Toddler Storytime: Construction Zone

We’re continuing our unit on transportation with a look at construction vehicles, road work and tools! (And because we need an excuse to use our car wash again).


Books Read:

Busy Builders, Busy Week! by Jean Reidy & Leo Timmers
What Can a Crane Pick Up? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich & Mike Lowery
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker & Tom Lichtenheld

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
Our new opening song. 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: I put pictures of some common tools up on our flannel board, and asked the kids if they knew what they were and how they were used. We also talked about construction vehicles like dump trucks, bulldozers and cranes. My group trended younger this morning, so I didn’t get a whole lot of feedback, but I sort of expected that. Finally, we learned our ASL sign of the week: Hammer.  My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Busy Builders, Busy Week. I might’ve mentioned how much I love Leo Timmers. I keep finding ways to include him in my storytimes, just because I love his illustrations so much. This is a bright, fun book that introduces construction terms (and reinforces the days of the week), and gets the kids thinking about how much work goes into building something. Throughout, hints are dropped about what the animals are building; the kids have to guess by the time the book is finished. (Spoiler – it’s a playground! One boy spotted the slides being installed.)



Action Rhyme: “Five Little Nails”
A sweet action rhyme I found over at Storytime Katie. This let us practice the ASL sign for hammer, although some kids preferred to use their bamboo drum sticks.

Five little nails, standing straight and steady.
Here I come, with my hammer ready!
BAM, BAM, BAM! That ones goes down.
Now there’s just four left to pound.
Repeat until all fingers are down.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
The classic fingerplay, and one that I used to repeat each week. Because so many of the kids like it, I’m hoping to re-use it a couple of times per month. We sang it twice today, and it was probably the most popular thing I did all day. (Read: most of this storytime didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped).

Book 2: What Can a Crane Pick Up? A simple, silly book. Again, it didn’t register exactly the reaction I’d hoped for. I think this theme was a bit too complex for the youngest kids in my group, and today I had an overwhelming amount of two-year-olds.

Song:  “The Construction Worker’s Song”

Action Rhyme: “Johnny Works with One Hammer”

Book 3: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. A bit long, but it helped us to reign in the somewhat explosive energy in the room. Plus a few of the kids were familiar with it, so their interest was piqued.

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!

Activity: Kid Car Wash! Once again, a hit. One boy had the brilliant idea of connecting our tunnel to the front of the car wash, thus making it even longer. Seriously, how did I miss that?

Wrapping Up: It would have been impossible to follow last week’s success, but I’d hoped for a bit more enthusiasm today than I got. I ended up with an even bigger crowd, 34 people, and most of them were just too young to focus on the stories, or to engage much in the activities. I think simpler themes are best for this group, especially if it’s going to keep trending young. But, it did give me one last chance to use the car wash. It has since been sent to cardboard oblivion.


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