Toddler Storytime: Babies!

Another new theme for me: babies! We’ve had snow the past two weeks, so I had to skip one of my scheduled themes and move right onto this one. A lot of my regulars are big brothers and sisters, or just recently stopped being babies themselves, so this was a topic they could relate to. It also let me include one of my favorite books, Lola M. Shaefer’s One Special Day.


Books Read:

Baby Party by Rebecca O’Connell
King Baby by Kate Beaton
A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na
One Special Day by Lola M. Shaefer

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 & Sign: We talked about what babies do, and what they don’t: walking, talking, crawling, burping, blowing bubbles — all the fun stuff. I also asked the kids if they had any baby brothers or sisters at home. Finally, we learned our ASL sign of the week: Baby.  My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Baby Party. A simple book that includes a different-shaped object on each page (a square present, an oval balloon). This was a quick introduction to babies and all they do, and a great way to reinforce shapes, too.

Song: “Tiny Little Babies”
A catchy, action-heavy song set to the tune of “Shortenin’ Bread.” This got some wiggles out for sure!

Tiny little babies love bouncing, bouncing
Tiny little babies love bouncing, so.
Tiny little babies love bouncing, bouncing
Tiny little babies love bouncing, so.

Bounce to the left side, bounce to the right!
Bounce in the morning and bounce at night.
Tiny little babies love bouncing, bouncing
Tiny little babies love bouncing, so.

Repeat with clapping, stomping. Can also use bamboo sticks with actions like tapping, rolling or silding.

Fingerplay: “Pat-a-Cake”
The classic fingerplay for babies! I’m ashamed to say I had to look this up to remember the movements. First we practiced all of our hand and arm motions, talked about what the letter B looks like, traced it with our fingers, and then put it all together.

Book 2: A Book of Babies. Animals have babies, too! This is a very simple, gorgeously illustrated book by one of my favorite children’s authors. This gave us a chance to practice the names of baby animals.


Illustration from A Book of Babies.

Flannel Activity: “Baby Duck, Baby Duck”
A great activity from Miss Mary Liberry. I made eight different colored eggs, and hid a picture of a duckling beneath one of them. We repeated the refrain: “Baby duck, baby duck, are you under the _______ egg?”And lifted each egg to check!

I have a few grabby toddlers, so I made sure to include ground rules before we played. I asked everyone to sit on their bottoms and keep their hands in their laps, so that everyone could see and participate in the game. I loved Mary’s idea of hiding a few surprises under the eggs, so I also hid a kitten and a piglet for the kids to find.

Song: “When Ducks Get Up in the Morning”
I’m not sure about the origin of this song, but I (of course) found it on JBrary, so I’m linking their video above. We ran through a few verses, and I used corresponding flannel pieces for each animal. Along the way, we learned the names for baby animals (kitten, puppy, duckling, tadpole, etc.)

When ducks get up in the morning, they always say good day.
When ducks get up in the morning, they always say good day.
Quack, quack, quack, quack, that it what they say!
Quack, quack, quack, quack, that it what they say!

Book 3: One Special Day. A book about a young boy becoming a big brother. I’m not sure why, but this book has remained a favorite for me since I used it last September.. I adore the illustrations, and love that it includes several animals that the kids get excited about. It has a simple, repetitive structure that my youngest patrons can anticipate, and always leaves the last word of text out to encourage participation. I guess I do know why I like it.


An example of the repeating structure. Each page features a different animal and attribute, like “silly as a monkey,” or “loud as an elephant.”

Song: “If You’d Like to Blow a Bubble”
These kids love bubbles. Babies blow bubbles. Don’t worry about how tenuous the connection is — I needed an excuse to include bubbles! I found this song in the book 1,000 Fingerplays & Action Rhymes by Barbara A. Scott (2010).

If you’d like to blow a bubble, clap your hands!
If you’d like to blow a bubble, clap your hands!
If you’d like to blow a bubble,
It’s not really any trouble.
If you’d like to blow a bubble, clap your hands!

Activity: Bubbles
It would have been cruel not to include bubbles after that. I had two giant bottles of bubbles for parents to use, and some smaller ones for the kids to try on their own (with Mom’s permission.)

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: This was a lot of fun. The weather warmed up, so my attendance rose to a much better level – I had 21 people today. They loved the “Baby Duck” flannel, so I’m definitely going to have to do more hide-and-seek type activities with this group. Bubbles were also, of course, a hit. All in all, a great session!


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