Toddler Storytime: Family

Time for family! This is a great, relatable theme, and one that the kids (and parents) seemed to love.

picmonkey-collage2

Books Read:

The Family Book by Todd Parr
One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer
Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi

Sign of the Week: Each week, I plan to teach 1 or 2 signs that correlate with our theme. Today, we learned the signs for Mom and Dad. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Introductions: “Let’s All Clap”
We usually start this song while people are trickling in, to learn each others’ names. I demonstrate the song with my own name, then move around in a circle. 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”

Discussion: We spent a few minutes talking about families, and naming some of the family members we could think of. The kids were quiet today, and I had to prompt all of the answers or supply them myself. So, we dove right into our first book.

Book 1: The Family Book. I might have been living under a rock, but in two years of storytimes I’ve never included a book by Todd Parr. His books always seem heavy-handed, and the bold, simplistic illustrations don’t do anything for me. But this was one of the best family-themed books I could find in our collection, and the kids seemed to like it just fine.

Flannel Activity / Song: “Who Is Knocking At My Door?”
Courtesy of Story Time Secrets! I whipped up a quick and chintzy flannel board to correspond to this song, sung to the tune of “London Bridge.” I made four separate doors, and had already hidden the figures behind each one beforehand. The pieces didn’t stay on the board very long; I’m not sure flannel boards are a great match for this group.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
This is one item I plan to repeat each week, to give our sessions some consistency. Today we added additional verses, courtesy of JBrary. This was a nice bonus for a few of our families, who have already known “Open, Shut Them” for ages.

Book 2: One Special Day.  This is a sweet, beautifully illustrated book about a boy who is about to become a big brother. On each page, he is described by a phrase such as “Spencer was strong. Strong as a bear!” — only instead of saying the word bear, one is pictured on the page, so I had the kids guess each animal as it appeared. This was a great way to get them involved. The book happened to feature an elephant, which was the much-cherished favorite of one of my new kids. He nearly screamed when he saw the page, and jumped in to supply a lovely elephant sound, which made everyone laugh. Afterwards, we had a quick discussion about being big brothers and sisters, which launched into…

Song: “If You Have a Brother”
This song, adapted from “If You’re Wearing Red Today,” was created by Abby the Librarian. We ran through the song six times, and I had the kids stand and perform a simple activity (hop like a rabbit for instance, or blow a kiss) if the chosen family member was a match. We sang for brother, sister, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa.

Book 3: Baby Love. Another sweet story about a young family and their first baby. Simple, repetitive, and quick. Every other page repeats the phrase “sweet kiss, warm hug,” so I encouraged the kids to sit in Mom’s lap for this one and share some cuddles. For the kids who didn’t want to (and myself), we have ourselves a hug and blew a kiss to the crowd whenever prompted.

Wrapping Up: This was an antsy group, so I scrapped plans to teach them “Skinnamarink.” We rolled our Song Cube and quickly ran through the chosen song — “Rain is Falling Down,” — and then waved goodbye. Our families hung around for another twenty minutes playing with our toys. I try mingle during this time, and spend a bit of time with each child.

My antsiest group yet. I had the same number of people as last week, but the energy level was much higher. This is the first session where I’ve had to make quick, on-the-spot revisions to the plan, but it seemed to work out just fine. I had a couple of parents comment on the group’s rowdiness after we’d finished, so I know it wasn’t just in my head.

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