Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Toddler Storytime: Rhythm Sticks


Our district has a set of rhythm sticks (69-guess one left the circus in search of a better, unbagged life) and we’re borrowing them for the next couple of weeks. I’ve wanted to use them with toddlers for a while and finally got the chance! We’ll likely do it again next week, for our final storytime before break.

Here’s the outline (check the Rhymes page for words to songs, it’s finally been updated!):

Welcome Song: Hello Bubbles

Welcome with puppets: When Animals Get Up in the Morning

Song: Wake Up Toes

Book: This is the Way by Charles Fuge (this one I sang to the Mulberry Bush tune and it worked wonderfully)

Rhythm Sticks: I passed out the sticks, 2 per child and said the following to the parents before passing them out: “Each child will get a set of rhythm sticks. They will naturally start clicking them together, but then they will naturally start clacking them on other things, too, like your head. So, you will have to help them use the sticks properly. Please feel free to take them away if that’s what you feel is necessary. I want them to have the chance to play with something new, but we don’t want anyone to get hurt.” Parents were with me, nodding and calling their children to them to get ready. We had NO trouble AT ALL. It was a blast!

First, I gave the kids a minute to bang them together and for everyone to get situated. I asked them to tap them together slowly, quickly, up high, down low. Then we sang again to the tune of Mulberry Bush:

This is the way we tap our sticks, tap our sticks, tap our sticks

This is the way we tap our sticks so early in the morning!

This is the way we rub our sticks, rub our sticks, rub our sticks

This is the way we rub our sticks so early in the morning!

This is the way we tap our knees, tap our knees, tap our knees

This is the way we tap our knees so early in the morning!

We repeated this 3 times and by the third time they were pretty much all doing the actions with no trouble on their own (a couple found the hollow stools so went to drumming instead). AWESOME!

Parent message: Repetition is key to your child’s development. Did you notice that the first time hardly any of the kids were able to follow along with the actions, but by the third time, they were all with us? Repeating rhymes and songs over and over will make them more comfortable and confident with the words and actions in the songs so they’ll say them and do them on their own.

Parachute: If You’re Happy and You Know it shake the chute, lift it high, lift it low, shake it fast, etc.

Parachute: Peek-a-boo!

Book: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jane Cabrera (did two verses to settle everyone a little)

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash

Activity: Free Play with foam and hard plastic puzzle blocks (the plastic ones are from 1986, almost as old as me! and the kids still love them and they’re in great shape)



Author: Kendra

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

6 thoughts on “Toddler Storytime: Rhythm Sticks


  2. Pingback: Rhythm and Sounds | never shushed

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