Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Baby Storytimes Galore!

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Just like toddler storytime, I’m now doing baby storytime back to back every Thursday. It’s no problem for me because I LOVE those babies! The 9:30 session is fairly new so it’s about the perfect size: today was 16. A few more people would be fine, but small groups are more enjoyable for me (and I think the participants) because we can do activities with the parachute and rhymes that are hard do with a huge group (like Andy Pandy). Anyway, here’s the basic shake down for these two sessions. I’ll note things I did differently for the two groups-today’s 10:30 was 53.

Clean Up song! The early group did a great job strewing toys everywhere so the song was actually helpful this time. Yay!

Announcements and welcome: in the first group I’m all they’ve ever known so I just welcome them and give my name in case they’ve forgotten. In the larger group, this was the first baby storytime without our long time baby presenter so I had to say a little more. She used to model so to lighten things up and make it impossible for them not to like me, I cracked a joke. Of course I did! That’s what I do when I’m nervous as all get out. “Hi! I’m not Thia, obviously. I wish I looked like her! (don’t we all?) My name is Kendra and I’ll be taking over for Thia as she’s gotten a new job at a different library. I’m so excited to be hanging out with you and all your cute babies. It’s going to be a LOT of fun!” Then we jumped right in to…

If You’re Happy and You Know It (totally forgot to do this with the first group-oops!)

And then with a stuffed bear on my lap (didn’t ever used to do this, but it’s helpful for parents to see how to do the rhymes) we did Icky Bicky Soda Cracker (known to some as Acka Backa Soda Cracker-same rhyme, different made up words). One of the biggest things the 10:30 group may have to get used to is repeating the rhymes 3 times. I made sure to tell them how important repetition is and they seemed happy about that. But they still clapped after the first time through for every rhyme. Oh well!

We did more rhymes in an order I can’t remember at this point because the two storytimes are blurring together! Rock the Baby, These are Baby’s Fingers, Noble Duke of York, and Andy Pandy (this last one only with the 9:30 group since the 10:30 group is so big they can’t really get in a circle).

Then a Book!! Yes, a book! one of the best books in the world! Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton My favorite part is making parents snuff like a rhino. Oh the things they come up with.

Scarves!Where is Baby and Mix a Pancake

Parachute with the small group and the song These are the Colors Over You This is a great group exercise, just be sure to explain to parents that their baby can either be under the parachute or on their lap. Some babies really don’t like things on their heads and don’t like mom or dad to be out of view even for a second so I always make it clear that there are options for them.

While I’m on that topic… I think it’s really important to give parents modification options for all the rhymes. It doesn’t always work for every grown up to have baby on their lap facing toward the presenter so these are the options I suggest to people: 1) baby on criss cross lap facing presenter and other participants; 2) baby on straight legs bent at the knee facing toward presenter (this way moving your knees up and down will give baby a bounce); 3) baby on lap in either of those positions facing their grown up for good face to face time. Most people go with the traditional option 1, but there are always a few who pick the other two options. When doing bouncing and lifting rhymes I’m always sure to say with bigger babies that are heavy to lift the grown ups can move baby’s arms up and down, just bounce them, or lean them back.  I don’t want anyone, baby or grown up, to be injured to it’s important they know they don’t have to copy me exactly. And I do show them what the modifications look like.

Alright, now shakers in both groups. Did Shake My Sillies Out in group 1 and the Freeze Dance song for group 2.

For group one we did a couple more rhymes but it takes so much time to pass stuff out in group 2 we didn’t have time for more rhymes so went right to the book.

Another book! Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star by Kubler. I love her big song board books. There’s really nothing better for storytime than a book with a song. It just touches on everything early literacy, especially ones like this where grown ups will do the signs or at least traditional hand movements with the song/book. And this was the perfect calmer for the end of storytime.

Bubbles! to Splish, Splash as usual. Can you tell I love that song?

The big challenge for today’s storytime? In group 2 I had some chatty kathy’s who just wouldn’t stop. Here’s how I addressed the issue: first, since several parents around the room were talking I said “I need all the grown ups to sing this with me.”  That worked for most of the talkers, except two moms to my right. I went on hoping giving them a chance to shape up. No luck so I then said “Let me hear the grown ups give a big woof!” Obviously this was during Moo Baa La La La. Great parent participation, except from you know who. Then I just flat-out said “I would appreciate it if grown ups could hold their conversations until after storytime. That worked. For a minute. Finally, while doing the second scarf activity (neither mom was participating) I stared directly at them while saying the rhyme until one made eye contact. With body language I hinted she should say the rhyme and pick up the scarf. She rolled her eyes, but did start to participate. Sheesh! Afterwards I approached them and explained they always have plenty of time before and after storytime to chat and that it would be a big help to me if they could wait until after storytime to talk next time. They both apologized and said they would.  We’ll see.


Author: Kendra

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

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