Preschool Storytime: Favorites

In the week or so before this storytime, I asked my viewers (we’re still virtual) what their favorite songs and rhymes are. I didn’t get a huge response, so I made a list of common and well-known songs as well as a few of my own favorites. I made magnetized picture pieces representing all of these, and grouped them in threes or fours for kiddos to choose from in our comments during storytime. It was really great to see those comments come through! For the recorded session (link below), I gave the options, appeared to consider, and chose the songs/rhymes that I liked and made most sense with our stories. I reminded kids and grownups that if the one they were hoping to hear didn’t get chosen, to pause or do those favorites on their own! Hopefully this reminds grownups that they don’t have to be in storytime to rhyme and sing with their kids. The books were my own favorites. I had a good time with this one!

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

Early Literacy Tip: Talking with your children, especially as you share books, is one of the best ways to develop your children’s vocabulary. In books they see things they might not otherwise see, like different kinds of animals. Take advantage of expanding their vocabulary by talking with them about the pictures in books.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

The board at the beginning of storytime:
I removed the images of songs we didn’t use and at the end of storytime the board showed a road map of what we did. Unfortunately, I didn’t take another picture at the end… *These were the items that I chose.

Magnet board with lots of printed and laminated pieces with pictures representing songs and rhymes (2 blackbirds, spider, teapot, star, grandfather clock, popcorn, etc)

Fingerplay One – Choose from:
Two Little Blackbirds
Itsy Bitsy Spider *
I’m a Little Teapot

closeup of fingerplay one images

Fingerplay Two – Choose from:
Slowly, Slowly*
(from Jbrary)
Hickory Dickory Dock
(from Jbrary)
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

closeup of fingerplay two images

Read: Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin & Blanca Gómez

Scarf Songs – Choose Two:
One Bright Scarf*
(from Jbrary)
Mama’s Little Baby Loves Dancin’
(from KCLS)
Popcorn Kernels*
(from Jbrary)
Row, Row, Row Your Boat

closeup of scarf song images

Read: Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Song – Choose from:
My Dog Rags*
(from Jbrary)
ABC Song
Where is Thumbkin?

closeup of song images

This book is not only a beautiful poem about all the things the ones who care for us want to give us, but it’s illustrated by one of my absolute favorite artists, Christian Robinson.
Read: Just In Case You Want to Fly by Julie Fogliano & Christian Robinson

Action Song – Choose from:
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
* (from Jbrary)
Tick, Tock, Tick Tock (from Jbrary)

closeup of action song images

Ukulele Song – Choose from:
Mr. Sun
Apples and Bananas
Down By the Bay
Shake My Sillies Out*
(these four from Raffi)
If You’re Happy and You Know it

closeup of ukulele song images

Visit my Ukulele Songsheet Page for arrangements for each of these songs!

Craft: My Favorite Things Coloring Sheet
I looked at a lot of other people’s “Favorite Things” sheets and couldn’t find one that I loved. So I used Canva to make my own. You can download a copy here.

Coloring sheet with My favorite...
animal, color, food, toy, book, and thing to do outside

I also suggested these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Pokko and the Drum
by Matthew Forsythe
The Bad Seed
by Jory John & Pete Oswald
Hello, Hello
by Brendan Wenzel

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 12/8/20.

Storytime Handout:

Storytime handout with suggested books and rhyme/song lyrics.

Preschool Storytime: Robots

Who doesn’t like robots? Especially cute ones in picture books!? I was actually surprised that I had a hard time finding a book appropriate for storytime that discussed actual robots and the things they could do. So many of them talk about robots in a very anthropomorphized way – “eating” nuts and bolts and so forth. That’s fine, if you already know what robots are and what they do, but I didn’t feel comfortable making that assumption about my kiddos. Thankfully, I found Robots, Robots, Everywhere, a board book that talks about robots on farms, in homes (Roomba, anyone?), undersea, in space, and more. It was a perfect introductory book, and after that we explored some more stories treating robots more fantastically!

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

Early Literacy Tip: Writing is not just writing letters. Learning to scribble and draw are first steps to writing letters. Offer your children many opportunities to write throughout the day, from scribbling on paper, to making lists, to writing you a note.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Discussion: What is a robot? It’s a machine that helps do things for people – sometimes it looks like a person, sometimes it doesn’t. It can help out in situations that may be too dangerous for people, or can do things more easily or quickly than people can. We’re going to pretend to be robots during storytime today – one thing that robots have is a button or switch to turn them on or off. Where would your robot button be? Mine is right here on my shoulder.

I saw a little note on Anne’s Library Life mentioning that she adapted one line of Open, Shut Them for her robot storytime, which inspired me to rewrite the whole thing!
Fingerplay: Open, Shut Them (Robot Style)
Open, shut them, Open, shut them
(make “pincers” with hands and open/shut)
Give a little bang, bang, bang (clap)
Open, shut them, Open, shut them
Press your button, clang, clang, clang! (touch pretend button)

Turn your gears now: fast, now slow (roll arms)
Blink your lights from high to low!
(hands “blink” open and shut, fingers splayed, moving downward)

Open, shut them, Open, shut them
Give a little zap, zap, zap (pointer fingers jab outward)
Open, shut them, Open, shut them
Power down now, just … like … that! (sit slowly)
Credit: adapted from the traditional rhyme by Ms. Emily

Read: Robots, Robots, Everywhere by Sue Fliess & Bob Staake

Action Song: The Robot
(tune of “Wheels on the Bus”)
The legs of the robot go up and down,
Up and down, up and down.
The legs of the robot go up and down,
As it walks around the room (march around like a robot)

Additional verses:
Head: goes side to side… // Arms: go back and forth…
Buttons: go beep, beep, beep…// Lights: flash on and off…
Voice: says “Does not compute”…// Feet: go clickity clack…
Antennas: go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…
Credit: Northwest Regional Library System (OH)

Read: Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman & Dan Yaccarino

Flannel Activity: Broken Bot
I liked Mr. Keith’s Daft Punk robot felt so much, I borrowed it whole cloth. This is another activity that probably would work best in-person, but I acted silly and imagined the reactions.The robot fell down and most of his parts came loose! Let me see if I can put it back together. (Ridiculously wrongly.) Oh, silly me, the head goes at the top, not the bottom! Thank you for helping!

Well, I did a not-so-good job of fixing that robot, so let’s take these other broken robots to a shop!
Flannel Rhyme: Five Little Robots
There are five little robots in the shop this week
This one’s fried and that one sprung a leak
Let’s give this one a look-see; we know just what to do!
And when this robot leaves the shop,
It will be as good as new!
(count down)
Credit: What Happens In Storytime Blog

Read: Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley & John Rocco

Action Song: If You’re a Robot and You Know It
If you’re a robot and you know it, clank your coils (clap, clap)
If you’re a robot and you know it, clank your coils
If you’re a robot and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you’re a robot and you know it, clank your coils

Additional verses:
…clunk your gears (stomp feet)
…press your buttons (“Beep beep”)
…do a dance (dance like a robot!)
Credit: Future Librarian Superhero

Action Song: I’m a Little Robot
(tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little robot, short and strong (muscle pose)
Here are my handles (hands on hips)
Just turn me on (push a “button”)
When I get all warmed up, watch me go (shake body)
Sometimes fast (march in place fast)
Sometimes slow (march in place slow)
Credit: AnnesLibraryLife

Craft: Felt Robot Friend
This was inspired by Rebecca at Sturdy for Common Things. I decided to use some stiff, thin felt which has glitter embedded on one side that we have (I think from Oriental Trading) instead of cardstock, and I was pretty happy with the results. Since these virtual storytimes are advertised as “family” storytimes for ages 0-6, I emphasized that this craft was not appropriate for kids under 3 and all kids needed adult supervision with the little pieces and sharp brads, even during play. I suggested using glue for kids who were too young to keep stuff out of their mouths. I was proud that I was able to get 8 sets out of 3 pieces of felt, using scraps and hole punches for potential buttons and levers.

Craft: Colorful felt robot with a blue body, red arms, and orange legs. Arms and legs are attached with metal brads.  Includes googly eyes, mouth, antenna and buttons made from felt.

I also suggested these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Stop! Bot!
by James Yang
Robot Zombie Frankenstein!
by Annette Simon
And the Robot Went…
by Michelle Robinson & Sergio Ruzzier

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 12/1/20.

Storytime Handout:

Image of handout with suggested books and rhymes & songs.

Preschool Storytime: Feeling Thankful

Around the time of American Thanksgiving, I think it’s great to reflect on gratefulness and feeling thankful. Because this holiday is so intertwined with false historical narratives and the legacy of violent colonialism, I have decided not to focus on the actual holiday, but on harvest or thankfulness.

In this storytime we did a good bit of American Sign Language – for “Where are Three Friends,” “The More We Get Together,” and learning the sign for “Thank You” in the poem “A Lesson from the Deaf” in the book Thanks a Million.

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

Early Literacy Tip: When we are warm, and fed, and snuggled with someone we love, our brains release a chemical called serotonin. This makes us feel good, but it also has the effect of helping us learn. When you snuggle with your child and sing and read together, their brains soak up the language they hear and the serotonin helps make that learning permanent. Snuggling, talking, and singing with your child helps get them ready to read.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Practice a bit of ASL and avoid the pesky middle finger in this variation of Thumbkin.
Fingerplay: Where Are Three Friends?
(variation of Where Is Thumbkin)
Where is Thumbkin, where is Thumbkin?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, Friend?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away, run away.
(repeat with pointer, pinky, then all three)

Where are three friends, Where are three friends?
Here we are! Here we are!
How are you today, Friends?
Very well, we thank you.
I love you, I love you.
Credit: adapted from the traditional, last verse by Ms. Emily

Lyrics to Where are Three Friends with silhouettes of two hands with thumbs up and two hands showing the ASL "I Love You" sign.

Read: Gracias / Thanks – Pat Mora & John Parra

One thing I am thankful for is that you’re here for storytime, and even though we aren’t together in person, we are together in spirit!
Song: The More We Get Together
See ASL movements here: https://youtu.be/YZLlZoD3gU8
The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be
For your friends are my friends
and my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we’ll be

The more we read together, together, together
the more we read together
the happier we’ll be.
Read big books and small books
Read short books and tall books
The more we read together
the happier we’ll be.
Credit: traditional; verse 2: Story Time Secrets

Read: poem from the book Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes & Cozbi A. Cabrera: “A Lesson From the Deaf” Practice the ASL sign for “thank you.”

Cover image of the book Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes and Cozbi A Cabrera

The next book also talks about being thankful, and uses words in another language: Cherokee. New words seem hard at first, but the more we practice, the easier they get. Practice title a couple of times.
Read: We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga – Traci Sorell & Frané Lessac

This flannel was made from the template created by Mel at Mel’s Desk! I go over the lyrics first and add the flannel pieces, then play the song (recorded or ukulele). I encourage kiddos and parents to snuggle and hug, or kiddos can snuggle with a stuffed animal during this song. Afterwards is a good time to mention today’s early literacy tip.
Flannel/Ukulele Song: Thanks a Lot
Thanks a lot, Thanks for Sun in the sky
Thanks a lot, Thanks for clouds so high
Thanks a lot, Thanks for whispering wind
Thanks a lot, Thanks for the birds in the spring
Thanks a lot, Thanks for the moonlit night
Thanks a lot, Thanks for the stars so bright
Thanks a lot, Thanks for the wondering me
Thanks a lot, Thanks for the way I feel
Thanks for the animals, Thanks for the land,
Thanks for the people everywhere
Thanks a lot
Thanks for all I’ve got
Thanks for all I’ve got
Credit: From the Album “Baby Beluga” by Raffi

Flannel for "Thanks a Lot" by Raffi.  Includes these pieces: sun, cloud, bird, wind, moon, star, person, heart, elephant, tree, and trio of three people of various skin tones.

Get a downloadable ukulele songsheet for “Thanks a Lot” here!

See what happens when someone does something nice. Can you imagine how an animal would say thank you?
Read: Thank You! by Ethan Long

Song: If You’re Thankful and You Know It
If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re thankful and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands
(stomp your feet, shout “hooray”, do all three)
Credit: adapted from the traditional

Craft: Thankful Wreath
Die-cut leaves would make this easier, but my library doesn’t have one. I found templates for leaves at firstpalette.com and used the medium sized ones for heart-, oval-, and star-shaped leaves. I cut the middle out from a paper plate, hole punched the top and attached a loop of yarn. I encouraged families to write what they’re thankful for on the leaves, being sure to mention that not all leaves need to be filled out right away – this can be a craft “in progress” over time.

Photo of "thankful wreath" craft with orange, yellow, and red leaves with writing on them such as "books" "pizza" "family" "art" "storytime friends" etc.

I also suggested these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre
Thank You, Bees by Toni Yuly
Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Marlena Myles & Miranda Paul & others
The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 11/17/20.

Storytime Handout:

Preschool Storytime: Sounds We Hear

Books with great sounds and onomatopoeia abound in children’s literature, and instruments and noisemakers are fascinating to kids. I wish we’d been in person for this theme – I don’t think it translates quite as well virtually, but we do our best.

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

Early Literacy Tip: One way to support early literacy is to help children recognize that print has meaning. When we talk about the words on the page as we read them, children are making the connection between the written word and the meaning of the word. A great place to begin is by pointing out where sounds are written out differently from the other words, as they are in our book, Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

General discussion on sound – how can we make noise? How do we hear noise? Why do we hear noise in our ears? I showed and read just two spreads (pgs 12-15) from a nonfiction title, showing the vocal chords and the inside of the ear.
Read: (selection from) Sounds All Around by Wendy Pfeffer & Anna Chernyshova

Activity: Demonstrating Sound
Put a couple of dried beans on a drum and show how they jump and vibrate with each beat. Ask the kids to touch their throats while humming to feel the vibrations. Block your ears and see how well the sound waves get through.

Action Rhyme: I Played My Drum – Tum, Tum, Tum
(match actions to words)
I played my drum – tum, tum, tum
I played my violin – zum, zum, zum
I played my harmonica – hum, hum, hum
I played my guitar – strum, strum, strum
I played my piano – dee, dee, dum
I’m all quiet now – mum, mum, mum
Credit: King County Library System

Read: Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis & Paul Rogers

Fingerplay: Quiet Mouse
Here’s a quiet little mouse (show thumb)
Living in a quiet little house (hold thumb in fist)
When all was quiet as could be (shh with other hand)
OUT! popped he! (pop out thumb)
Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! (wiggle thumb)
Credit: Mel’s Desk

I did this one only in the YouTube video – it probably would make the storytime with the books being read in full too long. I use my wooden frog rasps for this.
Instrument Song: Three Frogs in a Bog
(find 3 instruments (even pots and pans!) that make a big/deep sound, a middle sound, and a little/high sound to imitate the frogs)
There was a big frog (big sound, big sound)
Lived in a big bog (big, big)
He swam in the water (big, big)
Played on a big log (big, big)
Big log (big, big)
Big bog (big, big)
Big frog (big, big)

(repeat for middle-sized and little frogs)
And then one day (big sound, middle sound, little sound)
The frogs got together (big, middle, little)
They swam in the water (big, middle, little)
In the bright sunny weather (big, middle, little)
Three frogs (big, middle, little)
Three friends (big, middle, little)
The end! (big, middle, little)
Credit: Ada Moreau Demlow

Three wooden rasp instruments in the shape of frogs, each a different size.

Flannel Rhyme: What Noise Do I Make?
I just used a few animal flannels I had, and decided I needed a vehicle, too, so made the truck to go “vroom!” I realized after doing the YT video that “shake” needed to really be a shaker, not me shaking my shoulders…ay, yi, yi.

Flannel Rhyme: What Noise Do I Make?
I just used a few animal flannels I had, and decided I needed a vehicle, too, so made the truck to go “vroom!” My control-freak heart wishes the styles were all different or all the same, but that’s how it goes. AND – I realized after doing the YT video that “shake” needed to really be a shaker, not me shaking my shoulders…ay, yi, yi.
Clap, stomp!
Clap, clap, shake!
Can you make the noise that I make?
Credit: STEM in Libraries


I love this book, and its companion, Dancing Feet – both have just fantastic rhythm.
Read: Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig & Marc Brown

We couldn’t do a “sound” storytime without our shaker songs!
Shaker Song: Shake Your Shaker
(tune of London Bridge)
Shake your shakers in the air, Shake it here, shake it there
Shake your shakers in the air, Shake your shakers

Shake it high and shake it low, Shake it yes, shake it no
Shake it high and shake it low, Shake your shakers

Shake it up and shake it down, Shake your shaker on the ground
Shake it up and shake it down, Shake your shakers

Shake it near and shake it far, Drive your shaker like a car
Shake it near and shake it far, Shake your shaker

Shake it fast and shake it slow, Shake it stop, shake it go
Shake it fast and shake it slow, Shake your shaker
Credit: Jbrary

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

All these great sounds make me want to dance. Let’s see how these kids do it!
Read: How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle & Randy Cecil

Ukulele Song: Shake My Sillies Out
I gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away!

Additional verses:
I gotta clap, clap, clap my crazies out…
I gotta jump, jump, jump my jiggles out…
I gotta stretch, stretch, stretch my stretchies out…
I gotta yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out…
Credit: Raffi (from the album Raffi in Concert with the Rise and Shine Band)

Get a downloadable ukulele songsheet here!

thumbnail of "shake my sillies out" ukulele song

Craft: String Telephone
Decorate two cups with crayons or stickers. Carefully thread the ends of the string into the hole on the bottom of each cup, from outside to inside. Tie a knot on each end of the string. Optionally, you can also tape it down on the inside of the cup. Now, you and a friend hold the cups at a distance that makes the string taut (but don’t pull too hard or jerk the cups). Make sure the string isn’t touching anything else. One person talks into the cup while the other puts the cup to their ear. Can you hear each other? Try whispering and speaking normally. Experiment! Try the different tests on the Experiment sheet. Ask your child to make predictions/guess what will happen before trying each one.
Other Sound Activities:
Collect a variety of containers: plastic cups and bowls, metal or aluminum bowls or pie plates, styrofoam egg cartons, ceramic mugs – and different shapes – a plastic champagne flute, a plastic bowl, a plastic bag, etc. Use dry beans or rice and let your child pour them into the various containers. What different sounds do the beans make as you pour them into different containers? This is an activity that engages several of our senses – hearing, seeing, touching. To contain a potential mess, let them play on the floor with a bedsheet underneath!
Brainstorm what would make good noisemakers from household objects. The kitchen is a great place to start! Explore what sounds different objects make. Does it sound different when you hit a pot with a wooden spoon vs. a whisk? Get the family involved and have a family band or drum circle. A leader can tap out different rhythms and the rest of the family repeats them.

Click here to download the String Phone Experiment Sheet.

I also booktalked these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
So Many Sounds by Tim McCanna & Andy J. Miller
Bumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump!
by K.L. Going & Simone Shin
Jazz Baby
by Lisa Wheeler & R. Gregory Christie

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 11/10/20.

Storytime Handout:

Preschool Storytime: Pizza!

Everyone loves pizza! I wanted a theme that was fun and relatable, and this one has all the ingredients to fill us up with literary goodness. Yum!

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

Early Literacy Tip: Play gives you and your children lots of opportunities to pretend. As you are playing with your children, make a point of adding in a word or two they may not know. You are adding to their vocabulary in a fun way, teaching new words without sitting down to memorize what words mean. Children will remember these words because they are hearing them and using them while being involved in the situation.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Action Song: I Am Hungry
(tune of Frère Jacques)
I am hungry, I am hungry (rub tummy)
Yes, I am! Yes, I am! (nod head)
Grumble, rumble, rumble, Grumble, rumble, rumble (rub tummy)
Yum, yum, yum! Yum, yum, yum! (mime eating)
Credit: librionyian

I actually found some good pizza books in our leveled readers section. It’s a good resource that I sometimes forget about when I’m looking for theme books. The books are physically a little smaller, but that doesn’t matter much for small or virtual storytimes. I liked that this one featured a dad helping out with the pizza making, and a diverse cast of kids.
Read: Pizza Party! by Grace Maccarone & Emily Arnold McCully

Fingerplay: Pat A Cake Pizza Man
Pat a cake, pat a cake, pizza man (clap hands)
Make me a pizza as fast as you can (shake finger)
Roll it (roll arms)
Toss it (pretend to toss in air)
Sprinkle it with cheese (sprinkling motion)
Put in the oven (pushing motion)
And bake it fast please!
Credit: Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (OH)

It irked me that all the pizza makers are “men” so I adapted this rhyme to gender non-specific “pizza maker.” It was a tiny bit harder to say, but practice makes perfect. I also liked the pizza-specific actions, in theory. In practice I realized that many of these actions are not very action-y and very similar to the other rhymes I did, so in the future I’d probably revert back to the bigger gross motor movements of Teddy Bear.
Action Rhyme: Pizza Maker, Pizza Maker Turn Around
(mime actions)
Pizza maker, pizza maker turn around
Pizza maker, pizza maker touch the ground
Pizza maker, pizza maker give the dough a toss
Pizza maker, pizza maker ladle on the sauce
Pizza maker, pizza maker sprinkle on the cheese
Pizza maker, pizza maker touch your knees
Pizza maker, pizza maker put it in the oven
Pizza maker, pizza maker press the oven button
Pizza maker, pizza maker rub your tummy
Pizza maker, pizza maker eat some pizza! Yummy!
Credit: Jen in the Library

Have you ever had a pizza delivered to your house?
Read: “Hi, Pizza Man!” by Virginia Walter & Ponder Goembel

Flannel/Clapping Song: P-I-Z-Z-A
(tune of B-I-N-G-O)
There is a treat that’s good to eat and pizza it its name-a
P-I-Z-Z-A! P-I-Z-Z-A! P-I-Z-Z-A!
And pizza is its name-a
(spoken)
Oh yum! I’m gonna eat one!

There is a treat that’s good to eat and pizza it its name-a
(clap)-I-Z-Z-A! (clap)-I-Z-Z-A! (clap)-I-Z-Z-A!
And pizza is its name-a
(Continue until you are clapping all the letters.)
Credit: Jen in the Library

I used Jen in the Library’s post as a template, but decided to make my pizza slices double-sided, based on the background color of my felt board. The opposite side of the full slice looked like just the pizza crust that was gnawed on, effectively becoming a placeholder for our claps. I like the way it turned out!

We’ve eaten so much pizza, it will feel good to get a little exercise.
Action Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
(start slow and repeat, speeding up)
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes!)
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes!)
Eyes and ears and a mouth and nose!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes (knees and toes!)
Credit: traditional

What would you do if a raccoon was trying to steal your pizza?
Read: Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri

Ukulele Song: I Wish I Were a Pepperoni Pizza
(tune of the Oscar Meyer jingle)
Oh, I wish I were a pepperoni pizza
That is what I’d truly like to be
For if I were a pepperoni pizza
Everyone would be in love with me!
(repeat with other four-syllable pizza topping combos, such as:
mushroom sausage… onion pepper… ham pineapple… cheesy cheesy…)
Credit: Perpetual Preschool

Download a ukulele songsheet for I Wish I Were a Pepperoni Pizza

thumbnail for ukulele songsheet of "I Wish I Were a Pepperoni Pizza"

Craft: Pizza Pretend Play Kit
So this wasn’t so much a craft, but a collection of pieces that kids could use to “make” pizzas at home for their families. I could certainly have promoted painting the edge of the plate brown for the crust, and/or making the toppings “look” like actual toppings, but I went simple and promoted the benefits of pretend play. The toppings were just foam shapes we had – mostly skinny triangles and a few squares. The sauce is just a wavy shape of construction paper, and the cheese is short pieces of yarn. Craft idea adapted from Storytime Katie.

Pizza craft with paper plate, construction paper sauce, foam pieces in yellow, red, green, and brown, and white yarn pieces for cheese.

I also booktalked these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Pizza Pat
by Rita Golden Gelman & Will Terry
Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party
by Kimberly & James Dean
Pete’s a Pizza
by William Steig

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 11/3/20.

Storytime Handout:

Preschool Storytime: Pumpkins

Another typical fall theme! I like the idea of a pumpkin storytime much more than a “Halloween” one since not everyone celebrates. Book choices are more limited when all reference to Halloween is excluded. I tried to focus more on the gourd for at least two books, though I couldn’t resist including Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party. Even though there’s a host of “monstrous” guests included in this beautiful, simple counting book, it doesn’t specifically reference Halloween. I began this storytime by calling the theme a mystery, then read Cathryn Falwell’s Mystery Vine with the help of a prop I had a lot of fun making (I even hand-dyed the cord green since I couldn’t find any that wasn’t plain white.) I can’t wait to use it in an in-person storytime in the future for more of an impact!

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

Early Literacy Tip: Narrative skills have to do with learning how to describe things and being able to tell stories. Little stories, like the one in “Pumpkin, Pumpkin,” are great for children to start learning how stories work. “First the pumpkin is a seed, then it is a plant, then it is a pumpkin!”

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Read with prop: Mystery Vine by Cathryn Falwell
As I read, I pulled out a little more vine to reveal leaves, smaller vines, flowers, a green pumpkin, and finally some orange pumpkins. Big kudos to Rebecca from Sturdy for Common Things for her inspiration for this prop, as well as excellent photos of the process of making it.

Fingerplay: Pumpkin, Pumpkin
(tune of Twinkle, Twinkle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground
(ASL for pumpkin: gently flick middle finger on back of other hand)
How’d you get so big and round? (arms circle over head)
Once you were a seed so small (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball (arms circle in front)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (ASL pumpkin sign)
How’d you get so big and round? (arms circle over head)
Credit: Jbrary

Action Song: Roly Poly Pumpkin
(tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider)
Oh, the roly-poly pumpkin (roll arms, gradually speed up)
Went rolling down the hill
Once it started rolling
It couldn’t keep still
It rolled and rolled
Until it bumped into a rock (act surprised)
Then the roly-poly pumpkin (roll slowly)
Rolled to a stop (clap)
Credit: King County Library System

Have you ever been to a pumpkin patch? Here’s a story about what it’s like.
Read: Pumpkin Day! by Candice Ransom & Erika Meza

I borrowed this idea from Adventures in Storytime, and used the printable pumpkins from Sunflower Storytime. We sang the song first, then we talked about feelings, then sang it again substituting “Happy ones and sad ones and silly ones and mad ones” (randomized with a shuffle) when those pumpkins were shown.
Song: Did You Ever See a Pumpkin?
(tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie?)
Did you ever see a pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin?
Did you ever see a pumpkin that grows on a vine?
Short ones and tall ones and big ones and small ones
Did you ever see a pumpkin that grows on a vine?
Credit: Adventures in Storytime

Laminated pumpkins mounted on craft sticks with faces depicting 5 feelings: happy, sad, mad, scared, and silly.

Another borrow from Adventures in Storytime – I loved her idea of doing the fingerplay on the opposite hand the second time through to strengthen the non-dominant side a little!
Fingerplay: Five Little Pumpkins
Five little pumpkins, sitting on a gate. (hold up 5 fingers)
The 1st one said, “Oh my, it’s getting late!” (1 finger, point to wrist)
The 2nd one said, “There are bats in the air.” (2 fingers, flap hands)
The 3rd one said, “But we don’t care!” (3 fingers, shake head)
The 4th one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” (4 fingers, jog arms)
The 5th one said, “I’m ready to have some fun!” (5 fingers, wiggle)
Then WHOOOOSH went the wind, (curve hand in air)
And OUT went the light. (clap hands together loudly)
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight! (5 fingers, roll arms)
Credit: Adventures in Storytime

Read: Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party by Erin Barker

Action Rhyme: Pumpkin Chant
(For each line, pat lap twice on 1st pumpkin, clap twice on 2nd, pat twice on 3rd, then do action for last word)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin bread!
(Hold hands flat in front, one on top of the other)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin head!
(Put hands on head)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin pie!
(Hold hands in a big circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin eye!
(Curve hands around eyes)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin cake!
(Hold hands flat, one about 5 inches above the other)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin shake!
(shake fists by head)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin stew!
(Pretend to stir stew)
Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin BOO!
(do a peek-a-boo)
Credit: Jane Willis Johnston, via Jbrary

Craft: Pumpkin Patch
I was rummaging around and found some cute foam stickers that included pumpkins, leaves, and mice on corn (also a fox wearing a headdress that I threw away – why can’t designers understand that is cultural appropriation!?) That sparked an idea to make a pumpkin patch using green yarn to make vines. I suggested two different methods. Grownups could draw swirling vine shapes on the page with glue, then older kids could follow the glue with the yarn. That would take a little more coordination. Alternatively, grownups could put some liquid glue into a shallow bowl, dunk the yarn in to saturate it, then the kids could add the vines whichever way they wished. Messier, but easier. Both methods work on fine motor skills!

I also booktalked these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer & James Graham Hale
The Great Pumpkin Contest
by Angie Rozelaar
Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins
by Dianne Ochiltree & Anne-Sophie Lanquetin

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 10/27/20.

Storytime Handout:

Preschool Storytime: Apples

Yum! Apples are an easy theme – most kids like them, and there’s a wealth of storytime material to choose from when planning. I’d noticed in my last few storytimes that I’ve been cramming more and more content in, and my videos were getting longer and longer. Starting with this week, I tried to cut back. It’s against my nature, but I’m doing better!

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

Early Literacy Tip: As you and your child go about your day, highlight the five senses and talk about the textures, the size, color, sounds, smells, and tastes of the things around you. These observations will be the basis for later exploration and classifying that will lead to sorting and problem solving skills. These are skills that will help your child later understand what they read.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Fingerplay: A Little Apple Seed
(tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider)
Once a little apple seed was planted in the ground
Down came the rain drops falling all around
Out came the big sun bright as bright could be
And the little apple seed grew up to be an apple tree
Credit: Madelyn’s Library Programming

Read: Apples Here! by Will Hubbell
This is a really great book that goes through the seasons of an apple tree and shows that apples are “in” the buds, flowers, and more. It shows diverse kids enjoying the orchard and cooking, eating applesauce with latkes and finding them in the toes of Christmas stockings. Simple and short text makes it perfect for storytime.

Rhyme: Way Up High in the Apple Tree
Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arms up high)
Two red apples smiled at me (hold up two fists)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (make a shaking motion)
Down came the apples… (make a downward motion)
And mmm, they were good! (smile and rub tummy)
Credit: traditional

Rhyme: Eat an Apple
Eat an apple (bring hand to mouth)
Save the core (close hand in fist)
Plant some seeds (bend down to touch hand to ground)
And grow some more! (extend both arms out)
Credit: preschooleducation.com

Word Exercise: Using Our Five Senses
What words can we use to describe apples using our senses? This definitely would work better in-person, but I made it work for virtual. I borrowed this activity from Literary Hoots

drawing of a red apple outline (with brown stem and green leaf) on whiteboard, with words written inside: sweet, smooth, fresh, red, yellow, green, wet, crunchy, tart, good, shiny, crisp, sour, mushy

Read: Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray

Action Song: The Pie Song
(tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
This is the way we slice the apple, (act out each step)
Slice the apple, slice the apple,
This is the way we slice the apple to make a yummy pie.

Additional verses:
Pour the flour… Roll the dough… Stir the filling…
Sprinkle spices… Bake our pie… Eat a slice…
Credit: adapted from “Thanksgiving Pie Song” at Storytime Hooligans

People like to eat apples, but so do animals! I decided to do a twist ending on this one, with 4 tiny finger puppet animals (mouse, rabbit, duck, and deer) and then a full size alligator! Silliness. 🙂 I made the flip side of the apples with different amounts eaten and with counted up seeds, but ended up not flipping them for this rhyme.
Flannel Rhyme: Five Little Apples
Five little apples up in a tree
The farmer wasn’t looking,
So guess who came to eat?
A mouse! Munch munch munch!
(count down, using available animal finger puppets, or choose animals you like to “munch” on your five fingers as the apples)
Credit: Storytime Katie

Read: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Ukulele Song: Apples and Bananas
(begin with the correct pronunciation, then change the vowel sounds for each verse to a, e, i, o, and u)
I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas
I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas

I like to ate, ate, ate ayples and ba-nay-nays
I like to ate, ate, ate ayples and ba-nay-nays

I like to eet, eet, eet eeples and ba-nee-nees
I like to eet, eet, eet eeples and ba-nee-nees

I like to ite, ite, ite iples and ba-ni-nis
I like to ite, ite, ite iples and ba-ni-nis

I like to ote, ote, ote oples and ba-no-nos
I like to ote, ote, ote oples and ba-no-nos

I like to ute, ute, ute uples and ba-nu-nus
I like to ute, ute, ute uples and ba-nu-nus
Credit: Raffi, from the album One Light, One Sun

Download a ukulele songsheet for Apples and Bananas

thumbnail of apples and bananas ukulele songsheet

Craft: Apple Pie
Cut an apple in half. Eat one half and use the other for this craft! Spread the paint on one plate and let your child dip the cut apple half in paint, then “stamp” a second paper plate in the middle. They can make as many stamps as they wish! Help your child spread brown paint around the rim of the plate. For an additional sensory element, let your child sprinkle a little cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on the wet paint. (My example pie looked a little sad – I didn’t have an apple handy so cut a foam sheet in an apple shape and it didn’t stamp as well as I’d hoped!) Credit: Literary Hoots

paper plate craft - brown paint around the edge to look like crust, red paint in middle for apples, sprinkled with cinnamon

I also booktalked these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Secrets of the Apple Tree by Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner
Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins
Apples, Apples! by Salina Yoon

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 10/20/20.

Storytime Handout:


Preschool Storytime: Hispanic Heritage Month

I wanted to showcase Latinx and Hispanic authors and illustrators for this storytime, as well as some historic and important Hispanic Americans. After all, authors and illustrators are MY rock-stars and their contributions are found in storytime throughout the year. They deserve some recognition, too!

I was a French major in college, and never took Spanish (I wish I had!) I think if we were doing in-person programming and/or I was a little more savvy with technology, I would have invited a Spanish-speaking friend to co-present with me. As it was, I listened very closely to native speaker videos for the songs and rhymes and did my best. I was nervous, so I tried to address that as a teachable moment, too. I explained that I wasn’t an expert, but it’s fun to learn a new language and that I knew that my storytime friends would be understanding if I made a mistake. I asked them to take a couple big breaths with me, and let them know that I felt better afterward. Hopefully, modelling what to do when you’re nervous will be helpful to a little one!

For the songs, I made myself a sheet with the phonetic pronunciations and practiced, practiced, practiced. You can download my sheet if it is helpful to you. It’s not written out in any standard or consistent way, just what worked for me. Some words I knew and didn’t need to spell phonetically (que=kay). I also had to make some notations regarding syllable breakouts and stresses and for Los pollitos dicen where the tune went up so I could remember the melody. Pretty me-specific, but it may be a start if you need help with these. The videos I used were really great – especially the YouTuber UkeleCanta. I believe she is Chilean and as such she pronounces her ll with a j sound instead of a y. I just went with it. But check out her videos for the great songs, energy, and even ukulele tutorials!

One last thought. I am always trying to be aware of my biases and the limits of my worldview. I realized after doing this storytime that all of my comments and asides were directed toward single-language English-speaking families, and I didn’t even think about Spanish-speaking or bilingual families as I was commenting. That was a mistake and a serious one. I will keep working to change my own habits and be the inclusive and welcoming librarian and person I aspire to be.

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

Early Literacy Tip: Studies show that children raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving — before they even speak. If you aren’t already bilingual, that’s okay! You can still expose your child to different languages. As long as you expose them to foreign words in a consistent way with the same context, they’ll reap the benefits. Read more: https://bigthink.com/laurie-vazquez/the-sooner-you-expose-a-baby-to-a-second-language-the-smarter-theyll-be

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Song: La linda manita (The Beautiful Little Hand)
La linda manita (flip hand back and forth throughout song)
que tiene el bebé
qué linda, qué bella
qué preciosa es
Credit: traditional, watch: https://youtu.be/OWAunlWlMUI

In our first book, we’ll be talking about opposites. Let’s practice with this rhyme.
Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big
This is big, big, big (hold arms out to side)
This is small, small, small (cup hands together)
This is short, short, short (flat hand lowers)
This is tall, tall, tall (flat hand reaches up)
This is fast, fast, fast (circle fists quickly)
This is slow, slow, slow (circle fists slowly)
This is yes, yes, yes (nod head)
This is no, no, no (shake head)
Credit: Mel’s Desk

In this book, Marta discovers she is both big and small, slow and fast, loud and quiet. How can that be?!
Read: Marta Big & Small by Jen Arena & Angela Dominguez

What was big in that book? The elephant! What was small? The bug! In this traditional song from Mexico, a big elephant balances on a spiderweb. What do you think will happen? We’ll be counting to 5 in Spanish. Will you count with me?I reused my flannel for 5 elephants in the bathtub and made a spiderweb from pipe cleaners. It didn’t stick too well to the flannelboard, but I was able to hook it over the edge and that worked! I also realized after a practice run that I really needed to learn the colors of my elephants in Spanish!
Counting Song: Un elefante (An Elephant)
Un elefante se balanceaba,
sobre la tela de una araña, (swing 1 finger back and forth)
como veía que resistía, (veía=point at eye, resistía=flex muscles)
fue a buscar a otro elefante! (cup hands at mouth)
Oh, elefante!

Dos elefantes se balanceaban, sobre la tela de una araña, (swing 2 fingers)
como veían que resistía, fueron a buscar otro elefante.
Oh, elefante!

Tres elefantes se balanceaban, sobre la tela de una araña,
como veían que resistía, fueron a buscar otro elefante.
Oh, elefante!

Cuatro elefantes se balanceaban, sobre la tela de una araña,
como veían que resistía, fueron a buscar otro elefante.
Oh, elefante!

Cinco elefantes se balanceaban, sobre la tela de una araña,
la telaraña se debilitó, (shake hands/body)
¡y todo al suelo se cayó! (hands fall like elephants!)
Credit: traditional, watch: https://youtu.be/I0IW4101ew0

5 flannel elephants (purple, green, yellow, blue, and orange) with a white pipe cleaner web.

Another song about animals. These little chicks say “pio!” in Spanish! They have lost their mother, and they’re cold and hungry! But their mother is very good, so she finds food for them, corn and wheat, and tucks them all under her wing so they are cozy. BUT – these silly little chicks do the same thing the next day! This “flannel” is from the printable made by Sunflower Storytime for the rhyme Ten Fluffy Chickens.
Song: Los pollitos dicen (The Chicks Say…)
Los pollitos dicen, pío, pío, pío
cuando tienen hambre, cuando tienen frío (hambre=rub belly, frío=rub shoulders)
La gallina busca, el maíz y el trigo
les da la comida, y les presta abrigo
Bajo sus dos alas, acurrucaditos,
duermen los pollitos hasta el otro día (duermen=lay head on hands, sleepy)
Pío, pío, pío dicen los pollitos
cuando tienen hambre, cuando tienen frío
Credit: traditional, watch: https://youtu.be/a7zUbmjUtDM

laminated printout of 5 chicks and separate laminated printout of a brown hen.

Pura Belpré was a librarian, author and storyteller, and is one of my heroes! She worked hard to make sure that the kids who came to her library had books in their own language and stories from their homelands.
Read: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise & Paola Escobar

Did you notice that the book compared stories to seeds, and Pura did a lot of story planting? Let’s do a rhyme about seeds growing up.
Rhyme: Be A Seed
Be a seed, small and round
Sprout, sprout, sprout up from the ground.
Shake your leaves for all to see
Stretch your arms up, you’re a tree!
Credit: Jbrary

I also loved Pura’s story about the beautiful cockroach Martina and the gallant mouse Perez. It reminded me of this fun rhyme about a mouse.
Clapping Rhyme: Little Clapping Mouse
(clap for each *)
Behind the tree * *
And under the house * *
There lived a teeny * *
Tiny mouse * *
She loved to sing * *
She loved to tap * *
But most of all * *
She loved to clap * *
She clapped all night * *
She clapped all day * *
She clapped to frighten * *
The cat away! * * * * * * * *
Credit: Jbrary

In Mexico, el día de los niños (Children’s Day) is celebrated in April. Bilingual children’s author Pat Mora decided to bring that festival to the United States, and to tie it to love of books, so created el dia do los libros (Book Day). This is the book she wrote to celebrate that.
Read: Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora & Rafael López

When I celebrate, I like music and dancing! This song is about how our bodies can make music. (translate song)
Action Song: Mi cuerpo hace música (My Body Makes Music)
Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música
Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música
Mis manos hacen (clap,clap, clap)
Mis pies hacen (stomp, stomp, stomp)
Mi boca hace: la, la, la!
Mi cuerpo hace: cha, cha, cha!
Credit: Sol y Canto, from the album El Doble de Amigos. Watch with motions at Jbrary

Bilingual Lullaby: Yo te amo (I Love You)
Yo te amo, yo te amo
All day long I’ll sing this little song to you.
Yo te amo, yo te amo
Darling, I love you!
Credit: Jbrary

Craft: Tissue Paper Flowers
In Mexico there is a tradition of making crafts with tissue paper.  Behind me you can see papel picado, an ancient craft that goes all the way back to the Aztec.  You’ll also see big colorful paper flowers as decorations at celebrations, and that’s what our craft is this week. I used the instructions from the Inspired By Family blog.

I also booktalked these alternative titles.
Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor & Rafael López
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes & Yuyi Morales
Maria Had a Little Llama / María tenía una llamita by Angela Dominguez

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 10/13/20.

Storytime Handout:

Preschool Storytime: Celebrate the Moon

October 1 was the first full moon of autumn, and the date of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. I have done programming on the moon from a scientific perspective in the past (during the 2019 Universe of Stories summer reading theme), but this time I wanted to concentrate on how the moon has been celebrated traditionally and across cultures.

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

Early Literacy Tip: Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Take advantage of this curiosity to help them develop background knowledge. When we talk with our children about things that interest them and when we share books to broaden their knowledge, all this learning they have about the world, big ideas and little facts, will help them later understand what they read.

Welcome Song: We Clap and Sing Hello

Discussion: Did you get to see the full moon on Thursday? Ever since then it’s gotten a little bit smaller and skinnier as it goes through its phases. Did you know that throughout all of history, and all over the world, people have looked up in the sky and told stories about the moon? In China, Japan, Korea, the Aztec empire, and the Cree people of Canada have all told stories about the Moon Rabbit. The Salish people of the Pacific Northwest and in China there are also stories about a Moon Toad! In Angola stories were told about the Moon Frog, and the Maori of New Zealand had a story about the Lady in the Moon. You may have heard of the “Man in the Moon,” which is common where we live – that originated with a story from Germany! Perhaps you’ve seen drawings of the moon that look like this (holding up full and crescent versions of a “man in the moon.”) The moon is so far away that people couldn’t see it very clearly, so they imagined what it looked like. But now, we have telescopes that give us a better picture (hold up full and crescent photographs of the moon). Still, it’s fun to use our imaginations and tell stories about the moon. (Credit to Mental Floss for the global moon stories – also, I realize I probably babbled on about all this for much too long! Editing myself is something I’m working on…)

Here are some traditional nursery rhymes that feature the moon
Rhyme: The Man In The Moon
The man in the moon looked out of the moon,
Looked out of the moon and said:
It’s time for all children on the Earth
To think about getting to bed!
Credit: traditional

Flannel Rhyme: Hey, Diddle, Diddle
Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon
Credit: traditional

Professionally printed flannel with pieces of the cat and the fiddle, the laughing dog, a cow, and the dish and spoon, with a background piece with green grass and a night sky featuring a full moon with a face for the rhyme "Hey, Diddle, Diddle"

Read: Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Song: Moon, Moon, Moon
Moon, moon, moon, shining bright
Moon, moon, moon, my night light
Moon, moon, moon, I can see
Moon, moon, moon, you’re taking care of me
(sing twice)

Look up, it’s the moon
Look up, it’s the moon
Look up, it’s the moon up in the sky
It’s big and round and I have found
That it looks just like a pizza pie!
Credit: The Laurie Berkner Band, from the album Victor Vito

Rhyme: The Moon is Round
The moon is round –
As round can be (trace the circle of your face)
Two eyes, a nose, (point at eyes and nose)
And a mouth like me! (point at mouth, then hug baby or self)
Credit: Jbrary

Fingerplay: Sun and Moon
(One hand is the moon as a crescent and the other is the
sun – spread five fingers for sun’s rays)

Moon comes out, Sun goes in
Here is a blanket to cuddle your chin (tickle chin)
Moon goes in, and Sun comes out
Throw off the blankets and bustle about!
(Fling arms out wide and wiggle body)
Credit: Sunflower Storytime

The next book compares the light of the moon to butter!
Read: Moonlight by Helen V. Griffith & Laura Dronzek

Action Rhyme: Big Yellow Moon
Big yellow moon shines so bright, (circle overhead)
Glides across the starry night (arms glide left to right)
Looks down at me (hand shades eyes)
Asleep in bed, (head on hands)
Whispers, “Good night sleepyhead.” (shh)

Big yellow moon, your turn is done (circle overhead, then move arms down)
Here comes Mr. Morning Sun (circle overhead)
I wake up. (arms stretch out)
You go to bed. (head on hands)
“Sleep well, Moon, you sleepyhead.” (shh)
Credit: King County Library System

Song: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!
Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon (rhythmically slide hands by each other)
Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon
If you’d like to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship (fingers walk up opposite arm)
Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon
In 5…4…3…2…1…BLAST OFF! (count on hands, crouch lower and lower, then JUMP!)
Credit: Jbrary

The last story is about the Mid-Autumn Moon festival, which is celebrated in China and many other Asian countries, and among some Asian-American families. It’s an opportunity to give thanks for a good harvest, and is centered on the full moon.
Read: Thanking the Moon by Grace Lin

Fingerplay: Twinkling Stars
At night I see the twinkling stars (wiggle fingers)
And the great big shining moon (arms overhead in circle)
My mama tucks me into bed (fists under chin)
And sings this goodnight tune! (follow with a lullaby)
Credit: Sunflower Storytime

Ukulele Song: I See the Moon
(tune of Hush, Little Baby)
I see the moon and the moon sees me
Down through the leaves of the old oak tree
Please let the moon that shines on me
Shine on the ones I love

Over the mountain, over the sea
Back where my heart is longing to be
Please let the moon that shines on me
Shine on the ones I love
Credit: Jbrary

Download a ukulele songsheet for I See the Moon

Thumbnail of I See the Moon ukulele chord sheet

Craft: Moon Lanterns
Make a paper lantern just like the ones we saw in Thanking the Moon. Easy instructions can be easily found online. This craft gives kids practice cutting, and being careful not to cut all the way through the folded paper, but to stop before the end. There are many variations – ours had an inner tube of contrasting color and a handle that was made from a 1.5 inch strip cut from that inner piece.

Picture of paper moon lantern craft.

I also booktalked these alternative titles during the permanent YouTube video.
Moonbeams: A Lullaby of the Phases of the Moon by Ann Bausum & Kyung Eun Han
Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 10/6/20.

Storytime Handout:

Baby & Toddler Storytime: Welcome to Virtual

This was my first ever virtual storytime! My library shut down March 16, 2020 with all staff staying safer at home. I decided I needed to reach out to my storytime kids (and keep myself occupied!) with some virtual programming, so I inventoried my personal collection of picture books and put together a loose plan to share some familiar stories and songs online by the next week, March 24. At this point I wasn’t even thinking about activity or craft suggestions, and the video went live on Facebook but we weren’t yet offering a song and rhyme only version on YouTube as we eventually did.

Welcome Song: Clap and Sing Hello

Transition: We’re in a different place than usual! This is my house. We’re all staying safer at home, but I’m so glad that we can still connect with each other like this. Let’s play a game about colors. Can you find something blue in the room you’re in, or on the screen where I am? Green? Red?

Read: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

Song: Hoot, Hoot Went the Little Brown Owl
Hoot, hoot went the little brown owl one day (cup hands around mouth)
Hoot, hoot went the little brown owl
Hoot, hoot went the little brown owl one day
And they all went hoot, hoot, hoot!
But… We know owls go (clap) lah-di-dah-di-dah! (wiggle arms up and down)
(Clap) lah-di-dah-di-dah, (clap) lah-di-dah-di-dah!
We know owls go (clap) lah-di-dah-di-dah!
They don’t go hoot, hoot, hoot!

Jump, jump went the little red squirrel one day (jump!)
Jump, jump went the little red squirrel
Jump, jump went the little red squirrel one day
And they all went jump, jump, jump.
But… We know squirrels go (clap) rub a dub a dub! (arms “run” in front of you)
(Clap) Rub a dub a dub, (clap) rub a dub a dub!
We know squirrels go (clap) rub a dub a dub!
They don’t go jump, jump, jump

Grrr, grrr went the big brown bear one day (make claws and scary face)
Grrr , grrr went the big brown bear
Grrr, grrr went the big brown bear one day
And they all went grrr, grrr, grrr
But… We know bears go (clap) huggy, huggy, hug! (hug yourself)
(Clap) Huggy, huggy, hug, (clap) huggy, huggy, hug!
We know bears go (clap) huggy, huggy, hug!
They don’t go grrr, grrr, grrr
Credit: Jbrary

Bounce Song: Bumping Up and Down
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
Won’t you be my darlin’?

One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken
One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken
One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken
Won’t you be my darlin’?
(Can continue with other “vehicles” – little black stroller, shiny green tricycle, etc.)
Credit: Raffi, via Jbrary

Fingerplay: Dance Your Fingers
Dance your fingers up,
Dance your fingers down
Dance your fingers to the side,
Dance them all around
Dance them on your shoulders,
dance them on you head
Dance them on your tummy,
and put them all to bed!
Credit: Storytime Katie

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
Now we’re clean, squeaky clean.
Credit: Jbrary

Read: We Belong Together by Joyce Wan

A song for quarantine. This one was suggested on Storytime Underground for virtual storytimes. The original goes “I am here and you are here.” You can also add motions to extend the song.
Action Song: I Am Here and You Are There
I am here and you are there but we are all together.
I am here and you are there and we’re going to have some fun.
I’m going to clap my hands.

Repeat, clapping hands throughout verse 2
I am here and you are there but we are all together.
I am here and you are there and we’re going to have some fun.
I’m going to clap my hands.
I’m going to stamp my feet.

Repeat, clapping hands AND stomping feet throughout verse 3
I am here and you are there but we are all together.
I am here and you are there and we’re going to have some fun.
I’m going to clap my hands.
I’m going to stamp my feet.
I’m going to nod my head.

Repeat, clapping hands AND stomping feet AND nodding head throughout verse 4
I am here and you are there but we are all together.
I am here and you are there and we have had some fun!
Credit: King County Library System

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: Raffi (from the album Singable Songs for the Very Young)
Get a downloadable ukulele songsheet here!

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Stars

This storytime was presented virtually on 3/24/20.