Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy


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Songs and Lyrics, Oh My!

By now, you should all know I love to sing, even if it’s not always so great. The majority of every one of my storytimes is singing. I can’t help it, it just has to happen that way for storytime to work. I feel good, grown ups feel good, the kids definitely feel good so it’s a total win situation.

Anyway, I’ve had some requests for tunes and lyrics to various songs used in storytime. May I humbly direct you to my Rhymes page? There I have written out the words to more than 60 rhymes and songs and have recorded myself singing several of them.  I’m working really hard to get them all recorded but for now I’ve picked the ones with the trickiest tunes.

The newest members of the recorded song family are:

Hi, Hello, and How Are You?

The Elevator Song (Jbrary has also done this one)

Wake Up! Quiet and Loud song. This probably has a real name, but I call it the wake up song. VERY popular in storytime.

Hello and Goodbye Bubbles 

Wake Up Toes

Bouncing, Bouncing

Let me know if you need the tunes to anything else and I’ll get on it, asap. In the meantime, check out Jbrary and KCLS Tell Me a Story for visuals to go with the sound (I’m too lazy to get out of my pjs to do a video, sorry).

And just because. Yes, yes, I do.

 

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My Storytime for 1 year olds

It’s been almost a year since we created a one year old storytime.

To recap: Before, our toddler storytimes were for walkers up to 3 years. And the room was at capacity (66, but usually ended up at about 70). So not only were there a lot of people crammed into a room, the size difference in the children made everyone crazy. They were constantly falling on top of each other, stepping on each other, the big kids knocking over the little ones and the little ones freaking out about so many big kids. It was kind of like this but not quite as cute and furry.

Something had to give so we split the ages. 1 year olds and 2 year olds (though we don’t card so if parents are comfortable with their little guy being with a bigger guy, that’s fine!).

It is working beautifully and I have learned a few things about the difference between a storytime for ones and a storytime for twos. When we first made the change I kept the content basically the same with just one less book for the ones. It was fine, but I knew it could be better and there really are some significant differences between a 13 month old and a 25 month old. So, here’s what my one year old storytime looks like today. It’s more of a modified version of Baby Storytime rather than Toddler Storytime and it works a lot better that way. For me it’s all about the kinds of rhymes, songs, and books, rather than how many are happening in each storytime.

Openers:

Hello Bubbles

Hi, Hello and How Are You? with the ukelele, we wave for the first verse, stomp for the second and clap for the third.

This is Big

These are the same for ones and twos. I feel it helps their transition to the older group to hear the same songs.

Book: I always have a few options on my table so I pick a meatier one for the first book because my second and final book will be sung. Examples: Jazz Baby by Wheeler, I Went Walking by Williams, Peek-A-Moo (or Zoo) by Cimarusti, Barnyard Banter by Fleming

Rhyme or Song: Usually something done seated like Giddyap, Giddyap, If You’re Happy and You Know It, or Ram Sam Sam

Rhyme or Song: Usually something a little more raucous or standing up. Head. Shoulders, Knees and Toes, The Elevator Song, or Go In and Out the Window.

Stand Up Song: Now we stand up for sure. Thanks to Anna, all my groups are now addicted to Fruit Salad so I like to work it in somewhere. The Merry Go Round song is popular as well (and works with them all on the parachute). I let grown ups know they can hold their children for these songs or just follow along with me and their children will learn the movements as they get older.

Activity/Prop: Shakers, Scarves, Parachute, Flannel Sets. I either do 3 songs with the scarves or parachute, 1-2 with shakers, or one flannel rhyme like 3 Little Ducks, 3 Little Monkeys, etc.

Rhyme: This is Big

Closing Book: This is always a sing along book, usually Jane Cabrera because I love her and so do they. I pick 2-3 verse to sing each week and change the book each month.

Explain after storytime activity

Goodbye Bubbles

Activity: Something sensory, artsy, or play centered and very open ended.


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Tiny Tots and Toddlers: Going Digital

Got brave and decided to introduce some technology in storytime last week. For toddlers. One year olds and two year olds. For those of you gasping, (thanks Anna and Sara for the gif lessons-it’s super addictive) just hold on to your hats and let me explain WHY I made this decision:

First, I love this information sheet from the Fred Rogers Center titled “Advice for Parents of Young Children in the Digital Age” and wish every parent read it. We KNOW parents are letting their one year olds watch TV and play with their iPads. They will expose their kids to screens. Why not give them tips for using their media tools appropriately with their children? We do this with books already. We are not likely to suggest Weslandia to a mom of a 12 month old, but instead steer her towards some of our favorite board books, maybe some lift the flaps, or Karen Katz. We wouldn’t tell her Weslandia is bad for her child, just that it’s not written with her child in mind. Why should apps and dvd’s be any different? They are are going to check them out, why shouldn’t we at least steer them towards the ones which are the most appropriate for their child? Storytime gives us an excellent opportunity to do this! We have a captive audience who expects us to give them early literacy tips already.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be advocating for parents to let their tiny ones spend MORE time on the screen. I’m simply hoping to model some ways to share digital media with their children in way which may be beneficial to them. This passage from a NAEYC publication pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say:

“For infants and toddlers, responsive interactions between adults and children are essential to early brain development and to cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and linguistic development. NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center join the public health community in discouraging the use of screen media for children under the age of 2 in early childhood programs.  Recognizing that there may be appropriate uses of technology for infants and toddlers in some contexts (for example, viewing digital photos, participating in Skype interactions with loved ones, co-viewing e-books, and engaging with some interactive apps), educators should limit the amount of screen time and, as with all other experiences and activities with infants and toddlers, ensure that any use of technology and media serves as away to strengthen adult-child relationships.”
So there you have it. As an “educator” in this context, I’m certainly limiting their screen time use-the book is only 3 minutes for goodness sake-but am also acknowledging that co-viewing a Tumblebook may strengthen a parent’s relationship with their child as well as their relationship with me. Just like a regular old print book would. Plus, this way, when there are 70 people crammed in one room they can all see the pictures a lot better than with the smaller version of the book.
*This just in from Cen at Little eLit
Now for the logisitics:
After my normal introduction and opening songs my volunteer dimmed the lights. I told parents what we were about to do: “Today we are going to read a digital book together and I’m asking you to be even more participative than usual. Why? Because while you should certainly limit your child’s screen time, when you do find yourself and your child in front of a screen the experience should be interactive between you and the child and the screen. So, if you decide to read a book online together at home, have just as much fun with it as you would in storytime. It’s important that children view screens WITH you, not alone, so that their experience will be more valuable.”
Knowing me, I did NOT say it so eloquently, but that’s what I had “rehearsed” to say. And was met with about 30 head nods and looks of “oh, huh, ok”.
The first storytime I just let the book run on auto. It was WAY faster than I liked so for the second storytime I put it on manual so we could really take our time stretching and doing the motions along with the dog. Let me tell you, I have NEVER seen these grown ups get so in to a book. Maybe it was the dark, maybe it was my speech, I don’t know, but the kids and grown ups were having a great time.
The book was Stretch by Doreen Cronin. Here’s the screen I had up on pause while we did our opening rhymes.

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Reach for that apple! Yum!

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After the book was over I invited parents to ask me about Tumblebooks after storytime (added bonus is getting the word out about a database!) and moved on to our next activity, which was Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.

Aside from the digital book, storytime went on as usual, ending with this fabulous, no mess, finger painting activity. Finger paint in a ziploc baggy stuck to the windows. They squished, wrote, and talked to their parents for a very long time with those bags.

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So, I count that a huge success (got a lot of positive parent feedback as well) and hope to repeat it monthly. Next is figuring out the best way to get a flannel board up there…


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Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime: Rhythm

It was all about music and rhythm in this week’s storytimes.

The first five activities were done with both groups. After that I’ve noted which activity went with each group. You will notice the Toddler group had an extra book and songs were shifted a little. The older kids can stay with me for a little longer than the one year olds so I could squeeze in that extra song book just fine.

Hello Bubbles

Hands Are Clapping (Hands, Feet, Bodies wiggling)

Two Little Blackbirds (This week they were sitting on a cloud being quiet and loud. I didn’t like ending on loud, so with the help of a co-worker we made it blackbirds sitting in a loft, one named loud and one named soft!)

Book: Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Cover Art for Jazz baby

Jump Like a Frog

Tiny Tots: If You’re Happy and You Know It (clap, stomp, tickle)

Tiny Tots: Itsy Bitsy Spider by Annie Kubler

Cover Art for Itsy bitsy spider

Toddlers: Hush Little Baby by Marla Frazee

Cover Art for Hush, little baby : a folk song with pictures

Toddlers: If You’re Happy and You Know It (clap, stomp, tickle)

Toddlers: Itsy Bitsy Spider by Annie Kubler

Both: Shakers: We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Reaching For The Stars!

Both: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Jane Cabrera

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: Musical Instruments with Dance Party music playing

Parent message: At this age we’re really working on social and emotional development, so not only will we play and have fun with the instruments, but we will practice sharing and not hitting our neighbors over the head. 😉


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Parachute Play: with babies and toddlers

parachute

With all the talk on the listservs recently about using the parachute in storytime, I thought I should blog about my experiences with the parachute. I’ve been using the parachute in storytime for less than a year but had a lot of help from fellow bloggers and tweeps when I was getting started. This is me paying it forward.

I’ve briefly mentioned using the parachute in other posts herehere and here, if you’d like to see how it fits in to storytime, but thought it might be helpful to have all the activities I have used in one spot. Plus, I’ll talk more about set-up and adjusting for group mood.

Parachute Set Up:

Set up for prewalkers: invite parents to lay their babies on their backs so they will be able to see the bright colors as we lift and lower the chute. It’s very typical to have a baby or two NOT interested in being out of mom’s lap. That’s OK. They can sit in a lap and enjoy the parachute just as much.

Set up for wobblers: allow babies to crawl or lay under the chute and let grown ups know it’s ok for them to crawl under the chute and grab their baby if he or she is in distress, or for any reason at all. Alternatively, you can place wobblers on TOP of the parachute and ask grown ups to stand, pulling the side of the parachute up around the baby pile in the middle. This provides a barrier so if they stand up they will fall back on the soft wall of the parachute, not on the hard ground. This set up makes it possible to take the babies for a ride on the parachute. If you’d rather they not go for a ride you can still sings songs with babies crawling and walking on top of the parachute.

Set up for toddlers: With a small group you can do any of the same set ups mentioned previously. With a very large group I feel it is safer, and easier to manage, if children are on top of the chute. Ask grown ups to scoot back and spread the chute in the middle of the floor. This usually requires temporarily re-locating toddlers so I usually ask grownups to grab their children while we are spreading out the chute. I just move any stragglers myself. Once the chute is laid out, release the toddlers!

Modifications:

Any of the following songs and rhymes can be done with any age group, really, just judge your audience for how much they can handle. If there are children who seem nervous or you know have never experienced a parachute before you might try these adjustments:

-Ask parents to hold the chute high enough that adults can maintain eye contact with their child. While the chute is up you can ripple it gently while singing.  You will only want to do one, maybe two short songs this way as grown up arms will get tired fast. This works especially well for babies on their backs.

-Put kids on top of the chute. This is the easiest way to put nervous children at ease. This way they can walk or crawl back to their adult if they get nervous, or stay sitting on a grown up’s lap without missing any of the action.

-Go Slow. And avoid any loud parts of songs like Ten Little Bubbles (just don’t slap the floor on POP!).

Content:

These are songs I have used successfully in storytime (more will be added as they are discovered/used). Click the links for lyrics (and to hear me singing some of them-for educational purposes only).

Come Under My Umbrella (Thanks, Mollie, for this suggestion. Just used it with 2 year olds with great success-lots of squeals!)

The Elevator Song (Thanks, Jbrary for introducing me to this show stopper)

Go In and Out the Window

If You’re Happy and You Know It (shake the chute, lift the chute, shake it fast, shake it slow, shake it high, low, etc.)

Itsy Bitsy Spider (also in Spanish on the Rhymes page) Thanks, Kelly, for reminding me of this one. I’ve yet to meet a baby who doesn’t like this song and most people know it so it’s perfect for the parachute.

Jack in the Box Props to my former co-worker, Elsbeth for discovering how great this would be with the parachute

Merry Go Round This is a great one for taking them for a ride. Pull up the sides and walk in a circle while singing.

Mix a Pancake  A chant instead of a rhyme, but fun to build suspense to the toss (lift).

Noble Duke of York Instead of lifting a child to this song, lift the chute. Gently shake in between lifts.

Peek a Boo Self explanatory-try to lift on “Peek-a-Boo” if possible for extra fun.

Popcorn As Amanda mentioned on Facebook, this is a fun one to put something on the chute with (I’ve used scarves, and she mentioned crumpled paper)

Pop Goes the Weasel Another one for taking a ride. Could also just walk in a circle holding the chute.

Rain is Falling Start with the chute as high as possible (you can even start standing) and bring it down slowly until it covers the kids.

Roly Poly I really like to do this with kids who are used to the chute as you can make some pretty forceful wind by lifting and lowering the chute fairly quickly. Just be careful not to knock over walkers with a gust! I usually ask them to sit for this song.

Row Boat, Row Boat This came from the twitterverse (Thanks, Anna!) and works so well with the chute!

Ten Little Bubbles They LOVE this song. Something about bubbles while standing on a parachute really does it for toddlers. I ask the parents to sing this one for me while I blow bubbles. I sing it with them the first time, get them started the second time, and then they’re on their own! They’ve yet to let me down. On the Pop, pop, pop line we slap the chute with our hands to make ripples and a great loud noise.

These are the Colors Over You If they are standing on top of the chute change this to “under you”. This is a great introduction song as it’s both soothing and to a familiar tune. We sing this song every time I bring out the chute.

Wheels on the Bus This is a good one for standing so you can actually go round and round, open and shut (in and out), swish, swish (side to side) but you could do most those sitting as well. The up and down verse works especially well. Thanks, again Anne for this idea!

Where is Baby? Another fun peek-a-boo song!

What are your favorite songs/activities for the parachute with the under 3’s?


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Toddler Storytime: Going to the Zoo

And we can stay all day!

Cover Art ImageCover Art ImageProduct Details

Outline:

Hello Bubbles

Hands Are Clapping (now that they know this song it works really well to bring everyone back after bubbles)

Two Little Blackbirds (regular, high, quiet)

Book: Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Jump Like a Frog

Parent Message: proof that repetition works, Edith could have led us in that rhyme! When we do things over and over again your children are more likely to learn them.

(This girl is seriously ADORABLE. She’s been coming long enough to know have this wiggler down pat so she stands by me and does it facing the group. She uses all my “extras” like when I say “Jump like a Frog”, I follow by saying “jump, jump, jump”. The parents don’t usually say that part, but Edith does! She’s 20 months.)

Puppets: We Went to the Zoo One Day (with Leo the Lion, an elephant, giraffe, monkey, and octopus-I left out the giraffe in the one year old class)

The Elephants at the Zoo 

Book: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Annie Kubler for Tiny Tots and From Head to Toe by Eric Carle for Toddlers

Note: the parents were super noisy in toddler time during From Head to Toe. To get their attention I asked the kids to find their grown up’s shoulders. We probably spent a minute finding shoulders but I could not have continued with the book without getting their attention back. Yeesh!

Shakers: We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

We’re Going Down to Portland (We’re Going to Kentucky), we’re going to the zoo, to look at all the animals and everything they do. (then finish w/ traditional words)

Book: Toddlers only Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Annie Kubler

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: drawing on the windows! Let’s strengthen those writing muscles and have some fun at the same time. If you’re child likes drawing on the walls (what child doesn’t?) you can put paper on your walls (or paint them with blackboard paint-comes in many colors), or use washable markers or tub crayons in bathtub.

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Tiny Tots Storytime: Holy 1 year olds, Batman!

There were 70!! people in storytime today. And we turned a couple of families away. 😦 Darn occupancy! I kind of think babies shouldn’t have to count in the head count just so we could squeeze a few more in. I just feel so bad turning them away!

New Welcome Spiel:

Good morning, my name is Kendra and welcome to Tiny Tots storytime, a storytime for one year olds. I know a few of you have older children and that is fine, just please keep an extra close eye on them so they don’t knock down the little guys. Safety is very important with this many people in the room. A couple of things before we start: please turn off your cell phones and save any grown up conversations until after storytime. Please sing along with me and you’ll get bonus points for dancing and moving along, too! It’s fun to see you guys being silly me! 🙂

Hello Bubbles

Hands Are Clapping

Two Little Blackbirds (regular, on our shoulders, quiet)

Book: Wake Up, Me! by Marni McGee

Cover Art for Wake up, me!

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Penny Pointers

Book: Clap Hands by Helen Oxenbury (the updated versions are white, not yellow, FYI)

Cover Art for Clap hands

Parachute!

Practice shaking so the kids get used to being on top of the chute. Shake fast, slow, fast, slow until they all look comfortable and parents are with you.

These are the Colors Over You (only we said under today)

Ten Little Bubbles (we’ve done this before so parents really got in to it!)

Book: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jane Cabrera

Cover Art for Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Now I tell parents about the activity and ask them to start taking their kids of the chute while we sing the Goodbye Bubbles song. That way by the end of the Splish Splash the chute is off the floor so they can easily get to the activity tables. It works really well for me.

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: stamp art (and markers for extra doodling fun and to write names on artwork)

Check out these masterpieces!

stampart