Category Archives: Trees

Storytime Stuff featured on Mother Goose on the Loose!

Our ASL Rhyme “Woodpecker, Woodpecker” was chosen as the rhyme of the month over at Mother Goose on the Loose!  Mother Goose on the Loose is an award-winning early-literacy program for children from birth to age 3 created by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen.  This innovative program is based on research which shows that children learn best through routine and repetition in a nurturing environment. Mother Goose on the Loose uses a variety of activities, such as rhymes, songs, puppets and instruments to foster speech development, motor coordination, self-confidence, and sensitivity to others.

Check out the Mother Goose on the Loose website for lots of early literacy resources, and make sure to sign up for the monthly newsletter to receive great tips, ideas, and research links in your inbox.

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

MacMillan_cover_1p.inddAnother sneak preview of our newest book, More Storytime Magic (ALA Editions, January 2016):

Woodpecker, Woodpecker: A Signing Rhyme

Direct Link:

Begin by teaching the ASL signs TREE and BIRD. Explain that in this rhyme, you will be learning about a specific kind of bird called a woodpecker, and will be using the signs to show how the woodpecker uses the tree.

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to eat! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now eat up the bugs you found, just like that. (move fingers to show beak eating bugs)


Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to sleep! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now nestle in the hole you made, cozy as can be! (nestle bird in palm of hand)


Find lots more great storytime activities in More Storytime Magic, the latest volume in the Storytime Magic series!

Sign This Song!

Autumn Leaves

(to the tune of “London Bridge”)

Autumn leaves are falling down,

Falling down, falling down

Autumn leaves are falling down,

Red, yellow, orange, and brown.

Share this song using American Sign Language! Click here to learn how with Kathy MacMillan.


Nature Around the World Storytime

Recommended Books

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010.

This moving book, beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor Winner Kadir Nelson, tells the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Known as “Mama Mati”, her work for the environment led to the planting of more than thirty million trees in Kenya and a greater understanding of the role trees play in our ecology.

Hello Ocean Hola Mar by Pam Munoz Ryan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing, 2003.

A little girl uses all of her senses to explore the beach in this bilingual English/Spanish book.


A World Of Animals

Around the world in the ocean blue,

a world of animals can be discovered by you. (put blue felt on board)

Visit the East Australian Current for a great ride,

watch the sea turtles swimming, they won’t hide. (add sea turtle to ocean)

The South Pole may not be where you want to swim,

but the penguins are happy to jump right in. (add penguin to ocean)

A trip to the Caribbean islands will help you see

just how big a manatee can be. (add manatee to ocean)

All around the world in the ocean blue,

A world of animals can be discovered by you!

(add a variety of other animals; crabs, fish, starfish, jelly fish, etc., to the board and have the children tell you what they are. Or invite the children to come up and take one of the animals out of the bag to add to the board, asking the group what animal they discovered!)


Ke Ao Nani (This Beautiful World): A traditional rhyme from Hawaii

High, high above (raise arms)

Birds fly in the sky (flap arms)

Way down below (crouch down)

Grow the flowers of the earth (lift arms and “grow” like a flower)

Up in the mountains (raise arms)

Stands a grove of trees (stand tall like a tree)

Swimming in the waves (move arms like waves)

The fishes of the ocean (make a fish face)

Tell the story (spread arms)

Of this beautiful world.

It’s here for all the children. (indicate children)

Action Rhyme

A la vibora de la mar/Sea Serpent

This Mexican game is played like “London Bridge”: the children make two lines facing one another and hold hands up high to make a bridge. The children on the end go under the bridge. The last two children in line drop their hands down and capture the last child on the last line.

Sea serpent, sea serpent

Come on through.

Here’s a pathway just for you.

Those in front, run through fast.

The gates will close upon the last.

Last! Last! Last!


Native American Painting Craft

Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest used berries to paint houses, bowls, boxes – even their faces!

Materials: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, small bowls, wooden spoons, vinegar, Indian Paintbrush or other types of grass, cotton swabs, paper


  1. Let each child have a turn mashing some berries with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add a few drops of vinegar to prevent mold growth.
  3. Mash the berries some more.
  4. Using cotton swabs or grasses, paint designs on the paper with this natural paint. Experiment with different types of grasses to create different designs.