Toddler Time: Messy

Yesterday I did a great theme with the toddler crowd:  Messy!  You know how every now and then you’ll do a storytime and just feel like everything has gone perfectly to plan, and everyone leaves happy?  Well, that was what happened yesterday.  The toddlers loved the books, rhymes, and games, and the parents seemed pretty darn happy too.

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Messy Books

BOOKS:

HOGWASH BY KARMA WILSON

PETE THE CAT: I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES BY ERIC LITWIN

DIGGER MAN BY ANDREA ZIMMERMAN & DAVID CLEMESHA

MIDDLE RHYMES/GAMES

IF YOU’RE MESSY AND YOU KNOW IT
Credit:  Traditional, slightly altered

THIS IS THE WAY THE LADY RIDES
Credit:  Traditional

RING AROUND THE MUD PUDDLE
Credit:  CLSP Manual, page 75

ROW, ROW, ROW, YOUR BOAT
Credit:  Traditional

Messy Flannelboard

FLANNELBOARD:

FIVE CLEAN AND SQUEAKY PIGS
Credit:  Mel’s Desk

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN, TURN AROUND

HOW IT WENT:

Very, very well.  Normally I would consider Hogwash to be too long of a book for the toddler crowd, but because it’s written in rhyme, and because I read it first, it ended up working well with this group.  I made sure to pause every now and then to ask questions, specifically what noise does such and such farm animal make.  It helped keep the kids engaged with the book.  Pete the Cat is always a huge hit in storytime due to the song, and Digger Man was a good book to end with due to being short.

Since I couldn’t find too many messy rhymes that I liked, I stuck with just two and then did traditional rhymes for the rest.  For Lady Rides, I instructed the caregivers to hold their toddlers in their laps and bounce them along with the rhyme.  We start slow for lady rides, and then go faster and faster until we’re all crazy like for cowboy rides.  One little girl liked it so much that she said, “Let’s do it again!” when we were finished.

But I have to say that the biggest hit of storytime was Ring Around the Mud Puddle.  I was fortunate enough that the program room we use in the summer is pretty big, so I was able to cut a huge mud puddle out of brown butcher paper and tape in on the floor in an area where the children wouldn’t necessarily see it until it was time to play.  After I read Pete the Cat (which has a mud puddle in it), I told the toddlers that there was a mud puddle in the room, and could they help me find it?  We went on a mini scavenger hunt for it, and when the toddlers found it, they immediately jumped on it as if it were a real mud puddle!  The caregivers and I gave them a few moments for pretend play in the mud puddle before I instructed how to play Ring Around the Mud Puddle.  We all stood around the puddle and walked around it, and then at the end the toddlers jumped in!  We did this one several times.

PDF HANDOUT:

Messy Plan

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4 thoughts on “Toddler Time: Messy

  1. I love the mud puddle idea! I have been doing my toddler storytime in our small meeting room because it’s easier to bring their attention back in when they wander. But my crowds have been getting bigger and bigger, and I’ve been considering moving to the large meeting room instead. How do you handle bringing their attention back if they wander to other parts of the room?

    • For me, participation is key with the toddlers. I try to pick books that they can interact with either by repeating a refrain with me, or pointing out different objects, or making animal sounds. And when they do start to wander, I know that it’s time for a rhyme or activity to bring them back. And some days you just need to know when to quit. I’ve had a few days where the toddlers were so hyper and distracted that there was nothing I could do to make them pay attention. So I put the book down, turned some music on, and broke out the bubbles.

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