shared. They are found all over the web with no attribution; feel free to use them in your programs. I hope they will add some fun to your holiday programs!


Five Little Bells

Five little bells hanging in a row. (hold up 5 fingers)
The first one said, "Ring me slow." (move thumb slowly)
The second one said, "Ring me fast." (wiggle index finger)
The third one said, "Ring me last." (move middle finger)
The fourth one said, "I'm like a chime." (move ring finger)
The fifth one said, "Ring us all. It's holiday time!" (wiggle all 5 fingers)

Five Little Reindeer
I used a flannel board and felt reindeer to do the counting rhymes with the children.

Five little reindeer playing in the snow.
The first one said, "Let’s go and go and go!"
The second one said, "I see snowflakes in the air."
The third one said, "The elves won’t care.
The fourth one said, "Aren’t holiday’s fun!"
The fifth one said, "Let’s run and run and run!"

Five Little Elves

Five little elves jumping on the sleigh, (move hand up and down)
One jumped off and ran away. (move hand over)
Mama called Frosty and Frosty said (hand to ear)
"No more elves jumping on the sleigh." (shake finger)

Continue song with four, three, two and one elf.
No more elves jumping on the sleigh,
They all jumped off and ran away.


Reindeer Pokey (Sung to: "The Hokey Pokey")

You put your antlers in. You put your antlers out.
You put you antlers in and you shake them all about.
You do the Reindeer Pokey and you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

You put your hooves in....
You put your red nose in....
You put your fluffy tail in...
You put your reindeer body in...


There's A Little Elf (Sung to: "If You're Happy & You Know It")

There's a little elf sitting on my nose,
There's a little elf sitting on my nose.
He is sitting on my nose,
Then off away he goes.
Now there's no little elf on my nose.

There's a little elf sitting on my knee,
There's a little elf sitting on my knee.
He is sitting on my knee,
Just watch and he will flee.
Now there's no little elf on my knee.

There's a little elf sitting on my head,
There's a little elf  sitting on my head.
He is sitting on my head,
Then away he goes to bed.
Now there's no little elf on my head.

Jingle Bells

We marched around while singing this song and jingling our new bell necklaces.

Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go, laughing all the way
Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.
Oh! what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way;
Oh! what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.


Paper Plate Elves

Karen Chace 2013 ©
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Horse

Ivan and the Chestnut Horse
Edmund Dulac, 1919
The Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 31, 2014. This year they honor the Year of the Horse.
 “The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

~ Each day of the fifteen-day celebration has its own traditions, such as visiting in-laws or staying home to welcome good fortune.
~ Fireworks displays during Chinese New Year stem from a custom of lighting bamboo stalks on fire to ward off evil spirits.
~ In China, families gather together for meals, especially for a feast on New Year's Eve.
~ The Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival, celebrated at night with displays and parades of painted lanterns.
~ The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Beautiful dragons made of paper, silk and bamboo are held overhead, and appear to dance as they make their way along the parade routes.

~ In China, the public holiday lasts three days, but celebrations take place over the entire 15 day period.
  • Horses were domesticated by humans about 3500 B.C.
  • Horses can sleep standing up.
  • Horses can’t burp.
  • Horses can live to over 30 years old.
  • A horse’s age can be determined by his teeth.
  • Horses are herbivores.
  • Arabian horses have one less vertebrae than other horses.

The above information was found at the following sites:


A small sampling of stories to help you gallop into the New Year.

Horse Cursed by the Sun – South Africa

Ivan and the Chestnut Horse - Russian
The Black Horse - Ireland

The Dun Horse – Russia

The Ebony Horse – Persia

The Enchanted Horse – Persia

The Flaming Horse: The Story of a Country Where the Sun Never Shines -Czechoslovak Folktale

The Fox and the Horse – Grimm/Germany

The Girl With the Horse’s Head - China

The Ghost Stallion - Yinnuwok/Native American

The Horse’s Revenge

The Kelpie of Loch Garve - Scotland

The Magic Horse – Iran

The Mosquito and the Horse - Estonia

The Princess and the Glass Mountain – Czechoslovakia

The Swift Blue One – Native American

The Tale of the Wind Horse – Choctaw/Native American

White Horse – Manitoba Ghost Story from the Cree Tribe

Horse Cursed by the Sun – South Africa

Storybug.net: Dragons - Mythical, Mystical, Magical Creatures! – Here is a previous blog post filled with dragon tails, curriculum, crafts and more to augment your Chinese New Year celebration.


Below are two previous blog posts I wrote for The Year of the Tiger and the Year of the Rat. You will find useful background information to augment your Chinese New Year programs.

Year of the Tiger

Gung Hay Fat Choy


Horses: Myths, Legends, Folktales and Ancient Stories by Pat Perrin
“These horse stories have been collected from great storytellers and edited to replace obsolete words, simplify sentences, and clarify meaning--16 fabulous tales, 4 extra spreads, and 16 charming illustrations.

Apples4theTeacher -  Recommended books for the Chinese New Year.


About.Com – Clothespin Horse Craft

About. Com: Pinecone Pony

Danielle’s Place

DLTK’s Craft for Kids – Toilet Paper Roll Horse

Kidspot – Hobby Horse

First Pallette.com – Chinese Paper Lantern

First Pallette.com – Chinese Dragon Mask


Horse Lesson Plan Ideas for Pre-K Teachers

 PBS -  Creating the Perfect Horse – Grades 9 – 12
“Students use a problem-based approach to explore the possibility that the qualities of different horse breeds — strength, speed, agility, stamina, beauty, intelligence, disposition — could be incorporated to create the “perfect horse…”

The Year of the Horse – A number of lesson plans from The American International School of Monrovia, Liberia.


Horse Quotations and What They May Mean


NancyMusic.com Cute song and fingerplay for the Chinese New Year.

Karen Chace 2013 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Slow and Steady: Stor e Telling July August 2011

Tortoise and Hare
from Children's Illustrations, 1880
I have penned the Stor E Telling column since January of 2002 and the articles from 2002-2006 are the publications page of my website found here http://tinyurl.com/llnn47y . I will be adding the columns from 2007 to 2012 to that page as well. However, I am in the process of checking what link URL's have changed or are now defunct. It is a time consuming process so I am taking the “slow and steady” approach via Aesop and will post the individual columns on my blog for now.

I will not be adding current columns until the following year, so if you want immediate access to the newest websites, consider becoming a member of the National Storytelling Network.Please feel free to comment on the blog and let me know if you find this useful.


To complement the theme of this issue I offer you these six links below.

LGBT Themes in Chinese Mythology – Interesting article on Wikipedia with other links to various resources.

Sleeping Beauty, Indeed & Other Lesbian Fairytales
by JoSelle Vandrhooft
. This  link will lead you to an interesting and helpful review of the above book.  http://tinyurl.com/6amhhpb

The World History of Gay Love – Arabian Folktales Six folktales from the famous Islamic poet, Abu Nuwas. http://tinyurl.com/4uzrybh

Gay Art and History - No One Told Us Hercules Was Gay“History is written by the victors. They choose what will be remembered, and what covered up. So it has been with male eros…” This begins an interesting article on the history and art of gay love throughout time.

Story-lovers.com – As always, Jackie Baldwin shares some offerings on the subject.

Summer surrounds us here in the United States and after a long, harsh winter we are grateful for the warmth of the sun.

Summer Legends by Rudolph Baumbach, Translated by Helen B. Dole, c.1888. Twenty-two legends to celebrate the season including The Legend of the Daisy, The Clover Leaf, and more.

Creation of Summer and Winter – An Acoma Legend

How Glooskap Found the Summer

How the Summer Birds Came – Zuni Folktale – This story is in part of a collection of Zuni folktales. You may find it on page 65 of the text.

Children love pourquoi and animal stories. Here are two sites filled with fun for your summer programs.

Fairy Tales from Brazil: How and Why Tales from Brazilian Folk-Lore by Elsie Spicer Eells c. 1917.  Eighteen folktales that will help you answer many age old questions Why the Bananas Belong to the Monkeys, Why the Sea Moans and more that will satisfy the most inquisitive story listener.

West African Folk-Tales by W.H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair – Children love animal and Anansi stories. This book will help add some new tales to your repertoire. Please note that this is a downloadable pdf file and will require that you open the file to access the stories. http://tinyurl.com/48krhp7

Storybug.net – Two blog post from June and July 2010. The first is filled with tales about bees, birds and flowers, along with crafts and curriculum. The second has stories and more to celebrate National Watermelon Day on August 3.

National Lighthouse Day is August 7. Here are some stories of those who have kept the beacons burning bright through the years.

Green Lantern – A Michigan Ghost Storyhttp://tinyurl.com/62ed64v

Mariner’s Museum – This site is full of information about women of the sea. It also includes three tales about three women who served in what was known then as a male occupation.

The three sites below offer snippets of stories and information that will help you research the tales to shed more light on the legends...pun intended.

Tales and Legends – Seven short stories about lighthouses.

Haunted Lighthouses, Legends and Lore

Legends and Hauntings of Oregon Coast Lighthouses

And if you missed any of the previous “Slow and Steady…” blog posts here are the links to the series so far.

January February 2007
March April 2007

January February 2008
March April 2008
May June 2008

January February 2009
May June 2009
July August 2009
September October 2009
November December 2009

January February 2010
April May 2010


April May 2011

 Karen Chace 2013 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at storybug@aol.com. Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.