Toddlers: Zoo

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan



Animal Opposites by Petr Horacek**
My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall*
Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti**
Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin Jr.*

Early Literacy Tip

When you read a book to your child, running your finger under the text lets them know you are reading words.

Theme Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Color Zoo”**

Flannelboard: “Dear Zoo”***

Prop Song: “Where Are Animals?”**
Where is [animal]? Where is [animals]?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today, sir? Very well, I thank you.
Run away. Run away.
Credit: Modified from childhood

Action Rhyme: “Monkey See, Monkey Do”*
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey at the zoo
Monkey, monkey in the tree
Can you ________ like me?
(jump around, swing your arms, scratch an itch, eat a banana, screech)
Credit: Perry Public Library

Song: “You Can Hear”**
(Tune: She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain)
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR! ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR! ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring, you can hear the lions roaring
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo! ROAR! ROAR!
(Elephants trumpeting, zebra braying, monkey eeking)
Credit: Perpetual Preschool

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Dance Your Fingers**
  • Open, Shut Them*
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat*
  • Wake Up Toes**

How It Went

Tuesday morning
“Monkey See” was the most popular rhyme/activity this day! I kept it going for quite a while. “Peek-a-Zoo” was the most successful book with lots of good animal noise participation. And “Dear Zoo” was a great game to play. We did a lot of rhymes this session — a few of the kids were very restless.

Tuesday afternoon
Today was a day for a lot of singing. We had a new registration and the new toddler really shook up our rhythm. But “Where Is Animal?” was a great song and the kids were waiting on the edges of the rug to find out what animal would be next. They enjoyed the song cube so much that I rolled it twice.

Thursday morning
Both books were hits in this storytime — they loved both the flaps and fold-outs. “Color Zoo” was definitely their favorite activity though and it gave my heart such joy since that book is the first book I remember being read to me in the library. This session went by really fast and I couldn’t believe it was over already.

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Discovery!: Parachute


Parachute Playlist & Plan

1. Introduction & Rules Since this was my first week, I introduced myself to the families and made sure to talk about the program. I had a few simple rules: Do not walk on the chute. When Miss Katie says touch the wall, please touch the wall. (This let me walk over the parachute to collect our materials without worrying about a kiddo lifting the chute up while I was on it.)

2. Warm-Up (A capella): Shake My Sillies Out This needs no explanation. We shook the chute!

3. Warm-Up (A capella): Ring Around the Rosie We walked around the parachute and dropped during “all fall down”.

4. Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It I got this idea from Anne and it was absolutely golden for getting the kids primed for following directions. We sang all her verses: clap your hands, stamp your feet, shake the chute, turn around (while holding the chute), pass the chute (to your neighbor), pull it high (above your head)

5. Book: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera I had the kids sit on the floor and we rowed our parachute back and forth as I sang this book out loud.

6. I Went Walking by Sue Williams This was a genius idea, if I do say so myself. As we held the parachute and walked around, I read the book. I wanted to have pictures of the animals taped up around the room, but I ran out of time before the program.

7. Recorded Music: Take the Sun by Caspar Babypants We raised the chute up and down.

8. Recorded Music: Old MacDonald by Wiggleworms This idea came from Lisa. I did use a different version of Old MacDonald, but I tossed puppets onto the chute as they were introduced.

9. Recorded Music: ABC Song by Baby Loves Jazz Band And since I also had a package of Lisa’s foam letters, I took Lisa’s ABC foam letter activity! I tossed the letters as I went. The song went very fast, so I had to be very fast!

10. Game: Letter Treasure Hunt I modified this game from the suggestions from Kid Activities. Right after the ABC Song, I got all the letters off the chute and hid them underneath. I sent kids three at a time under the chute to find the letter that their name begins with.

11. Recorded Music: Moving In a Circle by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael It was time for a prop break. I did this in the summer with the parachute and it was a hit again.

12. Recorded Music: Shimmie Shake! by The Wiggles We shook and shook until we nearly dropped.

13. Game: All Change This game came from a List of Parachute Games. I actually wound up skipping it due to time. I’m not sure it would have worked like I envisioned it for preschoolers.

14. Recorded Music: Hot Poppin’ Popcorn by The Wiggles Everyone who has done a parachute program has recommended doing a popcorn one. I used crumpled up recycled paper as our “popcorn”.

15. Game: Cover Up We were all ready for a break at this point and this game from Anne was perfect. Kids sat on the floor and I called out a body part that they needed to cover with the parachute. Funniest part? Nose.

16. Recorded Music: Jump, Jump by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights We jumped and shaked and kids dropped the chute to spin while parents kept it up.

17. Recorded Music: Rolling Ball by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael I bought these soft fleece balls last summer and used them again for this game. When directed, I tossed the balls on the chute and the kids rolling them around.

18. Game: Don’t Drop the Ball For this game from Kid Activities, I added a beach ball on the chute and challenged the kids to keep it up for a minute.

19. Recorded Music: Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner The very last thing was letting the kids run underneath while parents and caregivers lifted the chute up and down to one of my favorite Laurie Berkner songs.

20. Big Finish: Parachute Fireworks This was an idea that Anne didn’t use, but I sure did. As kids arrived in the room, I asked them to color some scribbles and crubmle up a piece of paper. At the end, we counted backwards 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FIREWORKS to close out the program!

How It Went

This was an amazing program!! It was a great launch to Discovery! and immediately made the kids feel at ease with me when I was crawling around on the floor playing with them. I had a few boys struggle to obey the “touch the wall” rule, but eventually they got it. The kids did get tired of shaking after each song, so I was so happy that I had planned games to break up the dancing/shaking.

Both books were HUGE successes to use with the parachute, although I did have one caregiver say that “I Went Walking” made her a bit dizzy. I’m so very grateful to my co-worker, Miss J, who ran door check and really helped with crowd control. It was so helpful having another staff member’s eyes on the parachute just in case a situation arose.

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ALSC: A Storytime By Any Other Name


Have you spent long hours talking about what to name your storytimes? I wrote about how my last library named storytime and how my current library re-branded storytime before I arrived in this ALSC post.

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Flannel Friday: Pete the Cat Update!

Since my library is not doing the CSLP theme (we create our own theme; this year’s is Homemade Readers), I’m just going to participate by saying that Pete the Cat is my hero. Or at least one of them. I made this update to my Pete for a co-worker:


Yep! He’s got his four groovy buttons! Since I already had a Pete cut out and created, I free-handed the coat and buttons on him so it would fit right. My co-worker was tickled by having a Pete for the preschoolers to use to retell the story after she had read the book!

Meg is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Babies: Peek-a-Boo

For more information on how I plan and prepare my baby storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the baby rhymes/bounces/lifts/etc., visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

For baby time, my library passes out individual copies of board books to each caregiver/child pair. I typically keep two or three to the side of me in case a baby tries to grab my copy. I read face out; caregivers read to their children.


Goodnight Faces by Lucy Schultz**
Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden
Peek-a-Zoo by Nina Laden*
Where Is Baby’s Bellybutton? by Karen Katz*

Early Literacy Tip

It’s okay not to be perfect! I had a cold this week (spent all weekend nursing it, but couldn’t shake the stuffy sound in my voice), and let my parents know that I might not be singing as loud as I usually do. But the babies are still gaining valuable literacy moments from our interactions!

Flannelboard: Shape Game

I hid a baby face behind one of the shapes. I pulled the shape back slowly and called out “peek-a-boo” in a singsong voice. The baby face was from my Ten Little Babies pack.

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Colors Over Me
  • Popcorn, Popcorn
  • Roly Poly**
  • This Little Piggy*
  • Tiny Little Babies**
  • Toast In the Toaster**

How It Went

Tuesday morning
All the babies loved “Peek-a-Zoo”. We’ve had “Peek-a-Who” in the collection for the longest time and last fiscal year I had the opportunity to buy some new sets which included “Peek-a-Zoo”! I loved seeing their faces to see a “familiar” book with new pages.

Thursday morning
The babies lost their minds with squeals when I played peek-a-boo during the shape game. This group really got into “Colors Over Me” since I gave each child/caregiver pair scarves to use. I’m still not quite ready to do the parachute with the babies yet, but someday!

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Fairy Tales!

The Plan



The Three Bears by Byron Barton
The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
The Foggy, Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt
Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Five Knights in Shining Armor”

Flannelboard: “Princess Wore a Red Dress”

Fingerplay: “Two Little Dragons”
Two little dragons sitting on a hill
One named Jack, one named Jill
Fly away Jack, one named Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill
Credit: Modified from childhood

Prop Story: “Three Little Pigs”

How It Went

Site Information
At this location, I do two classrooms. One is a two-year-old classroom and the other is a combined three-year-olds to six-year-olds classroom (basically three classrooms pile into one classroom). I was always directed to the two-year-old room first.

For this room, I did not read either of the princess books. We stuck with the Barton version of “The Three Bears” for its simplicity and repetition. And “The Foggy Foggy Forest” because it’s a great little guessing game. The kids really liked the “Princess Wore a Red Dress” flannel since I let them get up and dance it out.

Three-Year-Olds — Six-Year-Olds
I specifically brought both “Falling for Rapunzel” and “The Princess and the Pig” for this classroom mix because I knew the older kids would love these stories. I typically do a longer storytime for this group because they are very attentive. Perhaps the most memorable event of the day was that it was one of the hottest days of the summer and the power went out during storytime. I kept going (there was enough light from windows) with “The Three Bears” while some of the teachers left the room to set-up the backup generator. Everything was fixed by the time I finished the book, but it was memorable, that’s for sure!

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Toddlers: Fall

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan



Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell*
Kitten’s Autumn by Eugenie Fernandes*
Ol’ Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson***

Early Literacy Tip

It takes five to twelve seconds for children to respond. We need to be patient after asking a question.

Theme Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Five Little Pumpkins”***

Flannelboard: “Ouch”***

Action Song: “The Leaves Are Falling Down”*
Song: “The Leaves are Falling Down” (Tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The leaves are falling down
The leaves are falling down
Red, yellow, green, and brown
The leaves are falling down
Credit: Preschool Education – Songs: Fall

Fingerplay: “Way Up High In the Apple Tree”***
Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arms up high)
Two red apples smiled at me (hold up two fingers)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (make a shaking motion)
Down came the apples… (make a downward motion)
And mmm, they were good! (smile and rub stomach)
Credit: Childhood

Repeating Extension Activities

  • The Elevator Song*
  • Open, Shut Them***
  • Put Your Hands Up High*
  • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear*
  • This Is Big**

How It Went

Tuesday morning
I had an amazing time dancing with two of my toddlers during “Put Your Hands Up High”. We had an extended quacking session and two of my girls came over to dance with me, holding my hands. (Which made singing the song hard, but that is life!) They really enjoyed “Ouch”, but we only got through one book this session.

Tuesday afternoon
My biggest afternoon crowd yet! I had two kids that were really good at participating this week and another toddler really opened up after being very reserved the last class. Our song cube rolled the ABCs today and one caregiver/toddler pair were very excited because the child was wearing an ABC shirt!

Thursday morning
Can I just say that “The Elevator Song” is pure joy? Also, flannelboards were a huge hit today. Storytime started late because of the toddlers had an accident and had to run to the bathroom. I was very happy that it didn’t happen on the rug because I’m just not sure how I would have been able to have storytime…

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Welcome to my first post about Discovery!

At my library, our 3-6 year-old storytime is an “on our own” storytime. Children are dropped off by their parents or caregivers who must remain in the library and be back at the storytime room five minutes before storytime is scheduled to end. Parents often write on our evaluation sheets that while they appreciate the chance to prepare their child for school, they also miss being in class with their child.

And as many of you are aware when I changed jobs last year, the Spring session of storytime was already scheduled for me. Fall 2014 was the first time I was creating the schedule and assigning which librarian would do which program. I knew that I wanted to create a preschool program that parents and caregivers would attend. But what…?

After brainstorming a ton of ideas, I still didn’t know where to start. So I decided to do everything. But instead of doing a seven-week iPad storytime or a seven-week STEM storytime, I would create a storytime test-kitchen. And that’s what Discovery! became.

For the Fall session, I did the following themes:
Play: Parachute
STEM: Body Science
Music & Rhythm
Nursery Rhymes
Movement: Yoga
Technology: iPad
Art: Process Vs. Product

I just started the Spring session last week and these are my themes:
Play: Throwback Games
Art: Mini-Masters

Movement: Obstacle Course
STEM: Dinosaur Science
Engineering: Blocks
And a TBA

In fall, Discovery! was advertised as an hour long program. This spring, we’ve adjusted that to a forty-five minute program. Our youngest (the 3yos) definitely burned out faster than our oldest (the 6yos), so forty-five minutes felt like a better plan. So far, I’ve got a lot of my regulars and some new faces!

I’ll see you next Monday for a write-up all about the first Discovery!, which was the parachute.

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ALSC: Documenting Storytime


Tips and tricks to remembering your storytimes in this ALSC all about Documenting Storytime. Click on over here.

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Flannel Friday: Five Pretty Sandcastles

I am thinking of the beach today, yes I am. And flashing back to a flannelboard I used in Dirt, Sand, & Mud storytime.

I used a clip-art image (available here) as a pattern to make my sandcastles. The flags are held up with a flat craft stick, in a removable felt pouch just in case I wanted to use this flannelboard with younger kids.

The rhyme and inspiration came from Katie of Storytime Secrets:

Five pretty sandcastles standing on the shore,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were four.
Four pretty sandcastles standing by the sea,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were three.
Three pretty sandcastles standing by the ocean blue,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were two.
Two pretty sandcastles standing in the sun,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there was one.
One pretty sandcastle just out of reach,
The tide came in (whoosh!) but it stayed on the beach!

The kids really enjoyed when we whooshed and waved our arms at the flannel. I’m pretty sneaky and managed to snatch the sandcastles away quickly enough that I had one small person tell that the whoosh was magic.

Rebecca is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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