September 8 marks my first storytime with the toddler group, and I’m kicking things off with a unit on people. This year, I’m trying something new: each session will still have its own weekly theme, but will also be organized within a broader unit spread over several weeks. Today’s storytime is all about bodies, and learning how to move them around.
Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! by Linda Davick
I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont
The Belly Book by Fran Manushkin
Sign of the Week: Another new thing I’m trying. Each week, I plan to teach 1 or 2 new signs that correlate with our theme. Today, since we were meeting for the first time, we learned the signs for Hello and Goodbye. I began the session by teaching the Hello sign, and then we used it during our welcome song (“We Wave and Say Hello”).
Introductions: “Let’s All Clap”
We started this song while people were still trickling in, to learn each others’ names. I demonstrated the song with my own name, then we went around the circle. In most cases, Mom or Dad stepped in to provide the child’s name. It is sung to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.”
Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, ____ is here, _____ is here!
Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, _____ is here today.
Opening Song: “We Wave and Say Hello”
Book 1: Jump! This book is a lot of fun, and got the kids moving right away. Everyone stood up while I read, and gave a big jump whenever the book prompted them to (which occurs on every other page). This went over really well. The toddlers loved jumping, and the infants were lifted by their parents.
Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
After exercising our legs, we stretched out our fingers with this classic fingerplay. One family already knew it, and the rest picked it up right away. This is one item I plan to repeat each week, to give our sessions some consistency. In the future I’ll add additional verses, but today we just ran through the basic rhyme.
Book 2: I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! This book celebrates the human body, and runs through nearly every part of it. I had the kids find each body part as it was mentioned. For my own comfort I decided to skip two pages; you can probably guess what they contained.
Song: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”
This seemed like a natural follow-up, now that we knew where all of our parts were located. We ran through all the parts we needed for the song, then sang it twice.
Book 3: I Like Myself! The kids were starting to get a bit restless, so I decided to wrap things up after this book (I never got around to The Belly Book, though I hope to use it another time). This one echoes a lot of the information found in the second book, but also celebrates our insides: our identity, our thoughts and feelings, and what makes us who we are. It also has fantastic, eye-catching illustrations by David Catrow.
Song: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” (Courtesy of JBrary)
This wasn’t part of the original plan, but I needed something that would get the kids moving again. This song is a ton of fun, and the kids loved “blasting off” at the end. I hope to use this again and again, and add in some of the additional verses cooked up by the dynamic duo at JBrary.
Wrapping Up: While we were standing, I had the kids practice the sign for Hello again, and then taught them the complementing Goodbye sign. We sang a quick round of “We Wave Goodbye Like This” while they practiced, and then broke out the toys. Our families hung around for almost another half hour playing with balls, puzzles, blocks and cars. I tried to mingle during this time, and spend a little bit of time playing with each child.
I think I can say that this was a soft, but successful, launch. I only had 7 kids, which was a lower number than I had prepared for but much more manageable than I’d hoped. Most of my toddlers were also verbal, mobile, and surprisingly patient. I was ridiculously nervous before we started–that happens every time–but I knew that I was prepared, and sure enough there weren’t any catastrophes. I know that a few of these families will be returning each week, so hopefully as we get to know each other the kids will open up, and things will begin to feel more natural.
On another note this was my first time trying this theme, and it was loads of fun. I plan to do a whole unit on the human body later in the winter.