Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Toddler Storytime: Bubbles!

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It’s been an hour since storytime ended and I’m still sweating. Yeah, probably TMI, but it should give you a good idea about how crazy it was. In a good way, of course. A photographer from our local paper was in the house taking pics of the storytime action, and while I thought it would make me extra nervous I forgot he was there. Again with the craziness. There were 68 bodies in the room.

While the kids are coming in to the room before storytime we have toys out in the middle of the room. At 10:30 when storytime starts, we turn on the “clean up” song (not even the slightest idea who it’s by as its on a CD not burned by me and only labeled “clean up”) to get all the toys back in the bin. They then go hide behind the cement post in the program room. I do my announcements…name, where they are, what we’re doing, participation REQUIRED, etc. and then we sing “Clap Everybody and Say Hello” by Kathy Reid-Naiman.

Today I followed that with Old McDonald using finger puppets. I just love getting attacked by hoards of toddlers so the finger puppets or puppets of some kind come out pretty much every week. They especially love it when there’s an elephant or lion or, my favorite, a giraffe (what does a giraffe day) is on the farm. Now for a book! Bath Time by David Bedford. And if you were paying attention, that’s the same one I read for the babies last week.  There’s a lot of crossover with the books I choose for baby and toddler time, especially when there is a big crowd of toddlers. A longer book is just out of the question.

After the book we did this rhyme (3 times to make sure everyone gets it-by the third time they are all with me):


Jump like a frog, stretch like a cat

Hop like a bunny, flap like a bat

Wiggle like a worm, slither like a snake

Now be a wet dog and shake, shake, shake!


Then I passed out shakers (or stood there trying to look helpful as the toddlers took over the shaker bin). We sang Going to Kentucky and then turned on this great intrumental piece labeled “freeze dance” (again, on that burned CD) where the kids shake with the music and when the music stops we freeze. It stays off for a long enough time for the suspense to totally slay these kids. So when the music comes back on it is usually accompanied with shrieks, giggles and wide eyes. Love it!

The hard part is getting the shakers back. I hardly ever get them all and really don’t care. And another book! Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O’Connell, which everyone should read and never discard from your library-the hardcover is out of print! This is a good one to do after an activity since it’s all noises. I just say loudly “Parents, you have to help me with this one by making the sounds I make.” and by the time we get to La La they are all watching the book or their grown ups.

We did Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes as our last rhyme. We do it twice slowly and a third time at super sonic speed and I tell parents they can tickle their little ones to make it extra exciting. Then I make my usual “joke” about how some kids went SO fast I didn’t even see them move. Ha. Ha. Maybe I need a new joke?

While I’m getting my CD ready to play Splish Splash by Bobby Darin we sing this rhyme-to the tune of Frere Jacques:


Good-bye Bubble, Good-bye Bubbles

Time to go, Time to go

I will help you, I will help you

With a blow, With a blow


Today we ended with a bubble wrap stomping activity.  I gave them bubble wrap and they stomp. Simple, but special. They loved it and everyone left with a smile on their face. The phorographer’s comment: “That was chaotic. You really have to love your job to do this, don’t you?” Yes, sir, and I DO!


Author: Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

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