…storytime, books, and ideas

Archive for the ‘songs’ Category

Play with Words!

Book cover: recipes for playThis post is to supplement a workshop I am doing at the NSCC for Child Care Providers. Below are links to resources for the workshop, Play With Words! Other readers might find these links useful. Enjoy!

Be Fit Kits: Play and be active  AVRL currently has Be Fit Kits for borrowing, and is working on Be Fit Kits 2.o, which will be launched in March 2017.

Time to Play – AVRL Booklist for adults. Place holds on the books directly from the list!

AVRL – Play in the Library (PDF) This has resources on why play is important in the library setting. Applications to child care settings are similar.

Zero to Three – Videos, research,  resources, and articles on the connections of play and early learning.

Zero to Three video on play and thinking skills

Let’s Play : Free app from Zero to Three  — searchable, and has age levels as well as selected activity locations (bed & bath,  chores, etc)

Full-colour booklet on the Power of Play. Intended for parents, but has lots of good tips  for care providers as well.

Really Rosie play workshop guide. Tips & activities for adult learners.

Center for Childhood Creativity: Research, articles, tips, blog posts.

Importance of Play (PDF) Whitepaper from  Association for Library Services to Children.

Child’s Play: a 4-page handout good for quick tips and sharing with parents.

Center for Excellence for Early Childhood Development (Canadian). Lots of resources here.

Blog Post: Modeling Pretend play

How to do a Fort Night (or day) – blog post from Jbrary

Photos of AVRL fort night on Facebook

Jbrary YouTube Playlist: songs for every occasion and then some.

Knife, Fork, Spoon song from Jbrary

Physical Literacy is like reading literacy: 10 ways they are similar (article)

Active play for the early years from Participaction

Words at Play— Philadelphia  Free Library initiative using literacy as basis for play experiences.

Stories to Act Out: Beyond the Book Blog- play with story, and also this blog has loads of tips on using puppets.

Storytime Underground Resource Depot: The Importance of Play

Blog Post: How to do Life-size Candyland – great game idea!

Drive-in Movie using boxes as cars.

Baby Dance Party (blog post on how to do it, includes playlist)

All things STEAM  (science play) from “The Show-Me Librarian” blog

Box Town – create a whole city from boxes! Blog Post from “Tiny Tips for Library Fun”

Flannel Friday on Pinterest: a bazillion ideas

NOTE: If you have other great resources or blog posts, add them in the comments!

Worm Races at Storytime

Our Wolfville branch does a Spring storytime each year featuring Worm Races. I asked them to do a write up about it, so here’s a guest post from Emily Leeson at our Wolfvlle branch:

frog craft

frog craft

Spring has finally sprung here in the Annapolis Valley! While the weather outside may still be unpredictable, it’s still the perfect time to bring a bit of spring into the library. The crew at the Wolfville Memorial Library recently welcomed the season with their fifth annual worm races during the monthly special Springtime Storytime held the last Tuesday of the month. This year, the theme had special significance as the library has also taken on a new gardening project. Through the generous support of the TD Friends of the Environment Fund, the Wolfville Memorial Library is now the proud site of a brand new pollinator-friendly garden. Throughout the summer, the aptly-named Pollinator Project will involve activities for all ages will be centered around the creation and management of this special garden.

The Springtime storytime is set for ages 3-5 years with their caretakers on hand. A good crowd gathered this year as the annual event is anticipated by many. Stories and songs set the tone for the Springtime festivities. These included:

Wiggle Waggle by Caroline Arnold, Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond by Mary Quattlebaum, and Bob and Otto by Robert Bruel. For even more wormy ideas, check our WORMS Pinterest board!

May the best worm win

May the best worm win

Alice set up the worms races by placing down a tarp marked with an inner and outer circle. The worms were placed in the inner circle, lightly sprayed with water to get them going and the crowd cheered as they inched their way towards the outer circle. The first one to pass was crowned the winner. After several heats, an overall winner was established and the entire crew sang, ‘You are the Champion’ (with a few wormy-words changed to fit the day) in his/her honour.

You are the Champion
(Wormy Mercury version)

You wiggled along
You won the race
Segments that pulled
Put you in first place

Back to the dirt
No hook for you
You squiggled and squirmed
And squirmed and squiggled
And you came through

Crawl on and on and on and on
You are the champion my friend
And you’ll keep on squirming ‘til the end
You are the champion
You are the champion
No time for fishing
‘Cause you are the champion of the worms

A simple snack was offered: Goldfish crackers acting as tadpole for the theme. A frog-themed craft was available and the storytime finished up with children planting seeds to be later transferred into the library gardens.

Guerrilla Storytime in Truro

At the NSLA conference in Truro we had a small Guerrilla Storytime. Only about 7 people showed up, but we shared a lot of fun ideas and had a grand time. The participants asked that I put together the ideas that were shared. Here’s what we shared!

A get up and move song? Monster Pokey! (Claws in, fangs in, horns in, tails in) , reindeer pokey (antlers, red nose, hooves, etc) Can turn just about anything into a “pokey” great way to get them  up and moving.    (In this photo, you can see the Monster Pokey in action.)     monster pokey

Bubble song that Lynn made up:  (Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques) Lynn uses this at Baby Storytime.

Bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles
Pop, pop, pop   (snap fingers, or clap hands)
Pop, pop, pop
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles
Pop, pop, pop
Pop, pop, pop

 …and Lyn’s best Play Doh recipe:

2    cups flour
1/2  cup salt
2    pkg. kool aid (same flavour)
4    tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
2    cups water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium
heat until right consistency.  When cool enough to handle,knead into 2 balls. Store in zip lock bags in the fridge.


 Rachel shared some great ideas on saying goodbye at storytime—wave goodbye with body parts (nose, eyes, chin, knees, etc., and finally hands)


Tara does this at toddler time  – yoga-like activity:

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)
*Repeat a couple of times.

Sing  “The Ants go marching”  with little laminated ants to each child. They march their ants along as you sing.

Use felt pieces or clip art for sequencing after a cumulative story – read the book, then ask them what came first? Pieces all on the board so they can choose.


The participants asked that I share the “Challenges” — so they could use them at staff meetings, so here they are:

*Show us how you’d get kids involved in this book (I had a copy of Juba This Juba That)

*How do you introduce a book?

*Show us how you transition from one activity to the next

*What’s the most fun storytime activity?

*What happens after you read a book?

*Get up and get moving! Show us how.

*How do you use puppets at storytime? (had a bag of puppets ready)

*Show us an interactive song or rhyme

*Share your favourite storytime song

*How do you get parents involved?

*Share your favourite fingerplay

*Sing! Teach us a new song!

*How do you deal with the wiggles?

*Show us how you use shakers (or scarves or ribbons)

*How do you use early literacy ideas in storytime?

Silliness abounds!

Set up for the book app

Set up for the book app

I learned a few new silly songs at the ALA conference, so I decided to share them at my monthly Milk & Cookies Story Hour.  I also share an app, and was looking for something silly, and then found out that Sheree Fitch’s book, There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, has been made into an app. This is the first time that I have used a book app in storytime (I have usually used shorter, interactive apps).  I actually let Sheree Fitch read it, (using the “Read to Me” option) since she is a well-known and beloved author for Nova Scotians.  And she does a good job of reading it. But 3 year olds would rather have a LIVE person read to them, even with the interactive elements such as popping a bubble-gum bubble and dancing along with monkeys. The older kids (ranging from 6-9) enjoyed it, and sat for it, but the younger ones got a bit fidgety. Lesson learned! The adults in the audience also enjoyed it.

But the main reason I wanted to use a silly app was that I had these awesome silly songs and puppet show that I just learned. We did “Fruit Salad”, which I learned at ALA during “guerrilla storytime”.  You can see it in action here, at around 3:16 in the video. We’ll be doing that “Shake Shake” song next month, so stay tuned!  I also learned “The Wishy Washy Washer Woman” from the WCCLS wunderkind, Rick. Both songs were very well received by the whole age range (even adults).

I also found a fun little puppet story that I adapted a bit to match my puppets (I didn’t have a chick, so I used a hen). The story is from the book Farmyard Beat by Lindsay Craig, and here’s how Steven Engelfried does it.  After the puppet story I had to read the book because the crowd demanded it! Always fun to compare.

Play storytimeOther books we shared were: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea, which again was more appreciated by the older kids, but since this storytime has turned into a family free-for-all, I’m ok with having some things that are over the littler ones heads.  I also read The Doghouse by Jan Thomas and Duck on a Bike by David Shannon.

Then it was time for play and also milk & cookies. Vanilla sandwich cookies and chocolate milk this time. It really doesn’t matter how cheap the cookies are. Kids will eat them. And these were pretty good for cheap cookies. The 6 iPads were quickly snapped up, but so were the puppets, the textured balls, and the magnets. I also brought along the Monster Feet which are always a hit.

Milk & Cookies storytime is really fun– and I consider it my Testing Ground storytime — I get to try out new things on a live audience. And so far, they really seem to enjoy being my guinea pigs!

Flannel Friday- 3 Pigs

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Babs sure isn’t, and you shouldn’t be either. Long ago when I was a newly minted librarian, I saw this performed at a library conference. I’ve made at least 3 different versions of this fun flannel story, and left them at the libraries that I worked for. Besides the felt figures, you’ll need these three things: a wolf puppet, a recording of Barbra Streisand’s “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” (on her album The Barbra Streisand Album, available on iTunes for only 99 cents!), and a device to play it on.

Now once you have all that, all you have to do is place the figures on the board as Ms. Streisand sings, and be very silly with your wolf at the end of the song. Of course, you can use these same figures to just tell the story of the Three Little Pigs, but I think any chance to play Barbra Streisand songs at storytime should not be passed up.

Here are the figures I made using clip art and images found via a Google search. Wolf puppet is in the corner!

The second image is a close-up of the brick house and Pig number 3.

You can see today’s Flannel Friday roundup at Library Quine’s blog!

Flannel Friday- Trains

This week’s Flannel Friday is inspired by this post from Mel’s Desk. I used her patterns and will be using her own version of the rhyme. I realized, after I had already made the figures, that they might not all fit on my small Flannel Board. So, you can see I’ve had to arrange them quite cleverly to allow them all to be on the board at once. **Note to self: make sure the figures will fit before cutting and gluing!

I made these completely out of felt, and they were super easy and fast. I wanted them to be bright and funky, so I did not try too hard to make them exactly as the original pattern. The passenger car is my favourite, so here’s a close-up.

I was inspired to do Train Storytime when I was at a Kitchen Party and someone played this song, Little Pinkie Engine; I thought immediately that it would be great to share in storytime. It is a song from Cape Breton, and one that is somewhat rare, so not only am I sharing a fun train song, I am helping keep this bit of culture alive. I love it when that happens. You can listen to the song and find the words in the link above. (I will probably only share a few verses, the ones that are most kid-like).

Here are some of the books I am using:
I saw an ant on the railroad track – Joshua Prince
Engines, Engines – An Indian counting rhyme by Lisa Bruce
Hey Mr. Choo Choo Where are you Going? – Susan Wickberg
All aboard the Dinotrain – Deb Lund
The Rain Train – Elena De Roo
and, if they will sit still for it, The Little Engine That Could (may audience is a bit young).

And now, Chug chug to storytime…..

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