Category Archives: Prop Activities

Brilliant Bean Bags

bean bagsBean bags may be some of the least appreciated storytime props – after all, they are easy to make, cheap to buy, and they can be used for so many different activities across a variety of age groups and storytime themes.    But that’s not all!  Bean bag activities also help children to:

  • develop directionality and orientation in space, which supports writing skills
  • improve self-control
  • develop  hand-eye coordination, an important early literacy skill
  • improve gross motor skills
  • understand the rhythm of language with their whole bodies

Here are some fun ideas for using bean bags in your programs, and links for more ideas!

 

1) Butterfly

On each line, move both hands from sides to up in the air above the head.  Each time your hands go above your head, pass the beanbag to the opposite hand.

Butterfly

In the sky

Flap your wings

And up you fly

Back and forth

To and fro

Up, up, and

Away you go!

 

2) Froggy Hop

(to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”)

For baby and toddler storytimes: Give a bean bag to each caregiver and have them hop it on the baby’s toes, knees, etc. as described in the rhyme.

For older children: Follow the directions below to make this a balancing activity.

Froggy’s hopping on my toes, on my toes, on my toes (balance bean bag on toes)

Froggy’s hopping on my toes –

RIBBIT! (move bean bag to knee)

Froggy’s hopping on my knee…

Froggy’s hopping on my tummy…

Froggy’s hopping on my shoulder…

Froggy’s hopping on my head, on my head, on my head (balance bean bag on head)

Froggy’s hopping on my head –

RIBBIT! (make bean bag jump to floor)

He hopped away!

 

3) At the Circus

Place a masking tape line on the floor to act as a tight rope.  Invite the children to balance their beanbags on their heads as they walk across.  If they drop them, encourage them to pick them up and keep trying!

With my bean bag on my head,

I stand so very tall.

I walk along my own tightrope

And will not let it fall.

 

4) Cook Out

This is a fun bean bag activity for food or summer themed storytimes.  As a bonus, when you are moving the hamburger from hand to hand in the first part of the rhyme, you are also signing HAMBURGER in American Sign Language.  Click here to see a video of the sign.

(Hold bean bag in right hand.  Hold left hand facing up.  Turn right hand over to deposit bean bag into left palm.  Then turn both hands and repeat it the other way, as if you are shaping a hamburger patty.  Repeat this rhythmically through the first verse.)

I’m making a hamburger for the grill. 

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Place bean bag on flat left palm.  Use your right hand as a spatula to lift the beanbag and flip it over.  Then switch hands.  Repeat this motion throughout verse 2.)

I’m flipping my hamburger on the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Hold bean bag in left palm.  Pretend to squirt on ketchup, mustard, etc. with other hand.)

Now I’m fixing my hamburger from the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Place bean bag in left hand.  Raise hand toward mouth, then down to right hand.  Switch the bean bag to the right hand and repeat.)

Now I’m eating my hamburger.  This is fun!

Did I eat it?  Yes, all done!

(If desired, sign ALL DONE at the end.  Click here for a video of the sign.)

 

5) Vacation

I went to the train station

To take a little vacation  (Pass bean bag back and forth between hands for the first 2 lines)

I went to the beach (Move bean bag diagonally away from you, starting at your right side, and ending up far out in front of your on you left side)

And then came home (Bring bean bag back to right side)

And had some relaxation. (Place bean bag into left hand)

 Repeat, replacing “the beach” with vacation destinations chosen by the children.  Each time you begin, you should be starting with the bean bag in the opposite hand from the previous time.  Make sure the diagonal cross-body movements also alternate hands between verses.  This simple motion of crossing the midline improves communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.

 

Got a great bean bag activity that you use in your programs?  Tell us about it in the comments below or by sending an email to storytimestuff@gmail.com and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of our latest storytime resource book!

 

More Bean Bag Activities:

http://www.philosophyoffreedom.com/node/1654

http://www.ehow.com/way_5414552_bean-bag-activities-kids.html

http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/bean-bag-games.html

http://craftulate.blogspot.com/2013/02/bean-bag-tutorial-and-games.html

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5 Fabulous Follow-Up Activities

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.

Super Scarves: 7 New Ways to Use Them in Your Programs

Beyond peek-a-boo and freeze dances, what can you do with a scarf? Plenty!

1) Windy Days:

Perfect for weather or springtime storytimes, the activity encourages children to imitate the qualities of the wind with their scarves.  With or without music, ask the children to move their scarves as they would in a light wind, a medium wind, and a heavy wind. They can even be the wind and blow their scarves into the air! Ask older children to make two lines facing one another and wave their scarves at shoulder height, then have each child take a turn walking through the lines and experiencing the indoor “windy day”!

2) Kites:

Using the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from the Mary Poppins soundtrack or the original song below, encourage children to fly their kites through the air.

“Kites Are Flying” (to the tune of “Frere Jacques”)

Kites are flying, kites are flying

In the sky, in the sky

See them in the springtime,

In the windy springtime

Kites fly by, kites fly by.

Blue kites flying, blue kites flying…

Red kites jumping, red kites jumping…

Yellow kites circling, yellow kites circling…

Green kites diving, green kites diving…

Orange kites turning, orange kites turning…

Purple kites wiggling, purple kites wiggling…

(Adjust color verses to the scarf colors you have; End by repeating first verse)

 3) Waves in the Ocean:

Pass out scarves and encourage the children to wave them at waist height to mimic the waves as you tell the story below.

Ocean Journey

We’re going on an ocean trip

We’re boarding a great big ship.

Se the tiny waves below

In the harbor rippling slow.

Now we’re leaving from the shore

And the waves are moving more.

Slow and steady, our ship goes past

But now the waves are getting fast.

Here comes a wind, the waves get bigger.

Will we make it, do you figure?

The ship is rocking to and fro

As higher and higher the waves go.

A storm is coming, see the clouds?

This is getting scary now!

The waves are huge! Big and rough!

I’m getting seasick! I’ve had enough!

But look! The sun is shining through.

The waves are growing calmer too.

They are still big, but getting slow.

Back and forth and to and fro.

Now we’re almost safe in port.

And the waves are getting short.

Little ripples in the water.

And we’ve arrived at the shore, just like we oughta.

The waves are waving, small and shy

So we wave too, and say goodbye!

4) Butterflies:

Make a beautiful butterfly using American Sign Language along with your scarf! First, hold both hands up facing away from you.  Then hook your scarf over one thumb. Next, cross your wrists. Now carefully turn your palms so that they face you. (Don’t drop the scarf!) Hook your thumbs together and wiggle your fingers and you’re signing “butterfly”! Play instrumental music or a freeze dance as the children make their butterflies fly around the room!

See a video of the sign BUTTERFLY.

5) Flag-waving Fun:

Have a Fourth of July Parade! Pass out scarves in red, white, and blue and play patriotic music as your storytimers march through the library! Make it a St. Patrick’s Day Parade by using green, white, and gold scarves.

6) Washcloths:

Read Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodds and invite the children to “scrub” the colorful spots off the dog with their scarves when he takes his bath. Then invite everyone to scrub-a-dub with Bert and Ernie as you sing “Everybody Wash” from Splish Splash: Bath Time Fun.

Click here for a free flannelboard pattern for Dog’s Colorful Day, courtesy of artist Melanie Fitz.

7) Soup-Stirring Tissue:

Share Monkey Soup by Louis Sachar, and invite the children to “stir” the soup with their “tissues” (scarves). This book lends itself well to a flannelboard or prop story presentation.

Click here for a free flannelboard pattern for Monkey Soup, courtesy of artist Melanie Fitz.

 

7 Super Ways to Use Rhythm Sticks in Your Programs

Sure, you know all about using rhythm sticks to tap out rhythms, but consider these creative uses for the old storytime standby:

1) Spider Legs:

Hold your sticks vertically to make spider legs, and sing “The Spider Went Over the Mountain”. Kids love to make their spider sticks walk!

2) Magic Wands:

Pass out one stick to each child and invite them to help you cast a spell! Let the children take turns using their wands to make their friends jump, turn, bounce, and sit!

3) Giant Pencils:

This exercise is great for promoting gross motor skills and early literacy! Give one stick to each child and let them draw shapes in the air, or write specific letters or numbers.

4) Windshield Wipers:

Give 2 sticks to each child and chant the rhyme below as your “windshield wipers” keep the rain away. This activity is a great tie-in to rain or transportation themed programs.

Windshield Wipers Rhyme

It’s a rainy day and down the street we go.

It’s only raining a little bit, so the wipers are going slow.

It’s starting to rain more now, but it’s not a disaster.

We know what we need to do: make the wipers go faster!

Oh no, it’s really pouring now, we hope that it won’t last.

Let’s turn those windshield wipers up, and they’ll go fast fast fast!

The rain is slacking off again, we’re not sad to see it go.

We’ll turn those windshield wipers down, and they’ll go back to slow.

Oh, look, is that the sun I see? And here comes one last drop.

The rain has stopped now, yessiree, and we turn our wipers OFF!

 5) Olympic Torches:

Give each child one stick, and stage your own Olympic relay across the room! Use an orange scarf for the flame, and have each child pass it along with his or her rhythm stick to “light” the next torch. (Make sure you play Olympic music to complete the experience!)

6) Flutes:

Make your own marching band! Have the children hold their rhythm sticks like flutes as they march around the room.

 7) Clock Hands:

Hold one stick in each hand. Review where the numbers  on the clock fall, and then call out times. The children should move their clock hands to the appropriate positions. (For older children, call out things like “dinnertime” and “bedtime” and have them supply the times!)

Ribbons and Streamers: Not Just for Parties

Ribbons and streamers are fun to incorporate into storytime and can be used in a variety of ways, all of which promote development of gross motor skills. You can use sturdy pre-made ribbons from a school and library supply company (our favorites are Lakeshore Learning’s Wrist Ribbons, which are just the right size for young children), or you can make your own using lengths of ribbon tied to dowel rods. For a less sturdy take-away streamer, tape a length of crêpe streamer to a straw.

Here are some ideas for using your streamers in storytime:

1. Share an ancient tradition:

The Ribbon Dance is a two thousand year old Chinese folk dance. Dancers use long ribbons attached to sticks to represent clouds and are supposed to bring rain and plentiful crops. Invite the children to move their ribbons in different ways as you show the sun, rain, wind, and clouds.

2. Catch a Wave:

Ribbons and streamers make wonderful waves. Make waves to your favorite Beach Boys tune, or go under the sea with a Calypso rhythm. Invite the children to stand in two rows, waving their streamers up high. Let the children take turns “swimming” between the rows so they feel they are under the sea!

3. Make a Rainbow:

Pass out streamers in a rainbow of colors. Wave them above your head when practicing your colors, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, or during a book when a rainbow is mentioned. Or share the rhyme below to reinforce color knowledge.

If your streamer is red, wave it over your head!

If your streamer is blue, shake it by your shoe!

If your stream is yellow, wave it at a fellow!

If your streamer is green, shake it while you lean!

If your streamer is pink, shake it however you think!

4. Share a Star:

Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as you gently wave your streamers to show the shimmering starlight, or share the shooting star rhyme below:

“The Star”

There once was a star who lived up in the sky (wave streamer above head)

He twinkled and twinkled at all who came by (move streamer in small movements to represent twinkling)

He twinkled left and he twinkled right (move streamer left, then right)

He twinkled through the day and he twinkled through the night (continue twinkling)

He twinkled down at the earth and he twinkled at me (point streamer down and keep twinkling)

Until he decided Earth was where he wanted to be.

So one day he twinkled as brightly as could be (move streamer in large back and forth movements)

And became a shooting star who came down…to..me! (slowly make streamer descend to the ground)

5. Race a Rocket:

Mark off a “course” on the floor using plastic cones or masking tape. Let the children take turns becoming “rockets” with the streamers as the fire coming out of their engines, as they skip or dance along the course.

Rocket Song (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)

(Name) is blasting off into space

In a big red rocket

First we count and then we blast off

(5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Blast off!) (slowly raise streamer during countdown)

ROAR! Goes the rocket. (go along course with streamer behind you)

 6. Fly a Kite:

Play “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins and pretend your streamer is a kite in the sky.

7. Share a Shape:

Use your streamer to create shapes in the air as you sing this song.

Shape Song (to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”)

Can you draw a square, draw a square?

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

Draw a line and then three more

They are all the same for sure

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

 

Can you draw a circle, draw a circle.

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

A circle is round

With no corners to be found

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

 

Can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Make one side and then make two,

Then make a third, that’s all you do,

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

8. Write a Word:

Use the streamer to write words or letters in the air. Encourage the children to make their letters as large as possible. This activity encourages letter knowledge, gross motor skills, and prewriting skills. As you lead the letters, describe exactly how to move the streamer to create them. For example: “Let’s make a letter A. We start at the top, then make a slanted line down to the bottom. Now back up to the top, and make a slanted line going the other way. Now make a little bridge to connect the  lines. We made an A!”

 

Nine Nifty Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery rhymes help children develop important pre-reading skills, such as phonemic awareness, and make language fun! Here are nine fun, interactive ideas to present nursery rhymes in storytimes:

1) Hey-diddle-diddle:

Read Over the Moon by Rachel Vail. (New York: Orchard, 1998.) This story is a clever twist on the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. A frustrated director can’t get his cow to understand how to go OVER the moon. The story emphasizes prepositions in a fun way. After reading the story, make a large paper moon and have volunteers help you act out the various ways the cow interacts with the moon.  Then, for a surprise, use the “Magic Door to Books” trick found in Carolyn Feller Bauer’s Leading Kids to Books Through Magic (American Library Association, 1996) to walk through your moon. Review the prepositions in the book at the end.

2) The Little Spider: A Nursery Rhyme from the Philippines:

Every culture around the world has nursery rhymes. Many of the themes of nursery rhymes are similar across different cultures. Share this rhyme from the Philippines with children and ask them if it reminds them of one that they know.

The little spider, the little spider (wiggle index finger)

Climbed up the branch (move index finger up opposite arm)

The rain came down (wiggle fingers down)

Pushed it away. (show spider falling)

The sun came up (hold arms in circle over head)

It dried the branch.

The little spider is always happy. (make index finger hop up arm again)

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

For more terrific nursery rhymes from around the world, see http://itsasmallworld.co.nz/index.php.

3) Hickory Dickory Dock:

Give each child two rhythm sticks and have them hold them like clock hands to show the time in each verse of the rhyme.

Hickory Dickory Dock,

the mouse ran up the clock,

the clock struck 1, the mouse ran down

Hickory Dickory Dock!

…the clock struck 2, the mouse said “Boo!”

…the clock struck 3, the mouse said, “Whee!”

…the clock struck 4, the mouse said, “More!”

…the clock struck 5, the mouse did the hand jive.

…the clock struck 6, the mouse did magic tricks,

…the clock struck 7, the mouse said, “This is heaven!”

…the clock struck 8, the mouse cried, “I’m late!”

…the clock struck 9, the mouse said, “Fine!”

…the clock struck 10, the mouse said, “Again!”

…the clock struck 11, the mouse said, “Still heaven!”

…the clock struck 12, the mouse said, “Swell!”

4) Little Miss Muffet:

Try a traditional nursery rhyme silly style! Alter the last words of the rhyme, making sure to act very seriously, as though you think these are the correct words. The kids will love correcting you!

Example:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her…macaroni and cheese

Along came a…dinosaur

And sat down beside her

And ask her to go to the library!

5) Jack Be Nimble:

Set an unlit candle in the middle of the floor. (A large pillar candle works well for this activity.) Recite the rhyme together, then invite the children to take turns coming for-ward and jumping over the candlestick as everyone says the rhyme, replacing “Jack” with each child’s name. This activity is popular with babies through preschool. (Parents can lift babies over the candlestick.)

_____ be nimble, _______ be quick.

Jack jump over the candlestick!

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

6) This Little Piggy:

Make this traditional rhyme interactive by having the children suggest new destinations and foods for the piggies. Write their suggestions on a board or flipchart, then have everyone recite the new rhymes together. This is a great tie-in for nursery rhyme, community helper or “in my town” storytimes.

Example:

This little piggy went to the zoo,

This little piggy stayed home.

This little piggy had ice cream,

And this little piggy had none.

And this little piggy went “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home.

7) The Grand Old Duke of York:

Give each child a pair of rhythm sticks and tap out the rhythm of the song as you sing, moving the sticks up and down as the soldiers do.

The grand old Duke of York,

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up to the top of the hill,

And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,

And when they were down, they were down,

And when they were only half-way up,

They were neither up nor down.

8) Wee Willie Winkie:

In your baby program, pass out large pom-poms to the parents. Invite them to use the pom-poms as puppets to act out this classic nursery rhyme, making the pom-pom race up and down baby’s arms and tap gently on their foreheads:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,

Tapping at the window and crying through the lock,

Are all the children in their beds, it’s past eight o’clock?

9) Jack and Jill:

This interactive craft is a great way to act out this favorite nursery rhyme.

  1. Print out the craft templates here.
  2. Cut a slit in the “Up the Hill” sheet along the dotted line.
  3. Color Jack and Jill, then cut them out.
  4. Glue Jack and Jill to the craft sticks.
  5. Poke the sticks through the slit in the worksheet to act out the rhyme!

Five Fun Uses for Paper Plates in Your Programs

If you’ve got a stack of paper plates, you’ve got a creative storytime prop! Go beyond mask crafts with these fun ideas.

1) Stick Puppet Theater:

Fold plate in half and cut a slit in the center of the fold. Then open the plate and decorate your stage. Poke the stick of your stick puppet down through the fold and manipulate the puppet from the back.

2) Peek-a-Boo Plates:

Use the plate to hide your face throughout this rhyme.

Peek-a-boo, I see you

Now I don’t, and now I do.

I slip behind and there I hide.

Now I pop up grinning wide.

Now I’m gone and now I’m here.

One side, other side, far and near.

I love to hide and so do you

But I love most to say PEEK-A-BOO!

3) Hats:

After reading Hats Hats Hats by Ann Morris (Mulberry, 1993), discuss how people around the world carry things on their heads. Then say the following rhyme. Invite a child to the front to help you act it out. Place a paper plate on the child’s head and fill it with plastic food as you say the rhyme. Or get everyone in on the fun by passing out plates to each child, along with a packet of pictures of the food. Ask the children to place the plates on their heads, then add the correct food when it is said in the rhyme.

Going to the Market

I’m going to the market, I’m going just like that.

I will buy potatoes and put them in my hat.

(Repeat with tomatoes, apples, mangos, grapes, bananas, cheese, bread and other foods as desired.)

4) Steering Wheels:

Pass out a paper plate to each child, then have the kids line up and hold their paper plates like steering wheels.  Play “Car Car” from Travelin’ Magic by Joanie Bartels (BMG, 1989) and let the kids act out driving, honking their horns, and the other verses of the song.

5) Find that Plate:

Mark the plates with animals, letters, or colors and when you say the animal sound, word (beginning letter sound), or color,  invite the children to find the appropriate plate.

Carpet Squares: Not Just for Sitting on Anymore

Those good old standbys, carpet squares, can be so much more than just a seat! Check out these cool new ideas for using carper squares in your programs.

1) Surfboards:

Spice up a summertime or ocean-themed program by inviting the kids to climb aboard their carpet squares and surf along with your favorite Beach Boys tune!

 

2) Color Action Game:

If you have carpet squares of different colors, use them to play a color recognition action game. (If all your carpet squares are the same color, put processing dots of different colors in the corners.) Then sing the song below and invite the kids to perform the actions:

(to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

If your carper square is red, then go ahead and show it.

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

Blue…touch your shoe…

Yellow…wave to a fellow…

Brown…jump up and down…

White…curl up tight…

Green…do a forward lean…

Black…scratch your friend’s back…

Grey…shout “hooray!”

Any color…give a holler!…

 

3) Play a life-sized board game:

Set up a path of carpet squares around the room, randomly mixing up colors. (Again, if your carpet squares are all one color, mark the corners with different colored processing dots.) Designate a starting and ending square. Create cards of each color by cutting up pieces of construction paper (or put dots on index cards if you are using the dot method. If desired, mark some squares with pictures relating to your theme and make cards to match. (For example, a Fall storytime might include a pumpkin, apple, leaf, and tree.) Have the children line up at the starting square and then take turns drawing a card from the pile. If a child draws a red card, he or she goes to the first red square. If a child draws a picture card, he or she must go to that square, even if that means going backwards. Keep playing (reshuffling cards as needed) until everyone gets to the end.

Literacy variations:
  • Alphabet matching: Mark the squares with letters of the alphabet and make cards to match. (Or use a set of magnetic alphabet letters and have each child draw one out of a bag on his or her turn.) Be sure to ask the child to identify the letter and match it to the correct square.
  • What’s that sound?: Mark the squares with letters of the alphabet as above, but make cards with simple words that begin with different letters of the alphabet. On each child’s turn, read a word aloud without showing it to the child, and see if the children can guess the first letter by sound. If they have trouble, show them the card and help them identify the first letter and its sound before moving to the correct square. (Make sure that the letters on your cards and squares are consistently uppercase or consistently lowercase to avoid confusion.)
  • Big and Little Matching: Mark the squares with uppercase letters of the alphabet, and make cards showing the lowercase letters. The children must match the letters to find the correct square.

 

4) Make Your Own Flannelboard:

Give each child a carpet square and a set of simple felt shapes, and invite them to tell the story along with you as you use the large flannelboard. This is a great activity for baby storytimes, as it encourages one-on-one interaction between parent and child, and gives parents a useful model for storytelling with their little ones at home. A simple flannelboard story such “Dog’s Colorful Day”, based on the book by Emma Dodd, is ideal for this activity. (Download a free flannelboard pattern by artist Melanie Fitz here.)

For older children, consider using this activity with a tangram story. Tangrams, a traditional Chinese puzzle and storytelling form, are easy to make and can yield thousands of different shapes. Check out one of the books below for stories and instructions on how to make a tangram set:

  • Grandfather Tang’s Story: A Tale Told With Tangrams by Ann Tompert. New York: Crown, 1990.
  • Grandfather’s Shape Story by Brian Sargent. New York: Scholastic, 2007.

 

5) Lilypads:

Liven up a froggy storytime with this rhyme, performed on carpet square lilypads.  Follow up by inviting the kids to hop from lilypad to lilypad around the room while you play a frog song such as “Jumping Frog” from Pretend by Hap Palmer (Freeport, NY: Educational Activities, Inc., 1998).

Lilypad Rhyme

I am a frog, lovely and green

I sit on my lilypad, calm and serene

Until a fly comes whizzing by

Then I LEAP in the air so high!

I stick out my tongue and SLURP.

Down goes the fly and out comes a burp.

I like being a frog, so I don’t think I’ll stop

Because it’s so much fun to hop!

There goes another fly, I really must dash.

I hop into the water with a great big SPLASH!

 

6) Tuffets:

Invite the kids to imagine that they are Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet and act out the silly rhyme below.

Miss Muffet’s Tuffet

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider and sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

But she came back around and sat back down

And continued then to eat.

Her toes got cold, so she was told

To put the tuffet on her feet!

Miss Muffet was done, she’d eaten a ton

But she didn’t care.

The spider came back and jumped on her back

So she waved her tuffet in the air!

It started to rain, she said, “What a pain!

I don’t want my hair to get wet!”

So she lifted her hands like that, and made up a hat

She put the tuffet on her head!

The rain started to slow, and the spider had to go

So she said, “I’ll see you around!”

She put the tuffet on the floor, and then once more

She sat herself back down!