Toddler: Movement

With the all of the unseasonably rainy weather, I knew the toddlers would be ready to move this week, even more than usual. So, along with a fun book about warm climate animals,  I picked out some of my favorite action rhymes and songs that might even help us break a sweat! That’s my New year’s resolution for story time… to get parents so involved they perspire with a smile! Here’s to 2014!

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?

Action Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers Up
Dance your fingers up,
Dance your fingers down.
Dance your fingers in and out
And all around the town.
Dance them on your shoulders,
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummy
Then tuck them into bed.

Song: It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (we want snow!)
It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, (wiggle fingers down like rain)
It ain’t gonna rain no more, (waggle finger and shake head as if saying “no”)
Oh no, it’s up to my toe! (point to toe)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more. (wiggle fingers down like rain)

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh gee, it’s up to my knee! (point to knee)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh my, it’s up to my thigh! (flatten hand to cheek and then point to thigh)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh fiddle, it’s up to my middle! (point to belly button/waist area)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh dread, it’s up to my head! (place hand on top of head)
I’m just gonna swim on home… (make swimming motion)
Credit: Jbrary

Song: I’m Hopping Like a Bunny
(using penny whistle)
I’m hopping like a bunny, I’m hopping all around (hop)
Hopping like a bunny and now I’m falling down (play penny whistle down scale as you fall to floor)

(play penny whistle up the scale as you stand up, teaching kids what to listen for and the actions to follow when they hear the corresponding penny whistle sounds)

I’m stomping like a elephant, I’m stomping all around (stomp feet)
Stomping like a elephant and now I’m falling down

I’m swimming like a fishy, I’m swimming all around (make sign for fish)
Swimming like a fishy and now I’m falling down

I’m walking like an tiger, I’m walking all around (walk on all fours)
Walking like an tiger and now I’m falling down

I’m flitting like a fly, I’m flitting all around (flap hands at sides quickly)
Flitting like a fly and now I’m falling down
Credit: Nancy Stewart
We changed the animals in Nancy’s song to match the animals found in the book we read later during storytime. If you don’t want to sing the song a cappella, you can sing along with Nancy via the recorded version on her website.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story (we sing of version of this song before each week’s book to help families transition from songs to the story)
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands
If you’re ready for a story, If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.
… sit down please (accompanied by penny whistle)

Book: Tiny Little FlyTiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen and Kevin Waldron (Candlewick Press, 2010)

This book has brilliant illustrations, a sneaky little fly to follow through the story, and excellent action words to describe the large predators’ efforts to eat the fly. The fly outwits them all and flits away, of course.

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 then spend 4-5 minutes blowing and popping bubbles and talking about our bodies, what bubbles look like, etc.

Movement: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill played via phone/wireless speakers, using Sound Cloud app

Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It

(clap hands, wiggle your knees, spin around, do all three)

Goodbye: 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, ave your lips
Blow me a kiss with your finger tips
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your belly and derriere.
Wave your chin, wave your eye
Wave a hand, and say goodbye!
Credit: Rob Reid

Early Literacy Tip:
Think about ways to make text and literacy visible to your child so s/he can take text for granted! Place a basket of books out for your child’s easy access, read in front of your child, or write so your child can see.
Credit: Raising Readers

Preschool: Rhythm and Sounds

This week’s story hour was all about rhythm! I regularly talk with families about the role music, and singing, can play in literacy- it helps kids hear the rhythm (cadence) in language and slows down are speaking so they hear more sounds.  And it’s fun to sing, dance and make music! So, I am a big fan of books that incorporate fun sounds and rhythm into the story. A couple of kids are particularly big fans of any music or sound activities we do, so this story time theme is dedicated to them!

Rhythm books

We started story time at each location with Storytime Katie’s version of Rafi’s Shake Your Sillies Out using shakers. I was inspired after arranging an upcoming summer visit to our library by the musician Andy Mason, who also does a great version. We shook, jumped, stretched, clapped, and stretched some more to get rid of the late January blahs. These kids love to sing, wiggle, and dance! Since only a few kids had arrived at this point I then read Giraffes Can’t Dance to give the others a chance to arrive and get settled.

From there we moved on to more music and movement!  In one of the outreach programs we use a room with a linoleum floor (vs. the carpeted floor at the library) so the sounds we created were fun and different.  We used the the rhythm sticks I made out of dowels to make quite a ruckus banging on the floor, metal chair legs, mats, other rhythm sticks, shakers, books, you name it! After the free form music making we made sounds together with this song I found at Read Sing Play. I read a suggestion somewhere along the way that is helpful with the rhythm sticks- have the kids rest the sticks on their shoulders between trying out the sticks on their own and playing this song. It is a great tool for focusing the kids’ attention.

This is the way we tap our sticks, tap our sticks, tap our sticks
This is the way we tap our sticks so early in the morning!
This is the way we rub our sticks, rub our sticks, rub our sticks
This is the way we rub our sticks so early in the morning!
This is the way we tap our knees, tap our knees, tap our knees
This is the way we tap our knees so early in the morning!

And I added:
This is the way we bang on the floor, bang on the floor, bang on the floor
This is the way we bang on the floor so early in the morning.

The additional verse lets us do what we really want to do, bang on the floor, in addition to making the softer sounds called for in the earlier verses.

We have also used this rhyme with the sticks. It’s a favorite in snow country.

Snow is falling, falling down; Snow is falling hit the ground. (Move hands down, wiggling fingers like snowflakes)
Flurries, flurries (slow beat, slowly said)
Snowing, snowing (faster)
Blizzard (Loud and very fast)
Perpetual School

I continued on with books and read This Jazz Man, Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes, and Dancing Feet. With each page, we were predicting, counting, identifying colors, interpreting illustrations, naming animals, and learning about jazz and music. The great questions kept on coming!BINGO

Just before we moved on to the craft for this week, I brought out the flannel board. The kids got quiet as soon as they saw the blank, black rectangle appear. I placed five felt letters on the board, spelling BINGO, and kids immediately began to identify letters. “The letter this week must be B!” a little one proclaimed. I got this idea from the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy site.

After pointing out each letter as I said it’s name, it was time for a song. Most kids know the BINGO song, so they caught on quickly. As each letter is “removed” in the song’s lyrics, the felt letter is turned over. Instead of clapping, in this version we barked in place of the turned over letter. ( didn’t get a chance to put a dog image on the back as was recommended, but that would be cute.)

The song with the BINGO letters worked very well and I found that more kids, particularly the youngest ones, were able to keep the rhythm going when they barked vs. clapping. It can be tough without well-developed fine motor skills. By the time we got to barking for “N,” there were smiles all around and everyone had it figured out.

To round out the morning, we created fun music makers for the budding performers to take home. These were constructed by 2-5 year olds, so they are simple and can be made with limited adult support. My sample is so boring compared with the kids’ which were featured multicolored rays of streamers, an abundance of giraffe and elephant stickers, and crayon colored patterns!  The story time’s grand finale was an orchestra of paper plate shakers!Shaker

This craft was made with materials I already had at the library:

1 paper plate folded
dried rice, beans, or grain to go inside once the plate is folded
staples and glue to make a tight seal around the edge
crayons or markers for coloring the plate
stickers for decorating the sides
dots of glue on one edge for the paper streamers

Do you know of another easy to make instrument for story time? Let me know!