Toddler: Rhyming Words and Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

Toddler storytime is full of little ones these days. The caregivers are hungry for tips and are so enthusiastic. The kiddos are moving to the rhythm, clapping, signing, pointing to the book illustrations, touching the felt pieces and just generally getting into storytime. What a blast!

Weekly Early Literacy Tip: Singing nursery rhymes or other songs is fun and fosters early literacy! We usually sing slower than we speak and as we sing kids can more easily hear the individual sounds in words. This is called phonological awareness and will eventually help your child sound out words when they are ready to read. often the ending sounds are the easiest to hear, so we’re focusing on rhymes today.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together (with ASL)

I brought along my monkey puppet to sing with us on this next song. This crowd LOVES puppets.

Action Rhyme: Monkey See Monkey Do
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey in the zoo
Monkey, monkey, in the tree
Can you jump around like me?
(…clap your hands…climb a tree…nod your head…sit down…)

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks book image

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks by Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier (Photo source:

Book: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting & Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion Books, 2013)

Bunting’s book reads well as a story, unlike some rhyming stories that seem forced. The amount of text, story line and word choice create a pacing, when read aloud, that encourages emphasis on the rhyming words and offers opportunities for the youngest storytime kids to interact with the illustrations and make connections with the text. One on one sharing allows for even more conversation, reinforcing the value of this title as a repeat read.

 Felt game: Little Fox, Little Fox
This felt game was inspired by erinisinire. Lots of people have versions of this game (and it’s cousin Little Mouse, Little Mouse) as Jbrary found out, but I do love this fox the best and it ties nicely with the book we shared this week which includes a fox and some boxes. I used my Folkmanis fox puppet (called Big Fox in this game instead of mom or dad fox) to add another dimension and reinforce the concept of big and small.

Some of the toddlers wanted to hide the fox as well as find it which worked out great because the hiders still let us say the rhyme and were surprised when we found it behind one of the different colored boxes!

Before we sang this song and popped bubbles together, I mentioned why I count starting with my thumb. We count to three a lot during this storytime to show how easy it is to integrate counting (math) into daily activities and I always start with my thumb. These first three fingers are essential for pinching and grasping small objects and will later be used to hold a paintbrush or writing tool.

Bringing out a box of scarves after I put the bubbles away is a great transition! Before our next song which used different colored scarves, I explained and demonstrated what we were going to do with our scarves and then we sang together. For example we were going to wave the scarves overhead and then rub our hair.

Scarf Song: Scarves in the Air
Put your scarf in the air, in the air
Put your scarf in the air, in the air
Put your scarf in the air, now rub your hair
Put your scarf in the air, in the air
…on your knee, count to three
…on your toe, way to go!
…on your head, who has red? (the families with a red scarf waved it in the air)
Source: Read, Sing, Play
See and hear the tune in action with KCLS

Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it, wave your scarf.
If you’re happy and you know it, wave your scarf.
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it.
If you’re happy and you know it, wave your scarf.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, shout “hooray!”
If you’re happy and you know it, do all three.
(wave, wave, clap, clap, hooray!)

Time to clean up our scarves! I usually have a bag to put the scarves in, but today I brought a box so we could sing this song!

Song: Picking up scarves
Pickin’ up scarves and put them in the box
Pickin’ up scarves and put them in the box
Pickin’ up scarves and put them in the box
Put the scarves in the box
Source: KCLS

Closing Song: Ring Around the Rosie

Activity: Dot painting!
Today I brought out the paint dobbers and some plain white paper for toddlers to try. For some kids, it’s their first experience painting. For all of the kids and adults, it offers a great opportunity to experiment with and talk about colors and patterns.


Toddler Storytime: 10 Little Caterpillars

This storytime includes a variety of components that fit nicely in the context of what’s going in Homer and in toddler storytime. For example, crows and ravens are everywhere these days. I was able to find two raven finger puppets at our community museum so I had to include them. These kiddos love puppets in all sizes and they immediately gravitated toward these two little black beauties. At the end of storytime, I also shared with them the new Alaska animal puppets that will live in the children’s library from now on (separate than my personal stash of puppets) thanks to an early literacy grant we received from the State Library.

Many families spend a lot of time outside here in the Summer. The days are long and the great outdoors is literally out your door. Caterpillars are just one of the fascinating treasures little ones can find in their yard and on local trails. The book we read today, 10 Little Caterpillars, highlights these little creatures and offers multiple opportunities for exploring a book- families can read the entire story straight through, they can talk about the plants that are in the book and find them in their garden and they can find the caterpillar, and other bugs, on each age (sometimes tricky!).

Here’s what did:

Welcome Song with ASL signs: The More we Get Together

Action Rhyme: I am Big
I am big, big, big (stretch hands far to sides)
I am small, small, small (crouch down)
I am short, short, short (stay low)
I am tall, tall, tall (reach for the sky)
I am fast, fast, fast (roll hands or march quickly)
I am slow, slow, slow (roll hands or march slowly)
I say yes, yes, yes (nod head)
And sometimes no, no, no (shake head)

Fingerplay: Two Little Ravens Sitting on a Hill
Two little ravens sitting on a hill
One named Jack, one named Jill
Fly away Jack
Fly away Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill!
Two little ravens sitting on a cloud
One named Soft, one named Loud
Fly away Soft
Fly away Loud
Come back Soft, come back Loud!

10 Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr. (Photo Source:

10 Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr. (Photo Source:

Book: Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin jr. and Lois Ehlert


We’ve been playing with shakers for a couple of weeks and having lots of fun so I added in a new song that I found recently. This song goes nicely with this week’s early literacy tip about teaching children the concept of stop, and self-control, through play. The source link will take you to a video of the song so you can learn the tune. I left off the goodbye verse to shorten the song and because we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye!

Shaker Song: Shake Our Shakers
We’re going to shake our shakers
Shake them so
We’re going to shake our shakers
We’re going to shake our shakers
Shake them so
Until someone says

We’re going to shake our shakers
Shake them so
We’re going to shake our shakers
We’re going to shake our shakers
Shake them so
Until someone says

We’re going to shake our shakers
We’re going to shake our shakers
We’re going to shake our shakers
and Right!
Until someone says

We’re going to shake our shakers
Around and around!
We’re going to shake our shakers
Upside down!
We’re going to shake our shakers
On the ground!
Until someone says
Source: Washington County Cooperative Library Services

Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It (with shakers)
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it.
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.

If you’re happy and you know it give a clap.
(Clap shaker against palm.)

If you’re happy and you know it give a tap.
(Tap shaker on the floor.)

If you’re happy and you know it do all three.
(Shake, shake, clap, clap, tap, tap)

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: Rabbits

Hoppy Easter! It’s time for the annual rabbit storytime!

This year I focused more on the actual animal instead of the mythical Easter Bunny which worked well. I also added an early literacy injected egg hunt to the preschool program.

Welcome: Song Cube (We usually sing two or three of these songs as families enter and get settled.)

Instead of moving right into reading books and singing together, it was time for our egg hunt. The kids had already noticed the brightly colored eggs hidden throughout the children’s library where we hold storytime.Hiding Eggs

I explained that each egg, there were twenty-six, had a different felt letter inside. As a team, we needed to find the eggs, open them, pull out the letter inside, and then bring it back to the storytime space so we could match it to the same letter on the feltboard. I asked the older kids to help younger ones and I explained that we could match the letters by their shape and color (as you can see below, the felt letter pairs were the same color and I used random colors to help differentiate the letters from each other). In hind sight, I should have cut the letters out of felt colors that created a pattern. Next time!

Alphabet Easter Egg Hunt

After we found all of the eggs, we sang the Alphabet Song forward and backwards while I pointed to the individual letters.

Next I brought out my larger bunny puppet to introduce storytime. Rabbit, aka Foo Foo, helps with storytime do’s and don’ts and was the star of the compare game. To talk about rabbits, and snowshoe hares which live here in Alaska, I asked kids to look at the bunny puppet and then at me. The object of the game is to figure out what is the same and what is different. I started everyone off by talking our legs- the rabbit has four and I have two, plus two arms. We observed the puppet and the kids yelled out similarities and differences including our ears, our eyes, rabbit’s tail and fur, how rabbit gets around, etc. We also talked about why rabbits might have particular features that are different from mine.

After the game I taught everyone a quick finger play that is easy to learn and repeat at home.

Fingerplay: The Rabbit
I saw a little rabbit come
Hop, hop, hop!
I saw his two long ears go
flop, flop, flop!
I saw his little nose go
Twink, twink, twink!
I saw his little eyes go
Wink, wink, wink!
I said “little rabbit, won’t you stay?”
Then he looked at me
And hopped away.
Credit: Artfelt (for link to free pdf of rhymes)

In anticipation of our first book, we acted out an opposite rhyme. I always ask kids to stand up for this one to help them move a bit before our first story.

Action Rhyme: This is Big

Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček. Photo Credit:

Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček. Photo Credit:

Book: Animal Opposites (Candlewick Press, 2013)
There are a lot of books featuring animal opposites, but this one by Petr Horáček is my favorite. It’s a pop up book, which I love for its interactivity, but it is also special for other reasons. The opposites are spot on, the animals are very realistic and each pair offers lots of opportunities for conversation. The grand finale, a very large fold out elephant, is an excellent touch.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
…bend and stretch
…hop two times
…sit down please

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Photo Credit:

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Photo Credit:

Book: My Friend Rabbit (Roaring Brook Press, 2002)
Eric Rothmann’s tale of mouse and rabbit is a great companion to the Animal Opposites book we explored first. Some of the animals appear in both books, including the white goose, and the kids can see rabbit lifting the heavy hippo reinforcing what heavy means. With minimal text, the illustrations in this fun read aloud must speak loudly, and they do. Rabbit, the troublemaker and problem solver, has an idea for getting mouse’s plane unstuck and kids liked to anticipate what’s going to happen next and predict rabbit’s innovative solution.

Song: Little Bunny Foo Foo
Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head
And down came the Good Fairy
And she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t like you’re attitude
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head”

I’ll give you 2 chances.
Then I’ll turn you into a goon!
The next day…
(Repeat two more verses with 2 and 1 chances_
2. “I gave you two chances.
Now I’ll turn you into a goon!”
And the moral of the story is:
Hare today, goon tomorrow!
Credit: Scout Songs

I use my rabbit puppet, a mouse puppet and my bubble wand for this one. I show the kids the hand motions for the song before we start so they can sing along with me. I also sometimes just let the fairy godmother give the bunny just two chances, instead of three, if kids are getting restless. How does she turn the bunny into a goon? By blowing bubbles over him as he sits on the floor! I ask the kids to protect Foo Foo by popping all of the bubbles before they land on him.


Craft time!
Because of the activities we did today, I offered a simple craft. I have used this one before. I prepped the pink strips that kids and adults could cut into ears and provided green squares for the hand shaped grass. Kids cut, stapled, and glued to produce the bunny hiding in the grass.

Rabbit Hiding in the Grass Craft


Toddler: Things That Go

“That was really fun,” said one of the new-to-storytime parents. And it was! With the perfect mix of stories, movement, conversation, and parent involvement, toddler storytime left us all with smiles on our faces.

Wecome Song: Hello Everybody

Action Rhyme: This Is Big
This is big, big, big (stretch hands far to sides)
This is small, small, small (cup hands together)
This is short, short, short (hold palms close vertically)
This is tall, tall, tall (hold palms far apart vertically)
This is fast, fast, fast (roll hands quickly)
This is slow, slow, slow (roll hands slowly)
This is yes, yes, yes (nod head)
This is no, no, no (shake head)

Feltboard Game: Things that Go

This game involves matching up a place and the vehicle (or dog) that goes there. The kids loved this game! I placed these felt pieces on the board first and we talked about what each of them were.

Things That Go Felt 1


Then I showed the kids the things that go, one at a time. Together we placed the felt vehicle (or dog) where it belonged. It’s amazing to see kids make sense of the world right before your eyes. What smiles! We of course made the sound that corresponded with each thing that goes.

Things That Go Felt 2

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
… bend (to the ground) and stretch (to the sky)
… tap your toes (tap left toe and say 1, then tap right toe and say 2)
… sit down please (with slide whistle)

seals on the bus

Book: Seals on the Bus (Henry Holt, 2000)
by Lenny Hort and G. Brian Karas

Just like the Jbrary rock stars, I am a fan of singable books! I always ask kids if they know a song about a bus before we begin singing and reading this one. At least one child chimes in with “Wheels on the Bus!” I tell a little back story before singing about the family waiting for the bus on the first page because we don’t have public transportation in our community and many kids don’t know about public buses. While we sang, a group of toddlers danced and acted out each of the animals on the bus. The adults all laughed at the end when the people say “Help, help, help!”

Dance Break: Happy by Pharrell Williams
With scarves! I find reluctant dancers are more apt to dance with a scarf in their hand. Today’s group was no different. We boogied! We danced for a bit and then I counted to three on my fingers before saying “Freeze!” and pressing pause. This group is really good and the freeze game! I played about 2 of the 3 minutes of the song. I used my phone and portable speakers to play this music.

tip-tip-dig-dig-274x300Book: Tip, Tip, Dig, Dig (Boxer, 2007)
by Emma Garcia

Emma Garcia’s books (Toot Toot Beep Beep and Tap Tap Bang Bang) are all toddler crowd pleasers! The combination of easy to read large text, action words, and fun vehicle images in this work vehicle delight are perfect for small and larger crowds. It even catches the attention of wandering toddlers. This one worked nicely with the This is Big, Big, Big action rhyme because we could easily replicate many of the vehicle actions with our bodies since we had used them in the earlier activity (“Let’s roll our arms around each other fast, like we did earlier!” Now, let’s roll them slowly!”)

This song gets kids working their fingers, build anticipation and strengthens number sense as kids count from 1 to 10. They are so ready for bubbles when this song is done! I blow bubbles by hand and make sure all of the little ones get a chance to pop some. We pop them in the air, down on the ground, with our elbows, our thumbs, our toes, our chins, you name it.

Action Song: 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.
On the second go through I ask questions like “Can you find your shoulders? Where is your belly (Anna)? I also will accentuate the ‘in’ and ‘out’ hand movements because that part of the song can go by quickly without little ones understanding what is in and out. I’ll even add in a ‘beep beep’ when I point to my tummy.

Goodbye Rhyme: Wave Hi, Wave low

Looking for more toddler storytime ideas? Visit my Toddler Themes page.