Posted in story times

These are a few of my favorite (FOODS!) Story time

What’s your favorite food? Every kid I’ve ever met loves to answer this question. My preschool group talked about their favorite fruits and veggies,  a nice surprise, considering most people assume kids hate to eat healthy.

Opening song: If you’re ready for a story take a seat ( to the tune of: If you’re happy and you know it)
If you’re ready for a story take a seat. If you’re ready for a story take a seat. If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands and stomp your feet. If you’re ready for a story take a seat. 
If the kids are antsy, I get them to settle in on the carpet with this song. If they are ready for stories, I skip right to our opening hello song!

Hello song: Bread & butter 
I learned this song 5 years ago from my very first children’s librarianship mentor at the Free Library! I use it for the opening of all my preschool & toddler story times.

Action game: COLORS-  If you’re wearing (color) do (action). This helps the kids get their sillies out before we start reading and also helps reinforce their color knowledge.

Book: Hi, Pizza Man! – Virginia Walter
I skipped this book with the toddler group because their vibe was extremely high energy so we jumped right into Orange Pear Apple Bear. The idea of a Pizza Dinosaur was hilarious to our preschoolers. Admittedly, I was hoping for a Pizza Dinosaur, too!

IMG_6396Feltboard: Build a pizza – inspired by Abby the Librarian’s feltboard. We talked about our favorite pizza toppings and then rolled out the pizza “dough”. I handed out pineapple (yellow felt rectangles), cheese (white triangles), mushrooms (brown dots), green peppers (long skinny green rectangles), tomatoes (bright red circles), pepperoni (dark red circles), to the kids who wanted to help make the pizza. One by one, I called each shape and those children came up to place their felt pieces on the board. After all the toppings were assembled, I turned the felt board around to hide the pizza, telling them it’s in the oven baking! We checked on it at the end of story time to see if it was “done”. Despite being very simple, the kids had a fun interacting with this felt board! Inevitably, one of the preschoolers asked why we didn’t just go to the kitchen and make a real pizza. If only it were that simple!

Book:  Orange Pear Apple Bear – Emily Gravett
I attended a lovely PA One Book Every Young Child training with Will Hillenbrand and Julie Dietzel-Glair, who introduced her “Books in Motion” active story time approach to books. The idea of getting kids moving during story time is one of my main goals, so I tried her method with Orange Pear Apple Bear and it was a hit!  I was going to introduce just one action with everyone’s favorite fruit, apple, but my preschool group was so ambitious, they wanted to do the all the actions. Each time I said Orange we clapped, for Pear we SPUN, for Apple we  JUMPED, and lastly for Bear we Grr’ed. I love the illustrations in this story but I always wondered how to make it more interactive for story time. My toddler group just jumped for apple, which was great fun, too!

I like to bring my toddlers back to the carpet with a deep breath, arms stretched out and down (a yoga move, really). The preschoolers requested the much-loved banana song instead.

Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
Reading this book is very relaxing for me, most likely because I often read it as a bedtime story to my son. Both the toddler & preschool groups got excited about this one, it being one of the most popular kids’ books ever, so they crowded into the front row for optimum viewing. We told the story together, since most of them knew the story by heart.

Goodbye song: The preschoolers sing  If you’re happy and you know it wave good bye and the toddlers Kick with two feet!


Posted in story times

Let’s get messy story time

When I first started at my current library branch a few months ago, I wanted to follow my predecessor’s footsteps and continue with preschool story time. I drafted elaborate story time plans with very specific themes and was very matchy-matchy about each selection and then I realized most of the kids coming to our preschool story time, which is focused on kids aged 3-5, were mostly in the toddler age range, and so I had to change gears and make story time less formal and more toddler-appropriate. This storytime was the result of that change.


Pete the cat – I love my white shoes by Dean and Litwin
This is the quintessential getting messy & being okay with it book. The kids love it, and I enjoy it, though I am nonplussed by all the various new iterations of Pete the Cat.

Dog’s colorful day by Emma Dodd – with flannel board!
I started using this book for sensory story times with school aged kids, and then later discovered how much fun it was for toddlers, especially when read in tandem with the felt board. Kids of all ages love helping to splash dog with various colored dots and “giving him a bath” at the end when we pretend to scrub him clean.

Pigeon needs a bath by Mo Willems


I made a Pigeon puppet out of a wooden spoon and felt and combined it with what Pigeon sounds like in my head: a cranky old man. It goes over very well!

Ain’t gonna paint no more by Karen Beaumont
I sing this one. Beaumont’s illustrations are full of wonderful kinetic energy but I think the book may be better suited for a pre-k group.


My eyes are made for seeing

Popcorn kernels scarf song by Jbrary
I use this scarf song for baby story time but I’m learning that the toddlers love the scarves, too! This song ended with many games of peek-a-boo.

This is the way we wash our hands
I like to sing this one towards the end of story time after we’re done getting messy.


Posted in story times

Ten in the bed for PJ story time- Flannel Friday


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I made this Ten in a Bed flannel (credit: Making Learning Fun) board a couple weeks ago for a bear-themed preschool story time and realized it would be perfect for my first PJ story time at the new branch. I used the traditional lyrics with one added change– colors!

“There were ten in the bed and the little blue one said, ‘Roll over, roll over.’
So they all rolled over and the white one fell out.” And so on until the little blue one sighed, “alone at last!”

Between the Sleepy Bears, Each Peach Pear Plum, and Cabrera’s Twinkle, Twinkle, my group started yawning, stretching, and drowsily kicking with two feet as story time came to a close. Sleep is one of the major things parents with young children struggle with, so I hope my story time helped the kids get some zzz’s.

This post is part of the Flannel Friday Roundup over at What is Bridget Reading?

Posted in early childhood literacy, story times

Baby story time 1/22/16

We resumed baby story time today after the holiday/ALA Midwinter hiatus! Philly is expecting a snowmaggedon, but we still had small yet engaged group of older babies pop by for story time. Our pig puppet kissed each baby to welcome them while I introduced the parents to how our baby story time works and what to expect. My baby story times are very low key. We have lots of toys and manipulatives on the floor, so I explained that babies were  welcome to enjoy the story time in their caregiver’s lap or crawl around and/or engage with the toys! Being babies, they have very short attention spans, so I don’t want the parents to get worried if their kid wasn’t playing attention to the book, they are still absorbing the language skills we put out there. I also provide handout (here’s the template) for practice at home, but it’s also a good way to plug some early literacy and media mentoring tips!

We start with the same song and book for every baby story time:

Welcome song: Clap and say hello

Book 1: A-hunting we will go by John Langstaff (we sing this one!)197466

Scarf song: Popcorn kernels! (They especially loved this song, thanks Anna!)

Bounce: This is the way the ladies ride

Diaper changing rhymes: Charlie Chaplin went to France & There was a little man (I love you, Jbrary!)

Book 2: Ten tiny tickles by Karen Katz (the babies weren’t so crazy about this one)

Scarf song: London Bridges

Bounce: Did you ever see a baby


Goodbye song: Open shut them (from the Storytime Secrets blog, one of my favorite resources)

I used to drive myself crazy trying to come up with themes for baby story time and then one day I realized that neither the babies nor the parents seemed care about themes. Do you use themes in baby story time? Why or why not?

Enjoy the snowpocolypse, fellow East Coasters!