Toddler Storytime: The Snowy Day

I share a lot of new books in storytime to highlight what has been recently added to the library’s collection, but this past week I wanted to share a classic with families, many of whom are new parents. With snow on the ground, a good mix of play and stories planned and a small dose of storytime magic, it was time to include Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day (along with Nicola Smee’s Jingle Jingle) in the toddler/baby storytime line up. The clear, colorful images, the kid perspective, the gentle flow of the story, and the wintertime theme made the book a good fit for the slightly older, mostly 20-30 month old, crowd that showed up. The book also includes a few features that demonstrate how books can be both mirrors and windows (or doors) for children. Including books with a variety of characters that reflect diverse families and their experiences helps create an inclusive storytime environment.

  • Snow, which is on the ground here in Homer, is a very relevant concept for Homer kiddos and helps them connect the story with the world around them.
  • The family is African-American, an underrepresented group in children’s books.
  • The young boy lives in an apartment, instead of the stand alone house often found in stories, and represents one of the many types of loving homes.

I talked about the idea of windows and mirrors in storytime and in the December installment of monthly early literacy article I write for a local newspaper. The article is part of a broad outreach effort to connect families with literacy information wherever they are.

Have you seen the animated, digital version of the book on the Ezra Jack Keats site, the animated short video (Amazon Prime) based on the book, or Andrea Davis Pinckney’s new book about Ezra jack Keats and  the creation of The Snowy Day neighborhood, A Poem for Peter?

The storytime line up (approximately 25 minutes)

Early Literacy Tip:

Books can act as windows and mirrors. The variety of stories, characters, and settings found in books can show that your child’s story matters and help your child learn about and appreciate the experiences of others.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together

Book: Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee

Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee


Action Song: Bumping Up and Down In My Little Blue Sled

Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Bumping up and down in my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.

Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Snow’s coming down on my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.

Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Waving to my friends on my little blue sled
Won’t you be my darling.
Source: Jbrary

Book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats



Bubble Break!

Fingerplay: Three Little Snowmen

Three little snowmen, all in a row.
Each with a hat and a big red bow.
Out came the sun and it shone all day,
One little snowman melted all away.
(two and one little…)

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

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

…twirl around
…jump up high

Activity: Indoor Snow Exploration Bins

Toddlers: Snow

Today’s storytime was wishful thinking… It is actually warmer than yesterday when the preschoolers explored the snow storytime! These poor toddlers. Winter is late in coming here in Southcentral Alaska and the toddlers aren’t snow experienced enough to know what fun lies ahead. We faked it and talked more about cold weather and rain than snow. But, really when is the snow coming? After all, we don’t live in Seattle…

Welcome: 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?

Fingerplay: 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 in to bed.

Winter Hokey Pokey
You put your mittens in, you take your mittens out. (hands in circle)
You put your mittens in, and shake them all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around,
That’s what it’s all about!
…boots (foot in circle), hat (head in circle), coat (whole self)…

Fingerplay: Mitten Weather
Thumbs in the thumb place, (thumbs out)
Fingers all together.  (fingers up all together with thumbs hidden)
This is the song we sing in mitten weather.

Book: Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee (Boxer Books, 2008)
Smee’s two books featuring horse, cat, dog, pig and duck are toddler pleasers. This one’s cover is deceiving. It is not a Christmas book, but includes some great sound effects and snow.

Movement: Bubbles! (we pretended the bubbles were snowflakes and rain drops)
1 little 2 little 3 little bubbles
4 little, 5 little, 6 little bubbles
7 little 8 little, 9 little bubbles
10 little bubbles go pop, pop, pop.

Flannelboard: I Made a Little Snowman (adapted)
I made a friendly snowman,
I made him big and round.
I made him from a snowball,
I rolled upon the ground.
He has two eyes, a nose, a mouth,
A lovely scarf of red.
He even has some buttons,
And a hat upon his head.

20131114-153754.jpgI have 15-25 toddlers each week these days and I let whoever wants to help me tell flannelboard stories hold felt pieces. The toddlers who helped today insisted that the snowballs sit next to each other at the beginning and then they were moved on top of one another to build the snowman. This is how it ended up. Nice job, don’t you think?

This week, several kids did help or watch, but the other kids couldn’t see or lost interest and wandered off.To bring everyone back to the group, I passed out the rhythm sticks I had on hand. I made them out of dowels so they are lightweight, replacements are easy to make, and they are fairly indestructible.

Action Song: Clickety Clack (with rhythm sticks)
Clickety, Clickety Clack
Clickety, Clickety Clack
Click Clack, Click Clack
Clickety Clickety Clack.

Action Song: Snow (or rain) is Falling (with rhythm sticks)
Snow is falling, falling down; Snow is falling hit the ground. (Move sticks up and down, tapping a simple beat)
Flurries, flurries (repeat with a slow beat, slowly said)
Snowing, snowing (repeat with a faster beat)
Blizzard (Repeat, tapping loudly and with a very fast beat. I like to get kids tapping on the floor for this one.)

Action Song: Ring Around the Rosie (group forms a circle)
Ring (or skip or hop, etc.) around the rosie (move as a group to the left or right)
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down! (squat down on ground)

The cows are in the meadow (slap hands on floor while staying down on the ground)
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up! (jump up)

Goodbye: Tickle the Clouds
Tickle the Clouds.  Tickle Your Toes.
Turn Around,
And Tickle Your Nose! Reach down low. Reach up High.
Storytime’s over, wave goodbye!

Play: Stacking Blocks like Mega Bloks: First Builders