Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Toddler Storytime: Dogs and Discovery


Themes are not my favorite thing in the world. It’s always so frustrating when that perfect book doesn’t come in on time for the colors themed week or you get a bunch of books on one topic and don’t really love any of them. It isn’t always the most organized way to go, but I prefer to put a ton of great toddler books on a variety of topics and find common threads among them (many times it’s just librarians picks and no one cares one bit, honestly). Today I was in the mood to read Clip Clop by Nicola Smee. I also had Where’s Spot? on my shelf and thought “Dogs!’. Where’s Spot? is also a discovery, peek-a-boo type book so we played a scarf peek-a-boo game and our activity was all about discovery.

Our sort of craft “policy” in my library is to do only open ended art activities. For toddlers, the most “art” I ever really do is give them daubers and paper or finger paint. But I do like to do a lot of open ended activities like this one. I hid flat-ish plastic objects in trays of rice so they could dig around for things, sort items out of the rice trays in to clean trays, or just finger paint in the rice. Every kid did something different, but the best part was how much the parents talked to the kids about what they were doing. I heard lots of “Oh, you found an apple!” or “Looks like something red. It’s a round button!” And everyone wanted to do it at home. Just EXACTLY what we want them to do!

Here’s the before and after on one part of a table. Things “hidden” on the red tray and things uncovered on the yellow tray. Lots of fun and it just requires a vacuum for clean up. I’ll even save the rice for future sessions so it’s cheap, too.

Author: Kendra

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

2 thoughts on “Toddler Storytime: Dogs and Discovery

  1. Totally agree about the restrictions of insisting on a themed story time. Often times, I will have a few activities/songs that relate to my first book, then move on to other activities/songs that fit more with my second book. It gives me a lot more freedom to use the books and activities that I love!

    I just bought foam letters; I’m looking forward to trying your rice trays with them. I’ll add some other items for variety. Do you give the parents any warnings about the small objects, or hasn’t that been a problem?

    • Foam letters would be great for this! The items I put in the trays are all big enough that I’m not afraid of choking. And if they “taste” them its ok- I’ll just wash them after. Not a single kid put them in their mouths amazingly. They were too busy scooping and piling I think. Anyway, I did tell parents they would want to keep an eye on the rice but I was thinking more in terms of throwing and pocketing (not so much fun when they get home) rather than eating.
      Let me know how it goes!!

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