Celebrate this summery sweet treat in storytime with this action rhyme and a watermelon science project!
Watermelon, watermelon, turn around.
Watermelon, watermelon, touch the ground.
Watermelon, watermelon, stamp your feet.
Watermelon, watermelon, good to eat! (rub tummy)
Try this vinegar-free watermelon eruption project from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine to demonstrate chemical reactions and promote fine motor skills.
April is National Grilled Cheese Month! Why not invite a few of your favorite nursery rhyme characters to storytime to celebrate? Kids will love these silly variations on classic Mother Goose rhymes. Encourage creativity and writing skills by working with children to come up with their own crazy grilled cheese sandwich rhymes!
Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet,
eating a yummy grilled cheese.
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
And said, “Could I have some, please?”
Old Mother Hubbard
went to the cupboard
to fetch her poor dog a grilled cheese.
He gobbled it up,
that hungry pup,
and shared the crumbs with the fleas!
Old King Cole
Was a hungry old soul,
And a hungry old soul was he.
He called for his bread,
And he called for his cheese,
And he called for his cooks three.
Each cook, he had a fine pan,
And a very fine pan had he;
Hiss-hiss, went the grilled cheese,
Hiss, went the grilled cheese,
Hiss, went the sandwiches three.
Oh, there’s none so rare,
As can compare
With old King Cole and his grilled cheeses three!
Though the Easter Bunny is known for leaving candy-filled eggs, children’s literature has a tradition of rabbits who are bit more devious. Meet the latest batch in the hilarious Buddy and the Bunnies in Don’t Play With Your Food by Bob Shea (New York: Hyperion, 2014). Buddy the monster is set on eating the little bunnies, but each day they trick him into playing with them through a series of clever stalling tactics – offering cupcakes until he is too full, going swimming (everyone knows you can’t eat before swimming, right?), taking him to the carnival (who wants to eat after riding on spinny, whippy rides?)…and then they unleash their secret weapon: everyone knows you’re not supposed to play with your food. Shea’s wacky text and anarchic, joyful illustrations make this a boisterous storytime read. Share this book in storytimes about food, play, friends, tricksters, or just plain silliness, or pair it with Candace Fleming’s Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! (New York: Atheneum, 2002) and the Brer Rabbit tales of Joel Chandler Harris for a storytime built around trickster rabbits.
Bean 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!
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.
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.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of our latest storytime resource book!
More Bean Bag Activities:
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.