(to the tune of “London Bridge”)
Click on these links to learn the signs RAIN, SNOW, and WIND. Introduce these signs and then encourage the children to use them during this simple song. Experiment with the size of the movement to covey a drizzle versus a thunderstorm, a flurry versus a blizzard, and a breeze versus a gale.
See the rain come falling down on this rainy day.
See the snow come floating down, floating down, floating down
See the snow come floating down on a snowy day.
Feel the way the wind does blow, wind does blow, wind does blow.
Feel the way the wind does blow on this windy day.
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2012.
Brown is all around, and the illustrations and simple text portray a boy eagerly waiting for the spring green to arrive. The boy waits week after week for his seedlings to sprout, until one day… green!
I See Spring by Charles Ghigna. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books, 2012.
Bold colors and simple text describe all the things you see in spring, from raindrops falling to blue birds riding the breeze.
(Pieces needed: seed, watering can, sun, green stem and leaves, flower top.)
We plant a little seed, (put seed in ground)
and we add a little water. (add watering can)
The sun shines bright, (add sun)
and the ground gets hotter.
Soon the seed sprouts,
and the green leaves rise. (add stem and leaves)
Out pops the flower, (add flower top)
what a beautiful surprise!
Rhymes, Songs, and Bounces
Spring is in the Air
Green grass beneath us, (look down)
Blue skies above, (look up)
Warm air all around us, (turn in circle with arms our)
I feel the love! (get a hug from caretaker or wrap arms around yourself)
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
Cupcake Wrapper Flowers
Create your own garden of cupcake wrappers.
(Supplies needed: construction paper, cupcake wrappers in a variety of colors, pom-poms, crayons, and glue.)
- Give each child a piece of construction paper, 2 or 3 cupcake wrappers, a few small colorful pom-poms, crayons, and glue.
- Have the children create a garden scene. Encourage them to color the sky, dirt, and stem of plants.
- At the top of the stem, have them glue cupcake wrappers or pom-poms to create a flower. A pom-pom can also be placed inside of a cupcake wrapper.
by Kathy MacMillan. Coming October 2013 from Huron Street Press. Pre-order it today!
Research shows that signing with young children of any ability or hearing level can increase IQ, stimulate language learning, enhance bonding, and raise a child’s self-esteem. More importantly to parents and educators, it improves everyday life and communication: a child who can express him or herself with the aid of signs is far less likely to get frustrated and throw tantrums and can initiate conversations about topics that interest him or her, which leads to adults talking more about those topics, which leads to a motivated and interested child absorbing more spoken language, which helps develop spoken language skills. Countless parents, teachers, and caregivers have seen the impact of using even one sign on a regular basis to make their lives with their children more harmonious. Signing with young children offers a communication tool that can assist children and families in communicating and developing a greater understanding of the world.
Signing with children naturally complements other language and literacy activities such as books, fingerplays, rhymes, and songs. Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together offers solid background information on signing with children ages birth to five, along with hands-on games, fingerplays, songs, games, and crafts that caregivers and educators can use to smooth transitions, calm a fussy child, or engage a stubborn one. Photos and descriptions of the relevant signs accompany each activity. All signing vocabulary in this book is American Sign Language (ASL) – which, as a real language with real grammar, stimulates language centers of the brain unlike the made-up gestures found in some “baby signing” books.
Kathy MacMillan brings three different perspectives to this valuable resource: that of a nationally certified interpreter, fluent in American Sign Language; that of a librarian and educator experienced with engaging children in early literacy; and that of a mom who knows the frustrations and joys of living every day with a young child. With stories, songs, rhymes, and activities field-tested in Kathy’s “Little Hands Signing” classes for children and parents, and in her own home, she focuses is on practical applications of the signs you can use every day to make your life with your child or students both easier and more fulfilling!
Maisy the mouse is out and about! In a series of large lift-the-flap pages, readers must put the clues together to figure out the places she is visiting in her neighborhood.
The Sounds Around Town by Maria Carluccio. Barefoot Books, 2011
Baby enjoys a stroller-ride through town with his mommy, listening to the sounds of the city, from morning birdsong to an afternoon café to evening traffic.
Five Little Trucks
(to the tune of “5 Little Ducks”)
5 little trucks drove out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mama Truck said, “Beep, beep, beep!”
4 little trucks came home to sleep.
4 little trucks…
3 little trucks…
2 little trucks…
1 little truck…
Mama Truck said, “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!”
5 little trucks came home to sleep!
It’s easy to add American Sign Language to this song! Click here to learn how in this video tutorial with Kathy MacMillan.
Rhymes, Songs, and Bounces
Bounce: A Smooth Road
A smooth road, A smooth road.
A rough road, A rough road.
A bumpy road, A bumpy road.
An icy road, An icy road.
Oh no, there’s a…HOLE. (drop baby gently through legs)
Bounce: Trot, Trot
Trot, trot upon a horse,
To the library we’ll go.
We’ll open books
and read just so.
“Sammy” from Getting to Know Myself by Hap Palmer (CD). Educational Activities, 1994.
Sammy imagines that he is a bird, a fish, a bug, and a bunny as he explores different ways to move on his way to the store. Adapt this movement song for babies by introduces animal puppets before the song and encouraging parents to move their babies in ways that mimic the animals:
- Bird: hold babies in the air
- Fish: Rock baby while making fish faces
- Bug: Let older babies crawl; put younger babies on their backs and move their legs back and forth
- Bunny: Bounce baby in lap
- Me: Cuddle!
I’m a Little Flower
(to the tune of: “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little flower, watch me grow.
I start as a seed in the ground so low. (lie on the ground in a small ball)
When the sun is shining up I go, (slowly rise)
I open my petals, just like so! (pop up and stretch arms to the sky)
Red Sled by Patricia Thomas. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2008.
Simple rhyming text and a bright red sled bring winter to life this lovely picture book. Nothing makes a long winter night more fun than a moonlit sledding adventure followed by some hot cocoa!
Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2010.
What’s better than a hot bowl of soup on a snowy day? Simple text and colorful pictures depict a mother and daughter preparing the soup, which is ready just as Dad is coming home.
(Pieces needed: celery, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, pasta noodles, meat.)
It’s cold outside, we need to get warm,
Let’s make soup and watch the snow storm.
We chop our celery and add it to the pot,
we add onions and carrots, and let them get hot.
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, drop more in,
potatoes and zucchini, stir and spin.
Broth and spices will make our soup taste great,
Bubble, bubble, bubble, it’s boiling so we wait.
Mushrooms and noodles and a little cooked meat.
Ladle in bowls, it’s time to eat!
When the day is chilly (shiver)
And I don’t know what to do,
Mama gives me my sweater (mime putting on sweater)
I put it on and say, “Thank you.”
But when I am still chilly (shiver)
From the snowy winter storm,
Mama puts a blanket over me, (mime pulling up a blanket)
But still I’m not quite warm.
So when I am still chilly, (shiver)
I know just what I should do.
I say, “Mama, please, I’d like
warm cuddles from you!” (give yourself a hug, or hug a friend or parent)
Beautiful Soup: A Poem by Lewis Carroll
(Read or play this classic poem and encourage the children to mimic the actions in parentheses on each verse. LibriVox offers 18 different choices of free audio downloads of this poem here.)
BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green, (mime stirring soup)
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop! (mime stirring in the opposite direction)
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening, Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish, (mime eating spoonfuls of soup)
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else
for two Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop! (mime holding up bowl and drinking soup)
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening, Beautiful, beauti–FUL SOUP! (finish with a great big slurp)
“Hot Chocolate” on the Polar Express Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Burbank, CA: Reprise, 2004).
This fast paced song can be paired with egg shakers or other rattles to let off some steam!
Materials: construction paper, mug cutout (use our Printable Mug Template), cotton balls, white mini pom-poms, glue, crayons
- Glue the mug to the construction paper.
- Color as desired.
- Glue the white pom-poms onto the cocoa for marshmallows.
- Pull the cotton ball apart to make wisps of steam. Glue these above the mug.
What’s better than a great storytime book? How about a great storytime book followed by a great tie-in activity? Following up a story with related activities can reinforce vocabulary, concepts, and story structure and provide fun, active learning for little minds! Here are five of our favorites:
1) Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington. New York: Dutton, 2006.
Sally and her cat bake up delicious pizza pies in their pizzeria. Follow up by passing out scarves to serve as pizza dough. Invite the kids to spin the “dough” in the air as they make their pizzas!
2) Raindrop Plop! by Wendy Cheyette Lewison. New York: Viking, 2004.
A little girl in a red raincoat counts her way up to ten and back again as she explores on a rainy day. Follow up by handing out water-filled eyedroppers or pipettes (both available cheaply at your local teacher supply store) and paper cups. Invite the children to “plop” the raindrops into the cups with you, counting as you go! This is also a wonderful sensory activity for baby and toddler storytimes.
3) Thirsty Thursday by Phyllis Root. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2009.
In this story, Bonnie tickles a cloud with a feather to make it rain. Hand out craft feathers to all of the children and retell the story, having the children help Bonnie tickle the clouds. This helps children develop narrative and sequencing skills.
4) Wild About You by Judy Sierra. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.
Animals are waiting for the babies to arrive at the zoo, and when they do, the entire zoo takes care of them. Prior to storytime, hide some pictures of baby animals, or stuffed baby animals, throughout the room. After the story, go on a hunt to find the baby animals hidden around the room. If you used stuffed animals, have each child find one, then play a fun song and bounce the animals on a parachute. Try it with “Fifteen Animals” or “Jump Rope Jive” found on Philadelphia Chickens by Sandra Boynton (New York: Workman, 2002).
5) The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring. New York: Bloomsbury, 2012.
There are shapes all around us that represent different parts of our day and life. After reading this book, pass around shapes to the group and ask them to share their shape and what they think of when they see it. Shape ideas: heart, sun, vehicles, lips, various foods, shoes, feet, hands, animals, trees, flowers.
We’ve all been there: you’ve just done a great storytime activity with scarves, shaker eggs, or instruments, and it’s time to collect those goodies – and someone doesn’t want to give it up. What do you do?
Readers respond with their ideas:
“After we use cool stuff in our storytimes (lapsit-family), singing this little ditty almost always works like magic in getting the kids to return the items (sans tears). We sing as we either offer the empty container up front, or bring it around to the kids. We can even fold up a parachute to this song. We model waving bye bye to the cool stuff as we sing, so the children can also wave!
(to the tune of “Good Night Ladies”)
Bye bye bells (shakers, sticks, maracas, etc.)
Bye bye bells
Bye bye bells
It’s time to let you go.
Then we follow up with an action song to immediately engage.”-Carla E.
“If the youngsters want the item, I let them keep it until the end of the program. At the end when they are leaving I trade it for something they can keep (often a toy that the parent has with them).”-Jill R.
Kathy and Christine say:
- Above all, don’t panic or get flustered! Babies and young children look to adults to guide their own reactions, so if you make a big deal about their reluctance to part with the object, it’s likely to escalate the situation. Remember that parents often don’t know how to deal with the situation either (and are often embarrassed by their children making a scene), so an unflappable attitude from you will go a long way toward keeping everyone calm.
- Make the giving back as much fun as the getting! Sing a special song, as in Carla’s suggestion above, or have the children hold their items over their heads as you zoom around the room like an airplane collecting them, while the kids make airplane noises. Or, as one workshop participant suggested, “make it go boom”. As each child puts his or her item in the box or basket, invite everyone to make a loud “boom” to celebrate it.
- Move on to the next activity as quickly as possible. Even if someone is still upset, demonstrate your confidence in his or her ability to recover by immediately moving on to another fun book, song, or flannelboard. When adults show confidence in children’s resilience, it encourages children to have confidence in themselves.
We presented this puzzler to our readers. Here’s a round-up of their ideas:
“We connected with a local churches and community groups that provide “welcome wagon” baskets to new families in town. We make sure that a copy of our library card brochure and programming flier goes in each basket.”-Sylvia Y.
“We deliver posters to interested groups in our community, including the senior center and local coffee shops.”-Chris C.
“We make sure our schools are aware of our programs and ask them to announce relevant programs in their parent email updates.”-JoAnn R.
Kathy and Christine say:
- Don’t try to promote all programs equally – if you hype everything, that’s the same as hyping nothing! Choose a few special programs you want to highlight and focus on promoting those.
- Take advantage of social media! Post upcoming programs on Facebook or Twitter a day or two before they will happen so people don’t forget all the wonderful programs you are offering.
- Think about the audience you are targeting for each program and adjust your promotion accordingly. Parents of young children don’t get their information in the same places that middle schoolers do.
- Find a newsworthy hook and involve the press! For example, early literacy is all over the news these days – why not develop a press release explaining how your storytimes support early literacy and send it to your local newspaper?
- Network, network , network! Seek out connections with people in your community and find out what kind of programs they want from the library, and how they can help you get the word out to the people they work with every day. Despite (or maybe because of) our ever-increasing reliance on technology, we humans still trust recommendations from real people most.
- Make sure you have a great product to promote! The best advertisement for a great program is the program itself – provide an experience that will keep parents and kids coming back for more.
- Instead of preaching to the choir, draft them: Explain to your current storytime attendees that you need their help to get the word out about your programs. Pass out fliers for upcoming programs and ask each attendee to invite one person or family to come.