Toddler Storytime: Cats

This week’s storytime was inspired by a book I’ve been hoping to use for a long time: Brendan Wenzel’s They All Saw a Cat. I’ve never done a cat-themed storytime, being more of a dog person myself, so it was due time for me to embrace the felines.

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Books Read:

Cat’s Colors by Airlie Anderson
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Where is Tippy Toes? and Cat Count by Betsy Lewin

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: The kids and I chatted about cats — how they move, what they sound like, etc. Then we learned the ASL sign for Cat. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: They All Saw a Cat. I’ve loved this book since the first time I saw it, and it worked even better than I could have imagined. Wenzel’s stunning illustrations capture how a single cat is viewed by a variety of different animals, and ends with how she sees herself. It’s a great lesson on perspective, but surprisingly the kids also thought it was really funny. Definitely a book I’ll revisit in the future.

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Song: “When Cats Get Up In the Morning (with Puppets)
I broke out the puppets to use with this simple, repetitive song. We ran through the verses for a cat, a dog, a pig, a cow, and a chicken.

Book 2: Where Is Tippy Toes? A hide-and-seek book with cut-out elements. We ultimately find Tippy Toes, the curious orange cat, under the covers of her child’s bed. Betsy Lewin has several other cat-themed books that are great for storytime, including Thumpy Feet and Cat Count.

Flannel Activity: Hide & Seek Game (Baby Bird, Baby Bird)
One of our favorite activities, courtesy of  Miss Mary Liberry. On a handheld flannel board, I pasted six different colored blankets and hid an orange cat, Tippy Toes, beneath one of them. I also hid a bird, a dog, and a mouse beneath three of the other blankets, and left three blankets empty. Each round, I had one child pick a color blanket to look beneath and we’d ask, as a group: “Where is Tippy Toes? I bet [child’s name] knows!” Jayson, our storytime assistant, found Tippy Toes on the first try this week, but we still had fun uncovering the other animals.

Action Song:  I Wake Up My Hands
One of my new favorite songs, courtesy of JBrary. This is a great transitional song to bridge different activities together, while also releasing pent-up energy.

Book 3: Cat’s Colors. A cat-themed take on Dog’s Colorful Day. A white cat moves throughout the world, and “picks up” colors on her coat. Before reading, I passed out scarves to our group (their new favorite thing, oh God) and as we encountered each color, I asked the kids to shake the matching scarf. While they did that, our storytime assistant helped me to add different color spots to our white flannel cat. In retrospect, I think I tried to do too many things with this book. The scarves worked fine with this one and so did the flannel, but both in conjunction made things a bit chaotic.

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Scarf Song: “Wave Your Scarf”
Now that they had scarves, we had to use them. This is the most versatile scarf song I know, sung to the tune of “London Bridge.” Or course it’s from JBrary. You had to ask?

Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: Overall, the summer session has not quite lived up to my expectations (as you might have noticed from the lack of new posts). But this was a great theme, and the kids really enjoyed this week’s activities. All three of the books were well-received, and the songs and activities worked fine. I still consider myself a dog person, but you can score one for the cats.

Toddler Storytime: Finale of Favorites (and a Birthday Surprise!)

It’s finally here — our last storytime of the season! (Well, kinda). Back when I began planning this year’s sessions, I always intended to use this final week as a celebration of our favorite songs, stories and rhymes. And here we are!

Now, in all fairness, this was supposed to be the final storytime for the year, with a new session beginning in September. But our regulars have loved coming so much, and were so insistent that we continue, that both my co-worker and I decided to implement a summer session. So, technically, this is just a ceremonial end to our sessions. I’ll be back in three weeks.

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Books Read:

Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont & David Catrow
Pat-a-Cake Baby by Joyce & Polly Dunbar

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: I explained that we’d be celebrating our favorite songs and stories from the previous year, and then asked the kids about what they’d enjoyed the most. Then we learned the ASL sign for Celebrate. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Jump! (Originally used during “Body & Movement” and “Letters & Rhymes” storytimes)The hardest part about planning this storytime was choosing which books to read. Jump! was the first story we shared together, so it holds a special place in my heart. Some of our other favorites included Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Dusky Rinker, Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr., and Who’s Driving by Leo Timmers. Jump!, though, is a reliable, rhyming book with plenty of action to keep the kids moving.

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Song: “Bubble, Bubble, Pop!”
A fun, repetitive action song set to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.” We swapped out fish for sharks, and sang through five verses. This one has always worked well with my group, and one mother told that her daughter couldn’t stop singing it at home. It is pretty catchy.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
Our favorite thing in all the land.

Book 2: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! (Originally used during “Colors” & “Letters & Rhymes” storytimes). Karen Beaumont is one of my favorite children’s authors, and this book is much of the reason why. Bright, quirky illustrations by David Catrow complement the fun rhyming structure.

Action Song:  “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”
A great song to use with I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, and one that my toddlers always enjoy.

Book 3: Pat-a-Cake BabyA new book for us, to transition into the “birthday” sub-theme I had going on. Today was one of my regular patron’s 4th birthday, and three others had celebrated their birthdays within the week. I figured that since we were celebrating already, we might as well celebrate our birthdays, too.

Activity: Add a Candle to the Birthday Cake!
I made a large, layered birthday cake out of paper and cardboard, and my plan was to present it to our birthday boy, sing him a round of “Happy Birthday,” and then invite him to add a candle to the cake (I made about 30 different colored paper candles for the kids to stick wherever they wanted). Unfortunately, the birthday boy couldn’t attend this session, so we jumped right into the second part of the activity. I asked everyone who’d had a birthday in May to come up and add their candle, and then we cycled through every month until each child had a turn.

Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: I had high hopes for this storytime, and was honestly a bit flummoxed when my special guest didn’t show. But, we rolled right through it. The kids enjoyed revisiting some of their favorite books, rhymes and songs, and they especially enjoyed taking home a balloon at the end of the session (my “present” for all of their birthdays). We also spent a lot of time blowing bubbles during play time. All in all, this was a fitting end to a great year of storytimes. On to the summer session!

Flannel Friday: “Polar Bear’s Underwear” by Tupera Tupera

A quick “flannel” board to accompany Tupera Tupera’s adorable picture book, Polar Bear’s Underwear! I used this during a bear-themed storytime in April, and it garnered plenty of giggles.

Like almost all of my flannel boards, there is no felt involved here. I make my sets on cardstock or construction paper, and laminate them to increase durability. For this set, only the bear itself needs to stick to the flannel board, and masking tape does the trick. I use Velcro squares to keep the rest of the pieces together.

enhanced-6643-1417419942-13The Book

I first saw this book when it came in more than a year ago, and it’s been on my radar ever since. It’s perfect for a storytime group — a simple, repeating structure, bold illustrations, a built-in guessing game, and, obviously, underwear! The toddlers in my group started giggling as soon as they saw the cover, and didn’t stop until the final page.

The hardest part was making my polar bear — I drew him freehand. It took a few tries to get the proportions right. Once he took shape, I made basic shapes out of colored cardstock to create his eyebrows, eyes, ears and snout. A quick outline in black marker, and he was ready to go!

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Polar bear, looking appropriately bashful.

Next came the underwear. In the book, Polar Bear cannot remember where he placed his underwear and tries on numerous pairs, none of which belong to him. The reader must guess, based on the underwear’s design, which animal should be wearing the pair (i.e., the striped underwear belong to zebra, and the donut patterned underwear to pig).

To make the different pairs, I found images or patterns online and printed them out in large strips, then used a panty-shaped template to cut them all to size (except for the butterfly’s pair, which had to be much smaller!) I put a square of white Velcro on the back of each pair, and another on Polar Bear himself.

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An assortment of underwear.

Now, as it turns out, Polar Bear was wearing his underwear the whole time — he’d forgotten he put on a clean, white pair. So, while making Bear, I drew in a simple outline in pencil, which you can barely see in the first picture. It’s enough to make the kids do a double-take! Who doesn’t love a good plot twist?

Toddler Storytime: Hide & Seek

One of my group’s favorite activities is our hide-and-seek flannel board, inspired by this project from Miss Merry Liberry. They love it so much, as well as searching for hidden objects in our other books, that I decided to build a storytime around it!

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Books Read:

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson & Katherine Tillotson

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: I explained that today’s storytime would be all about using your eyes and ears to find hidden objects, then we practiced our sign for Look. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Where is the Green Sheep? A classic book that also tackles the topic of opposites. As we read, I asked the kids to think about where a green sheep might like to hide.

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Action Song: “Roly Poly”
One of my favorite action songs from JBrary, and a great way to reinforce the opposite pairs introduced in Green Sheep.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”

Book 2: Have You Seen Elephant?. A sweet book about a boy who decides to play hide and seek with an elephant, and then cannot find him anywhere (despite the animal’s size and lack of skill). This is a fun one for the kids, as the elephant is featured on each page in obvious and increasingly absurd hiding places. The watercolor illustrations are bright and beautiful, perfect for panning to a crowd.

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Flannel Board: “Little Mouse, Little Mouse”
We had to include a hide-and-seek game! This time, we were looking for a mouse in a house. I made nine different houses in different colors, then hid a mouse behind one and various animals behind some of the others, making sure to leave a few empty. Before checking each house, we asked: “Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the [color] house?”

512bkn-izkl-_sx356_bo1204203200_Book 3: Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt. I really, really wanted to use All Eyes, All Ears because it’s so beautiful inside, but it’s a very quiet story — great for bedtime, but not for a rambunctious storytime group. I had to sub in something more exciting, and Shark in the Park worked well. It also allowed me to repeat a popular activity from our shark-themed storytime…

Activity: “Sherman the Shark”
A project inspired by Sunflower Storytime. I used tacky glue to adhere an old white basket to the back of a cardboard shark. This allows the shark to stand on its own, and acts as a “net” to catch fish. I cut out some creatures and had the kids “fish” for them by picking them out of a blue basket, then we recited the following rhyme: “I’m Sherman the Shark and I’m so hungry! Someone put a nice red crab in my tummy!” We repeated the actions for all of the critters — a green turtle, an orange seahorse, a pink squid, etc.

Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: Another great group, with 22 people and a few new faces. The hide-and-seek themed worked beautifully, and the kids had a great time scanning the pages for “missing” objects. I wish I’d been able to incorporate All Eyes, All Ears, but it just wasn’t right for this group. Shark in the Park worked much better.

Toddler Storytime: Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, we celebrated moms, grand-moms, and caregivers of all kind. We also incorporated a (very) simple craft at the end of today’s session.

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Books Read:

The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh & Judi Abbot
Nope! A Tale of First Flight by Drew Sheneman
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino & Stephen Kellogg

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: I asked the kids if they knew what holiday we’d be celebrating this weekend, and then we talked about the things our moms, grandmas, and caregivers do for us: tucking us into bed, making our lunches, kissing our bruises, etc. Today, we learned the ASL sign for Love. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: The Biggest Kiss.  A sweet book about different types of kisses between different types of creatures, that ends with a kiss from the reader. Walsh also has a companion book, The Perfect Hug.

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Action Song: “Skinnamarink.”  An old camp favorite. Somehow, I’ve made it through nine months of storytimes without using this once. We practiced all of our hand motions together, including our ASL sign for love, and then ran through this twice.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”

Book 2: Is Your Mama a Llama?  A classic story about a baby llama asking different animals about their mamas. Not only does this book have a built-in guessing game (always a hit), but we also own it in big book form, which I haven’t used with this group before. It was a bit cumbersome, but they loved how big the pictures were. When I asked if everyone could see, and one little boy ran straight up the book, pressed his face to the page and bellowed: “I can see it!”

Matching Activity: “Who’s My Mama?”
I knew I wanted to incorporate some kind of activity into this session using different animal babies. Thankfully, Jen in the Library already came up with a great matching game! I created seven animal “pairs” using clipart, cut and laminated them, and distributed one animal to each child. We used Jen’s rhyme, copied below, to try and identify each animal.

This baby makes a mooing sound
when his mother’s not around.
Calf is the name of this baby.
What is his mother called?

Once we’d found both the “mama” and her “baby,” I had the kids stash their animal back inside a paper barn I’d made. I decided to use this in lieu of crafting another flannel board, and because it worked so well during my shark storytime.

To make this, I printed a clipart barn onto cardstock, reinforced it with a second piece of cardstock, and glued the edges to an old plastic basket (we have those in abundance at my library, my supervisor saves everything). Because the barn was a bit too short for the basket, I added some blue paper in the upper corners to serve as sky, and also printed some pictures of hay to paste on the inside. The kids love these types of activities, and the baskets are a big hit. For one, they provide built-in storage for all the pieces we need, and they’re also a great 3D prop to make the story come alive. I wish I’d thought of making a barn earlier — this is one prop I’ll definitely use again.

Book 3: Nope! An adorable book about a baby bird who’s afraid to leave his nest. This book is largely wordless, but Jessica from Storytime in the Stacks made an awesome video demonstrating, for rookies like me, how to use a wordless picture book in storytime. I’d originally earmarked this for use during a bird-themed storytime in the summer, but it worked wonderfully in today’s session, too.

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One of only two words in the book.

Flannel Board & Song: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”
Sometimes, mom has to refer things to a professional. This is always a hit.

Craft: “You Have My Heart” — Mother’s Day Cards!
Following storytime today, I invited the kids to make Mother’s Day cards for whomever they wanted. I pre-cut large hearts on our Cricut Machine, scored them, and added a simple message inside. Once everyone had a heart, I brought out crayons, stickers, stamp pads and ink so they could decorate and personalize their cards. I’ve been looking for a craft to do with this group for a while, but because my group skews toward infants, it had to be something simple. This project, with the cutting and folding already done, worked perfectly. One of my younger patrons was very excited because, according to his mom: “he’s not often invited to use markers.” In the end, they opted for crayons.

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Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: I’m not a huge fan of traditional books about family, so I tried to choose books that were more abstract (The Biggest Kiss, Nope!). I wasn’t sure how well those would go over, but in truth none of the books were particularly embraced today — my group was just too big. All of my regulars showed up, and showed up early, plus about ten visitors. From the outset, the energy was high and the attention spans were compromised.

Despite the chaos, everyone seemed to have a good time, even if things weren’t as seamless as I would have liked. I’m actually glad I had a craft planned today, because it split the group into two slightly-more-manageable factions. And I had juuuuuust enough animals for our matching game — close call.

Toddler Storytime: Bears

Bears! For whatever reason, this is one of my favorite storytime themes. I’ve done it several times now, and I always have fun with it. Maybe it’s because there are so many awesome books about bears, or maybe because I sometimes feel my spirit animal is a bear. At any rate, I needed a trusted, reliable theme to whip out during school vacation week (after the February-fiasco-of-which-we-do-not-speak): enter bears.

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Books Read:

Welcome Home, Bear by Il Sung Na
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. & Eric Carle
Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: We talked about the different kinds of bears we know, and what they look and sound like, before learning the ASL sign for Bear. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Welcome Home, Bear.  A simple, beautifully-illustrated book by one of my favorite children’s authors. This book explores different animal habitats, after bear grows sick of the forest and decides to visit his friends where they live — in the desert, swamp, rainforest, and Arctic. In the end, he decides that the forest was just right for him.

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The rainforest is too wet for bears.

Song & Flannel Board: “Five Bears in the Ring”
An adorable song and flannel set from Mel’s Desk. I used laminated clipart to represent our different bears — in my case, a brown bear, a black bear, a polar bear, a panda bear, and a teddy bear. This song explores different types of bears and the foods they eat, and it’s ridiculously catchy.

Brown bear in the ring, sha la la la la,
Brown bear in the ring, sha la la la la,
Brown bear in the ring, sha la la la la!
Looking for some honey in the comb.

Black bear — berries in the bush
Polar bear — fishies in the sea
Panda bear — bamboo in the sun
Teddy bear — snuggles from a friend!

Action Rhyme: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

Book 2: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  A storytime classic, and one that, somehow, I’ve never used before! Via Pinterest, I found that all of Eric Carle’s illustrations are available online. I printed out two copies of each animal, laminated them, and threw some Velcro on the back. I also made matching strips in each color. While we read, the kids came up to the flannel board and matched their animal to the corresponding strip.

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Action Rhyme:  “Red, Red is the Color I See”
Since we were on the subject of colors, we turned to “The Color I See,” an action song that gets everyone up and moving. Each person stands according to the colors they’re wearing.

Red, red is the color I see.
If you’re wearing red then show it to me.
Stand up, take a bow, then turn yourself around.
Show me your red, and sit back down!

Book 3: Polar Bear’s Underwear. I first saw this book when it came in more than a year ago, and it’s been on my radar ever since. It’s perfect for a storytime group — a simple, repeating structure, bold illustrations, a built-in guessing game, and, obviously, underwear. It’s also perfect for a flannel board! (Note: I had way too much fun making this).

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Polar bear, looking appropriately bashful.
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An assortment of underwear.

Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: I had too many books planned for this unit, which meant we never got around to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. I’d still like to use this in a storytime and build a scavenger hunt around it, especially since we have a copy with sound effects in our collection.

The books we did use, though, were great. Lately I’ve been using a lot of flannel sets and/or visual elements to supplement our stories, and it’s really brought them to life. The kids love “interacting” with the book rather than just listening to the story. And now when I look for new books to incorporate, I’m often looking for ones that can be “acted out.” I guess what I’m trying to say is, I finally understand the librarian’s divine worship of flannel boards. A few of the parents have noticed too, and told me today how much they like the new format. Looks like we’ll have to keep doing it!

All in all, a great session with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. Plus, I got invited to a party! A birthday party, for my storytime assistant. A Power Ranger birthday party. It’s one of the coolest things that’s happened to me as a librarian.

Toddler Storytime: Sharks

Aw, yeah. It’s finally shark week! I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Although our collection was a little short on shark-themed books, there are so many songs and extension activities to enhance this theme that coming up with content was never a problem. I might have traumatized a few children along the way, but I think that goes with the territory. Right?

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Books Read:

Swallow the Leader: A Counting Book by Danna Smith & Kevin Sherry
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
I’m a Shark by Bob Shea

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.

This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.

Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.

Discussion & Sign: Today, I challenged the kids to guess our theme of the week. I decorated our flannel board with seaweed and bubbles to create an underwater scene, and then described a big, blue creature that lives in the sea, with fearsome teeth and a fin that rises out of the water. Once the kids had figured it out, we practiced our ASL sign for Shark. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Before I go too far: much of the inspiration for today’s session comes — once again — from Sunflower Storytime. Check out her post celebrating shark week!

Book 1: I’m a Shark. A bright, comical book from Bob Shea about a fearsome shark who harbors a secret fear of his own: spiders. One of my concerns during this storytime was that the kids would be too scared of sharks to read about them — opening with a book about a goofy, blundering shark who has his own fears helped to quell our anxiety a bit.

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Flannel Board: “Sharks in the Bathtub”
A spin-off of the more traditional “Elephants in the Bathtub,” and one of my few flannel sets that is actually made of felt. This rhyme reinforces counting, and allows the kids to clap and tap a little bit. Once the last shark enters the bathtub I fling the whole set off the flannel board, which is always a crowd-pleaser.

One little shark in the bathtub,
Going for a swim.
Knock, knock. (Clap twice)
Splash, splash. (Pat knees twice)
Come on in!

Repeat verse 4 times, adding another shark to the tub each time. After the fifth shark, change “Come on in!” to “They all fell in!” and knock the flannel board down.

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Song: “Bubble, Bubble, Pop!”
A fun, repetitive action song set to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.” We swapped out fish for sharks, and sang through five verses.

Book 2: Swallow the Leader. A counting book that doesn’t look too much like a counting book. A series of fish and other undersea creatures play a game of follow the leader, with a shark in the rear, and then gulp up the person in front of them until all nine fish end up in the shark’s belly. After a well-timed burp, the fish escape and start the game all over. This is a creative way to practice counting up to, and back from, 10.

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While reading this book, I also used our number buttons. I made these about a year ago, inspired by a post from — I think — Storytime Katie (I can’t seem to find the post again). Basically, these are just different colored “buttons” that help us count to and from 10, and they’re versatile enough that they can be used with any book that involves counting. Like most of my stuff, they’re made from laminated cardstock and felted on the back.

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Activity: “Sherman the Shark”
Also inspired by Sunflower Storytime! I loved her idea of making a stand-up shark that the kids could “feed.” I used tacky glue to adhere an old white basket to the back of the shark. This allows the shark to stand on its own, and acts as a “net” to catch the fish. I cut out some creatures and had the kids “fish” for them by picking them out of a blue basket, then we recited the following rhyme: “I’m Sherman the Shark and I’m so hungry! Someone put a nice red crab in my tummy!” We repeated the actions for all of the critters — a green turtle, an orange seahorse, a pink squid, etc. This was a great way to reinforce our work on colors, and acted as a perfect follow-up to Swallow the Leader.

Book 3: I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean! This isn’t strictly shark-related, but does include one shark. A big, bright book perfect for panning to a wide audience at storytime. It also got us talking about other creatures we might find in the ocean, which led to:

Song: The Creatures in the Sea”
A great song from Adventures in Storytime, set to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” We began with our shark verse, and then included four other undersea critters. I made flannel pieces for this song, too, in case the kids were unfamiliar with the animals featured. In conclusion, I might have gone overboard on the flannel this week.

The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp,
Chomp, chomp, chomp,
Chomp, chomp, chomp!

The sharks in the sea go chomp, chomp, chomp,
All day long.

The fish in the sea go swim, swim, swim
The crabs in the sea go pinch, pinch, pinch
The dolphins in the sea go jump and splash
The clams in the sea go open and shut

Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:

I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!


Wrapping Up: I had a great group today, with 22 total and a few new faces. I was worried that sharks would be too scary for some, but I shouldn’t have been. All three books were well-received, as were the songs and activities (especially Sherman the Shark! Might have to use him again soon). All in all, another good week.