Toddler: Jump!

We explored animals that jump this week. It was a great opportunity to mix and match some seemingly unrelated books and lots of movement. Here’s what we did!

Early Literacy Tip of the Day:
When you read to your child, run your finger under the printed words to help her/him know that it is the text you are reading, not the pictures. This helps kids know text has meaning.
For more easy to use tips like this one, check out the The Early Literacy Kit by Saroj Ghoting (Every Child Ready to Read) and Betsy Diamant-Cohen (Mother Goose on the Loose), both of whom I finally met in person at the #alsc2014 conference.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together
(I start singing this as I pass out the day’s information sheets)
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.
We’ll read big books and small books (with hand motion)
and short books and tall books
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Credit: Jbrary

I just came across a version of the first verse with sign language which I’ll be using next week. Check out Holly Jin’s video (Skokie Public Library)!

Fingerplay: Open Shut Them

Movement: Monkey See, Monkey Do (I used this last week and repeated it to make a connection between storytimes and include an opportunity to talk about the importance of repetition.)
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey in the zoo
Monkey, monkey, in the tree
Can you jump around like me?
(…swing your tail…clap your hands…nod your head…sit down…)

One little one pointed out that we don’t have tails as we swung our pretend tails which gave us a chance to talk about similarities and differences!

Book: Pouch by David Ezra Stein (this is a book many families receive as participants in the local Imagination Library program so it is well-loved by little ones.)

Pouch by David Ezra Credit:

Pouch by David Ezra Stein Credit:

Movement: Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill (Irrational Anthem album)

Fingerplay: Two Little Frogs (using thumbs as frogs)
Two little frogs sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
“Jump,” said Jack. “Jump,” said Jill.
And they both jumped down the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs down towards floor)
Come back, Jack. Come back, Jill.
And the both jumped up the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs up towards ceiling)
Credit:Storytime Katie

Book: The Croakey Poakey! by Ethan Long

This book works well with kids that need to move as they listen. It has a funny and unexpected ending!

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit:

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit:

Movement: Bubbles!

Movement: Jump Around the Rosie (adapted)
Jump around the rosie
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up!
(repeat in other direction)

Goodbye Rhyme: Wave Hi, Wave low

Preschool: Monkeys

March storytimes are all about the letter M. This week I featured some great books about monkeys and brought out the paint for our art project.

Letter M

Welcome: Song Cube

To introduced this week’s storytime theme, I brought along my monkey puppet friend. He’s a spider monkey and helped me talk about what a monkey looks like, what it eats, where it lives, how it travels, and of course what it sounds like. We talked about the difference between monkeys and apes also. With the exception of the spider monkey, did you know most monkeys do not actually get around using brachiation, in other words, do not actually swing from tree to tree?

My little monkey friend also served another purpose. He introduced storytime do’s and don’ts, with my translation skills. It went something like this:
Monkey: Eeee, screeee, eee, eeeeeeeee, ee.
Me: Welcome to Storytime! We’re going to read, sing and play together for about 30 minutes and then we’ll be doing an art project. If you need a break, that’s fine. Just make sure your adult stays with you. We’ll have lots of fun together, so is everyone ready? (I save reminders about sitting so others can see, no wrestling etc. for when they are needed instead of piling on the reminders at the beginning.)

Count the Monkeys

Count the Monkeys Credit:

Book: Count the Monkeys (Disney-Hyperion, 2013)

Mac Barnett & Kevin Cornell made this story for storytime, I’m sure of it! Why is this a great storytime title? The book is funny, the illustrations are engaging, the characters and text reference other stories kids may know and want to talk about (Red Riding Hood anyone?), it gets kids counting (preschool math) and talking, and its interactive.

The premise is that readers are going to have the chance to count monkeys, but are woefully frustrated by the lack of monkeys on all of the pages…except the endpages. Readers will delight, however, in the variety of characters who take over the story. Who are your favorites? The proper beekeeping old ladies? The persistent lumberjacks? The pesky bears? The silly monkeys hiding at the end?

5 Little Monkey PuppetsSong: 5 Little Monkeys

It was time to wiggle, so we did a full body version of Five Little Monkeys. Everyone stood up and then jumped (some pretended to fall off the bed) and sang while I used my finger puppets to guide the song. This song offers great opportunities for preschool math also. As we sing the song, I take breaks to talk about how many monkeys we have left, how many jumped off, and how many we have altogether, pointing out our use of addition. Note: I alternate “his” and “her” in each verse to be more inclusive.

Book: Monkey See Monkey Draw (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2011)

monkey see monkey draw

Monkey See Monkey Draw Credit:

Alex Beard’s book inspired today’s craft. It’s the story of silly monkeys who love to play games, including monkey in the middle. During one such game the monkeys are terrified to discover that the seed pod they’re playing with gets tossed into the dark cave they fear. Along comes elephant, who isn’t afraid of the cave, to save the day. The monkeys are convinced to venture into the cave and, once their eyes adjust to the dark, discover the wall paintings that abound there. The monkeys turn to making their own paintings outside the cave and eventually turn art into a competition. They eventually learn that art isn’t a contest and that everyone’s art is important.

The illustrations are beautiful, the characters endearing, and regional references useful in talking about the natural history of monkeys and elephants. Talking about the history of cave paintings can also inspire kids to tell stories in different ways. I used this book to talk about the craft we would be working on after the third story.

Before the last story, I used our new parachute to introduce the preschool storytime families to a new version of Pop Goes the Weasel. We warmed up with a couple of other parachute songs that I’ve used in my outreach program and with the toddlers and then started popping our puppets in the air. I don’t have a stuffed weasel, but I do have a cool lizard, so I adapted the song. Everyone loved it just the same.

Pop Goes the Lizard Parachute

Parachute: Pop Goes the Lizard (based on the song Pop Goes the Weasel)

All Around the Cobbler’s Bench
The monkey chased the lizard
Monkey thought ’twas all in fun
POP goes the lizard

We needed a transition from the crazy parachute time to our last story reading. I know just the thing.

Song: If You’re Read for a Story

two little monkeys

Two Little Monkeys Credit:

Book: Two Little Monkeys (Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Mem Fox and Jill Barton teamed up to create a quick tale about Cheeky and Chee that is another nice storytime read.  With repeating text, rhyme, and easy to see illustrations, the story features two monkeys having a grand time in the trees until a leopard comes along and almost has them for lunch. Cheeky and Chee are too quick and agile for the leopard though!

This storytime went a little over 30 minutes, my usual length, but we were all having fun so it worked out fine.

Craft: Handprint Monkeys

Hand Monkey Craft


We used our hands and brown paint to create our own monkeys! The preschoolers and siblings all enjoyed creating versions of my sample (scroll down for some of my favorites).

Monkey Hand Craft MaterialsMaterials:
brown finger paint (in plates wide enough for extended hands)
card stock
scraps of green construction paper for leaves
yarn for vines and tree trunks
googly eyes
markers and crayons

Monkey Handprint Art 4

Monkey handprint 3