Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Toddler Storytime: Movement


Ok, really every toddler storytime theme is movement. It’s the nature of the beast. But this one was really, really focused on movement. Which means with two back to back I needed a nap afterwards.

The great thing about doing it twice is I can immediately tweak anything I didn’t like in the first one. Oh, that didn’t work as well as I hoped. I’ll change it for the next one, which is… now!

We started as usual with Clean Up, then Clap Everybody and Say Hello.

Right in to a book with Stretch by Doreen Cronin.

Then, Jump Like a Frog action rhyme followed by another book in the first storytime, but followed by Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in the second one. It was just too soon for another book for that group.

We read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. Then, inspired by Steven over at Beyond the Book Storytimes, I extended that book with puppets. He did it with Brown Bear, and I thought, why not with this one, too? It was really fun because inadvertently we were learning the difference between “say” and “do”. Yes the duck “says” quack, but what does it “do?” Fascinating stuff. For the second group I wanted to add a little song element to this activity. So, using another one of Steven’s tricks, rather than just take the animal from the bag and ask what it does, I sang “Row, row, row your boat. Row it all around. If you see a _____ make a _____ sound.” After making the sound I asked “And what does a frog do? It jumps! Yes! Let’s all jump!” 


Since that was a long-ish activity we did some more moving to Jim Gill’s “Hands are for Clapping.” I like this song because it’s slower than other movement songs so it gives toddlers enough time to do the actions instead of just standing, staring at me in wonder.

I closed with Piggies by Audrey Wood (turns out this is a favorite for some toddlers) and they were glued to the book even after all the chaos of the rest of the session.

We sang Goodbye Bubbles, and chased bubbles around while playing Splish Splash and then we played with dancing ribbons, ribbon hula hoops and some shakers. It was a blast!

Author: Kendra

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

4 thoughts on “Toddler Storytime: Movement

  1. What is goodbye bubbles?! And do you blow real bubbles?!

    • Goodbye bubbles goes to frere jacques (apparently I like that tune)
      Goodbye bubbles, goodbye bubbles
      time to go, time to go
      I will help you, I will help you
      With a blow, with a blow

      And yes, real bubbles. I’ve always just used whatever kind of bubbles with a bubble wand, but here they have gymboree bubbles which are awesome! So after we sing the song I put on music and blow tons of bubbles for them to chase around. It’s the highlight of all storytimes for sure.

      • Also, check out my Rhymes page (top right corner) the bubbles song is there with lots others. And I’m trying to add to it regularly. 🙂

  2. Awesome! I may have to try it!

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