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Baby Storytime Outline

I don’t write up weekly storytime reports, as I don’t theme my storytimes, and I repeat quite a lot of content week to week and month to month. While two back to back storytimes contain different content, the first storytime of December and the first storytime of January may have many similar elements.

Generally, I think of storytimes in “seasons.” (January-April, summer, and August-December). In each season, I try not to repeat the book I use. However, the set of books used from January-April will look very similar to the set of books used in August-December. Summer is essentially a mixture of my favorite activities that work best with large crowds (especially since I will typically only present about four storytimes in the summer due to our staff size and reduced schedule). In the two longer “seasons”, I make an effort to rotate through about six manipulatives and to take about a month between reusing a rhyme or song (except for the rhymes and songs that are repeated week to week).

Some things that have changed since my last baby storytime outlines:

  • For simplicity, we have changed our baby storytime name from Wee Wonders to Baby Storytime.
  • The program is more clearly defined for ages 0-24 months. We used to list the ages as 0-2, and we had more two-year-olds attending the program than we do now.
  • My co-presenter and I worked together to create a core outline that we use for our baby storytimes. Our powerpoint layout, opening song, opening rhyme, number of books, and activity order is always the same. We have slightly different endings because I don’t quite have the confidence to free dance at the end of my storytime (with bubbles and music), but I am hoping to get to that point in the next few weeks.

The songs, rhymes, stories, and activities I used for a 25-minute baby storytime, followed by 20 minutes of free play in January 2020 are below. Our baby storytime is for ages 0-24 months, with most children being 12-24 months old. Approximately 68 people attended this storytime, including about 35 babies.

My powerpoint is available here:

Room Setup: Doors open about 5 minutes before storytime. Powerpoint slides are displayed on a smartboard at the front of the room with words to all songs and rhymes. As folks enter, two bubble machines are hard at work in the front of the room while baby songs play from the department iTunes account.

Welcome Song: Wake Up Feet (play from 0:14 to 1:00)
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake and wiggle in the morning.
Continue with: Legs, Arms, Hands

Welcome Rhyme: Clap and Sing Hello
We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With all our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello!

Continue with: kick and sing hello, wave and sing hello

Focused Early Literacy Tip: The shape of the human face is the first thing a baby learns to recognize. Young babies focus best of faces and objects held 8-10 inches away.

Book: Toes, Ears, & Nose! by Marion Dane Bauer

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat from Songs for Wiggleworms

Body Rhyme: 1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Finders
1 little, 2 little 3 little fingers
4 little, 5 little, 6 little fingers
7 little, 8 little, 9 little fingers
10 little fingers on my hand.

They wiggle and they wiggle and they wiggle all together.
They wiggle and they wiggle and they wiggle all together.
They wiggle and they wiggle and they wiggle all together.
10 little fingers on my hand.

Continue with: Clap, Tickle

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It (sang without music)

Body Rhyme: Slowly, Slowly
Slowly, slowly, very slowy
Creeps the garden snail.
Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Up the wooden rail.

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Runs the little mouse.
Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Round about the house.

Song: What Shall We Do With the Sleeping Baby by Rainbow Songs

Movement Rhymes: This portion of my storytime involves 2-3 rhymes that specifically focus on bouncing, swaying, or tilting to the rhythm of the words. I talk about how these types of rhymes help develop phonological awareness.

  • Tick-Tock
    Tick-tock, tick-tock, (sway)
    I’m a little cuckoo clock.
    Tick-tock, tick-tock,
    Now it’s almost one o-clock.
    Cuckoo! (lift)
  • Five Little Riders
    Five little riders on a nice fall day (bounce)
    Jumped on their ponies and rode far away.
    They galloped in the meadow.
    They galloped up a hill (lift)
    They galloped so fast (fast)
    That they all took a spill. (tip over)
  • Two Little Boats
    (tilt forward and backward)
    Two little boats went out to sea.
    All is calm as calm can be.

    (tilt side to side)
    Gently the wind begins to blow.
    Two little boats rock to and fro.

    (Bounce up and down)
    Loudly the wind begins to shout!
    Two little boats they bounce about!

    STOP! Goes the storm, the wind, and rain. (freeze)
    Two little boats sail on again. (rock forward and backward)

Puppet Time: Who’s in the Barnyard?
An oink, a moo
A cockle-doodle-doo
Who’s in the barnyard
Playing peekaboo?

This week’s friends: Cow, Pig, Horse, Dog, Cat

Manipulative Time: Shaker Eggs

  • Manipulative Rhyme: We Shake and Shake
    We shake and shake and shake and stop.
    We shake and shake and shake and stop.
    We shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and STOP!
    Continue with: Tap, Bounce

Closing Song: Skinnamarink by Sharon Lois and Bram

Discovery Time Activities: Discovery Time is 15-20 minutes of free-play at the end of storytime that encourages parents to have time to talk to one another and for parents to interact with their children. I try to include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to my wide age range as well as a mixture of purchased toys and items that parents can remake at home. This week’s activities included:

  • Cereal Boxes and Straws
  • Ball Pit Balls and Pool Noodle Pieces in Baby Pools
  • Tumbling Mats with Soft Blocks
  • Sensory Tiles
  • Sensory Bottles
  • Pom Pom Drop

Baby Storytime Outline – July

These are the songs, rhymes, stories, and activities I used for a 25-minute baby storytime, followed by 20 minutes of free play.

Our baby storytime is for ages 0-24 months, with most children being 12-24 months old. Approximately 85 people attended this storytime, including about 50 babies.

Room Setup: Doors open about 5-8 minutes before storytime. Powerpoint slides are displayed on a smartboard at the front of the room with words to all songs and rhymes. As folks enter, two bubble machines are hard at work in the front of the room while baby songs play from the department iTunes account.

Welcome Song: Wake Up Feet (play from 0:14 to 1:00)
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake up feet and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wake up feet, wake up feet
Wake and wiggle in the morning.
Continue with: Legs, Arms, Hands

Welcome Rhyme: Clap and Sing Hello
We clap and sing hello,
We clap and sing hello,
With all our friends at storytime,
We clap and sing hello!
Continue with: kick and sing hello, wave and sing hello

Focused Early Literacy Tip: Babies focus on the work spoken immediately after their name. For example, if you say, “Raven, do you want to read a book?”, the child focuses on the word “do.” Instead, try saying “Raven, book. Do you want to read a book?”

Book: Up!: How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat from Songs for Wiggleworms

Body Rhyme: Everybody Knows
Everybody knows that I love your toes!
Everybody knows that I love your toes!
I love your eyes,
Your ears,
Your mouth
And your nose!
But everybody knows that I love your toes!

Action Rhyme: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Song: Baby Shark by Pinkfong!

Movement Rhymes: This portion of my storytime involves 2-3 rhymes that specifically focus on bouncing, swaying, or tilting to the rhythm of the words. I talk about how these types of rhymes help develop phonological awareness.

  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    Zoom, zoom, zoom
    We’re going to the moon.
    Zoom, zoom, zoom,
    We’ll get there very soon.
    In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
    BLAST OFF! (lift)
  • Tick-Tock
    Tick-tock, tick-tock, (sway)
    I’m a little cuckoo clock.
    Tick-tock, tick-tock,
    Now it’s almost one o-clock.
    Cuckoo! (lift)
  • Humpty Dumpty
    (sway) Rock and rock and rock on the wall,
    Rock and rock; I hope we don’t fall.

    (sway) Humpty Dumpty say on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall! (tilt backwards)

    (bounce fast) All the kings horses and all the kinds men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

Puppet Time: Retold abbreviated version of book Dear Zoo.

Manipulative Time: Scarves

  • Manipulative Rhyme: We Shake and Shake
    We shake and shake and shake and stop.
    We shake and shake and shake and stop.
    We shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and STOP!
    Continue with: Wave, Jump

Closing Song: Skinnamarink by Sharon Lois and Bram

Discovery Time Activities: Discovery Time is 15-20 minutes of free-play at the end of storytime that encourages parents to have time to talk to one another and for parents to interact with their children. I try to include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to my wide age range as well as a mixture of purchased toys and items that parents can remake at home. This week’s activities included:

  • Cereal Boxes and Straws
  • Scarves in Oballs
  • Water Painting
  • Easter Grass & Balloons in Baby Pools
  • Tumbling Mats with Soft Blocks
  • Large Blocks
  • Sensory Tiles
  • Sensory Bags

Conference Presentation: Baby Time Boredom

My coworker, Sarah Simpson, and I have the pleasure of presenting to our colleagues at the 2019 Ohio Library Council Convention and Expo today about our passion and programs for babies. Hopefully some of you reading this post had a chance to see our presentation (and learn some fantastic babywearing dance moves).

Check out these posts for some more information about some of the programs and activities we mentioned:

All of the handouts we shared can be downloaded or printed below.

STEM for Babies & Baby Toy Collection Purchase Guide

DIY Baby Play Activities

Baby Programming Resources

If you have any questions about our presentation or if you would like to learn more, comment below or email us at:

  • Annamarie Carlson, acarlson@westervillelibrary.org
  • Sarah Simpson, ssimpson@westervillelibrary.org

Science, Baby!

Before there was Play & Learn, there was the idea of Science, Baby. A presentation at an annual ALA Conference by Brooklyn Public Library about their Science Baby! program opened my eyes to how much more babies can do than what many baby storytime outlines imply. Babies are so much more than passive observers–their brains are developing faster than they ever will for the rest of their lives–combined. STEM concepts do not need to be limited to older children. In fact, babies are the perfect example of little scientists as they learn everything about the world:

Poster from Nerdy Baby

My own Science Baby! program finally became a reality during our winter storytime break in late December. Seventy babies and adults joined me for a morning of baby play with a STEM twist.

Activities were broken down into a few rough categories. They included:

Some of these stations just involved putting out an item, like mirrors for mirror play. Others involved some ahead of time creation, like the sensory bottles. Still more involved in-room setup, like attaching sticky contact paper to the wall and building the pool noodle counter by stringing pool noodle pieces to string tied between two chairs.

Each station included a front and back laminated handout explaining the value of the particular activity, what little ones are learning, conversation starters, and vocabulary to stretch conversations with little ones.

We had many older siblings join in the fun as well, particularly enjoying all of the building activities. The sticky contact paper, baby pool play, bubbles, pom pom drop, and sensory bottles were the most well-loved activities.

Most families stayed for about 45-50 minutes. I’m looking forward to bringing this back again someday!

Top Baby Movement Rhymes

Each week, I present at least one baby storytime for fairly large crowds. My general storytime outline remains very similar week to week, particularly after my regular co-presenter and I worked together to make sure our dueling weekly storytimes followed the same general plan.

One staple of any baby storytime, mine included, are bounce rhymes. These are excellent tools to help little ones feel the rhythm in words (building phonological awareness), to keep both little ones and adults engaged in the program, and to provide caregiver/child bonding–the caregiver is essentially forced to participate by having to move their child.

I call these types of rhymes “movement rhymes” instead of “bounce rhymes” after having a parent (nicely) call me out after a program when she pointed out that the three rhymes I used that week–all of which I referred to as bounce rhymes–actually mostly involved swaying, lifting, and movements other than bouncing.

I also don’t tend to use traditional Mother Goose rhymes. This is one (of a few) ways that I deviate from the Mother Goose on the Loose program. That program is excellent–take a look at their website, read the book, take a course–and I think about the research behind that program when structuring and selecting activities for my storytime.

However, I struggle with MGOL because (1) we have large crowds that can’t accommodate some of the activities well (like the drum), (2) my programs tend to focus on older babies (10-24 months) who want to move a lot, and (3) the rhymes, particularly nursery rhymes, are dated. Goosey Goosey Gander (arguably) either references Catholic priests being persecuted or has sexual overtones. Maybe its my immaturity, but I can’t bring myself to say “two little dicky birds” in front of a group of adults. I know there is research backing up the value of nursery rhymes, but, frankly, I didn’t grow up with many of these, and the parents I work with didn’t either. The parents don’t know them, the parents find them weird, and if the parents aren’t enjoying the program, the babies aren’t coming. Unless it is one of those nursery rhymes that has really stood the test of time (like Itsy Bitsy Spider) I tend to choose rhymes that have a more modern feel.

After quite a bit of intro, I am happy to share some of my favorite movement rhymes. I take credit for inventing absolutely none of these. During a storytime, these are always repeated twice (and sometimes three times).

All of my rhymes appear on the PowerPoint at the front of the room to encourage parents to recite along.

A Bouncing We Will Go
A bouncing we will go,
A bouncing we will go,
Hi ho the derry-o
A bouncing we will go.

Continue with: Rocking, Tickling

Five Little Riders
Five little riders on a nice fall day
Jumped on their ponies and rode far away.
They galloped int he meadow.
They galloped up a hill (lift)
The galloped so fast (fast)
That they all took a spill. (tip over)

Gregory Griggs
Greggory Griggs, Gregory Griggs
Had 27 different wigs.
He wore them up (lift)
He wore them down
To please the people of the town.
He worse them east (tip to one side)
He wore them west (tip to the other side)
But which one did he love the best?
This one! (hug)

A Hippopotamus on a City Bus
A hip, a hip, a hippopotamus
Got on, got on, got on a city bus
And all, and all, and all the people said,
“You’re squishing us!” (hug)

A cow, a cow
A cow got on the bus
And all, and all, and all the people said,
“Mooooove over!“ (tilt sideways)

A sheep, a sheep,
A sheep got on the bus
And all, and all, and all the people said,
“Baaaack up!“ (lean back)

Humpty Dumpty
Rock and rock and rock on the wall (sway)
Rock and rock; I hope we don’t fall!

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall! (tilt backwards)

All the kings horses and all the kings men (bounce fast)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

I Bounce You Here
I bounce you here, I bounce you there,
I bounce you, bounce you, everywhere! (lift)

I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you, tickle you, everywhere!

I hug you here, I hug you there,
I hug you, hug you, everywhere!

Popcorn, Popcorn
Popcorn, popcorn (bounce gently)
Sittin’ in the pot.
Shake it up, shake it up. (wiggle baby)
Pop! Pop! Pop! (bounce high 3 times)

Snuggle Up
Snuggle up together
Baby’s in your lap.
Snuggle up together
And clap, clap, clap

Snuggle up together
Don’t you nap.
Snuggle up together
And tap, tap, tap. (tap feet)

You’re workin’ out together
Baby don’t stop.
You’re workin’ out together
So hop, hop, hop. (big bounce)

Now our song is over
Get ready to stop.
Now our song is over
So stop, stop, stop.

Tick-Tock
Tick-tock, tick-tock, (sway)
I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick-tock, tick-tock,
Now it’s almost one o’clock.
Cuckoo! (lift)

Tiny Little Babies
Tiny little babies love bouncin’ bouncin’
Tiny little babies love bouncin’, yeah.
Tiny little babies love bouncin’, bouncin’
Tiny little babies love bouncin’ so.

Bounce to the left, bounce to the right
Now hug that baby nice and tight!

Toast in the Toaster
I’m toast in the toaster,
I’m getting very hot!
Tick tock, tick tock,
Up I pop!

Two Little Boats
(Tilt forward and backward)
Two little boats went out to sea
All is calm as calm can be.

(Tilt side to side)
Gently the wind begins to blow
Two little boats rock to and fro.

(Bounce up and down)
Loudly the wind begins to shout.
Two little boats they bounce about.

STOP! Goes the storm, the wind, and rain (freeze)
Two little boats sail on again (rock forward and backward)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’ll get there very soon.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
BLAST OFF! (lift)

:)