Tag: fall 2010


Rather than go with a Halloween theme (which I love, but wasn’t sure all of my parents would be on board), I went with a simple monsters theme. Also, any chance at all that you can give kids to roar around equals a great time.

First up, “If You’re a Monster and You Know It” by Ed and Rebecca Emberley.

This book is an amazing plethora of crazy excitement. I was a very brave storytime lady and sang the book, and let the kids do the actions as we went. There was a ridiculous amount of paw stomping, claw smacking, snorting, growling, and roaring — the kids loved this book!

But my favorite part was when one of my little boys jumped up to interrupt the story and asked, “Hey! Are we going to do the head, shoulders, knees, and toes thing today?” I nodded and continued with the story. He, however, fist-pumped into the air and shouted, “YES!”

Sometimes the interruptions are worth it.

Continuing on, I did our flannelboard: “Go Away Big Green Monster.”

This is a super simple flannelboard version of the book by Ed Emberley. And I have to say — the book works really well as a flannel! The kids were delighted when I taught them how to say, “GO AWAY” to the big green monster. My little boys especially like getting to holler in storytime.

And I moved our “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” up to the top of the list, because it was requested!

And then the kids were still wiggly, so I went ahead and did another action rhyme:

“Monsters Galore”
Monsters galore, can you roar? (Roar.)
Monsters galore, can you soar? (Flying motions.)
Monsters galore, please shut the door. (Clap.)
Monsters galore, fall on the floor! (Sit/fall down.)

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

Finally, another book — “Monster Hug” by David Ezra Stein was next.

This is a super simple, short text book about two monster best friends. This one was a big hit with my parents, actually. Almost all of my moms awwed at the end of the story and gave their kids hugs. It was super sweet to see!

But enough sweetness, this is monster storytime! So, the kids got up to do the “Monster Stomp.”

Action Rhyme: “Monster Stomp”
If you want to be a monster, now’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.
You just stamp your feet, wave your arms around. (Stomp, wave arms.)
Stretch ‘em up, stretch ‘em up, (Stretch up arms.)
Then put them on the ground. (Put hands on the floor.)
‘Cause you’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)
That’s right! You’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

Followed by one of my favorite bedtime books ever, “Go to Bed, Monster” by Natasha Wing.

A book all about a child trying to get a monster to go to bed! This was a great choice for storytime — any book that makes children sympathize with their parents is funny to see. We finished up with a song:

“Ten Little Monsters” (Tune: “Ten Little Indians”)
One little, two little, three little monsters
Four little, five little, six little monsters
Seven little, eight little, nine little monsters
Ten monsters roaring at me!

Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

And…the best monster storytime book ever, “Leonardo the Terrible Monster” by Mo Willems.

(Why yes, I do have Sam’s speech memorized.) I love this book (and author) so very much, it was such a pleasure to get to read it in storytime!

And for the craft, I borrowed one from Sarah — her monster mask craft. My teen volunteers cut out the masks, eyes, and used some scrapbooking punches to cut out the circles. They had a great time gluing away!


Yep, I went ahead and tried a pretty difficult topic this week — opposites! But were my kids up for the challenge? Read on…

I started off storytime with defining opposites as two things that are exactly different from one another. I used the example of “big” and “little,” having the kids reach really far to the sides for big and very close together for little. We did this several times throughout storytime. Our first book was “Octopus Opposites” by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer.

I use a LOT of Blackstone’s titles in my storytimes. The simplicity of this book is that it uses animals to explain opposites in a bright colorful way. We did have a bit more fun identifying animals than opposites…but this was an excellent way to start off storytime. Next, I read “Big, Bigger, Biggest” by Nancy Coffelt.

It was my goal to get them to understand the difference between big and little by the end of the program, so this book was a great choice. I’m not sure how well the kids comprehended a lot of the larger words, but they did get big, bigger, biggest! I think the next time I use this book in storytime for my little guys, I might skip the bigger words.

I found this great action rhyme on Mel’s Desk and the kids LOVED it. We did it three times in a row!

Action Rhyme: “This Is Big”
This is big, big, big (stretch hands far to sides)
This is small, small, small (cup hands together)
This is short, short, short (hold palms close vertically)
This is tall, tall, tall (hold palms far apart vertically)
This is fast, fast, fast (roll hands quickly)
This is slow, slow, slow (roll hands slowly)
This is yes, yes, yes (nod head)
This is no, no, no (shake head)

And then a “little” to go with our “big!”

Fingerplay: “Little Turtle”
There was a little turtle (put hands on top of one another)
He lived in a box (make box)
He swam in a puddle (swimming motion)
He climbed on the rocks (climbing motion)
He snapped at a mosquito (clap)
He snapped at a flea (clap)
He snapped at a minnow (clap)
And he snapped at me (clap)
He caught the mosquito (cup hands together)
He caught the flea (cup hands together)
He caught the minnow (cup hands together)
But he didn’t catch me! (shake finger “no”)

Next, I read a very short book: “A Garden of Opposites” by Nancy Davis.

This book is a great lapsit to read, particularly at the end where there is an opportunity to review the opposite pairs that readers have learned. It worked well in storytime though because it’s eye-catching and quick! And I definitely had wigglers this week, so I switched it up with the flannelboard next.

Flannelboard: “Big, Bigger, Biggest”
A little ball, a bigger ball, and a great big ball I see
Now help me count them, one, two, three!
Credit: Debmonn PB Wiki

I just made three simple balls — a tennis ball, a beach ball, and a soccer ball out of felt and put them up. We also did this rhyme a couple of times, to the delight of the kids. Next, we practiced our “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” — which I am pleased to report that most of my kids have down now. They aren’t singing with me yet, but we’ve got the motions down pat.

The last book for this week was “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox.

This was a HUGE success. This book is so engaging and clearly shows opposites in the different sheep. And while I know the kids were hearing the opposites, they were also looking for green sheep. Luckily, they found green sheep at the end of the book, fast asleep.

I ended storytime by using egg shakers and doing “Opposites Hokey Pokey” with the kids. (You shake your egg up/down; left/right; etc.)

Our craft: Opposite Books!

I got the idea for this craft from Bright Hub and I got to work immediately making a template. My teen volunteers cut out words, pictures, the book, and assembled the whole project. All my storytime kids did was color the pictures in!


I am really more of a summer person, but I do love fall books — fall has a ton of options for storytime, too!

Because I have a wide variety of ages in my storytimes (6 months to 4 years), I started off with “Mouse’s First Fall” by Lauren Thompson.

The text in this book is pretty predictable (and I have the book memorized after just two storytimes!), but you cannot beat the bright colors, and the adorable characters. It’s also a great introductory to a few of the traditional fall activities. I followed up with “Who Loves the Fall?” by Bob Raczka.

In Raczka’s series, there is always a page where you turn the book vertically and read — the kids absolutely love this part! In “Who Loves the Fall?,” it’s a spread about butterflies, and I had to do two full pans before the kids seemed ready to move on.

Next, the kids got up and we did some action rhymes, and our flannelboard for the week.

“Pumpkin, Pumpkin”
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Once you were a seed so small (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball (make a big circle overhead)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Credit: Step by Step — Pumpkin Theme

And, of course, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”

And our flannel:

Flannelboard: “Five Little Leaves”
Five little leaves on the tree next door
One fell off and then there were four
Four little leaves all over the tree
One fell off and then there were three
Three little leaves where the wind blew
One fell off and then there were two
Two little leaves sitting in the sun
One fell off and then there was one
One little leaf in the tree all alone
The wind blew and blew now there are none!

I redid the flannelboard that the library had for this rhyme (it was this old transfer paper-like felt and hand-drawn) into bright new felt colors for this year’s season. Simple — took me about a half hour.

Then, I read “Old Bear” by Kevin Henkes.

“Old Bear” is a book that talks about all seasons and you better believe that I use it at almost every season storytime I do. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of our seasons cycling, and I absolutely adore Henkes’s illustrations. They are just gorgeous and so eye-catching. Next up, another favorite — “Fall Leaves Fall!” by Zoe Hall.

Now, I had three Zoe Hall books to choose from: “It’s Pumpkin Time,” “The Apple Pie Tree,” and “Fall Leaves Fall.” And it was a hard choice! I went with “Fall Leaves Fall” because of the linear story and that the story covered most of the highlights of the season (including a brief mention of Halloween!). Next, we switched gears a bit as I began prepping the kids for our craft with our fingerplay/action rhyme:

“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)

And then, we read “Apple Farmer Annie” by Monica Wellington.

This is such a great story about apples and I love Monica Wellington’s books. (Especially “Pizza at Sally’s!”) We finished up with a different closing song than normal with:

“The Leaves are Falling Down”
The leaves are falling down
The leaves are falling down
Red, yellow, green, and brown
The leaves are falling down
Tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”

Our craft was super simple — I got a tree template, had my teen volunteers cut out tree trunks and leaves and then let the kids crumple up tissue paper squares to make apples. They had a ton of fun crumpling!


One of my best friends is a giant nature person and she loves birds, so I decided to do a bird storytime for my preschoolers! We started off with “Birds” by Kevin Henkes. We had a much larger group of 4/5 year olds this time around, so I decided to stretch storytime a little bit longer.

This is big, colorful book just perfect for storytime. I love Henkes’s illustrations but sometimes his stories aren’t so linear — and that’s the case with this one. But because I used it first, it really gave the kids a primer for all the different kinds of birds we were going to see throughout storytime. They really enjoyed the “surprise” layout in the book as well.

Next up, a perennial favorite of my staff, “Grumpy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard.

This book has such a great pattern and repetition that I definitely had some kids call out, “Walking!” after an animal asked Grumpy Bird what he was doing. We had great attention skills while we read this book (I think probably because the pictures are so bright and commanding), I almost hated to break away to do some action rhymes and my flannelboard.

Action Rhyme: “Little Birds”
Little birds, little birds, jump up and down
Little birds, little birds, don’t make a sound
Little birds, little birds, tip-toe to me
Little birds, little birds, bend your knees
Little birds, little birds, peep, peep, peep
Little birds, little birds, sleep, sleep, sleep
Little birds, little birds, fly to the leaves
Little birds, little birds, sit down please
From: Greatest Resource Education Child Care

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up to this action rhyme — the kids loved pretending to be birds! And then after we sat down, we did this amazing flannelboard that I found on Mel’s Desk – Farm Storytime. The clip art is from Microsoft Office, and the flannelboard is super easy to make. I did it in about a couple of hours.

Flannelboard: “Ten Fluffy Chickens”
Five eggs and five eggs
And that makes ten
Sitting on top
Is Mother Hen
Cackle cackle cackle
What do I see?
Ten fluffy chickens
Yellow as can be

We did our flannel twice (yay repetition!) and then we read “Pepito the Brave” by Scott Beck.

Very simple, but effective story about a little bird who’s scared to fly and instead hops, climbs, swims, etc. to get where he’s going. My only hesitation with using this book again is that the book is a small size, so it did require a lot of book panning with my large group.

We followed up the book with one of the few rhymes I remember from childhood — “Two Little Blackbirds.”

Next up, “Who Will Sing a Lullaby?” by Dee Lillegard.

This book has a ton of variety in the kinds of birds trying to get a baby to sleep. The kids were very calm during this story, happy to listen. And, of course, the kids practiced their weekly “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” before launching into the last story of the morning: “I’m Not Scared” by Jonathan Allen.

I adore Little Owl and Owly and was so happy to share this story with my group. The kids kept insisting that Little Owl wasn’t scared, which was really amusing to see them side with Little Owl as he called out “I’m not scared!”

After storytime, we made a bird puppet craft. Super simple; found the bird template at Danielle’s Place and just glued feathers all over it. My teen volunteers had already prepped the craft by tacky gluing the popsicle on so that no one had to wait until the stick dried to play with their puppets.


For whatever reason, during this session we have a ton of little boys! Ten boys to six girls, which is really different from what I’m used to. I’m finding that I need a lot more action rhymes/songs to get those wiggles out. Anyway, I decided to cater to my boys and do a dinosaur storytime!

We started off with “The Littlest Dinosaur’s Big Adventure” by Michael Foreman.

I wanted to start off storytime with a quiet one instead of going straight into roaring. I also liked that this story was just about dinosaurs, and didn’t have any people in it. A lot of the books that I previewed were about dinosaurs living with people — which isn’t bad, just not exactly what I wanted. Next, we practiced some shapes with “Shape by Shape” by Suse Macdonald.

I did our flannelboard & song next — “Ten Little Dinosaurs” — which is just the tune of “Ten Little Indians” and dinosaurs. And then we did this action rhyme that I found this poem by Nancy Klein on The Childrens Museum of New Hampshire’s website.

Spread your arms, way out wide
Fly like Pteranodon, soar and glide
Bend to the floor, head down low
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago
Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Apatosaurus eating on a tree
Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl

And then we read my favorite dinosaur book: “Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime” by Bob Shea.

While we did enjoy roaring with dinosaur, this one did require a little bit of explanation at the end. The kids weren’t really sure what had happened — why dinosaur had stopped roaring. I had to explain that dinosaur was sooooo tired from roaring that he went to bed! I love this book’s colorful images and vivid dinosaur destroying scenes.

Next, I got to use our brand-new storytime mitt and dinosaurs shapes! So incredibly happy with this purchase.

“Five Funny Dinosaurs”
Five funny dinosaurs letting out a roar.
One went away, and then there were four.
Four funny dinosaurs munching on a tree.
One went away, and then there were three.
Three funny dinosaurs didn’t know what to do.
One went away, and then there were two.
Two funny dinosaurs having lots of fun.
One went away, and then there was one.
One funny dinosaur afraid to be a hero.
He went away, and then there was zero.

And finally, we finished up with “I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur” by Stella Blackstone and Clare Beaton.

I love Stella Blackstone books. They have simple, rhyming text and always really colorful pictures. This book was done with felt/sequin pictures and is such a great settle down book for the end of storytime. One of my little boys laid down on the rug and put his hands under his head for this one.

“Dinosaur, Dinosaur”
Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur, wink one eye
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees
Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please

Our craft project was a super simple one that a co-worker had used for her K-3 dinosaur program — clothespin dinosaur!

Super easy. I glued the eyes down ahead of time; teen volunteers cut out the dinosaur shape. All the kids had to do was color and clip!


We switched it up at morning storytime today and had bedtime stories! I was a little bit nervous that I’d hear, “No bedtime!” from one of the kids, but they really enjoyed this theme.

I started off by reading “Pajamas Anytime” by Marsha Hayles.

This is a super cute story about a little boy who wears pajamas for all different kinds of occasions — not just for sleeping. We sat very attentively for this book, and I was super proud of my kids!

Next, I did our flannelboard activity, which was “Hey Diddle Diddle.” We used to have a great nursery rhymes program for little ones, but we lost the staff necessary to maintain it. So, I’m trying this storytime session to incorporate nursery rhymes. (Especially since we just bought such good flannelboard nursery rhyme kits!)

I introduced our next book by asking if the kids were ready for bed. As expected, they gave a mostly resounding “No!” But then I said that we were going to read a story all about someone ready for bed. And that story was “Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed?” by Barney Saltzburg.

The kids *loved* this one. They keep shouting “YES!” to every question and I had one kid shout out, “You can’t feed cookies to a fish!” It was so nice to see them engaging with the pictures.

We were a little wiggly by now, so we practiced our “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”

And did a modified version of “Ten in the Bed,” starting with five instead of ten.

There were five in the bed (Hold up five fingers)
And the little one said, “Roll over, roll over!” (Make rolling motion)
So they are rolled over and one fell out. (Hold up one finger & surprised face)
// Count down until
There was one in the bed (Hold up one finger)
And the little one said, “I’ve got it all to myself!” (Spread out arms)

By then, we were pretty worn out so I read “Race You to Bed” by Bob Shea.

I love Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series and this is another hit for me. The kids really liked racing and while we did have one squabble (someone took someone’s toy car!) during the book, we were definitely eager to see if we would beat rabbit to bed.

Then we talked about what we sleep with, and I confessed that I still sleep with a teddy bear before going into “Teddy Bear.” Since we were pretty tuckered out already, I just went with a simple version instead of the full version I had planned. I love having activities that can be shortened or stretched out depending on how wiggly the kids are during the storytime.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear, reach up high
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the sky
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch your knees
Teddy bear, teddy bear, sit down please

Finished up our book reading with “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me” by Eric Carle.

I had never read this Carle book as a child, but it is easily one of my favorites as an adult. Pages fold out and up and down, and the kids were absolutely delighted with the pop-out moon spread. This was a hit as far as I’m concerned and I can’t wait to try and find another storytime to use it in.

What bedtime storytime would be complete without singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?” Which is exactly how we ended before moving to our craft.

We made a slightly different version of this craft: Night Sky – Sprout Online. I ditched the foil because I was worried about some of my little guys putting it in their mouths, and instead used colored paper.

My teen volunteers punched out the stars using a scrapbooking set of punches. (I highly recommend using paper punches whenever possible. I keep a set of three different sized circles and now three different sized stars at the library just for preschool crafts. Makes it way easier than cutting out ten circles per kid for a train craft.)


This week, I decided to go ahead with a pets theme!

We read “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer first.

The kids sat really still for this book and loved the animals noises. I had one three-year-old who was determined to guess every animal that comes of our George’s mouth, but boy was he stumped by the ending!

Next, we went ahead and read “Pet Wash” by Dayle Ann Dodds.

The adults at my storytime were really chuckling at this one. It would have been a great pick for preschool storytime, but my group skewed way too young for this book to be a real success. We did like when the baby brother showed up to get a wash. One of my two-year-olds laughed hysterically at this part.

Next, we took a break from books and did our flannelboard — “Five Little Puppies.” (We used the BINGO dogs that I had made for farm storytime last spring — I made the B-I-N-G-O removable in case I needed the dogs for something other than BINGO.)

And then, we practiced our “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” which is the action rhyme that I’m hoping to have them memorize throughout the whole eight week session.

Then, I picked up a book and we sat back down for “Posy” by Linda Newberry and Catherine Rayner.

The kids were pretty restless during this one, but I brought them back to the story using my favorite technique — counting! We counted how many Posys were on each page. They LOVE counting, and I love using it.

Since we were wiggly, we did “The Wiggles.”

I finished up storytime by reading “Pet Shop Lullaby” by Mary Ann Fraser.

This was a great choice as the final book. The kids were tired from wiggling and head-shoulder-knee-toeing, so they sat very quietly for this excellent story about a hamster who can’t sleep in the pet shop.

We sang a few songs at the end — “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” and our “ABCs” and they moved on to our craft:

From DLTK’s Crafts — Paper Cat Craft.


My first storytime this fall — and I was so excited to do my first alphabet storytime. There are some fantastic alphabet books and crafts, but I had the hardest time finding songs and fingerplays.

I started off storytime by reading my new favorite alphabet book, “LMNO Peas” by Keith Baker.

This is such a great rhyming story all about peas and who they are. Astronauts, voters, and tons more — these little peas are everything imaginable under the sun. And a quick heads-up to all of my friends expecting babies — you will be getting this book from me!

Together, we stood up and learned “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” for the first time. I introduced this rhyme by having everyone find their heads, shoulders, knees, and toes before I started singing. And I did have some kids working through the song, just a step behind me.

Next up, I did “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin.

This is our Chicka tree, and the letters are Velcro that stick to the tree. I really wanted to do the activity tree as I read the story, but I had very young kids at this storytime, so I left the tree out with all the letters on top of it while I read the book. If this had been preschool storytime, I would have ditched the book and just used the tree to tell the story.

I found this great action rhyme and just modified it a bit to work in my storytime:

Action Rhyme: “Alphabet Beat”
First clap your hands. Then stomp your feet.
Everybody do the alphabet beat.
Apple, Apple, Apple – a – a – a,
Apple, Apple, Apple – a – a – a,
Wave your arms high. Swing your arms low.
The alphabet beat is the way to go.
Blue, Blue, Blue – b – b – b
Blue, Blue, Blue – b – b – b
Move to the left. Move to the right.
The alphabet beat is way out of sight.
Car, Car, Car – c – c – c
Car, Car, Car – c – c – c
Now give a high five to a nearby friend.
The alphabet beat has come to the end!
Credit: Preschool Storytime Outlines

I read “Alligator Alphabet” by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer next.

The bright colors really caught the eyes of the kids, and they really enjoyed this title. Next, I lined up the alphabet on the flannelboard and pointed to the letters as I said them. And then, I went to A again and asked what starts with A. I was hoping for apple, and thankfully a mom jumped in to give me a segue to the fingerplay:

“Way Up High In the Apple Tree”
Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arm up high)
Two red apples smiled at me (hold up 2 fingers)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (make a shaking motion)
Down came the apples, (make a downward motion)
Mmmm–were they good! (smile and rub stomach)

I finished up alphabet storytime with “The Sleepy Little Alphabet” by Judy Sierra.

A great, quiet read to cap the storytime, but we weren’t finished yet — what alphabet storytime would be complete without singing the “ABCs?”

Our craft for this week was a simple alphabet caterpillar from DLTK’s Kids.

(Well, it was simple for the kids and parents — not so simple for my teen volunteer who had to painstakingly cut out enough for each child to spell out their name! My teens are really awesome at cutting stuff out for storytime.)