Category Archives: Time

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!)

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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!