Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Row Your Boat with Puppets

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This is an activity I do a LOT in toddler storytime. They always love it and its easy to adjust the length by adding animals if they’re begging for more or leaving some out if they’ve had enough.

The credit for this idea goes to Steven E over at Beyond the Book Storytimes, although I’m not sure it’s actually on his blog. I was lucky enough to go to his presentation about puppets in storytime at the Oregon Library Association conference in 2008 and this was a simple puppet activity he talked about. Since I was just getting in to using props that weren’t flannels this was just my speed.

Here’s the rhyme (on the rhyme page and I’ve mentioned it in other posts, too):

Row, row, row your boat

Row it all around

If you see a ______

Make a ______ sound

Now, you can’t just have these puppets sitting on your lap or the floor, or even the table, because we all know toddlers are quite grabby. I use finger puppets and keep them in this bin like so:

The bin is small enough to hold standing up so the puppets are out of arms reach (these toddlers are REALLY grabby) while I pull out the puppets as we get to that third line. with bigger puppets I use a black garbage bag (so glamorous, I know!) and leave it on the table while I pull out the animals. One of these days I’ll get myself a really cool, big sturdy bag, but this works great for now.

This activity can be used for any animal theme (or when you’re not doing a theme, of course). I like to include an animal in the bin which also occurs in the story I just read.  Then when I pull that animal out I might say “Wow, it’s a bear! Just like the one in the story!”

My friends all ready for their show:

The more I think about this activity, the more appropriate it seems for a flannel board! Just die cut some random felt animals and put them up on the flannel board as you get to the third line instead of pulling puppets out of a bag or bin. Maybe I’ll make that adaptation and post it next time…

Ok! Short and sweet, just the way I (and toddlers) like it.

Sharon has the round-up this week at Rain Makes Applesauce. Also check out the new Flannel Friday website! Woo hoo! Lots of great info there so you should bookmark it for quick access! And of course you can connect with other Flannel Friday-ers on twitter by searching #flannelfriday.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all you fabulous moms (and expecting moms) out there (including mine-love you, Mom)!

Author: Kendra

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

One thought on “Row Your Boat with Puppets

  1. You’re amazing, my daughter! I’m gonna share this one with my preschool teachers.

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