Toddler Storytime: Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, we celebrated moms, grand-moms, and caregivers of all kind. We also incorporated a (very) simple craft at the end of today’s session.

PicMonkey Collage

Books Read:

The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh & Judi Abbot
Nope! A Tale of First Flight by Drew Sheneman
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino & Stephen Kellogg

Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” 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: I asked the kids if they knew what holiday we’d be celebrating this weekend, and then we talked about the things our moms, grandmas, and caregivers do for us: tucking us into bed, making our lunches, kissing our bruises, etc. Today, we learned the ASL sign for Love. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: The Biggest Kiss.  A sweet book about different types of kisses between different types of creatures, that ends with a kiss from the reader. Walsh also has a companion book, The Perfect Hug.


Action Song: “Skinnamarink.”  An old camp favorite. Somehow, I’ve made it through nine months of storytimes without using this once. We practiced all of our hand motions together, including our ASL sign for love, and then ran through this twice.

Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”

Book 2: Is Your Mama a Llama?  A classic story about a baby llama asking different animals about their mamas. Not only does this book have a built-in guessing game (always a hit), but we also own it in big book form, which I haven’t used with this group before. It was a bit cumbersome, but they loved how big the pictures were. When I asked if everyone could see, and one little boy ran straight up the book, pressed his face to the page and bellowed: “I can see it!”

Matching Activity: “Who’s My Mama?”
I knew I wanted to incorporate some kind of activity into this session using different animal babies. Thankfully, Jen in the Library already came up with a great matching game! I created seven animal “pairs” using clipart, cut and laminated them, and distributed one animal to each child. We used Jen’s rhyme, copied below, to try and identify each animal.

This baby makes a mooing sound
when his mother’s not around.
Calf is the name of this baby.
What is his mother called?

Once we’d found both the “mama” and her “baby,” I had the kids stash their animal back inside a paper barn I’d made. I decided to use this in lieu of crafting another flannel board, and because it worked so well during my shark storytime.

To make this, I printed a clipart barn onto cardstock, reinforced it with a second piece of cardstock, and glued the edges to an old plastic basket (we have those in abundance at my library, my supervisor saves everything). Because the barn was a bit too short for the basket, I added some blue paper in the upper corners to serve as sky, and also printed some pictures of hay to paste on the inside. The kids love these types of activities, and the baskets are a big hit. For one, they provide built-in storage for all the pieces we need, and they’re also a great 3D prop to make the story come alive. I wish I’d thought of making a barn earlier — this is one prop I’ll definitely use again.

Book 3: Nope! An adorable book about a baby bird who’s afraid to leave his nest. This book is largely wordless, but Jessica from Storytime in the Stacks made an awesome video demonstrating, for rookies like me, how to use a wordless picture book in storytime. I’d originally earmarked this for use during a bird-themed storytime in the summer, but it worked wonderfully in today’s session, too.


One of only two words in the book.

Flannel Board & Song: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”
Sometimes, mom has to refer things to a professional. This is always a hit.

Craft: “You Have My Heart” — Mother’s Day Cards!
Following storytime today, I invited the kids to make Mother’s Day cards for whomever they wanted. I pre-cut large hearts on our Cricut Machine, scored them, and added a simple message inside. Once everyone had a heart, I brought out crayons, stickers, stamp pads and ink so they could decorate and personalize their cards. I’ve been looking for a craft to do with this group for a while, but because my group skews toward infants, it had to be something simple. This project, with the cutting and folding already done, worked perfectly. One of my younger patrons was very excited because, according to his mom: “he’s not often invited to use markers.” In the end, they opted for crayons.


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: I’m not a huge fan of traditional books about family, so I tried to choose books that were more abstract (The Biggest Kiss, Nope!). I wasn’t sure how well those would go over, but in truth none of the books were particularly embraced today — my group was just too big. All of my regulars showed up, and showed up early, plus about ten visitors. From the outset, the energy was high and the attention spans were compromised.

Despite the chaos, everyone seemed to have a good time, even if things weren’t as seamless as I would have liked. I’m actually glad I had a craft planned today, because it split the group into two slightly-more-manageable factions. And I had juuuuuust enough animals for our matching game — close call.


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