Toddler Time: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

We recently started offering a Toddler Time storytime for our nearby preschools/daycares. We do this special storytime once a month, and I’ve been assigned to them in July, August, and September (and hopefully October, November, Decemeber, etc.). I am absolutely loving this storytime, and I was so excited about August’s bug theme that not even a bad sinus infection could stop me!

Since it’s been a few months since I posted a storytime on this blog, here’s what I did for my bug theme:

toddler-time-bugs-books

Books:

I Love Bugs! by Emma Dodd
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book by Eric Carle
Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi

toddler-time-bugs-activities

Activities:

Here is the Beehive:
w/ bee puppet

Here is the beehive,
But where are the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Here they come.
Out of the hive.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5
BUZZ!

Itsy Bitsy Spider:
3 ways

The itsy, bitsy spider,
Went up the water spout,
Down came the rain and,
Washed the spider out,
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy, bitsy spider,
Went up the spout again.

Great Big Spider w/ great big voices
Rockin’ Rollin’ Spider sung really, really fast

Very Hungry Caterpillar Flannelboard:

Hand out various food and retell the story. Children put the food on the flannelboard when the time comes.

Wiggle Worms Movement Activity:

I created movement cards based off of bugs: wiggle like a worm, flutter like a butterfly, jump like a grasshopper, buzz like a bumblebee. For this activity, I would randomly select a card and we would move like that bug. The kids loved it!

Fuzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee
w/ pom-poms as our bumblebees
to the tune of Mary had a Little Lamb

Fuzzy, fuzzy bumblebee,
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Fuzzy, fuzzy bumblebee,
Landing on my toes [place pom-pom on toes]

Repeat with: knee, elbow, shoulder, head, bed (putting the pom-poms back in the tub)

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

Toddler Time: Underground Animals

Last week, I did an underground animals theme for Toddler Time!  There were a lot of new faces in the crowd, and some of the toddlers had older, preschool-aged brothers and sisters along for the ride.  It ended up working really well, because the older kids really had some interesting questions and observations about the books we were reading, which in turn led to some very nice conversations (and even resulted in me changing my plan a little because they brought something up that I wanted to continue with).  So here’s what we did:

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Underground Books

BOOKS:

UNDERGROUND BY DENISE FLEMING

MOUSE WAS MAD BY LINDA URBAN

LITTLE WHITE RABBIT BY KEVIN HENKES

MIDDLE RHYMES/GAMES:

ITSY BITSY SPIDER
Credit:  Traditional

WIGGLE WORM GAME
Credit:  Little Family Fun

IF YOU’RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT
Credit:  Traditional

HIPPITY HOP, HIPPITY HAY
Credit:  Preschool Express

Bunny Hunt Flannelboard

FLANNELBOARD:

WE’RE GOING ON A BUNNY HUNT
Credit:  Myself, copying off of the Little Mouse game and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN, TURN AROUND
Credit:  Traditional

HOW IT WENT:

I know I say this a lot, but this plan went very, very well!  The Wiggle Worm game was a great change from traditional rhymes, and it taught the toddlers about taking turns (and once we discussed how we take turns, they were very good about waiting patiently for their turn).  I think the caregivers also loved this game because they got a change to wiggle with and hug their littles!

While we were reading Mouse Was Mad, a 4-year-old started up a discussion about what it means to be angry.  Then, at the end of the book, several preschoolers commented that Mouse was no longer angry; he was happy!  So I then changed up my routine and launched into a rendition of If You’re Happy and You Know It (if you check out the PDF below, you’ll see that I originally planned on singing ‘Here is a Bunny with Ears so Funny’).  After we did the traditional “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…” we did another round with stomp your feet.  And one astute preschooler pointed out that Mouse had stomped his feet when he was mad.  So then I used that opportunity to ask the children what else Mouse did when he was mad, and we ended up singing “If you’re happy and you know it, hop up and down/roll around/scream.”  What a great way to retell the story!  I’ll definitely be doing this again the next time I read Mouse Was Mad!

PDF HANDOUT:

Underground Animals Plan

Toddler Time: Gardens

My regular preschool storytime is on hiatus during June and July (we do celebrity storytime instead), but I am providing Toddler Time every other week during the summer.  Today was the first Toddler Time of the summer, and I’ve changed up my routine a bit — I added an extra book and an extra rhyme and brought my rhyme cube along for some extra movement fun.

I was very nervous about this Toddler Time.  It was the first time I did Toddler Time in the summer.  I was in a different room with a different set up than what I’m usually used to.  I also wasn’t sure how big of a crowd I’d get, so I had to plan for the unexpected and be very flexible.  Everything worked out in the end, though.  I had a medium sized crowd that consisted mostly of mothers and toddlers who’ve been coming to my storytimes for months.  They were very happy to be there, and we all had so much fun with the rhymes and books!

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Gardens Books

BOOKS:

MY GARDEN BY KEVIN HENKES

UP, DOWN, AND AROUND BY KATHERINE AYRES

PLANTING A RAINBOW BY LOIS EHLERT

MIDDLE RHYMES:

ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO
Credit:  CLSP manual pg 16

ROUND AND ROUND THE GARDEN
Credit:  CLSP manual pg 16

I’M A LITTLE SEED
Credit:  Kindergarten Magic pg 245

FIVE GREEN PEAS
Credit:  Kindergarten Magic pg 244

Gardens Flannelboard

FLANNELBOARD:

FIVE LITTLE APPLES
Credit:  Busy Crafting Mommy

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN, TURN AROUND
Credit:  Traditional

HOW IT WENT:

I have to say that Five Little Apples and Five Green Peas were the favorite rhymes (the toddlers also really loved the rhyme cube…it was the first time I used it with this age group).  And, of course, Up, Down, And Around was the favorite book because I instructed everyone to stand on their tippy toes for up, crouch down by the floor for down, and turn around for around.  I recently purchased Books in Motion by Julie Dietzel-Glair, and I’m looking forward to using some of her ideas to increase movement during the stories.

PDF HANDOUT:

Gardens Plan

Toddler Time: Shapes and Colors

Due to summer reading planning, school visits, etc. I have fallen behind on posting my Toddler Time plans!  At the very beginning of May, I did a shapes and colors theme that went fairly well.

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Shapes Colors Books

BOOKS:

LEMONS ARE NOT RED BY LAURA VACCARO SEEGER

PERFECT SQUARE BY MICHAEL HALL

MIDDLE RHYMES:

SHAPES
Credit:  Sunflower Storytime

IF YOU’RE WEARING…
Credit:  Abby the Librarian

GREEN SAYS GO
Credit:  King County Library System

Shapes FB

FLANNELBOARD:

SHAPE, SHAPE, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
Credit:  Sunflower Storytime

CALM DOWN SONG:

TWINKLE, TWINKLE
Credit:  Traditional

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

BUBBLES!

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND

HOW IT WENT:

Is it sad that my memories from a couple of weeks ago are a little fuzzy?  I remember that Shapes and Green Says Go worked really well with the toddlers.  If You’re Wearing… also worked, but, as usual, every toddler did every movement regardless of what color they were wearing.  I would also definitely read both books again with toddlers.  I’m taking the fact that I don’t remember any catastrophe happening to mean that this theme went very smoothly.

PDF HANDOUT:

Shapes and Colors

Toddler Time: Peek-a-Boo!

We are approaching the end of the Spring session of Toddler Time!  I had a very small but very well-behaved crowd today.

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Peek a Boo Books

BOOKS:

PEEKABOO MORNING BY RACHEL ISADORA

WHERE IS TIPPY TOES BY BETSY LEWIN

MIDDLE RHYMES:

WHERE IS THUMBKIN?
Credit:  Traditional

OH WHERE, OH WHERE IS MY BABY’S HAND?
Credit:  Collaborative Summer Reading Program Manual

JACK IN THE BOX
Credit:  Traditional

Baby Duck

FLANNELBOARD:

BABY DUCK
Credit:  Miss Mary Liberry

CALM DOWN RHYME:

TWINKLE, TWINKLE
Credit:  Traditional

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

BUBBLES!

Last time we did bubbles in Toddler Time, it was a little chaotic.  This time, it was much better!  Before I started the bubbles, I explained to the toddlers that we’d have to take turns and share the bubbles with one another.  While there were a few toddlers who were trying to hog all the bubbles, most of them took turns popping and were very considerate to others during the bubble popping.

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND

HOW IT WENT:

It ran a little short (I could have extended it by blowing more bubbles, but I ran out).  However, everyone really loved the peek-a-boo rhymes, and even some of the more rambunctious toddlers listened and participated during the stories, so I would say that this theme is great for toddlers!  I would definitely use everything again in the future, and maybe just add a few more peek-a-boo rhymes.

PDF HANDOUT:

Peekaboo

Toddler Time: They’re a Part of Me

One of the things that I love about Toddler Time is the chance to do new themes that I never thought about doing for my Pre-K storytime.  The They’re a Part of Me theme is one of those that I never had the chance (or even the inclination) to do with the older kids.  Which is a shame because I’ve learned that there are a lot of great things you can do for this theme.

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Part of Me Books

BOOKS:

TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES BY MEM FOX

A KISS MEANS I LOVE YOU BY KATHRYN MADELINE ALLEN

MIDDLE RHYMES:

THEY’RE A PART OF ME
Credit:  Traditional

HUGS, BOUNCES, AND TICKLES
Credit:  Librarian Lisa’s Storytimes

HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES
Credit:  Traditional

Bibbity Bobbity Bees

NOT-A-FLANNELBOARD:

BIPPITY BOPPITY BEES
Credit:  Inspired by Miss Mary Liberry

CALM DOWN RHYME:

TWINKLE, TWINKLE
Credit:  Traditional

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

JINGLE BELLS!

We played a freeze game with the jingle bells today.  We jingled them while the music played, then froze when the music stopped.  Very fun!

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND
Credit:  Traditional

HOW IT WENT:

This week’s Toddler Time went so much better than last week’s.  We had a larger crowd, which for some reason kept the rowdy kids from being too rowdy, yet they still had a lot of fun.  Everything — books, rhymes, activities — worked amazingly well, and I will definitely be doing this theme again!

PDF HANDOUT:

Theyre a Part of Me

Toddler Time: Down on the Farm!

For our second week of Toddler Time, I decided to do a Farm Animal theme!  This one was very noisy with all the toddlers making animal sounds!

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

Farm Books

BOOKS:

COCK-A-DOODLE QUACK! QUACK! BY IVOR BADDIE

FARMYARD BEAT BY LINDSEY CRAIG

MIDDLE RHYMES:

THIS IS THE WAY
Credit:  Kindergarten Magic

FARM SONG
Credit:  Kindergarten Magic

OLD MACDONALD
Credit:  Traditional

Rooster has a Red Feather

FLANNELBOARD:

ROOSTER HAS A RED FEATHER
Credit:  Kindergarten Magic

CALM DOWN RHYME:

TWINKLE, TWINKLE

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

EGG SHAKERS!

I passed out our egg shakers, and we shook them along to some music.  Afterwards, I asked the toddlers to bring the eggs back to the nest (a bucket) because Mama Hen missed them (I broke out our hen puppet).

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND

HOW IT WENT:

My smallest crowd yet, though I’m going to blame the weather again (it was in the 80s and sunny yesterday, but it’s rainy and 39 degrees today).  Still, we had over 20 people, so it wasn’t too small of a crowd, and the toddlers who showed up enjoyed themselves a little too much.  The beginning of the program wasn’t too bad…I knew the kids were hyper, but I was able to direct their attention to the book by asking them to make animal sounds.  They continued to enjoy making animal sounds for the middle rhymes, but by the time we got to Old MacDonald, they were tired of that and decided that it was time to dance and run around.  They loved Rooster Has a Red Feather, though few of them waited for me to call out their color.  The calm down rhyme calmed them down for a grand total of 30 seconds, and they were up and about during the second book, so I skipped a few pages and ended it quickly so that I could pass out the egg shakers and the little ones could get all that energy out.

PDF HANDOUT:

Farm

Toddler Time: Bugs!

Our spring session of Toddler Time started today, hooray!  The winter session was so popular with patrons, that I’m very curious to see how this one goes.  We had a slightly smaller crowd than normal today, but it was still a pretty full house (and, honestly, I blame the icky weather for keeping people at home).  Our theme today was bugs because it’s one of my favorite themes to do for storytime!

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Manly Library

BUGS BOOKS

BOOKS:

TINY LITTLE FLY BY MICHAEL ROSEN

CAN YOU MAKE A SCARY FACE BY JAN THOMAS

MIDDLE RHYMES:

I’M A LITTLE BEETLE
Credit:  Mel’s Desk

THE ITSY BITSY, GREAT BIG, AND ROCKIN’ ROLLIN’ SPIDER
Credit:  Childhood

SHOO FLY, DON’T BOTHER ME
Credit:  Song is traditional; however, I also used these great pipe cleaner puppets from Mel’s Desk

The Ants Go Marching

FLANNELBOARD:

THE ANTS GO MARCHING
Rhyme Credit:  Traditional
Flannel Set Credit:  In the Children’s Room

CALM DOWN RHYME:

TWINKLE, TWINKLE
Credit:  Traditional

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

BUBBLES!
Instead of catching bugs, we caught bubbles while we listened to the YMCA (weird song to listen to during bubbles, but it’s so upbeat and peppy, that’s it’s good background music for activities).

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND

HOW IT WENT:

I decided to add a calm down rhyme right after our flannelboard because the toddlers are always so rambunctious by then.  I know it’s a good thing and that it means that they’re enjoying themselves, but I also feel as though barely any of them pay attention to the second story because of it.  So I decided that Twinkle, Twinkle is a good song to use to try to calm everyone down enough to sit through another story.  And I was right.  Even though we had lots of rowdy kids marching around the room for The Ants Go Marching, they all climbed into a caregiver’s lap and settled down during Twinkle Twinkle.

Overall, I think today was a big success, and this is a great storytime plan to use.  The books invited lot of questions and interactions.  And many of the rhymes were familiar to the caregivers, so they all sang along.  However, the toddlers were especially rowdy during the bubbles portion.  Bubbles were a big hit in the winter session, but today I had older toddlers running around like crazy, not watching where they were going, running into each other, and stepping on the younger ones.  I tried to control the chaos by telling the toddlers to find a square (our storytime carpet has colorful squares on it) and to stay in their square and wait for the bubbles to come to them, but that only worked with two older kids for about ten seconds, then chaos ensued again.  Oh well…we’ll be taking a two week break from bubbles, and maybe I’ll think of something to keep order by then.  (Probably not, though.)

PDF HANDOUT:

Bugs

Toddler Time: Giddy Up, Partner!

This is the second-to-last Toddler Time for the winter session!  This week our theme was all about cowboys and the wild, wild west.  We’re a Texas library, so this is a very loved theme here.  The toddlers especially love shouting out “Yee-haw!”

OPENING RHYMES:

OPEN, SHUT THEM
Credit:  Traditional

HANDS UP HIGH
Credit:  Here

Giddy Up Partner

BOOKS:

LET’S SING A LULLABY WITH THE BRAVE COWBOY BY JAN THOMAS

CLIP-CLOP BY NICOLA SMEE

MIDDLE RHYMES:

THIS IS THE WAY THE LADY RIDES
Credit:  Traditional

TEN LITTLE COWBOYS
Credit:  Sunflower Storytime

I’M A LITTLE COWBOY
Credit:  Sunflower Storytime

cowboy and you know itFLANNELBOARD:

IF YOU’RE A COWBOY AND YOU KNOW IT
Credit:  Myself, probably inspired by other sources

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:

JINGLE BELLS!
I passed out jingle bells and we shook them along to music from the Woody’s Roundup CD.

CLOSING RHYME:

CHILDREN, CHILDREN TURN AROUND
Credit:  Traditional

HOW IT WENT:

This was a very popular theme for us.  I announce the storytime theme on my library’s Facebook page a day prior to the storytime, and today we had toddlers show up wearing cowboy boots and clutching Woody (from Toy Story) dolls!  I love that they dressed the part!  (Granted, we are a Texas library, so maybe they just randomly decided to wear cowboy boots and bring their Woody dolls?)  There was a lot of bouncing in this storytime, which I think worked well because my toddlers were so super excited that they had trouble sitting still.  I had the caregivers hold their toddlers in their laps and bounce during This is the Way the Lady Rides and while we were reading Clip Clop.  I think Jan Thomas’ book would work better with a preschool crowd, but it did its job today, and I’d definitely use it again in Toddler Time.  Overall, this was a great storytime for toddlers!

PDF HANDOUT:

Giddy Up Partner