Toddler Storytime: Feelings

This was my second storytime of the year, and attendance was definitely up. Last week we read all about bodies, so with this week’s theme we focused on feelings and emotions. I was a bit hesitant to try this theme with the younger kids, but they seemed to have fun.


Books Read:

Wild Feelings by David Milgrim
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger

Sign of the Week: Each week, I plan to teach 1 or 2 new signs that correlate with our theme. Today, we learned the sign for Happy, and practiced the signs we learned last week (Hello and Goodbye).

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 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”

Activity: Identifying faces. I cut out these printable faces from Sunflower Storytime, held each one up to my face, and had the kids try to name the corresponding emotion. Then we practiced making our own faces match the picture. The kids got “happy,” “sad” and “angry” right away; the “scared” and “silly” faces took a bit more prodding. This was a great activity to get the kids thinking about different emotions and how to identify them, and segued perfectly into our first story.

Book 1: Wild Feelings. This is a simple book with fun, full-page illustrations. It compares each emotion to an animal, asking, for example: do you ever feel as stubborn as a mule, or as daffy as a duck? This wasn’t a huge crowd-pleaser but it got the message across.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
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: Hooray for Hat!  This is a really fun story with lots of repetition. I made a flannel board to go along with it, but there were too many kids to do it properly. I ended up using only the handmade sign to encourage the kids to cheer along with me, which they did. I ended up putting the flannel board pieces up after storytime was over, and one boy had lots of fun mixing and matching the pieces.

Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
This seemed like a natural choice. We learned the sign for happy, then practiced using it with this song. I used to have this as my closing song; it always seems to be a hit.

Song Cube: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”
I’ve joined the Song Cube craze. Inspired by a number of other bloggers, I crafted a terrible song cube out of a tissue box and seventeen rolls of duct tape. On each side is a song; I asked for a volunteer to roll the cube and one boy happily stepped up. He rolled “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” which we actually sang last week. It was a good carry-over to reiterate all the body parts we’d learned. For the new kids, we spent a couple of minutes finding all the body parts we’d need, then ran through the song a few times. I had the kinds sing as quietly as they could, then at a dull roar.

Book 3: Crankenstein. I’d hoped this one would get more of a response, since it involves making some funny sounds, but I think the kids were just getting antsy. We wrapped it up after this book.

Wrapping Up: We practiced the sign for Goodbye again, then sang a quick round of “We Wave Goodbye Like This.” Our families hung around for another twenty minutes playing with balls, puzzles, blocks and cars. I tried to mingle during this time, and spend a bit of time with each child.

Things were a bit trickier this week simply because I had more kids. Last week I’d been impressed by how patient and seemingly un-frenzied they were; this week they acted more like the toddlers I’d expected. Which is great, it just meant that things were a bit more high-energy! Three stories seems to be the limit for this group, and the songs and fingerplays in between are a must.

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