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

Fiber Arts in Story

This week I decided to share The Cloud Spinner and Extra Yarn with the preschool storytime kids. See reviews in my previous post. We turned it into a fiber arts storytime!

green sheepI also added a third book to the mix, Where is the Green Sheep?  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004) so we could talk about where the wool comes from that is used to make all of the hats and mittens we wear for much of the year. It’s a silly book that includes lots of opposites and great opportunities for color recognition and vocabulary practice.  It’s a fun book to improvise with or read the text as is.

Before I read Where is the Green Sheep? I taught the group the old song, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, using the felt board. Most kids had never heard the song before and sat intently as I sang.  After the story, I brought out my colored sheep so the kids could really learn the song and continue practicing their colors.  The visual of the felt sheep and three bags of wool helped the kids learn this song. By the fifth time around, those little ones were singing their hearts out.  At the end of storytime, when everyone was getting their boots and coats on, a two year old started singing “Baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa.” Her mom was amazed, telling me that her daughter had never heard the song before. The mom then started singing the rest of the song to her. It put a smile on my face!

Baa Baa Black SheepBaa, baa Black Sheep felt
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy, who lives down the lane.
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

Credit: King County Library System

Cloud AnimalsWe worked on a couple of projects during craft time today. Some kids made cloud animals similar to some of the cloud creatures we identified in The Cloud Spinner.  Feel free to download the templates for the cloud fish and the cloud bunny.  The cloud sheep craft and template I found at All Kids Network. I had a teen volunteer help me cut out the templates for each so the kids could focus on gluing the cotton balls in place.

STEAM moment: While this storytime focused on fiber arts, we also spent time talking about the clouds in the story. It offered me an opportunity to introduce the water cycle and the story’s message of conservation.

The other project we tried is paper weaving. I found a great example at Art Projects Paper Weavingfor Kids. This was popular with the older kids who sat and really focused on weaving the paper strips over and under. Some kids alternated the weft (or warp?) and some only did one pattern. You could see the mental wheels spinning! It was a great project for adults and kids to do together and the parents were very patient.  One parent even commented that it would make a great project to do at home (it requires very little in the way of materials).

Paper cut for weavingI used one sheet of cardstock for each child and cut eight lines from one end to within an inch of the other end. Having one end free helped the kids maneuver the strips more easily. I found colorful scrapbook paper for the strips the kids wove into the cardstock. The contrasts were beautiful and easy for the kids to see their progress.  Paper strips for weavingWhen the weavers were all done, we taped the back of the cardstock where needed so the strips wouldn’t move around.

A note for next time- I’ll make the strips a little longer than the 8″ strips I used this time and have parents trim the hanging edges. The paper fit well, but it would have been easier for kids to handle if it was a bit longer.

With a little more lead time, I’d also have a weaver come to storytime and demonstrate on a loom so kids could see weaving in action.


This week I decided to bring out the pirate fun. I couldn’t wait for the official Talk Like A Pirate Day to come around again. There’s just something about storybook pirates and their socially acceptable mischief.

pirate booksWe had a regular guest reader join us for stories and songs this week at the library so he read the stories while I worked with kids on the letter ‘P’ scavenger hunt and the pirate crafts. It’s amazing how many kids don’t know how to make a pirate hat out of newspaper! Twenty more do now! It’s great rainy day fun and offers adults a bit of nostalgia.

This morning, I headed out the road for my outreach program. This week’s only stop was the fire station. The group of kids and parents that regularly comes to the fire station is not as big as at the library, but that’s fine. They are all familiar faces and we are getting to know each other better in a more intimate setting. I am happy to see everyone because there are a few faces I tend to see at the library only in the summer. It can be difficult to get into town for specific events during the winter-either because of weather, kid schedules, or just because of a shift to the wintertime mental state.

During storytime on the road, it was my turn to read the pirate books.  While everyone got settled, a couple of kids and I talked about the letter ‘P’ and looked through My ‘P’ Book.  They quickly rattled off a list of other words beginning with the ‘P’ sound while the littlest ones took turns playing with my felt ‘P’. We then moved on to stories. I read the tongue twisting Sheep on a Ship, The Pirates Next Door: Starring the Jolley-Rogers, a great book about differences, and Pirate Girl. Feisty girls need role models, too.

The flannel board was a success! I was proud to create this one and the kids loved it. The older kids chimed in on the song’s refrain and the youngest storytimers bee-lined to the board and the felt pieces as soon as I added them with each verse.  After which the little ones spent the rest of storytime taking off and putting on the pirate pieces.  Win, win. I got the flannel board idea (and the song suggestion) from Sturdy for Common Things.

pirate felt board

Pirate Song (Sung to “This Old Man”) via Work of Heart
This old pirate, has a hat
Where a skull and crossbones sat.
With an Ar, Ar, Ar, and an Ay Matey!
This old pirate sailed the sea.
This old pirate had a patch
Sailed the sea without a scratch.
With an Ar, Ar, Ar and an Ay Matey!
This old pirate sailed the sea.

Additional Verses:
This old pirate has a hook, uses it to hold a book.
This old pirate has a map, keeps it handy in his lap.
This old pirate has a bird, barely knows a single word.
This old pirate has a ship, travels the world in a single trip.
This old pirate looking for treasure, more than anyone can measure!

parrotAnd on to craft time! We made our hats and pet parrots before doing the letter ‘P’ treasure hunt, well, because pirates need accessories to find treasures!  If you need a tutorial on pirate hat making, check out Instructables. There are some other curiosities there also worth your time! As for the parrot, I took a template and instead of making one designed to wear on the shoulder, I modified the drawing so the parrot could be carried with the help of a Popsicle stick. It worked well for the wide range of ages at the library storytime and at the fire station.P treasure hunt

For the ‘P” treasure hunt, I laminated letters in different kinds of paper (2 of each) and then made a treasure hunt map with one of each kind of ‘P’. The others I placed around the room so that kids could explore and identify the letter. They brought the letter back to the map and taped it next to its match. Once we had all of the letters on the map matched, it was time for the treasure! I gave out library pencils to smiling pirates and we found out those pencils make great drumsticks!

By the way, if your library has access to Mango Languages, you should check out the Pirate tutorial. What a great sense of humor they have! I often show school age kids Pirate on Mango Languages because it is a great gateway to learning other languages on the site and exploring our library’s online resources.