Toddlers: Colors (variation)

Colors is a theme I return to often in storytime, especially with toddlers. Here is another version of the theme. What’s different about this storytime is the adaptation of the song “If You’re Wearing” and the sensory activity we enjoyed after stories and songs.

Welcome: Hello Everybody

Fingerplay: Open Shut Them

This next rhyme/song is familiar to many of you. When I have used it with toddlers in the past, the group has had trouble with it. Little ones respond slower than adults and need enough time to identify the color and find it on their clothing, which can be a lot of time. Then many of them stand up and turn around regardless of whether or not they are wearing the color. Sometimes this combination can turn the activity into chaos and no one can remember the point of the song and toddlers start to lose interest.Color ChipsI decided to go with the toddlers flow and create laminated color chips out of construction paper scraps for the group so we all had the same colors. It served the purpose of teaching or reinforcing color identification and allowed us the chance to get up and move together without confusion! The kids were all so proud and delighted in finding the color I said allowed and doing the actions that followed.

Red Keynote Slide

I used a keynote presentation I made on my iPad to show the color for each verse. I pointed out to caregivers that including text at the bottom of each color slide andpointing to it helps kids understand that text has meaning. I also held up my color chip next to the iPad screen so they could see the match.

Action Rhyme: If You’re Holding…
Red, red is the color I see
If you’re holding red then show it to me.
Stand up. Spin around.
Show me your red and then sit back down on the ground.
(blue, yellow, green)

The toddlers were really ready for a story at this point so we sung a few quick verses of this transition song. I selected actions that connected the song and the book we were about to read.

Action Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)
If you’re ready for a story, flap your wings!
If you’re ready for a story, flap your wings!
If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, flap your wings!
…meow like a cat
… shake and wiggle
… sit down please

red hen

The Red Hen Photo Credit:

Book: The Red Hen by Rebecca & Ed Emberley (Roaring Brook Press, 2010)
I’ve used this book before with both toddlers and preschoolers with great success. I chose it this week because of the illustrator’s excellent use of color to create expressive characters that draw readers into the story.

Movement: Bubbles!

I have a couple of new families with infants that are regularly joining us for storytime. I also have some grandparents that bring their toddlers. Both sometimes have trouble getting to the floor for the second verse of this song, so I recommend that they stomp on the ground with their feet while we slap our hands on the floor or they can clap along.

Movement: Ring Around the Rosie
Ring (or skip or hop, etc.) around the rosie (group moves in circle formation holding hands)
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow (kneel or sit on the ground and slap hands on floor)
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up! (jump up)

Activity: Sensory Tubs

I bring out a special toddler activity every so often for the toddlers. When I do, I usually end the storytime portion of the program a few minutes early so the whole program runs for about 30 minutes, allowing families the scheduled amount of time if they have somewhere to be. When I bring out these activities I usually stay a bit longer, allowing extra exploration time. This activity will also require a few minutes with a broom or vacuum!

This week I brought out the colored butterfly noodles I made for a Family: Bugs storytime early in the summer and also brought out tubs filled with colored rice. The toddlers loved filling measuring cups with the rice and noodles, the babies loved watching, and the older siblings who came along were great participants, helping the toddlers and even playing in the rice themselves! Everyone needs a chance to play with colored rice.

The parents were thrilled to get the instructions on how to make colored rice and noodles at home. It’s super simple and I used vinegar in place of alcohol to get the food coloring onto the rice and noodles. My daughter helped me dye the rice at home several days before storytime so that it was nice and dry of the little ones.

Colored Rice



Toddler: Patterns, The Red Hen, and Drumming

Welcome Song: Hello Everybody
(clap hands on lap and then together, clap twice on the word “you”)
Hello everybody, how are you?
Hello everybody, how are you?
It’s such a lovely day, I’m so glad you came to play,
Hello everybody, how are you?

Toddler Yoga: Tall as a Tree
Tall as a tree (Stretch arms overhead)
Wide as a house (Stretch arms out to side)
Thin as a pin (Arms tight against side)
Small as a mouse (Crouch small)

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)
If you’re ready for a story, tap your head!
If you’re ready for a story, tap your head!
If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, tap your head!
… sit down please

The-REd-HenBook: The Red Hen by Rebecca and Ed Emberley (Macmillan, 2010)
This is a fabulous read aloud for toddlers!
I chose this book for a couple of reasons. I really like this version of the old story which has the red hen enjoying the cake on her own after no one would help her prepare it. I think the hen gets walked on in some of the other versions. While I encourage kids to charitable and giving, I like to inspire confidence and pride as well as sharing in storytime environment. The other reason I love this version is because the illustrations are out of this world. They are bright and very eye catching. Emberley also makes sure to move the red hen and the other animals around on the page even if the scene is familiar, keeping the story fresh for even the youngest readers. I asked kids to help me find the red hen on each page, encouraging them to see the pages of the story in a different way. They loved the game, the repeated text, and the red hen’s response to her unhelpful neighbors.

Movement: Bubbles
One little, two little, three little bubbles.
Four little, five little, six little bubbles.
Seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles.
Ten little bubbles go pop, pop, pop!

We spent the rest of storytime playing with balls which we used as drums. I asked parents to help kids keep them on the floor (no throwing) so we could use balls in a new way. This worked marginally well. To help decrease the chaos, I didn’t blow up the small beach balls I used so they didn’t fly as far. Heather Smith of the Elanco Library posted these songs on the ALSC listserv. Here are the songs we used:

Chant: Dum Ditty (spoken)
Dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum, dum, dum.
Can you hear me play my drum.
Dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum, dum, dum.
Beating my drum is so much fun!

Action Chant: Tapping on the Drum (spoken)
Rum pum pum, tapping on the drum
Rum pum pum, tapping on the drum
Tapping very slowly, slowly, slowly.
Tapping very quickly, quickly, quickly.
Rum pum pum, tapping on the drum
Rum pum pum, tapping on the drum
And the drummer says stop!

Action Song: Roll, Roll, Roll the Ball
(tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Roll, roll, roll the ball
Roll the ball to me
Then I’ll roll it back again
Quickly as can be.

Goodbye Song: Wave Hi, Wave Low
I think it’s time, we’ve gotta go
Wave your elbows, wave your toes
Wave your tongue, wave your nose
Wave your knees, wave your lips
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips
Wave your chin, wave one eye
Wave a hand and say “goodbye!”

Early Literacy Tip:
Seeing patterns and trying to recognize things that are alike and things that are different is a fun game for children. These activities help them develop the mathematical concepts of patterns and relationships. (modified from : The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards by Betsy Diament-Cohen and Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting, 2010)

Photo credit: The Red