Toddler: Sheep

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?

Time for a 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)
Credit: Annapolis Valley Regional Library’s Storytime site

If You’re Ready for a Story

If you’re ready for a story, baa like a sheep!
If you’re ready for a story, baa like a sheep!
If you’re ready for a story, If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, baa like a sheep!
(clap your hands)

Book: Russell the Sheep by Scotton (Harper Collins, 2011)

russell the sheep

With economical use of text, whimsical illustrations, and a lovable sheep, kids can relate to Russell’s trouble- finding sleep. Russell tries everything to bring sleep long after the rest of his flock has drifted off to dreamland. The toddlers quickly warmed to Russell and were anxious to see how he solved his problem. Counting sheep just might do the trick… (we even counted sheep together to see if that would help Russell.)


Action Chant: I Like to…
I like to pop, I like to pop, I like to pop, pop bubbles.
I like to pop, I like to pop, I like to pop, pop bubbles.
I like to pop, I like to pop, I like to pop, pop bubbles.
(stomp, clap, blow)

Old MacDonald (with farm puppets)
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on that farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O.
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there,
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
(chicken, pig, sheep, dog)

Alphabet Song
(tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

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, then your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,
(wiggle your knees, shake your hips, do all three)

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: Some nursery rhymes help children develop narrative skills. Those skills will later help them understand what they read. Giving children aids, like flannelboard pieces, puppets, or cut out images, helps them remember the sequence of a story and makes it easier for them to retell the story in the correct order. (from The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards, Diamant-Cohen & Nadkarni Ghoting, 2010)

Appvisory: Looking for a fun, open-ended app to help children tell stories? Try Software Smoothie’s digital Feltboard ($2.99) or Feltboard-Mother Goose on the Loose (Free). Both apps are available for iOS.

Photo Credit:
Rob Scotton

Preschool Storytime: Back to School!

School begins in just two weeks! To help all of the story time kids prepare for kindergarten, a back to school storytime was on the menu this Back to School week. With just a few schools in our small town and vicinity, I was able to share little details about most of the great kindergarten teachers in our area as kids shared which school they were going to attend. These little connections always help on the first day of school!

To get warmed up, we sang the ABC Song using shakers.

kwelz_alsc_ebadgeThen we played the Name game which I read in a comment about a Back to School Storytime post on the ALSC Blog. We all stood in a circle and each of us took a turn saying our name and performing a unique movement. The rest of us all do the movement together. With a little help from each other we made it around the circle and did quite a dance. Even with lots of regular faces, we all learned some new names while coming up with some silly movements. It offers a great opportunity for early morning stretching!

Owen K Henkes

Owen by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, 1993) was the first story we read. I absolutely love this book, and almost everything Kevin Henkes has written. I’m particularly fond of this one because it is my son’s namesake and it was given to him at birth by a lifelong friend of mine. I also love the gentle flow of the story, with hints of mischief, and bits of repeated text.

Owen is the story of a young mouse getting ready to start school. He is very attached to a blanket which he carries with him everyday, but is “encouraged” by a neighbor (via his parents) to get rid of it before starting school. After trying all of the neighbor’s suggestions to get Owen to part with the blanket, unsuccessfully, they finally come up with a creative, loving solution that works for everyone.

There are a couple of back to school Splat the Cat books by Rob Scotton, but I stuck with the original, Splat the Cat (Harper Collins, 2008). In it, Splat is reluctant to start school and the first few pages feature Splat’s humorous splat the cat in bedattempts to avoid school. He finally agrees to go, with his mouse friend in his lunchbox.  Once at school, he learns that cats and mice aren’t supposed to be friends, much to his surprise. In the end, the mouse saves the day and all of the cats learn to love mice. This book is a perfect fit for storytime.

What storytime would be complete without a rendition of the Wheels on the Bus? We sang several school bus related verses before moving on to a favorite book.

pigeon Willems

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books, 2003) is not a school related read, but all ofMo Willems’ books are not only sharable in storytime, but epitomize the idea of an interactive picture book. The spirited responses to Pigeon’s questions throughout the story easily demonstrate the power of good storytelling to engage even the youngest reader.


Instead of a craft activity, we rode a school bus today! The local school bus company donated a bus and driver to take our storytime group on Back to School Bus Ride a drive to one of the local elementary schools. Most of the kids loved the experience, but one or two kids who were not quite ready for the experience, shall we say, and their caregivers did stay behind at the library. We sang, asked questions, and practiced getting on and off the bus. What was the most important question we asked? Would the driver let a pigeon drive the bus? No!

Note: The bus was late! The dispatcher had forgotten today was the day. As the clock ticked and no bus driver arrived, I started to wonder. I had a coworker call the company who sent the driver right over. The lesson? Always have an extra book on hand, some stories memorized, or some songs/games to play to keep families from losing interest.

Photo credits: Owen- Scholastic, Splat the Cat –, Pigeon- Mo Willems’ blog