Family: Splish, Splash, Water!

This summer I again included a water storytime in the line up. As a coastal community, we are very connected to water, the salt variety in particular.  Kids love water and I’m not afraid of a little contained wetness during storytime.

Even when I reuse a storytime theme, I never do it quite the same way. SO, this time we began with an activity. I got this idea from Amy, the Show Me Librarian, who posted about a water storytime on the ALSC blog. We often simply have a conversation at the beginning of storytime, but this one focused on where we find water. As Amy points out, writing the kids’ ideas on the chalkboard helps them make a connection between oral language and the written word and it includes kids in the conversation that may feel too shy otherwise. Kids had no problem calling out their ideas as I wrote them on the board.

Book: Milo and Millie by Jedda, Robaard  (Candlewick Press, 2014)
During bath time, Milo and Millie, Milo’s teddy bear, go on an adventure in an origami boat, we get to replicate during the activity time! The book includes a tutorial.

Book: What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013)
This book is a bit forced, but talks about why things float. I didn’t read it word for word, but it worked well for this storytime with a little modification on my part. Simple illustrations on a white background make the images easy to see, even with a large group.

Movement: Octopus’ Garden by the Beatles (This song was suggested in a Storytime Underground Facebook conversation about storytime music.)
We listened to this song while popping bubbles, something I don’t normally do at the preschool/family storytimes. Of course the kids loved it. To bring everyone back for the last story, we sang If You’re Ready for a Story.

Book: Rain by Manya Stojic (Crown, 2000)
Animals of the African Savanna try to predict rain, a vital source of water around the world. The book includes bright, colorful images and clear text. I loved talking about how rain smells.

The kids and I were all ready for some water activities. So we quickly reviewed what we would be doing, put away our storytime mats and got to work!

Sink and Float Station
This station is a must! The idea is that kids test out objects ability to float or sink and use their observation and recording skills. Don’t forget to roll up your sleeves for this one because everyone is bound to get a little wet!IMG_0220


  • 3 dish tubs
  • water
  • sink/float objects: rubber ducky, crayon, paper clip, LEGO, sponge, rock, leaves
  • sink and float chart in the SRP 2014 manual
  • pencils and crayons

Objects we Tested


Recording our Observations

Origami Boat Station
In the back of the Milo and Millie book, there are instructions for making an origami boat. I provided paper cut to the correct size, a sample, and the book open to the instructions. Kids and caregivers were able to make the paper boats with just a little guidance at this self-serve station.


Melting station
At this station, the young scientists got to experiment with states of matter. That sounds pretty advanced for preschooler, but it really equates to making things melt, turning them from a solid (ice) to a liquid (water). Kids generally stayed at this station for longer periods and often visited it last. Once they figured out what the activity was all about, they were mesmerized.


  • ice cubes
  • warm water
  • salt
  • eye droppers
  • trays
  • cups for salt
  • cups for water

To reinforce that text has meaning, I included labels at each station. This also helped parents identify which station was which. With larger storytime group sizes in the summer, having multiple stations with labels like these is helpful as families navigate the children’s library.


Toddlers: Spring Cleaning

This toddler storytime is based on the preschool storytime I did the day before. It worked well, with some adaptations, for this age group as well. Head over to the preschool storytime version for complete details.

Welcome Song

Action Rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

Book: Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley

Dance Break: I Took a Bath in A Washing Machine by Jim Gill

Fingerplay: Elephant in the Bathtub
One elephant in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock (Clap twice)
Splash, Splash, (Slap knees twice)
Come on in! (Motion with both hands to come in)
(Repeat up to ‘Five’)

Five elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
They all fell in!
Credit: Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

Movement: Number Hokey Pokey
You put one finger in.
You put one finger out.
You put one finger in and you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about.
That’s how we count to one.
(2, 3, 4, and 5)

I’m not sure where I found this version of the hokey pokey, but it’s a simple alternative.

Goodbye Rhyme

Play Activity: Kid Wash!
Credit: Susan Dailey

I let kids crawl through the kid wash as many times as they wanted. Needless to say it, it was a popular!

Kid Wash Exit

Kid Wash Exit: Kids crawled through the streamers at the end to simulate drying.

Kid Wash entrance

Kid Wash Entrance: Kids enter here and crawl through boxes. A parent held the stop sign and used it to direct kid traffic through the wash.

Kid Wash Side View

Kid Wash Side View: I used the chairs to help hold up the box tunnel. I blew bubbles on kids as they crawled through the open space between the boxes.