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Adventures in early literacy

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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)