Read Sing Play

Adventures in early literacy

1 Comment

Toddler Storytime: Fish!

The best thing I got at ALA turned out to be this Heroes of Olympus fan someone shoved in my hand in the exhibit hall. THANK YOU random person! It is helping me cool down from seeing 120 people in a 2 hour chunk. It does this twice a week. Thank you, fan. Here’s the fan because I know you are all dying to see it:

My accidental theme this week was fish. I wanted to share Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins because it works perfectly with the parent message I wanted to emphasize. Don’t skip hard words and don’t be afraid to use made up ones. Every word we utter to children adds to their vocabulary and the bigger vocabulary they have, the better readers they’ll be! We sang part of Jane Cabrera’s new book Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as well since it uses so many great synonyms for twinkle. Here I added that you don’t have to read a book in it’s entirety. We didn’t have time to sing the whole book so we just sang the first 2 verses.

Today’s outline: (most songs and rhymes can be found on the Rhymes page)

Hello Bubbles

What Animals Say in the Morning : today we did duck, pig, frog and fish

Book: Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins

The Fish in the Sea go swim swim swim: Tune of wheels on the bus and I asked parents to help come up with other things in the sea. We did fish, shark/chomp, octopus/jiggle, whale/splash in one and dolphin/leap instead of whale in the other.

Flannel Board: Four Little Fishies Swimming in the Sea...teasing Mr. Shark, you can’t catch me! : we did 4 instead of 5 to make the chant a little shorter and each family had their own flannel board. We are so lucky to have those and the kids loved playing with their own set of fish as we said the rhyme together.

Shakers! I like to start shaker time with: shake your shakers high! shake your shakers low! shake them round and round and now shake them slow. Shake them really fast!!! And STOP! Shake fast!! and STOP! This gives them some practice and set-up to the next shaker activities.

We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman -stop and go song

Shake Your Sillies Out by Raffi

In the first session we were out of time and they were antsy so we went right to Goodbye Bubbles. The second session wanted some more so we sang those first two verse of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Cabrera. I wished I’d done it in the first session, too because it calmed them down so I could explain the activity to the parents more easily. Live and learn!

Playdough! Playdough stampers and pumpkin spice smelling, orange playdough. ‘Nuf said.

1 Comment

Toddler Storytime: Love is in the Air!

We started by cleaning up all the toys to Laurie Berkner and her awesome clean up song. After introductions and a Happy Valentine’s Day, we dug right in.


Intro Song: Clap Everybody and Say Hello by Kathy Reid-Naiman from Sally Go Round the Sun (Track #4)



Read: How Kind! by Mary Murphy   Image


Action Rhyme: Jump Like a Frog (words found here)


Puppet song: Row, row, row your boat/Row it all around/If you see a _______/Make a ______ sound 

I learned this rhyme from Steven Engelfried, the puppet master over at Beyond the Book blog. As I sing “If you see a” I reach in the bag on my lap and pull out a finger puppet. This gives them a chance to be in suspense a little and then shout out what they think the animal is. They don’t always get it right (today the cow was a pig before I moo-ed) but that’s why they’re in storytime-to learn something new (among other reasons).  I included all kinds of animals from lions and elephants to bees and frogs.  Don’t worry if you don’t know what sound an animal makes because you can work with the kids to either make one up or find someone who does know what the animal sounds like (giraffes, for instance, usually stretch or snuff while peacocks call Help!).


Read: Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

Sometimes I feel as though I use Katz’ stuff too often, but it’s hard to resist since nearly all of her stuff is perfect for baby and toddler storytime. And so far no one seems to mind seeing her books over and over. Today parents were required to kiss their children as we went through the book (tough, I know) and I blew kisses to the ones not in a grown up’s lap or arms.


Shakers: We’re Tapping by Kathy Reid-Naiman from Reaching for the Stars (Track #7)


Scarves: Put your scarf in the air, in the air

My memory for certain songs is terrible so I gave up trying to memorize the rhymes for the orginal version of this I found somewhere. Instead I just make it about movement and body parts and skip the worry about remembering the rhyme.  Today a dad in the group was making p rhymes with his daughter so I used him as an example for an early literacy message. “Making up rhymes is a great thing to do at home to help with your toddler’s literacy development. You can even change the words to familiar songs to make them silly just like he is doing!” He ate up the attention (the only dad in the room) and I got a message in.


Scarves: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes


Closing Song: Goodbye Bubbles

Blow bubbles while Splish, Splash is playing. We use Gymboree’s Bubble Oodles and they are awesome! We can blow tons of bubbles in a short amount of time so all the kids get to pop plenty of them. Plus they have some kind of plastic in them to make them last longer so grown ups are always walking away from storytime with bubbles in their hair and on their clothes. So fun!


Activity: Playdough! Pink playdough with heart cookie cutters, rolling pins, and other wooden playdough toys to smoosh the dough with. Each child got a baggie with a small ball of dough inside so they could take the dough home with them when they were done playing. Here’s a link to the recipe. Today I made 2 batches in the microwave to give me enough for 23 kids. However, a co-worker informed me that she quads the recipe and instead of putting it in the microwave, uses a little more than 4 cups boiling water (from an electric kettle) and just dumps it in and stirs after all the other ingredients are in the bowl. A LOT quicker than doing it in the microwave and it makes more than enough for a whole storytime!