Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy


Toddler Storytime: Babies and Apple Cider Playdough

Apparently everyone is over their colds and back to storytime. We were over capacity by 10 in each storytime and had to turn at least 4 families away. Bummer.

I HAD AN ACTUAL THEME TODAY YOU GUYS!!!!! Just felt like talking about babies. Maybe because I got to play with a couple of super adorable ones this weekend (thanks, friends!).

Babies Galore Outline:

Hello Bubbles

Hands are Clapping

Two Little Blackbirds

Book: Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee (LOVE THIS BOOK! Perfect for a full storytime as it keep the parents’ attention as well as the kids’.)

Cover Art Image

Have You Ever Seen a Baby?

Puppets: Row, Row Your Boat-this time we had to use the name for the babies of each kind of animal (chick, kitten, puppy, lamb, and piglet).

Parent Message: “Grownups, this is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary. Instead of calling a lamb a baby sheep, call it a lamb and give them a new word. Where is my Baby by Harriet Ziefert is a great book for sharing at home for this exact reason!” The book was available for them to check out and someone did. Yay!

Book (Toddler Storytime only): Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman I skipped a few pages since they were getting kind of antsy, but they seemed to really like it!

Cover Art Image


Shakeable You by the Imagination Movers (free dance and some followed along with the music and me)

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Book: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera

Cover Art Image

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: Playdough









Microwave Playdough Recipe:

1 c. water

1 c. flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 Tbsp cooking oil

1/2 cup salt

Food coloring, spices, glitter, or whatever you want to add to make it extra fun. We buy apple cider mix to add to ours occasionally. Smells so yummy!

Mix all ingredients together and microwave for about 2 minutes, then stir. Cook for 30 seconds more. Repeat until playdough is right consistency.

If you don’t have a microwave you can mix all the ingredients except the water and add boiling water (we do it in an electric tea kettle) to the mix. Stir it all up until it’s the right consistency.

Voila! Super easy, non-toxic, playdough.


Storytime in Action: Stand Up Rhymes

Your Valentine from me this year is another video! This shows three stand up rhymes we do pretty regularly. This was only the second time we’d done them. It works really well with a small group like this, but we’ve done them with very large groups as well and just have them spin in place or make several smaller circles with the parents around them. Lots of fun!


Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytimes: the show must go on

You know those times when something happens in storytime and you panic momentarily realizing there’s not a damn thing you can do but keep going? That happened so many times yesterday. Not only did I lose my voice halfway through the first storytime (and there were 65 people in the room so really NOT a good group for that to happen with-thank goodness the parents are so awesome and sang super loud for me!), but I choked on my cough drop in between storytimes which was supposed to ensure I wouldn’t lose my voice in the second storytime, AND then spilled water all down my front trying to stop the coughing. But, the show must go on. So, I mopped up the water, spit out the cough drop, drank more water (without spilling) and welcomed a second ginormous group of toddlers and their grown ups to storytime. None of the kids or parents seemed to mind at all that I sang like a bullfrog, I asked them to help me out by singing loud and they rose to the occasion. THANK YOU PARENTS! And THANK YOU to my amazing volunteer who helps me SO much every week. Don’t know what I’d do without her!


Hello Bubbles

Hands are Clapping

Penny Pointers (Tiny Tots, only)

Two Little Blackbirds (Toddlers only)

Book in Tiny Tots: Machines at Work by Barton Byron (Um, wow. Can we say mesmerized? They LOVED this book!)

Book in Toddler Storytime: Dinosaur Dig by Penny Dale (this was a little too much for this group today so I kind of glazed over a lot of it)

Jump Like a Frog

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (Tiny Tots, only)

Wheels on the Bus (Tiny Tots, only)

Book in Toddler Storytime: Tip Tip, Dig Dig by Emma Garcia (Anne mentioned doing this in storytime recently and since I love it so much decided I needed to do it, too even though I hadn’t planned on it)

Parachute: We used the HUGE chute today (I don’t know, maybe 24 feet? It is SO BIG!) so I asked the parents to move to the far edges of the room to make room for the whole thing. The toddlers went on top of the chute today. There were so many, I didn’t want to risk injury with them under the chute not being able to see in front of them or their parents. Since I didn’t know how many kids we would have, I just prepared myself before storytime to pull out any songs that might work with them over or under. BE FLEXIBLE (and ready for anything-picture Rocky warming up with some punches) is my #1 storytime tip!

These are the Colors UNDER You

Mix a Pancake (I tickle attacked any little ones in arms reach much to their delight at “Catch it if you can” and saw many parents following my lead-we said the rhyme 3 times)

Ten Little Bubbles (tune of Michael Finnegan-because we seriously need to stop calling it 10 Little Indians)- another librarian helped me blow bubbles so all the kids would get some, plus this is when I lost my voice! Luckily the parents knew the song so were able to sing while I blew bubbles. It was perfect!

Book: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera (Clap Your Hands, Go Kiss Kiss, and Jump Around)

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash

Activity: Free play with foam puzzle blocks, plastic interlocking blocks, stacking cups and toy cars/trucks. I had to run to a Latino Mom’s group so chose to do a non-messy activity so there wouldn’t be a lot of clean up.

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We’re Going to the Zoo and Playing Peek-a-Boo

Seem to have caught a cold at ALA, so almost didn’t come in for storytime on Wednesday (that should tell you just how crappy I’ve been feeling!). Sucked it up and went in but used some of my old standbys to give my cloudy brain a break. Glad I made it because it was a LOT of fun!


Hello Bubbles

Hands are Clapping

Two Little Blackbirds

Parent message: I always ask you to participate in storytime because you are your child’s first teacher and role model. They look to you for what to do so please don’t feel silly wiggling your thumbs and flapping your arms. The more you participate, the more they are going to learn, and the more fun you’ll have!

Book in Tiny Tots: Guess Who Eats What by Liesbet Slegers

Book in Toddler Storytime: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin

Puppet Song: We Went To the Zoo One Day (giraffe, elephant, monkey and Leo the Lion): Tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb

Book in Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell


We’re Going Down to Portland (Going to Kentucky with my modified lyrics), We’re going to the zoo, To look at all the animals and everything they do! Then continue with original lyrics.

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Book in Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime: If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera (3 verses for Tinies and 4 for Toddlers)

Goodbye Bubbles

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Activity: Do a Dot Art on construction paper

Parent Message for activity: Daubers are great for toddlers because they’re so much fun but also easy for chubby hands to grip so they can work on strengthening the muscles they will use to write later on.


Our daubers are quite well loved and the pads on the tips frequently get ripped off. You can still use the ink for other activities like colored shaving cream painting!


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)