Preschool Storytime: School

Although it’s strange and controversial, the school system here started back this past Wednesday, so I decided to use school as a theme for my Tuesday storytime. Since we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I know that “Back to School” will not look the same as it has in the past, so I’ve tried to address that in a way that’s positive and not scary. That also translated into more “discussion” than rhymes and songs, which is unusual. Lots of kudos to Kate Reynolds, who wrote and shared the “Face Mask Song” which is catchy, fun, AND informative!

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Even if your child is too young for school right now, introducing the topic and giving them an idea of what school is all about will help prepare them when the time comes. A child who has had exposure to the idea of school and has some positive connections to it through fun books and songs is more likely to enjoy school, look forward to it, and be ready to get the most out of it when they begin attending school.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Action Rhyme: A Is for Alligator
A is for alligator: Chomp, chomp, chomp
B is for ball: Bounce, bounce, bounce
C is for circle: Turn ’round and ’round
& D is for dizzy: Let’s all sit down!
Credit: King County Library System

Read: Wow! School! by Robert Neubecker

If you’re going to school soon, it may be a little different. We all need to wear a mask when we are going outside of our house. It will cover our mouth and nose, and it’s not scary! Our mouth and nose (and everyone else’s) are still there, just covered up. The mask helps catch any germs that we might have and keeps them from getting on anyone else, and their mask keeps their germs away from you. It may feel different at first, but once you get used to it you may even forget it’s there. There are lots of designs – it’s like another piece of clothing you’ll wear.” I modeled a couple different designs I had, then left one on while singing the face mask song. Since it’s slightly harder to hear, I made lyrics cards that I held up while singing.

Lyric cards for the Face Mask Song (click to download)
Lyrics cards for the Face Mask Song

Song: My New Face Mask
(tune of Alouette)
Chorus:
My new face mask, how I love my face mask
My new face mask, it helps keep us safe

Do you put it on your face? Yes, but it must be in place.
On your mouth (On your mouth!)
And your nose (And your nose!)
Both of those (Both of those!)
AAAAAAH!

Chorus

But if you are under two, Masks, my friend, are not for you
Under two (under two!)
Not for you (not for you!)
AAAAAAAH!

Chorus

And because there’s germs in there, treat it like it’s underwear!
Wash each wear (Wash each wear!)
Never share! (Never share!)
Treat it like it’s underwear!
UnderWEAAARR!

Chorus
Credit: Kate Reynolds, Windsor Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Another thing that may be different at school is the need to stay a bit further away from people we don’t live with – 6 feet. That means we shouldn’t be giving hugs or high fives to people outside of our house. What are some other ways we can say hello, let our friends know that we’re excited to see them, or that we love someone from a little farther away?
Wave
Thumbs up (or two thumbs up – Aaaaay!)
Salute (bonus: ASL for Hello)
Peace sign
Vulcan Salute (takes some practice!)
Nod
Bow (hands at sides or hands at heart)
Hand over your heart and nod
Black Panther’s Wakanda forever!
Air high five
Air hug
Special “hello” dance (this is something you might work on with one or two special friends – make it your own!)

Read: The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Action Song: The Wheels on the Bus
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round, Round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
On the way to school.

Additional verses:
The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish…
The doors on the bus go open and shut…
The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep…
The driver on the bus says, “Move on back”…
The kids on the bus wave goodbye… when they get to school!
Credit: traditional

Song: The Handwashing Song
(tune of Frère Jacques)
Tops and bottoms, tops and bottoms
In between, in between
Scrub them all together, scrub them all together
‘Til they’re clean, squeaky clean
(Sing two times while washing for the 20 sec recommended time)
Credit: Jbrary

Our last two books talked about what we might expect at school, but this is a silly book about a dinosaur’s first day of school!
Read: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Craft: Paper Bag Backpacks
from Danielle’s Place

Picture of paper bag backpack craft (linked to original site)

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 8/5/20.

Storytime Handout:

Storytime Handout

Flannelboard: Royal Crowns

Looking for “royalty” songs and rhymes for the Royal Tea Party theme, I came across Miss Sarah’s Storytime Blog, where she used Elsa from Frozen to talk about colors and days of the week. I loved this concept, but I tend to shy away from licensed characters. I played around in Canva to create my own royal family. I love that you can customize SOME of the clipart by changing colors, but I seriously wish that was an option for more of their image library. Especially people – I want to be able to show diversity in my printed materials and it’s a sad fact that there are far more options for white people than BIPOC and much of the art cannot be customized. In any case, after a long time searching for similar art styles that could be customized to my liking, I had my own royal family and set of multi-colored crowns.

In storytime, I introduce this song by saying hello to the royal family and explaining who they were. I explained that the (adult) princess married a Duke and their children were the royal twins and a royal baby. Very twee, but I didn’t want to subject the King and Queen to adult children as well as an infant! We then said they don’t look very royal without their crowns, so proceeded with the song. For each verse we talked about the colors of the crowns and gemstones in them – some verses were more awkward (three-syllable amethyst was a mouthful) but I liked the extra vocabulary. Everything could easily be simplified (even to one royal who changes crowns each day).

Flannel Song: Royal Crowns
(tune of Mary Wore Her Red Dress)
The king wore his purple crown, purple crown, purple crown
The king wore his purple crown every Monday!

The queen wore her red crown, red crown, red crown
The queen wore her red crown every Tuesday!

The princess wore her emerald crown, emerald crown, emerald crown
The princess wore her emerald crown every Wednesday!

The duke wore his sapphire crown, sapphire crown, sapphire crown
The duke wore his sapphire crown every Thursday!

The prince wore his silver crown, silver crown, silver crown
The prince wore his silver crown every Friday!

The princess wore her amethyst crown, amethyst crown, amethyst crown
The princess wore her amethyst crown every Saturday!

The royal baby wore their diamond crown, diamond crown, diamond crown
The royal baby wore their diamond crown every Sunday!
Credit: adapted from Miss Sarah’s Storytime blog

I printed mine in color on cardstock, laminated, and put velcro on the back to work on my flannelboard. Download the template here.

Preschool Storytime: Food

This was the last of my virtual programs before our summer reading program started up. At this time we weren’t providing Take and Make packets. Since we were in lockdown there were no handouts and I tried to suggest either crafts made with household materials or activities caregivers could do with their child. It was so fun to work with titles that introduced foods with which some of my patrons may be unfamiliar. The books were a lovely introduction and I was happy that several of the songs and rhymes I found from Jbrary had multicultural verses or ones I could adapt to our books.

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Cooking is great for math skills, spatial awareness, reading recipes, following directions, sequencing, and more. It’s sensory – kids can smell, taste, touch, hear, and see so much during the process, and they are much more likely to be willing to try unfamiliar foods that they had a hand in making.

Read: Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed & Anoosha Syed

Action Song: The Soup is Boiling Up
(tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
The soup is boiling up, (both hands make spiraling motions upward)
The soup is boiling up,
Stir slow around we go, (pretend to stir)
The soup is boiling up.
Additional verses:
The daal is boiling up…
The chili is boiling up…
The beans are boiling up…
The spaghetti is boiling up…
Credit: Jbrary

Rhyme: At the Kitchen Door
1, 2, 3, 4 _______’s at the kitchen door. (insert child’s name)
5, 6, 7, 8 eating _________ off a plate. (insert child’s favorite food and make eating noises)
Credit: Jbrary

Read: 1 Big Salad by Juana Medina

This is a great one for vocabulary, and you can encourage kids and caregivers to make up their own actions!
Action Cheer: Fruits and Veggies Unite
Form banana, form, form banana (one arm lifts over head in an oblong shape)
Form banana, form, form, banana (second arm mirrors)
Peel banana, peel, peel banana (one arm “peels” off to the side)
Peel banana, peel, peel banana (second arm mirrors)
Go bananas, go, go, bananas! (wave arms wildly)
Go bananas, go, go, bananas!
Additional verses:
Form the orange … peel the orange … squeeze the orange
Form the apple … slice the apple … eat the apple
Form the corn … shuck the corn … pop the corn
Form potato … peel potato … mash potato
Credit: Jbrary

Action Song: Knife, Fork, Spoon, Spatula
(form a knife, fork, spoon, and spatula shape with arms for each word, then shake hands during the “Cha cha chas”)
I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon, Spatula, cha cha cha
I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon, Spatula, cha cha cha
I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon, I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon,
I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon, Spatula, cha cha cha
Credit: Jbrary

Read: Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zheng & Charlene Chua

I borrowed the idea to add some multicultural foods to this classic rhyme from Jbrary’s adaptation which they call Sweet Potatoes in the Pot, and added a few verses that fit with our books today.
Bouncing Rhyme: Jelly on a Plate
Jelly on a plate, Jelly on a plate,
Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, Jelly on a Plate

Naan on the tawa, Naan on the tawa,
Turn it round, turn it round, Naan on the tawa.

Tamales in the steamer, tamales in the steamer,
Wrap them up, wrap them up, Tamales in the steamer

Daal in the pot, daal in the pot,
Simmer, simmer, simmer, simmer, Daal in the pot

Salad in the bowl, salad in the bowl
Toss it up, toss it up, Salad in the bowl

Bao in the steamer, bao in the steamer
Eat them up, eat them up, bao in the steamer
Credit: adapted from Jbrary

Activity suggestion: Spend some time together in the kitchen this week. Have fun! Make a salad using your favorite veggies, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, try a new recipe like daal or bao or something else that sounds good. Here’s a great article from The Kitchn that shows how to include your kids in the process of making meals. I love that it includes ideas for babies from 0-18 months up to children age 9, because it’s never to early to get kids involved in cooking and eating healthy foods!

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 5/26/20.

Summer Reading Storytime: Explore YOUR Story

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme. However, the first week I wanted to switch the emphasis from Imagine Your Story to Imagine Your Story. So, our books and songs are about family and personal history.

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Breaking words into syllables in songs, rhymes, and by clapping them out (like in our song Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee) is a component of developing phonological awareness (awareness of the smaller sounds that words are made of) which leads to later success in reading and spelling.

Read: We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty & Ryan Wheatcroft
What is a family? What do families do for each other? Who’s in a family?

Fingerplay: Where is Family?
(tune of Where is Thumbkin)
Where is Mama? Where is Mama? (hide hands behind back)
Here I am! Here I am! (bring out one hand at a time with index finger raised)
How are you today, dear? Very well, I thank you! (index fingers “talk” to each other)
See you soon! See you soon! (one hand at a time is hidden behind back)
[Repeat with Papa, brother, sister, grandma, cousin, etc.]
Credit: traditional

Action Rhyme: Here are Grandma’s Glasses
Here are grandma’s glasses (make circles around eyes)
And here is Grandma’s hat, (fold hands on top of head)
Here’s the way she folds her hands (fold hands)
And puts them on her lap. (place hands in lap)

Here are Grandpa’s glasses, (make circles around eyes)
Here is Grandpa’s hat, (make a triangle on top of head)
Here’s the way he folds his arms (fold arms)
And has a little nap. (pretend to sleep/snore)
Credit: Storytime Secrets

Read: All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino

Shaker Song: Alabama, Mississippi
Alabama, Mississippi. Alabama, New Orleans
Alabama, Mississippi. Shake it on down to New Orleans!
Shake, Shake, Shake – Shake it baby
Shake, Shake, Shake – Shake it baby
Shake, Shake, Shake – Shake it baby
Shake it on down to New Orleans!
Credit: Jim Gill (from the album Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes)

Shaker Song: Shake it to the East
Shake it to the east, Shake it to the west
Shake it all around, and then you take a rest
Shake your shakers up, Shake your shakers down
Shake it, shake it, shake it, and then you settle down.
Credit: Jbrary

Read: Alma and How She Got Her Name – Juana Martinez-Neal

Before this chant, we talk about syllables, the smaller parts of a word.
Rhythm Chant: Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee
Hickety-Pickety Bumble Bee
Won’t you say your name for me? – Emily!
Let’s clap and say it!
Em-i-ly! (clap-clap-clap with syllables)
Let’s say it loud! – Em-i-ly! (shout)
Let’s say it quiet. – Em-i-ly! (whisper)
(repeat for everyone in the room)
Credit: Stories with Ms. Jenna

Song: John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too!
Whenever we go out, the people always shout
There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Da da da da da da da!
Credit: traditional

Craft: Family Portrait
Make a picture of your family! Glue down the craft sticks in a house shape (liquid glue works best), then draw yourself and your family. You can include friends, pets, as well as extended family if you wish, or just keep it to those who live with you. You can decorate your house, add details like trees and flowers, outdoor animals, furniture, whatever you’d like!

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

I also thought about this rhyme to take the place of the Where is Family song, but didn’t end up using it.
Fingerplay: Come a Look a See
(separate and wiggle fingers for each family member starting with pinky for mama)
Come a look a see, Here’s my mama
Come a look a see, Here’s my papa
Come a look a see, my brother tall
Sister, baby, Muah! (kiss all fingertips together)
I love them all!
Credit: Jbrary

This storytime was presented virtually on 6/2/20.

Storytime Handout:

Summer Reading Storytime: Fairy Tale Baddies

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme (except for the first week, Family History). This week was all about the “Bad Guys” from fairy tales, which was a lot of fun! It was difficult to narrow down which stories I wanted to draw from, but finally settled on trolls (Billy Goats Gruff), dragons (Dragon Was Terrible), and wolves (Three Little Pigs).

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Expanding familiar stories with songs, rhymes, puppets, felt pieces, props, and crafts is a great way to help kids retell stories, which supports their narrative skills. They also help children internalize stories and can spark further conversations between parent and child.  And we know the benefits of repetition – repeating stories, songs, and rhymes helps children remember them and helps them understand the stories on different levels.

Welcome Song: Clap and Sing Hello

Read: The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Stephen Carpenter

Action Song: The Billy Goats Gruff Song
(tune of The Wheels on the Bus)
The little goat on the bridge goes
Trip Trap Trip (tap knees and sing softly) x3
The little goat on the bridge goes Trip Trap Trip
Right above the troll

Repeat with: Middle goat (clap hands, sing normally), Big goat (stomp feet, sing loudly)

The troll under the bridge goes
Roar, roar, roar (put hands up as claws) x3
The troll under the bridge goes Roar, roar, roar
Right below the goats

[And what does the big goat do? Charge the troll! Splash!]

All the billy goats go
Munch, munch, munch (open and shut hands) x3
All the billy goats go Munch, munch, munch
Goodbye, Troll!
Credit: Herrick District Library (MI)

Read: Dragon Was Terrible – Kelly DiPucchio & Greg Pizzoli

Scarf Rhyme: We Are Dragons
We are dragons, We have wings (wave scarf like wings)
We can fly and do dragon things
We can breathe fire (hold scarf to your face and blow!)
Swish our long tails (wave scarf)
Travel for miles without leaving trails!
Roaring, soaring dragons fly (“fly” and dance)
And now it’s time for dragons to say goodbye. (wave)
Credit: Pasadena Public Library (CA)

Scarf Song: One Bright Scarf
(tune of Michael Finnegan)
One bright scarf waiting for the wind to blow,
Wiggle it high and wiggle it low
Shake it fast and shake it slow
Hey! (hide scarf) Where did it go?
(or, cover face and sing “Where did you go?”)
Credit: Jbrary

Story Rhyme: The Three Little Pigs
There were three little piggies, Sitting in a house
When along came a wolf, Quiet as a mouse
He said, “little pigs, little pigs, let me come in”
“Not by the hair of our chinny, chin chins.”
So that old wolf huffed and that old wolf blew
And away that little piggy flew!

(Count down to no piggies)

There were no little piggies sitting in a house
When along came a wolf, Quiet as a mouse
He said, “little pig, little pig, let me come in”
But there was no one there to answer him
So that old wolf turned and walked away
He said, “I’ll be back another day.”
And those three little piggies back into their beds did creep
And they fell fast asleep. The end.
Credit: Jbrary

Read: Good Night, Baddies – Deborah Underwood & Juli Kangas

Ukulele Lullaby: Hush, Little Baby (or, Hush, Little Baddie)
Hush, little baby (or baddie), don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat
And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover
And if that dog named Rover won’t bark
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart
And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby (or baddie) in town.
Credit: traditional

Download a Ukulele songsheet for Hush, Little Baby

Craft: Big Bad Wolf
from Glued To My Crafts

photo credit: Stacey from gluedtomycraftsblog.com

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 6/9/20.

Storytime Handout:

Summer Reading Storytime: Plant a Magic Bean

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme (except for the first week, Family History). This week was centered on the “Jack and the Beanstalk” tale, giants, and other Jack stories. I chose three books that were kind of long, so I tried to abridge them, which worked marginally. I probably should have chosen two titles that were a little shorter so I could use Clever Jack in its entirety, since I love that one so much.

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Read, sing, or say Mother Goose rhymes. Not only are they fun to say, but they help teach important literacy skills, such as vocabulary. For instance, in Jack be Nimble, children encounter the unfamiliar word “nimble.” Nursery rhymes use lots of unfamiliar words. You can use these as opportunities to help your child build his or her vocabulary. Nursery rhymes also teach the rhythm of speech and intonation as well as the grammatical structure of language.

Welcome Song: Clap and Sing Hello

Read: Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews

Action Song: I’m a Little Bean
(tune of I’m a Little Teapot)
I’m a little bean, small and round
Bury me deep into the soft ground
Sprinkle me with water, sunshine, too
Watch me grow taller than you!
Credit: Osceola Library System

Fingerplay: Five Plump Peas
Five plump peas in a peapod pressed (make a fist and cover with the other hand)
One grew, two grew, and so did all the rest (raise all fingers on first hand one by one)
they grew, & they grew, & they grew, & never stopped (hands get wider and wider)
They grew SO BIG that the peapod… POPPED! (hands spread as wide as possible, then clap!)
Credit: Carole Stephens

Read: There Was an Old Giant Who Swallowed a Clock by Becky Davies & Elina Ellis

Lifting Song: Tick Tock
Tick tock, tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock
tick tock tick tock, Now I’m striking one o’clock: cuckoo!

Tick tock, tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock
tick tock tick tock, Now I’m striking two o’clock: cuckoo! cuckoo!
(Repeat, counting up. Lift or jump with each “cuckoo!”)
Credit: Jbrary

Fingerplay: This is Big, Big, Big
This is big big big (hold hands out wide)
This is small small small (bring hands back together)
This is short short short (bring hand down)
This is tall tall tall (and up again)
This is fast fast fast (circle fists quickly)
This is slow slow slow (circle fists slowly)
This is yes yes yes (nod)
This is no no no (shake head)
Credit: Mel’s Desk

Jack and Jill and Jack Be Nimble flannels – from a set my library had when I started

Flannel Nursery Rhyme: Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

Flannel Nursery Rhyme: Jack Be Nimble
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick!
Credit: Traditional

Read: Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming & G. Brian Karas

Ukulele Song: Mr. Sun
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
Please shine down on me
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
Hiding behind a tree
These little children are asking you
To please come out so we can play with you
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
Please shine down on me
Credit: as recorded by Raffi from the album “Singable Songs for the Very Young”

Download a Ukulele songsheet for Mr. Sun

Craft: Beanstalk Scene
Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum! Make your own magical beanstalk by gluing down beans. Twist your tissue paper into a beanstalk, glue it down, and add cotton ball clouds. Color in any details that you like. You can add Jack (or yourself!), the magic hen, harp, even the ferocious giant! from My Adventures in Preschool

photo credit: Laurie from My Adventures in Preschool

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 6/16/20.

Storytime Handout:

Summer Reading Storytime: A Royal Tea Party

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme (except for the first week, Family History). My colleague had chosen a Royal Tea Party as her theme for the family program, so I followed along with the storytime theme. This was a chance to talk about Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses, as well as tea. Since I’m stuck on the couch for virtual programming, I’ve been using a scarf for movement and dancing songs, but encouraging the kids to use the space they have around them.

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: When we read or sing cumulative books or songs (ones that repeat and add a growing list of items like “In the Middle of the Moat”), children start to learn how to put ideas in order. This helps them become good readers because sequencing events is one part of reading comprehension skills.

Welcome song: Clap and Sing Hello

Read: La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya & Juana Martinez-Neal

Fingerplay: Five Plump Peas
Five plump peas in a peapod pressed (make a fist and cover with the other hand)
One grew, two grew, and so did all the rest (raise all fingers on first hand one by one)
They grew, & they grew, & they grew, & never stopped (hands get wider and wider)
They grew SO BIG that the peapod… POPPED! (hands spread as wide as possible, then clap!)
Credit: Carole Stephens

Action Rhyme: Castle Capers
I am the king of running, I run and run and run.
My subjects all run with me, and we have so much fun!
I am the prince of turning, I turn and turn and turn.
My subjects all turn with me, it’s an easy thing to learn!
I am the princess of dancing, I dance and dance and dance
My subjects all dance with me, and dance when they get the chance!
I am the Queen of jumping, I jump and jump and jump.
My subjects all jump with me, and sit down with a bump.
Credit: Delta Township District Library Storytimes blog

Read: Prince Peter and the Teddy Bear by David McKee

Flannel pieces to accompany the Middle of the Moat song.  Moat, castle, drawbridge, throne, king, and crown with a jewel.
Flannel: In the Middle of the Moat

Flannel Song: In the Middle of the Moat
(tune of There’s a Hole in the Middle of the Sea)
There’s a castle in the middle of the moat (clap, clap)
There’s a castle in the middle of the moat (clap, clap)
There’s a castle, there’s a castle,
There’s a castle in the middle of the moat. (clap, clap)

Additional Verses:
There’s a throne in the castle in the middle of the moat…
There’s a king on the throne in the castle…
There’s a crown on the king on the throne…
There’s a jewel in the crown on the king…
Credit: Literary Hoots

Action Rhyme: Here’s a Cup
Here’s a cup and here’s a cup
and here’s a pot of tea.
Pour a cup, and pour a cup
and drink some tea with me.
Credit: Jbrary

Read: Tea Rex by Molly Idle

Printed pieces to accompany the Royal Crowns song.  Older king and queen, adult princess and duke, children prince and princess, and royal baby, each with a different crown.
Flannel: Royal Crowns

I first introduced this song by saying hello to the royal family and explaining who they were. I explained that the (adult) princess married a Duke and their children were the royal twins and a royal baby. Very twee, but I didn’t want to subject the King and Queen to adult children as well as an infant! We then said they don’t look very royal without their crowns, so proceeded with the song. For each verse we talked about the colors of the crowns and gemstones in them – some verses were more awkward (three-syllable amethyst was a mouthful) but I liked the extra vocabulary. Everything could easily be simplified (even to one royal who changes crowns each day). All of the images came from Canva.

Flannel Song: Royal Crowns
(tune of Mary Wore Her Red Dress)
The king wore his purple crown, purple crown, purple crown
The king wore his purple crown every Monday!

The queen wore her red crown, red crown, red crown
The queen wore her red crown every Tuesday!

The princess wore her emerald crown, emerald crown, emerald crown
The princess wore her emerald crown every Wednesday!

The duke wore his sapphire crown, sapphire crown, sapphire crown
The duke wore his sapphire crown every Thursday!

The prince wore his silver crown, silver crown, silver crown
The prince wore his silver crown every Friday!

The princess wore her amethyst crown, amethyst crown, amethyst crown
The princess wore her amethyst crown every Saturday!

The royal baby wore their diamond crown, diamond crown, diamond crown
The royal baby wore their diamond crown every Sunday!
Credit: adapted from Miss Sarah’s Storytime blog

Song: Clapping in the Castle
There is clapping in the castle, there is clapping all around
There is clapping in the castle, mirth and merriment abound
There is jumping with the jesters, there is jumping all around
There is jumping with the jesters, mirth and merriment abound
There is twirling in the towers, there is twirling all around
There is twirling in the towers, mirth and merriment abound
There is dancing on the drawbridge, there is dancing all around
There is dancing on the drawbridge, mirth and merriment abound
Light the candles, start the music, lords and ladies one and all
With our song and dance and laughter we will fill the castle walls
Credit: Nancy Stewart

Craft: Royal Crown
From Oriental Trading.
I usually try to present crafts that can be easily recreated with common materials, but we had a bit of a budget this summer so I opted for these glittery pre-printed crowns. Adding all of those glitter stickers works those fine motor skills, right?

Crown craft with glittery stickers attached mosaic style.

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 6/23/20.

Storytime handout:

Summer Reading Storytime: Magical Creatures

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme (except for the first week, Family History). This week centered on helpful or friendly magical creatures (we did “bad guys” a few weeks ago), and focused on fairies, gnomes, unicorns, and mermaids.

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Model and encourage pretend play! You can say a block is a fairy or pretend to be a unicorn. This kind of play, called representational or symbolic play, is key to developing abstract thinking and to understanding language.

Welcome song: Clap and Sing Hello

Song: A Lovely Unicorn
(tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn (neigh!)
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn (neigh!)
Oh, I’d frolic and I’d play and I’d dream the day away
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn (neigh!)
Credit: dltk-teach.com

Read: Kevin the Unicorn: It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner

Lap Bounce: Giddy-Up!
(tune of the William Tell Overture)
Start slow, repeat and get faster each time.
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, up, up!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, up, up!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, up, up!
WHOOOAAAAA, Unicorn! (lean back with child)
Credit: Adventures In Storytime (and Beyond)

Action Song: Did You Ever See a Mermaid?
(tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie?)
Did you ever see a mermaid, a mermaid, a mermaid
Did you ever see a mermaid swim this way and that?
Swim this way and that way,
Swim that way and this way?
Did you ever see a mermaid swim this way and that?
Additional verses:
…a merman flip his tail this way and that?
…merbabies sleep this way and that?
Credit: Barberton Public Library

Read: Mermaids Fast Asleep by Robin Riding & Zoe Persico

Lullaby: Rockabye, Merchild
(tune of Rockabye, Baby)
Rockabye, merchild, in the deep sea
Let the tide soothe you and cuddle close to me
When the waves break high up above
Sleep sound and dream sweetly, for you’re safe and loved
Credit: Ms. Emily Library

I reused my Mouse in the House flannel and made a little gnome friend to hide for our flannel this week.
Flannel Rhyme: Little Gnome
Little gnome, little gnome, are you in the blue home?

Read: A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess & Claire Keane

Ukulele Song: Down by the Bay
Down by the bay, where the merbabies grow
Back to my home I dare not go!
For if I do, my mother will say:
“Did you ever see a whale with a polka dot tail?”
Down by the bay!
Additional verses:
… a fairy wearing a raspberry?
… a unicorn nibbling on popcorn?
… a mermaid swimming in lemonade?
… a gnome building a mushroom home?
Credit: adapted from the traditional song, additional verses by Ms. Emily Library

Download a ukulele songsheet for Down By the Bay

Craft: Paper Plate Gnome or Fairy Home
Adapted from Glued to My Crafts.
I wanted kids to have more options, so I added boy and girl gnomes and a boy fairy to the options in the windows using Canva.

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

I also had this rhyme in my back pocket but didn’t end up using it:
Fingerplay: Two Little…
(variation of Two Little Blackbirds)  
Two little garden gnomes sitting on a leaf
One named Kurt and one named Keith
Run away, Kurt; run away, Keith
Come back, Kurt; come back, Keith!

Two little fairies dancing on the lawn
One named Faye and one named Fawn
Fly away, Faye; fly away, Fawn
Come back, Faye; come back, Fawn!
Credit: Sunflower Storytime

This storytime was presented virtually on 7/7/20.

Storytime Handout:

Storytime handout page

Summer Reading Storytime: A Heroic Quest

I debated whether to post my storytime themes chronologically from the very first I did onward, but my memory being what it is it’s probably best that I go in reverse order.

This summer our library used the CSLP theme Imagine Your Story, so each week had some kind of fairy tale/fantasy theme (except for the first week, Family History). The last week was “A Heroic Quest.”

You can see the virtual program that does not include the full books read aloud here.

Early Literacy Tip: Offer your child opportunities to scribble and draw, and ask them to tell you about what they drew or wrote. They are learning that what they write has meaning. This is the beginning of print awareness, one of the skills they need to learn to read.

Welcome song: We Clap and Sing Hello
We clap and sing hello, we clap and sing hello
With our friends at storytime we clap and sing hello!
We wave and sing hello…
We stomp and sing hello…
We clap and sing hello…

Action Rhyme: Little Knights
Little knights count: one, two, three
Little knights bend on one knee
Little knights reach and touch their toes
Little knights, now touch their nose
Little knights make a funny face
Little knights run very fast in place
Little knights lay down on the floor
Little knights sleep and start to snore
Credit: adapted from “Little Dragon” found at mphpl.org

Read: Good Night, Knight by Betsy Lewin

Lap Bounce: The Horses Are Walking
The horses are walking,
They’re walking along, walking along, walking along
The horses are walking, they’re walking along.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA!
Additional verses: trotting, galloping
Credit: Jbrary

Read: Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Song: There’s a Crown on Me!
(tune of There’s a Spider On Me!)
There’s a crown on my foot, on my foot
There’s a crown on my foot, on my foot
It just won’t stay put; does it really go on my foot?
There’s a crown on my foot, on my foot
Additional verses:
Knee…Goodness, gracious me, does it belong on my knee?
Arm…It’s not doing any harm, but does it go on my arm?
Head…Did you hear what I said? I think it goes up here instead!
Credit: Adventures in Storytime (and Beyond)

Draw & Tell Story: The Emperor’s Dragon
from the book Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take by Dianne de Las Casas

Flannel Story Rhythm Chant: Going on a Dragon Hunt
We’re going on a Dragon Hunt, We’re gonna catch a big one!
What a beautiful day! We’re not scared!

(repeat after each section)
Lower down the drawbridge – SQUEAK!
Trot down the road. CLIP CLOP, CLIP CLOP.

Uh, oh – grass – tall, wavy grass.
Can’t go under it, Can’t go over it,
Have to ride through it! SWISH SWISH, SWISH SWISH.

Uh, oh – a river – a deep, cold river.
Can’t go under it, Can’t go over it,
Have to find a bridge! CLIP CLOP, CLIP CLOP.

Uh, oh – a mountain – a high, wide mountain.
Can’t go under it, Can’t go around it,
Guess we’ll have to climb it!
Climb to the top. HUFF PUFF, HUFF PUFF.
Do you see a dragon? No! That’s a bird!
Climb down the other side. HUFF PUFF, HUFF PUFF.

Uh, oh – a cave, a narrow, gloomy cave.
Can’t go under it, can’t go over it,
We have to go through it! TIPTOE, TIPTOE, TIPTOE
… It’s dark in here! Is anyone around?
GASP! I see two shining eyes! And a green, scaly body!
Is that a puff of smoke? RUN! IT’S A DRAGON!
Through the cave! Climb back up the mountain! Climb down!
Find the bridge! Trot across it! Ride through the tall grass!
Into the castle! Raise the drawbridge! Phew! We made it.
Were you scared?
Credit: adapted from Storytime in the Stacks and Michael Rosen

(My Dragon Hunt felt story came from Storytime in the Stacks, but I deliver the chant à la Michael Rosen, so I adapted her lyrics to better fit. I also used the castle from another felt set – There’s a Castle in the Middle of the Moat modeled from Literary Hoots)

Read: I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong & Nidhi Chanani

Craft: Cardboard Tube Dragon Puppet
From One Little Craft

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars
Tickle the stars
Tickle your toes
Turn around
And tickle your nose! (tickle, tickle, tickle!)
Reach down low
And reach way up high
Storytime is over
So wave goodbye. Goodbye!

This storytime was presented virtually on 7/14/20.

Storytime handout:

Going on a Heroic Quest Storytime Handout

One Red Sock

The book One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler was on one of Lindsey Krabbenhoft’s (of Jbrary fame) annual lists of favorite storytime books, and as soon as I read it I knew I’d have to create felt pieces for it. The book tells, in rhyming and predictive text, the story of a messy purple hippo that can’t find a second red sock to wear. Instead, she tries on a variety of other colors. It’s cute and the format is exactly the same as so many of our other felt rhymes, so it translates perfectly.

Download my template for this set

Purchase or check out the book from your local library to see the rhyme!