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Adventures in early literacy

Opener and Closer Dilemma: to change or not to change?


For toddler and baby storytime I like to use the same opening rhyme week after week. Really, there are three openers for each storytime and one closer. We are getting ready to start a new session and I’m debating whether to keep the same songs or change them up for something new. What do you do? Do you keep the same opening song forever and ever, or change it every now and then? I change the meat of the storytime a lot-usually doing a rhyme for a few weeks before replacing it for another one, etc. They are always rotating.

Current opening sequence for toddlers: (find words to songs on the Rhymes page)

Hello Bubbles

When Animals Get Up in the Morning (with puppets)

Wake Up Toes

Current for Babies:

Hello Bubbles

Penny Pointers

Noble Duke of York

Closer for all: Goodbye Bubbles

So far, I’m leaning towards keeping it the same for toddlers because I really think there will be a revolt if I take away the bubbles or puppets for the animal song. So maybe I could just change that 3rd song to keep things a little fresh, but also stick with that predictable routine we know toddlers love so much.

For babies I think it might be less important, what do you think?

There’s so much out there about the importance of repetition for babes and toddlers (really, everyone-I’m not ashamed to say how important routine and repetition is to me!), but also want parents to keep coming back and not get bored. I’m not a parent so have no idea whether I’d get bored with the same openers every week. I’m not really bored with them as a presenter so maybe I should just plug along?

That is the question: to change or not to change?


Author: Kendra

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

15 thoughts on “Opener and Closer Dilemma: to change or not to change?

  1. Personally, I think it’s nice to have repetition! The parents (and kids) know what’s to come and they are more likely to sing along. Like you said, maybe just change the 3rd one? Since it prob is less important to them. Also, I know I’ve asked before. But what song do you play when you do the Hello/Goodbye Bubbles. I want to start this!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I agree. I’m going to search for a new third song-maybe more of a transition-into-a-book kind of song. Ok, so for bubbles… Hello/Goodbye Bubbles is sung to the tune of Frere Jacques and it’s a “repeat after me song” (that’s what I say to the kids and parents). Hello Bubbles, Hello Bubbles, Come and land, Come and land, Right in the middle, right in the middle, Of my hand, of my hand. Goodbye bubbles, goodbye bubbles, time to go, time to go, I will help you, I will help you, with a blow, with a blow. Then after we sing goodbye bubbles I turn on Splish Splash by Bobby Darin and blow more bubbles. One of my former co-workers skipped singing goodbye bubbles and just turned on “Hey Hey Goodbye” and blew bubbles to it. I like giving them a last rhyme to learn, personally, and lots of parents have reported their kids “singing” it all around the house after storytime.

  2. I would only change the 3rd song if it was me. And I tend to changes things more to mix them up for myself than anything else.

    • I think you’re right. If I’m not sick of them, they probably aren’t, right? Now to choose a new third song… don’t have any ideas, do ya? 😉

  3. Kendra, I have been using the same 3 openers and the same 2 closers for almost 12 years ~ everything in between is different from week to week.

    I have never had a complaint about boredom but I have had some upset little ones and parents if I have forgotten to do any of them! LOL!

    I am personally needing something new lately but I think I am leaning towards a new version of the same opening song. I’m just not sure yet. :o{

    You could always try a change and see what kind of feedback you get. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I’ll be curious about how it all works out for you. :o)

    • That’s great! I’m kind of leaning towards that model. I’ve been doing the bubbles part in my storytimes wherever I’ve been for the last 4 years and I’m sure I’d suffer bodily harm if the bubbles went away. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I think repetition is important, but it’s also fun to change it up every once in awhile! We’ve been using an opening song called “Hands are Clapping” for the past year and the parents and kids really seem to enjoy it. I would personally try to change one of them. You can always change back 2 weeks in if you think they’re going to revolt 🙂

    • I’d like to know more about this Hands song. Could you post the tune/words/artist? Thanks!

      • It’s to the tune of a slower version of Skip to my Lou… if that makes sense. I can post a video of me (or one of my staff) actually singing it if it would help! I also introduce my movement before we sing each verse.

        Hands are clapping
        Clap, clap, clap
        Hands are clapping
        Clap, clap, clap
        Hands are clapping
        Clap, clap, clap
        Clap your hands, my darling

        Toes are tapping… Tap, tap, tap
        Fingers are wiggling… wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
        Eyes are hiding… peekaboo!

      • Oh that’s great! Totally makes sense and I’m stealing it. 🙂 thanks!

  5. Hello Kendra! I just found your blog through Mel’s Desk and I just want to say how awesome it is. I wish I worked with you! I love all of your rhymes and the details you provide. And I think I am totally going to steal your hello bubbles song. I am planning my next baby storytime session after having a break and was thinking of switching up my usual “Hi, Hello” simple opening rhyme and thanks to you I think I found it. Now I just need that nifty bubble blower. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for the link! I have another question…I love the parachute and last session I used it just for the final storytime and the parents and babies loved it. I am thinking about using it for the full 6 week session this time but wonder how it works for you when you don’t know how big (or small) your group will be from week to week?

    • That’s a great question! I’m fortunate to have 2 different sizes of parachute, a very small, and an average sized one (12 feet, I think?). I put them both on the table and when I have a small group for my early session we use the 6′ and for the bigger groups we use the 12′. We also have an enormous one that is used in our preschool programs, but it’s too big for baby time, I think. If you don’t have a really small parachute, a sheet or other big piece of fabric would work, though unless you have one laying around, buying a parachute might be cheaper!
      Another modification I’ve used is giving them scarves instead of the parachute when the room is just too full for the chute to feel safe. We do the same songs and rhymes, but with the scarves instead.
      How many do you usually get? I’ve done the small parachute with as few as 3 adults and the large with as many as 30 adults holding on (30 babes underneath).

  7. Pingback: Preschool storytime–Snow « LibrErin

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