Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime


Starting with the storytimes on January 9th, we made some changes to what was currently “Toddler Storytime”. Last year both the 9:30 and 10:30 sessions were for walkers up to 36 months. Now imagine a room with 35 walking kids in that age group, plus their parents. It’s like the shortest mosh pit you’ve ever seen. But just as dangerous as a full-sized one.

As many of you already know, I argued for adding a third storytime. Now, I still feel we could use another storytime for this age group, but what we did in the meantime addressed the real issue, which was too many big kids plowing over too many little kids. This gives me major anxiety, which is not conducive to a smooth storytime.

Here’s how it is now:

Tiny Tots at 9:30 for walkers up to 24 months

Toddler Storytime at 10:30 for 24 months up to 36 months

WHAT A DIFFERENCE it has made! Parents who stopped coming for safety reasons are back and happy. Because 1 year olds and 2 year olds are at different developmental stages I can adjust storytime to better fit their needs. Despite any grumbling I might have done about essentially planning 3 instead of 2 storytimes a week, it has been fabulous!

Of course, there are many parents who can only make one time and their child is not the right age. That is OK. I just ask the parents of the bigger kids coming to Tiny Tots to keep an extra close eye on their child to make sure s/he isn’t running over the little ones. And little ones in Toddler Storytime? Just be extra cautious since they are so small compared to those almost 3 year olds. So far, everyone has completely understood, agreed with the change, and are expressing their pleasure with the change. Can I get a Hallelujah? Hallelujah!

Here’s the meat of it:

Tiny Tots:

Hello Bubbles

Hands Are Clapping

Two Little Blackbirds

Book: Little Tug by Stephen Savage

Wheels on the Bus (wheels, wipers, horn (tap your nose to honk), doors, wheels again)

Itsy Bitsy Spider with spider hand puppet


We’re Going to Kentucky

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Book: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera (3 verses)

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash


Same three openers as Tiny Tots

Book: Meeow and the Little Chairs by Sebastien Braun

This is a Choo Choo Train

Book: Wheels on the Bus by Jeanne Willis (with several pages clipped together to shorten it)

Shakers: same as Tiny Tots

Book: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera (4 verses)

Goodbye Bubbles

Parent tip in both: Your children learn from watching you.  Sing and dance along so when they check in with you they’ll know what to do.  Silliness facilitates learning with toddlers.

Activity for both: Blocks and cars free play (if I didn’t love doing art with toddlers so much, every week would be free play because they LOVE IT SO MUCH)



Author: Kendra

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

10 thoughts on “Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime

  1. We had a similar problem last year with our toddler storytimes on Tuesday and Friday, which were supposed to be for 18 to 36 months – think 70 parents and kids, ages 0 to 4, in a room with a capacity of 85, plus 5 tables, assorted chairs, and strollers. Not to mention craft stuff. Oy. I ended up breaking our twice weekly toddler storytimes into two sessions on one day and a new/different program on Fridays. Our main problem with age limits/restrictions is that so many of our families have multiple children – baby, toddler, preschooler. We do have a baby storytime, for ages 0 to 18 months, but lots of older kids come with mom and baby. Parents (and my storytime provider) aren’t totally happy with this, and our attendance has dropped a bit although overall it’s still equal and growing, but I felt it had to be done.

    • Wow! Thats how many were in each of my storytimes today:70. Over capacity, actually. Oops. It is so crazy!
      That’s the break down we had until about a year ago. I couldn’t stand the 4 month olds getting stepped on by the 18 month olds. So we changed to babies 0-12months (prewalkers), and now this new split with ones and twos. So 3 storytimes for 0-3. We have the same issue with older sibs. In baby time I ask the older kids to sit next to mom and ask mom to enforce that for safety reasons. If the older sub is too rowdy I talk to mom after about it. The best solution so far had been giving older sib a baby of their own to do the rhymes with. Anyway, for the moment everyone seems happy with this arrangement. Thanks for your comment!

  2. How big is your library’s service population? Just curious. Our town is 10,000, but we have a service pop. of 23,000. 70 is the high end for us – usually the most popular storytimes – toddlers and babies – averaged around 50. Now that we’ve split them up, they’re closer to 30.

    • We have 11 branches serving about 500,000. Our library is the main down town branch of the area. Our district service area is really spread out so I’d say our downtown branch serves… 100,000? We only get high attendance for our prek programs so think there’s a high volume of new parents living downtown and when their kids get older the move to the burbs.
      Those are awesome numbers for your population!

      • Awww, thanks. My sort of colleague from the school district is actually the one who does baby and toddler storytime – she’s been in the area for years and everyone knows “Miss Pattie”. I do the preschool program and my numbers have always been smaller, around 25-35, and a lot of that is people coming from surrounding towns, now that we have 4K five days a week.

  3. Hi, I just wanted to chime in here and say that I just found your blog and I love it! I have been doing programs for years, but we just added baby storytime. Anyhoo, I can’t thank you enough for posting all that you do. Here is a request! The next time you do Merry Go Round can you share it with us? I just can’t seem to find a video and the song sounds like it would be so much fun…but I need to see someone do it first.

  4. I was wondering where you purchased that big bucket of cars and other toy vehicles. I’m getting ready to add a “Stay and Play” element after our story times and think these would be a big hit! I tried looking for them on amazon but had no luck. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s