Sunday, July 7, 2024

Wiggle - Toddler Storytime


My toddler storytimes often don't have a strong theme, since we use the same songs/rhymes all month, and I can't always come up with activities that are developmentally appropriate and strongly tie-in with the book, and this was one of those times. Themes can be fun and help give direction, but sometimes it can unnecessarily complicate things, so I don't worry too much about whether I have one or not (for a more in-depth discussion of themes, please see my previous "To Theme, or Not to Theme" post).

This was the first week of the month, so we have new songs/rhymes (other than the Hello/Goodbye and lead-in songs, which only change every few years when I get tired of them). 


Hello, my friends, hello.
Hello, my friends, hello.
Hello, my friends at storytime;
Hello, my friends, hello!

Followed by introductions, expectations (we have so many late-comers I've started saving expectations for after the greetings and hello song), then a warm-up song with movement, followed by two songs with manipulatives (scarves for this month).

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

 Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes; knees and toes.

(repeat 2x, faster each time)

This Is the Way....

This is the way we wave our scarves,
Wave our scarves, wave our scarves.
This is the way we wave our scarves,
Because it's fun to do!

(shake, twirl, scrunch, throw, look through)

(to the tune of 

Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels,
(wave scarves overhead)
In the pot, in the pot.
(scrunch into ball)
Shake them, shake them, shake them;
Until they POP! Until they POP!
(throw in air)

(They LOVE this one so we usually do it three times.)

Then it was time to settle down for our story with our lead-in song:

If You're Ready for a Story

If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet.
If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet.
If you're ready for a story, if you're ready for a story,
If you're ready for a story, stomp your feet!

(turn around, have a seat, clap hands, pat knees, say "shh")

movement storytime, toddler storytime
I'm finding it is becoming more and more difficult to find books for storytime, especially toddler storytime, as kids' attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, but today I settled on an older book that has toddler time written all over it! 

Wiggle by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin is a fun read-aloud that is perfect for those shorter attention spans as it encourages the kids to move along with the cute dog that is narrating the story, and it has a very pleasant rhythm and rhyme, which I've observed seems to hold their attention better. Wiggle is part of a movement trilogy, which includes Bounce and Stretch.

After that we worked on our ABCs and 123s with the "Alphabet Song" (to the traditional "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" tune) and "Ten Little Bubbles" (first counting up, popping bubbles, then counting down). Bubble time generally turns into a toddler mosh pit! 

Following bubbles, I announced we were done with the storytime part and would go ahead and sing our "Goodbye" song in case we didn't get to say goodbye to all of our friends later, but that we did have activities afterward.

I put out a variety of developmentally appropriate toys and activities afterward:

  • Busy Boards with various locks and fasteners to open and close
  • Puzzles - Chunky, simple wooden puzzles with animals or vehicles
  • Foam Blocks
  • Sensory Tubes
  • Sensory Balls
  • Stacking/Nesting Cups
  • Paper & Crayons
  • Sensory Bin - with a variety of beans and rice with measuring cups and spoons
  • Magnetic gears

How It Went
Everything went well, though I am finding that now that I am getting steady attendance, those that started as new toddlers a year or two ago are turning 3 (or already have), and I have a new bunch of 1-2 years olds, I feel like the age range (1-3) is too broad and the older kids are taking away from the experience of the true toddlers. 

I have started trying to gently suggest the older kids (who don't have younger siblings) move to the preschool storytime by changing the stated age range for toddler time from 1-3 years to 12-36 months and reminding the group that we have a preschool storytime for ages 3-5 and that it is usually a smaller group and less chaotic, but so far, no one has moved up. I'm not sure if it is a scheduling thing, they just like the toddler storytime better (more songs and movement, and less books than preschool), habit, or what. This is the conundrum I will be trying to figure out how to manage over the next few months.

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