Tag Archives: preschoolers

1000 Books Before Kindergarten, Part 1

After over a year of planning, I finally launched my library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program last week. These blog posts often focus more on day-to-day or week-to-week library activities, like reading, programs, and storytimes, but on any random day, I’m also working on a lot of large behind-the-scenes projects too. I’m thrilled to finally be able to share one of those projects with you.

This post will focus on the logistics of the program as well as our physical workbook. Check back for Part 2, focusing on our online component run through ReadSquared.

And before this gets buried in all the upcoming text, a big shout out to my library’s marketing department who designed the physical book and put up with all of my edit requests.

What is 1000 Books?

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nationwide initiative, adapted by many libraries and educational institutions, to promote reading and encourage child/caregiver bonding through reading.

The goal is simple and pretty self explanatory: read 1000 books together before your child starts kindergarten.

Why run a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program?

A child is more successful in school when an adult actively read, spoke, and engaged with them during the 0-5 years. The more words children hear at young ages, the larger their vocabulary, and the more prepared they will be to learn to read. Setting a high goal with a concrete reward system—like reading 1000 books before starting kindergarten—encourages adults to actively and continuously engage with their children. Children who start out ahead typically end up ahead. Studies show that these early language needs are even higher in lower socioeconomic households.

Other benefits to a 1000 Books program:

  • Brings a sense of ownership and pride to reading. After completing this program, kids know they accomplished something big.
  • Builds parent knowledge and interest about their role in school readiness.
  • From a library statistics perspective, 1000 Books programs boost circulation numbers.

How long will this take?

Parents may be daunted by the large number, but, by just reading one book a day, a child should finish the program in less than three years. Some possible program lengths:

  • 1 book a day = 1,000 books in 3 years
  • 2 books a day = 1,000 books in 1.5 years
  • 3 books a day = 1,000 books in 1 year
  • 5 books a day = 1,000 books in 6 months

1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program Specifics

Before starting your program, there are some specifics you need to figure out. These include:

  • How will participants log their reading?
  • What are the incentives?
  • How will you fund the program?
  • Answers to Participant FAQs

How will participants log their reading?

We give participants two options: a physical, spiral-bound workbook (more info below) and an online system managed through ReadSquared (more on that in a future post).

What are the incentives?

Our incentives include:

  • Sign up = workbook & pencil
  • 100 books read = 1 sticker for every 100 books read (10 total)
  • 500 books read = free book
  • 1,000 books read = free book, backpack, graduation certificate & invitation to annual graduation ceremony  

I’ll share pictures of some of these below, but the timeline for purchasing some of these items depends on reaching certain program milestones (such as registering our first 50 kids). So, while I know what I would like to order, specific prize books have not been officially selected yet. For each prize book earned, families will have a choice between three prize book options.

How will you fund the program?

Our program is sponsored by our library’s Foundation. (Those incentives aren’t cheap!) I wanted to make this a program that would really engage our community and keep them participating over the years it will take them to finish, so we chose incentives that will hopefully encourage people to keep participating.

Answers to Participant FAQs

Your library’s answers to these questions might differ, but some of our FAQ include:

What if someone else reads to my child?
Count all reading! Books read by caregivers, siblings, grandparents, friends, teachers, librarians, and more all count. Watch a storytime and count those books, too.

What if we read the same book more than once?
Every time you read a book, count it in your reading log! Repetition is wonderful for reading development. Your child will notice new details during each reread. If you read Pete the Cat ten times in one day, that counts as ten books read!

We finished! Can we keep reading?
Of course! While you can only receive prizes once, we encourage you to keep going. Stop by the library anytime for book recommendations.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten Workbook

At sign-up, each reader gets their own physical workbook and a pencil to log their reading. I love our 64-page workbook filled with many pages to log your reading, early literacy tips and book recommendations, advertisements for various library services, and more.

Our workbook begins with a page to label your workbook in case it is lost and to track how long the program took you to complete.

The next spread focuses on how the program works and those frequently asked questions we highlighted above.

Moving on to a spread with a reminder to log online if you would like (more on that in Part 2) and the first of two All About Me pages. This page should be filled out at the beginning of the program, with the second, similar page being filled out after you’ve read 1000 Books.

Next come the early literacy spreads! I love how these turned out. Four age ranges are featured: 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, and 3-5. Each spread has an early literacy tip for read, sing, talk, play and write, as well as 12 book recommendations.

Listing books in a printing of this volume (we purchased 1000 of these logbooks at once!) was quite an endeavor. While we still ended up publishing pages filled with many of my favorite books, some of these were round two or round three suggestions. I worked with our collection development team to find books that we could bulk up on copies of now and that we would hopefully still be able to purchase (or would still own) in 3-5 years, since these log books will be sticking around a while.

Next we have lots and lots of book logging pages. Each page contains 25 images. Each image represents one book. Families can color or check off each image for each book read.

Pages marking 100-book intervals have a special spot for a sticker that participants can pick up at the library. Our marketing department designed and printed our stickers in house on label paper:

But what if a family really wants to write down the names of the books they read? There are a few pages to record up to 30 favorite titles in the workbook, and the online system encourages writing out each title.

Wrapping up the workbook, we have our second All About Me page and advertisements for some of our other library programs and services.

Learn more about our program on our website, and come back next week for more information about our online ReadSquared page!

Don’t Let Pigeon Take Over Storytime!

Pigeon Storytime! Featuring the one and only bird from the Mo Willems books. I have my own personal secret: I hate this bird. The books and Pigeon’s general personality annoy me to no end. But…this ended up being one of my favorite storytimes.

The highlight, of course, was Pigeon’s attempted storytime coup:

Catch a glimpse of the whole experience in the video below.

This was another very popular program: over 600 virtual attendees!

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Many of these materials are from Mo Willems’ Pigeon website, full of great resources. Download the activity packet here.

Watch the short preview video below. This isn’t like many of my other preview videos…instead Pigeon keeps popping up all over the library!

And watch the full storytime here:

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Pigeon Storytime Outline

Intro Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs

Pigeon Book: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!: Mo Willems, Mo Willems: 8601416094786:  Amazon.com: Books

Music: Wheels on the Bus by Jay Laga’aia

Action Song: If You’re a Pigeon and You Know It

If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it,
And you really want to show it!
If you’re a pigeon and you know it, flap your wings!

Shake your tail (shake, shake)
Eat your cookies (nom, nom)
Drive the bus (zoom, zoom)

Pigeon Takeover
After If You’re a Pigeon and You Know It, I realized–oops!–I forgot our second book! I needed to step out to get it, and while I did just that, I put on some music and needed everyone watching to keep an eye on storytime. Sure enough, Pigeon attempted a takeover!

I didn’t actually leave the room–instead I had a table on wheels to the side of the screen. When I stepped off screen, I opened and closed the door to the room before wheeling the table on screen. I tested the height ahead of time to make sure Pigeon was visible but the table wasn’t.

I had the signs piled and ready on a table off screen. The sticks were attached from the top because it is much easier to drop something from above onto the screen then for me to try to lay below the camera and get up again. If I did this again, I might try to have this situated somehow so the signs were resting on the table, and I removed one at a time. My hand was shaking quite a bit during this portion (so the signs were too).

I ran through the timing of the song and the signs beforehand and made sure I had just enough signs to last the length of the song. I came back at the end of the song with another opening and closing of the door and a loud “PIGEON!” before returning on camera to “rescue” storytime.

Pigeon Book: The Duckling Gets A Cookie?!

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Pigeon series): Willems, Mo, Willems, Mo:  8601420609846: Amazon.com: Books

Magnet: Pigeon Playing Hide and Seek

Pigeon, Pigeon playing hide and seek
Are you behind the yummy cookie?
Let’s take a peek!

Closing Song: I Know a PIGEON (Chicken) by Laurie Berkner
We very loudly shouted PIGEON in place of Chicken throughout the song.

Extra, Extra!
I filmed a few extra Pigeon videos that were on YouTube but didn’t make it into storytime:

Two Little Pigeons:

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a hill
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack, run away Jill.
Come back Jack, come back Jill.

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a cloud.
One named soft and one named loud.
Run away soft, run away loud.
Come back soft, come back loud.

Two little pigeons sittin’ on down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast, run away slow.
Come back fast, come back slow.

Five Little Pigeons Sitting in a Tree:

Five little pigeons sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?

One, two, three four!


And finally, I attempted to write a rhyme to the tune of the Itsy Bitsy Spider, but I didn’t get it quite right. Feel free to edit and make it your own!

The happy little pigeon
Snuck onto the bus route.
Along came the driver
Who chased the pigeon out.
Along came the kids who
Jumped onto the bus.
And the happy little pigeon
Rode along with us.

Molly of Denali Storytime

Molly of Denali Storytime! I’ve been planning this for a while, but I’ve also been quite nervous about it–I want to do Molly justice. Our community is pretty white, our library staff is mostly white, and I am (you guessed it) white.

In case you aren’t familiar with Molly: Molly Mabray is a 10-year-old Alaskan Native (Gwich’in/Koyukon/Dena’ina Athabascan) vlogger from the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska (near the mountain of Denali). The PBS show is the first show to feature an Alaskan Native main character. Much of the cast and crew, including the voice of Molly – Sovereign Bill of Auburn – are of Alaskan Native or First Nations heritage. The show authentically portrays the life of an Alaskan Native girl (while also having a particular focus on examining and evaluating sources of information).

Molly of Denali is a wonderful show, and I encourage you to watch it yourself, explore the website (and app and podcast), and find ways to promote it at your library. I tried to keep Molly’s energy during this storytime while focusing on some of the places Molly frequently visits in Qyah as well as some of the popular storylines from the show.

There were some adjustments for me. I’m used to music being a big part of my storytimes, but the music featured in Molly of Denali is wrapped up in her culture. Dancing (often nonsensically) to the Daniel Tiger or Pete the Cat theme song felt fine–wiggling, swaying, and shaking along to Molly’s theme song felt like it might be closer to cultural appropriation. Instead, I played the Molly of Denali theme song before I came on screen, and I promoted official Molly of Denali content on YouTube with this playlist.

Looking back, I’m afraid I focused a bit too much on animals and too little on Molly’s culture. My reasoning for this during planning is that my main audience for these storytimes are ages 2-3. While some of the concepts were still there for older kids to explore, I knew I needed to keep the attention of those bouncy toddlers. In hindsight, this program would have been better suited as a separate event aimed for ages 6-8.

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Many of these materials are from PBS. Download it here.

Watch the short preview video below. I tried to not dance through this the way I often do, instead highlighting storytime activities:

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Molly of Denali Storytime Outline

Intro Song: Molly of Denali Theme Song (played before I came on screen)

Daniel Tiger Story: Crane Song

Exploring Qyah: I really like when these storytimes have some kind of unifying theme. For Molly of Denali storytime, we were simply exploring Qyah along with Molly.

Denali Trading Post: 5 Shiny Agate Stones

We started out at Molly’s parents’ store: the Denali Trading Post. Molly and her friends were trying to buy a new tubing raft, so they were selling agate stones again. We talked a bit about agate stones before jumping in with the rhyme shown below.

Down around the corner at the trading post,
There were five shiny agate stones at the most.
Along came a neighbor with a dollar to pay.
She picked out an agate and took it away.

Dog Kennel & Vegetable Garden: Anka Playing Hide and Seek
Tooey didn’t show up to help with the agate stones, so we went to find him at the Dog Kennel to make sure everything was okay. His dog, Anka, is missing again–but Tooey doesn’t think she is lost this time, just playing hide and seek…in Trini’s vegetable garden! Did you know that vegetables grow ENORMOUSLY large in Alaska? I learned that from Molly.

Anka, Anka playing hide and seek!
Are you behind the _?
Let’s take a peak!

Fish Camp: Five Little Salmon
Off to find some fish for hungry Anka at the Fish Camp! Catch your pretend salmon by tossing out a line and reeling it in or snatching a salmon from the air like a bear.

Alaskan Animal Adventure
Now that Anka was taken care of, it was finally time to explore Alaska by looking for something Molly loves and Alaska is well-known for–its amazing wildlife! I gave some hints for each animal before revealing the puppet and after the reveal, I encouraged viewers to do a quick motion.

There’s something by the river,
Now what can it be?
There’s something by the river,
That I can’t really see.

Wrapping Things Up
And that was it! For the reasons mentioned above, I didn’t have a closing song either (which was unusual for me). I once again directed people to the official Molly of Denali PBS playlist.

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 11

My last week of Preschool Storytime! I ended up doing quite a few changes at the last minute here–I really do like the Amy Wu books, but the day of storytime I just wasn’t feeling Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon, so I swapped it for an old favorite. (Do make sure you check out Amy Wu though!)

I also filmed a video for Little Blue Truck but that did not appear at all in my storytime. There is a lot of rhyming in that book, which makes it harder to ad lib/not recite word for word (and this was not a week for memorization). Also, the flannel set I so carefully crafted is way too big to fit on my flannel board setup. I was so proud of the work I put into this flannel set–and it ended up not working out at all beyond a YouTube video (though at least I have that).

Even though Little Blue Truck was a wash, I did get to present one of my favorite storytime activities ever–Make A Pig. This is much more entertaining with an audience in front of me, but it was great to return an old favorite, even in the more limiting virtual format.

Next week is another storytime special week–I am very excited to have fun with Molly of Denali and celebrate all things Alaska. If you aren’t familiar with the Molly of Denali show (or app or podcast) check it out–it is so well done.

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Playing

Go on a letter hunt at home! Pick a letter and find all the items that start with that letter. This will help build your child’s letter knowledge while having fun!

Book: Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Song: Jump Jump by Joanie Leeds

Fingerplay: Shapes Song

Discover more Fingerplays. —

A circle is a shape that is round
A circle is a shape that is round
A circle is round, no corners can be found
A circle is a shape that is round

A triangle has three sides, three sides, three sides
A triangle has three sides, 1, 2, 3
A triangle has three corners, three corners, three corners
A triangle has three corners, 1, 2, 3

I am a square. A lovely square!
I have four sides. They are all the same!
I have four corners, four lovely corners.
I am a square, and square is my name.

Book Retelling: Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (not used in storytime)

Discover more Book Retellings. —

Action Rhyme: Row, Drive, Fly

Row, row, row your boat (sway)
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

Drive, drive, drive your car
So quickly down the street
Merrily, merrily, merrily
Driving can’t be beat!

Fly, fly, fly your plane
Fly your plane so high
Merrily, merrily, merrily
Way up in the sky!

Chug, chug, chug the train
Goes quickly down the track
Merrily, merrily, merrily
Hear it click click clack!

Flannel: Make A Pig

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 10

Gosh I’m having fun with preschoolers! The hardest part has been narrowing down my content for these three weeks. Everything is so up in the air with virtual vs. in person programming, and I’m not typically on the preschool rotation (never was in person and only sparingly virtually)…so sometimes these feel like I’m trying to cram in everything I can because I never know which storytime will be my last with a particular age range.

With that in mind, when I’m back to toddler storytime in February, I am going to be repeating more content. There has been so repetition here month-to-month, especially if you go through all of the virtual storytime plans I’ve shared, but I’m going to let that be the norm a little more often once I get through the last of my dwindling stack of flannels and magnet sets that I can’t wait to make into videos. I’ve got almost a year’s worth of content on my library’s YouTube page now…though I do really like making these videos, so maybe I’ll continue on my own time through Book Cart Queens? Not sure yet.

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Reading

Children learn new words best in context. Rather than teaching new words in isolation, discuss words as they come up in stories or conversation.

Book: Don’t Feed the Coos! by Jonathan Stutzman

Amazon.com: Don't Feed the Coos! (9781250303189): Stutzman, Jonathan, Fox,  Heather: Books

Song: Can You by the Wiggles

Fingerplay: Five Little Snowmen

Discover more Fingerplays. —

Five little snowmen went out one day!
Rolling through the snow
They played and played.

Out came the sun,
And it shined so bright,
One little snowmen melted out of sight!

Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1

Book Retelling: Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Discover more Book Retellings. —

Fingerplay: Itsy Bitsy Spider (practicing audiation)

Discover more Fingerplays. —

The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the spout again.

Flannel: Five Little Eggs

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Give it a whack, (clap)
Hear it crack, (hand behind ear)
Drop it in the middle, (pat hands on your lap)
One egg frying on the griddle.

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 9

Preschoolers I’m baaaacccccckkkkkkk! I think Noon Year’s Eve and Daniel Tiger Storytime (and the rest of the world) took out any of the new energy I should’ve collected during my few weeks off of weekly storytime, so no book retelling this week. I have so much fun with those, so this makes me sad, but developmentally I’m good with two books for preschool age (I’d much rather have the babies and toddlers moving or exploring books differently).And most importantly, the Elmo Slide is back!

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Playing

Action songs build physical awareness. Try songs like “The Hokey Pokey,” which name specific body parts.

Book: Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood

Song: Teddy Bear by Jazzy Ash

Fingerplay: I Built a Little Snowman

Discover more Fingerplays. —

I built a little snowman.
He had a carrot nose!
Along came a bunny,
And what do you suppose?

The hungry little bunny
Looking for his lunch,
Ate the carrot nose…
Nibble, nibble, crunch!

Book: There’s a Superhero In Your Book by Tom Fletcher

Action Rhyme: Galoomp Went the Little Green Frog

Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog one day
Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog
Galoomp (hop) went the little green frog one day
And his eyes went blink blink blink

Repeat with last line added on each time:
Arms went flop, flop, flop
Feet went splash, splash, splash

Flannel: Snowball and Mitten Hide and Seek

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Snowball, snowball
Cold and round!
Behind which mitten,
Can you be found?

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Daniel Tiger Storytime

The first themed Saturday storytime special of 2021! We started the new year with the one and only Daniel Tiger Storytime! This set a highly unrealistic attendance expectation for 2021, but I am very happy with the final product. If nothing else in 2021 works out whatsoever, maybe my storytime game will be on point?

Daniel Tiger is close to my heart because of Mr. Rogers, though I did learn in this process that I am not the biggest fan of the Daniel Tiger tv show. But, there is most definitely an audience for Daniel, and, if we ever return to in-person programs in the next five years, this is something I would like to recreate as a party-style event. The heart of the story is excellent, and in person I could use some Mr. Rogers tunes–something Facebook strictly does not allow (it WILL shut down your stream, mid-stream or immediately after–be warned). Daniel Tiger songs are fine.

I talked about Daniel Tiger during the well-attended Noon Year’s Eve Storytime, and I could tell the Facebook event had a lot of interest (over 1000 people responded to the event), so I did not make a trailer for this one. (Also, Noon Year’s Eve was barely a week prior, and I’m tired.)

The trailer was not needed because, following the Noon Year’s Eve Storytime fun, we once again broke attendance records. This is the most-well attended program I have ever done…ever. (Except for the in-person Wizards & Wands Festival, but that is a whole other thing.) Final attendance was 770 people, most of which were from central Ohio based on anecdotal info (where we are located), and even knowing that Facebook’s one-minute view count isn’t the most accurate, we had 400 people just from families self-reporting how many people were watching in the comments (so they stuck with us long enough to hear my announcements).

Moral of the story: Daniel Tiger > Dog Man.

Just like past virtual storytimes, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

Watch the full storytime here (starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Daniel Tiger Storytime Outline

Backdrop Setup: Daniel Tiger pennant banners, book covers, and images. I’m happy to share these printable files if anyone is interested–just let me know in those comments or send us an email.

Intro Song: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger Story: Meet the Neighbors!

Meet the Neighbors! (Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood): Shaw, Natalie, Style  Guide: 9781442498372: Amazon.com: Books

Neighbor Day Help: The premise for storytime was that it was time for the annual Neighbor Day Festival, and we needed to help all of our friends in the Neighborhood of Make Believe get ready.

Each time we were ready to find a new friend we took a seat and pretended to “drive” trolley.

Driving Round in My Little Red Trolley
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Driving round in my little red trolley,
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

When we got to a location, we would receive three clues to figure out where we ended up.

And then we figure out where we ended up (the bakery!) and see which friend is waiting for us there (Miss Elaina!):

Before starting that location’s activity:

Bakery with Miss Elaina to Mix a Cake

Mix the batter, stir the batter
Shake some flour in
Mix the batter, stir the batter
Pour it in a tin

Sprinkle in some chocolate chips
Put it in to bake
Then open wide the oven door
And out comes the cake!

Faster, Faster!

Music Shop with Katerina Kittycat for Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees and toes!

Playground with Prince Wednesday for Animal Guessing Game

Grocery Store with O the Owl to Count the Balloons

Red Balloons, red balloons, how many do we see?
Red balloons, red balloons, count them now with me!

Post Office with Daniel Tiger for Letter Matching

Oh, have you seen the letter W
The letter W, the letter W
Oh, have you seen the letter W?
It makes the sound wuh-wuh-wuh

Wrapping Things Up
After helping Daniel find all of the letters for his friends, we found one more lost letter that needed a home! But this one was addressed to…us!

When we opened it, we discovered that since we were so kind to all of our new friends, we would become honorary residents of the Neighborhood of Make Believe! First, we just had to sing our song one more time:

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime! I’m still recovering from this one.

I learned something with this program that I pose as a challenge to myself and all of you: Not everyone is “zoomed out” or “over virtual programs.” Keep trying. Figure out what works for your audience, put in all of your energy, and try and try again when nothing seems to be sticking.

I was not that excited for Noon Year’s Eve Storytime & Dance Party. Honestly, the content is not my favorite. While I loved my dance party lineup, I didn’t like the book I was reading and some of the other activities felt like they drug on too long. I didn’t expect an audience because my library doesn’t regularly have a consistent Noon Year’s Eve program (so no built-in viewers), and we typically slow down our storytimes in December because our audience shrinks (which was reflected in our virtual storytimes throughout the month too).

Our Noon Year’s Eve Storytime received a little more press than regular programs. We weren’t able to advertise it at weekly storytimes the week before, since we didn’t have any the week prior, but a local newspaper and tv station briefly mentioned the program in their lists of ways to celebrate the New Year. I made a “commercial” advertising the event too but that is a regular practice for me.

In Ohio, per our state library, we count live program stats for programs that air live, like Facebook Like Storytimes, by adding the number of 1-minute viewers and the number of additional people mentioned in the comments. We ask families to let us know how many people are watching behind the screen in the comments, to get a more accurate count.

Our regular storytimes have been averaging around 30-50 people, with some peaks up to the 60s-80s, maybe 100 at a particular popular Saturday storytime.

Virtual Noon Year’s Eve Storytime Attendance: 439 people.

I was blown away. When I started the stream, five minutes early to give people time to join, I saw the “live view” count immediately jump to 25. That felt unusual so early, but fit within our normal numbers. By the time I started, five minutes later, the “live view” count was 65. I haven’t been really, genuinely, nervous presenting a virtual storytime since April–but those numbers genuinely terrified me, and you can sort of see it during the first few minutes based on how out of breath I am.

Anyhow, after that long-winded introduction, Noon Year’s Eve Storytime & Dance Party content awaits below.

Check out my preview video! I had a lot of fun with this one, reflecting on 2020 and including some fun bloopers:

Watch the full storytime here, including the dance party (storytime starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable.

Noon Year’s Eve Storytime Outline

Backdrop & Logistics: New Year’s Eve pennant banner and decor.

Since everyone’s clock is going to be a little bit different, plus there is a delay on Facebook, I used two iPads to keep track of the time until our (approximately) noon countdown. They were synced, with one displayed beside me and another behind the camera, so it was in my line of vision, and I didn’t need to keep looking away from the camera throughout the whole program to check the time.

I also attempted a balloon drop, filled with balloons and confetti. This didn’t work quite as planned, with maybe 3 out of 20 balloons falling, but that might have been better than what I expected, which was everything, tablecloths included, to fall on my head 5 minutes into the program.

Intro Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs (my go-to opening storytime song)

Book: The Night Before New Year’s by Amy Wummer
I struggled with this book. I wanted a more diverse representation of New Year’s Eve, but the only diverse options I had access to before the program were Our Favorite Day of the Year, which feels like a back-to-school book, and Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas (and I can’t get past some of the rhyming choices in Shante Peas). I did like that this book showed one family celebrating at home by themselves (no extended family or community parties). I tried to find a middle ground by spending some time before and during the book talking about how everyone’s New Year traditions are different and how not everyone celebrates New Year’s on Dec. 31. (This issue, right here, is why I struggle with theming storytimes–decisions are made for the sake of the theme instead of the quality of the materials, their diversity, and their developmentally appropriate content.)

Amazon.com: The Night Before New Year's (9780448452128): Wing, Natasha,  Wummer, Amy: Books

Song: Dance Freeze Melt by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael

Hilda the Dragon, Playing Hide and Seek
I wanted to include some of the familiar characters we saw at virtual storytime specials during 2020, so I decided to have us discover some characters while hunting for our library dragon, Hilda (see a photo of 30-foot, smoke-breathing Hilda here.)

Zoom Zoom Zoom, A New Year’s Coming Soon
As always, thank you jbrary.

Fabulous Fireworks

If You’re Ready for the New Year (If you’re happy and you know it)

We finished If You’re Ready for the New Year with just about a minute until our countdown, which I still almost missed because I talk too much.

And it was finally time for our 20-minute dance party! I used these songs:

And that was 2020 Virtual Noon Year’s Eve Storytime and Dance Party! I didn’t receive much specific feedback from this program, other than those attendance numbers, which makes me a little sad (I really rely on that feedback to keep my energy up), but I think it went well enough. I just hope some of those people listened to my always-rambling announcements and return for our weekly live storytimes next week and Daniel Tiger Storytime on Saturday.

Fancy Nancy Storytime

Another themed Saturday storytime special, filled with the most fantastique Fancy Nancy Storytime fun! This outline has a lot of extra content because I came up with so many activities that made me super excited. Not everything made it into my storytime since I had a limited amount of time.

I had so much fun getting FANCY for this storytime, particularly after getting to know Nancy Clancy and her universe. I was more familiar with Baby Shark and Elephant & Piggie before those storytime specials, but for some of these storytimes, I’ve got to really explore these characters for the first time. Nancy is such a sweet kid who just wants to make everything better with lots of accessories, lace, and glitter.

I made a preview video you can watch here:

To help continue the Fancy Nancy fun at home, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

Watch the full storytime here (starts about 5 minutes in):

The general storytime layout–in order of what I presented–is below, with videos where applicable. All the extra videos I didn’t use for the program are at the bottom.

Fancy Nancy Storytime Outline

Backdrop Setup: Fancy Nancy pennant banners, book covers, and images. I’m happy to share these printable files if anyone is interested–just let me know in those comments or send us an email.

Intro Song: Add a Little Fancy by Fancy Nancy

Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree Checklist: Whenever possible, I like to give my special storytimes a storyline to help with transitions and to make the experience more entertaining for everyone.

In our Fancy Nancy storytime, we were hoping to complete our Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree Checklist (soiree is a fancy word for party). If we completed all of our tasks by the end of storytime, we might just get a magical phone call from the one and only Fancy Nancy inviting us to an after-storytime dance party!

Download your own Fancy Nancy Soiree Checklist here:

Get to Know Our Hostess (Book): Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

Fancy Nancy: O'Connor, Jane, Glasser, Robin Preiss: 9780060542092:  Amazon.com: Books

(And Her Secret Indentity) (Music): Dazzle Girl by Fancy Nancy (with scarves)

Speak with Fancy Words

Bring Fancy Food: Down Around the Corner

Wear Fancy Clothes: Get Dressed Fancy

Find this template here.

Show Your Magic Ticket: Magical Butterflies

And can you believe it…we got invited to the Fancy Nancy Dance Soiree!

We wrapped things up with about a 10 minute dance party including these songs:

Closing Song: Add a Little Fancy (Round 2)

Fancy Nancy Storytime Extra Videos

I made a lot of extra content because I was in love with all things fancy. Check out more Fancy Nancy fun below!

Fancy Nancy N-A-N-C-Y (BINGO)

Fancy Nancy Playing Hide and Seek

If You’re Fancy and You Know It

Storytime: Flannel and Magnet Activities

Flannel and magnet activities are a staple of storytimes–especially my virtual storytimes! While I’ve always enjoyed these activities, we typically had very large in-person storytime audiences. I’ve never had the best vision, and I was always the kid (and adult) who was stuck in the back of a crowded room and who couldn’t see the tiny shapes on a flannel board or magnet board. I have some tricks to still make flannel and magnet activities work in a large crowd–mostly giant magnet and flannel pieces on a board I’m holding up high–but I like the intimacy of a virtual storytime where everyone can see everything I am doing.

While I love the cuteness of a high quality flannel set (Mister Keith is the flannel making king), I personally lean more towards magnet sets. I can stumble my way through making a nice flannel set I am happy with, but more often I try to find high quality images to create my own magnet sets. These can be printed over and over and laminated for reuse. Magnets stick a bit better for me (on a cookie sheet I hold up) are are generally less likely to fall off than flannel board pieces.

Looking for more flannel and magnet activities for your storytimes? Your one stop shop is Flannel Friday. Their Pinterest boards are regularly updated and filled with a world of cuteness.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Flannel and Magnet Activities

Animal Guessing Game (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)


B-I-N-G-O

There was a farmer who had a dog
And BINGO was his name-o
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
And BINGO was his name-o


The Bridge Is Up

A book retelling of The Bridge Is Up by Babs Bell.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Retelling of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?

Retelling of Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?, a spooky book adaptation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Retelling of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.


Count the Balloons (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Red Balloons, red balloons, how many do we see?
Red balloons, red balloons, count them now with me!


Dear Zoo

Retelling of the book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.


Dinosaur Behind a Door

Dinosaur, dinosaur playing hide and seek!
Are you behind the yellow door?
Let’s take a peak!


Dog’s Colorful Day

Retelling of the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.


Down Around the Corner

Down around the corner at the bakery shop
Were five yummy/fancy cupcakes with sprinkles on top.
Along comes a….
With a dollar to pay.
She picks out a cupcake and takes it away.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1
Pink Animals: pig, flamingo, blobfish, axolotl, dragon
Fancy Animals: poodle, unicorn, dragon, ballerina hippo, peacock


Fancy Nancy Playing Hide and Seek

Fancy Nancy, Fancy Nancy
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ teacup?
Let’s take a peek!


Fancy Words (Fancy Nancy)

Paired Words:

  • Hello – Bonjour
  • Great – Fantastique
  • Sad – Crestfallen
  • Pretty – Glamorous
  • Thank You – Merci
  • Goodbye – Au Revoir

Five Fancy Peacocks

One fancy peacock feeling mighty fine
Spreading his tail in the bright sunshine.
Another peacock has come to play.
Now two fancy peacocks have a great day.

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


Five Ferocious Lions

Deep in the jungle, what did I hear?
Five ferocious lions roaring loud and clear.
ROAR! said the lions.
SCAT! said I.
And one ferocious lion ran away…
Goodbye!

4, 3, 2, 1…


Five in the Bed

There were five in the bed,
And the little llama said
“Roll over! Roll over!”
And they all rolled over
And one fell out.


Five Little Bats

Five little bats sleeping in a tree
Hanging upside down
Where no one else can see.
The sun sets and the moon shines bright,
And one little bat flies out of sight.


Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day.
Over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said
QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!
But only four little ducks came back.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Eggs

Give it a whack, (clap)
Hear it crack, (hand behind ear)
Drop it in the middle, (pat hands on your lap)
One egg frying on the griddle.


Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies, swimming in the sea
Teasing Baby Shark – “You Can’t Catch Me!”
Along comes Baby Shark, as quiet as can be…
And SNAPS that fishy right out of the sea!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Owls

Five little owls sitting in a tree
Shouting “hoo, hoo, hoo”
As loud as can be!

One flew away,
And then there were…
1, 2, 3, 4!


Five Little Penguins

Five little penguins playing in the snow,
Slipping and sliding to and fro.

One looked up and yelled “Oh no!”
“I see a great big ball of snow!”

Rolling down the hill it stopped with a splat,
All that’s left is a fuzzy hat.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Five big snowballs wearing fuzzy hats,
Rolled back home dressed just like that!


Five Little Pigeons

Five little pigeons jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head!
The driver called the doctor, and the doctor said
No more pigeons jumping on the bed!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Pigeons Sitting in a Tree

Five little pigeons sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?

One, two, three four!


Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean

Five pigs so squeaky clean
Cleanest pigs you’ve ever seen.
Wanted to go outside and play.
Oink! Oink!
One jumped into the mud.
Landed with a great big THUD
Now there are four pigs so squeaky clean.


Five Sharks in the Bathtub

Five sharks in the bathtub,
Going for a swim.
Knock, knock.
Splash, splash.
Come on in!


Froggy Gets Dressed

Retelling of the book Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.


Get Dressed Fancy (Fancy Nancy)

It’s time to put our dress on,
Dress on,
Dress on,
It’s time to put our dress on 1, 2, 3!

Continue with: shoes, gloves, glasses, crown

Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Let’s be FANCY!


Go Away Big Green Monster

Retelling of book Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.


Goodnight Moon

Retelling of the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.


The Great Big Enormous Turnip


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Retelling of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Retelling of the book I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.


Is Your Mama a Llama?

Retelling of the book Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino.


The Little Old Lady Who Was NOT Afraid of Anything

Retelling of the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.


L-L-A-M-A

There was a llama who wore pajamas,
And Llama was his name-o!
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
And Llama was his name-o!


Llama Llama Playing Hide and Seek

Little Llama, Little Llama
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ bed?
Let’s take a peek!


Letter Matching (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Oh, have you seen the letter W
The letter W, the letter W
Oh, have you seen the letter W?
It makes the sound wuh-wuh-wuh


Little Blue Truck

A retelling of the book Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.


Little Crab, Little Crab

Little crab, little crab,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the…shell?
Let’s look inside!


Little Fox, Little Fox

Little fox, little fox
Are you in the YELLOW box?


Little Monster, Little Monster

Little monster, little monster
Playing hide and seek!

Are you behind the __ door?
Let’s take a peak!


Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Little mouse, little mouse,
Are you in the….
RED house?


Little Snail, Little Snail

Little snail, little snail,
Are you in the _ pail?


Little Spider, Little Spider

Little spider, little spider,
Playing hide and seek!

Is spider behind the __ leaf?
Let’s take a peak!


Magic Butterflies

Five fuzzy caterpillars spinning cocoons
Hoping spring will come real soon!
With a little bit of magic
And the warm sunshine–
Clap, clap, clap, there’s a butterfly!


Make a Pig


Marco the Polar Bear

Marco the polar bear
As white as the snow
Sat on the ice
Where the cold waters flow

“Lunch! I need lunch!” he said.
“I’ll make a wish!”
He stuck out his paw
And came up with a fish!

What color is it?


Move Over, Rover

Retelling of the book Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont.


My Heart Is a Zoo

Sometimes my heart wants to clap like a seal.
Sometimes my heart wants to hop like a bunny.
Sometimes my heart wants to jump like a frog.
Sometimes my heart wants to roar like a lion.
Sometimes my heart wants to fly like a blue jay.


N-A-N-C-Y

I know a girl who is so fancy,
Nancy is her name-o!
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
And Nancy is her name-o!


Old Brass Wagon

Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Now there’s one my darling!

Continue with:
Oval to the side
Square in the middle
Triangle up high
Rectangle down low
Heart to the back
We’ll stop at six my darling!


One Dinosaur Went Out to Play

One dinosaur went out to play,
On a giant fern one day.
She had such enormous fun,
That she called for a friend to come…
OH DINOSAUR!!


One Elephant in the Bathtub

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim,
Knock, knock (clap)
Splash, splash (slap knees)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3 – all fell in!


One Elephant in the Bathtub (Elephant & Piggie)

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim!
Knock, knock! (clap, clap)
Splash, splash! (slap legs)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


One Red Sock

Retelling of the book One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler.


Our Friend Rocky Has Some Tools

Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O.
And with those tools he had a hammer, E-I-E-I-O.
With a bang, bang here and a bang, bang there.
Here a bang, there a bang, everywhere a bang, bang.
Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O!

Continue with:
Saw…see-saw
Wrench…turn-turn
Screwdriver…twist-twist
Pliers…pinch-pinch
Drill…zzzz-zzzz


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat Playing Hide and Seek

Pete the Cat, Pete the Cat,
Playing hide and seek.
Is Pete behind the __ shoe?
Let’s take a peek!


Pigeon Playing Hide and Seek

Pigeon, Pigeon playing hide and seek
Are you behind the yummy cookie?
Let’s take a peek!


Piggie, Are You in a Book?

Piggie, piggie, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ book?
Let’s look inside!


Pinkalicious, Where Do You Hide?

Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the pink __?
Let’s look inside!


PIZZA (BINGO)

There was a treat that’s good to eat
And pizza is its name-o!
P-I-Z-Z-A
P-I-Z-Z-A
P-I-Z-Z-A
And pizza is its name-o!


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

A retelling of Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.


Polar Bear’s Underwear (book)

Retelling of the book Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera.


Polar Bear’s Underwear (rhyme)

Oh where oh where have my underwear gone,
Oh where or where can they be?
I’ve looked up high, and I’ve looked down low.
Did someone hide them from me?


Red Truck, Red Truck

A transportation adaptation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


Six Little Valentines

Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”

Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”

Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”

Three little Valentines just for me.
The fourth one said, “Bee my honey, Love Bee.”

Two little Valentines mailed with care.
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”

The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay.
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”


Snowball Hide and Seek

Snowball, snowball
Cold and round!
Behind which mitten,
Can you be found?


Tickle Monster

Retelling of the book Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau.


Tip Tip Dig Dig

Retelling of the book Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia.


Very Hungry Caterpillar

Retelling of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.


Walking Through The Jungle

Walking through the jungle,
What do I see?
I think it was a….elephant!
Trumpeting at me!


We’re Going on a Bug Hunt

We’re going on a bug hunt!
We’re gonna catch a bug one!
What a sunny day.
Are you ready?
Okay!

Oh my! A ladybug!
A red and black ladybug.
Crawling on a leaf.
Crawl, crawl, crawl, crawl.

Continue with:
Bumblebee…buzzing through the air
Grasshopper…hopping through the grass
Dragonfly…darting across the sky
Butterfly…fluttering through the air
Spider…spinning its web
Time to go home…Goodbye!


Who Stole the Cookies

Cat stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
Who me?
Let’s see!

Couldn’t be!
Then who?


Zuma, Are You in a Boat?

Zuma, Zuma, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ boat?
Let’s look inside!

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