Toddler Storytime: Giraffes

The fall season started up in earnest this week. I’d been a bit worried about my numbers, but now that school is in session the crowds are back. Today, we read all about giraffes!

PicMonkey Collage

Books Read:

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
The Starry Giraffe by Andy Bergmann
Abigail by Catherine Rayner

Opening Song: I Wake Up My Hands
Our new opening song, inspired by JBrary!

I wake up my hands with a clap, clap, clap.
Clap, clap, clap. Clap, clap, clap!
I wake up my hands with a clap, clap, clap
And wiggle my waggles away.

Repeat with:
I wake up my feet with a stomp, stomp, stomp.
I wake up my head with a nod, nod, nod.
I wake up my hips with a shake, shake, shake.
I wake up my belly with a beep, beep, beep.

Discussion & Sign: I asked the kids to guess this week’s theme based on a few clues, and it didn’t take long for one of my regulars to come up with it. Today, we learned the ASL sign for Giraffe. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.

Book 1: Giraffes Can’t Dance. A few kids knew this one already, but we enjoyed it just the same! Since this was the longest book of the bunch, we read this one first. Then, I challenged the kids to do some dancing with a special edition of “Clap Your Hands and Stop,” which they loved.

Action Song: Clap Your Hands and Stop
We also stomped our feet, flapped our arms and rolled them together, disco-style. The kids had a lot of fun with this one, and listened really well. This is one of my favorite activities for both releasing pent-up energy and encouraging the little ones to follow directions. I learned about this song from the amazing librarian behind Felt-tastic Flannelboard Funtime!

Book 2: The Starry Giraffe. A sweet book about a lovely giraffe who plucks apples from the top of the tallest tree, and shares the bounty with his friends. This has a great twist-ending which I found genuinely funny, and that the parents seemed to enjoy.

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Song: “This Giraffe Has Blue Spots”
A great activity from Jen in the Library. I’m not so great with the flannel, so I made paper puppets out of cardstock and kept it to three: a giraffe with 3 blue spots, another with 4 red spots, and a final one with 5 brown spots. Taking my cue from Jen’s activity, we sang:

To the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
This giraffe has blue spots, blue spots, blue spots!
This giraffe was blue spots. Count them with me now.

Then we proceeded to count up our spots. The kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on these guys, but I’ve made it a point to let them play with props after storytime is over and not while we’re using them as a group, and that seems to be working. I stressed this again to our new families at the beginning of the session, and I think the message is sinking in.

Regrettably, I did not have time to share our third book, Abigail, which is a slower-paced book about a giraffe who loves to count. I still recommend it as a great accompaniment to the theme! It also ties in perfectly with Jen’s counting activity (above).

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: As I mentioned before, I’ve been worried about maintaining my numbers this season as we got off to a rocky start, but this was our first session since school has started, and wow. Almost all of my regulars returned, and I had at least four new families. Everyone gelled together nicely, and they seemed to enjoy today’s stories and songs. Personally, I loved this theme and the activities that went along with it, and hope to do it again soon! The Starry Giraffe in particular was a great find.

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