12 October 2014

Birthday Theme - Toddler Storytime

For birthday themed toddler storytime, I pretended it was Curious George's birthday because I have a giant Curious George stuffed toy. Our library has a nice birthday cake hat with candles on top that I placed on his head, and then I sat him down on one of the toddler chairs in the middle of the room. He became our focal point and mascot for the day.

Age group: toddlers (24 - 36 months)
Group Size: about 10 kids and one parent/caregiver per toddler
Time: 10:30am to 11:15am

Parent/Caregiver Handout
One of my colleagues told me that one of the ways we can encourage parents to participate is to give them printouts of the songs and rhymes we use. This way, they can participate with the child beside them, or on their lap, and the handout close by. Here are the ones we used for this storytime:

The Plan
Welcome Song*
Rhyme: Up Down Turn Around*
Song: Hands Are Clapping*
Book: The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
Rhyme: Jack in the Box (using scarves)
Song: Yummy Cake (using scarves)
Rhyme: Five Little Cakes
Song: It's Birthday Party Time
Song: Happy Birthday to Curious George
Puppet: dog-in-box hand puppet guessing game
Craft: peek-a-boo birthday box
Bubbles and Handouts*

*these are the ones I use for every toddler storytime session
Welcome Song
(sing to tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”) 
Hi hello and how are you
How are you? How are you?
Hi hello and how are you?
How are you today?

It’s a bright and sunny day
Sunny day, sunny day
It’s a bright and sunny day
For storytime and play!

Stretching Rhyme: Up Down Turn Around
Up, down
Turn around
Touch the sky
Touch the ground
Wiggle fingers
Wiggle toes
Wiggle shoulders
Say hello!

Song: Hands Are Clapping
(sing to tune of “Skip To My Lou”)
Hands are clapping
Clap clap clap
Hands are clapping
Clap clap clap
Hands are clapping
Clap clap clap
Clap your hands my darling!

Continue with …
-feet are stomping
-arms are flapping

End with …
Now let’s sit on the floor
Now let’s sit on the floor
Now let’s sit on the floor
Sit on the floor my darling!

Or continue more actions …
Toast in the toaster
Getting very hot
Tick tock tick tock
Up you pop!

Book: The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle

Reaction: it has very simple pictures, and shapes that captured the toddlers' attention. It was also short enough to hold their attention.

Jack in the box (scrunch scarf in your hands)
Sits so still (bounce your hands up and down)
Will he come out
Yes he will! (throw scarf high in the air)

Reaction: the toddlers really liked this one because they could throw and catch the scarf

Song: Yummy Cake (using scarves)
(Tune: Frere Jacques)
Mix the batter, stir the batter
Shake the flour in, shake the flour in
Mix the batter, stir the batter (repeat first two lines of song tune)
Pour it in a tin, pour it in a tin
Sprinkle little candies
Put it in the oven
Wow! A yummy cake! A yummy cake!

Reaction: the older toddlers were able to follow the actions to the song. I have a 17-month old child in the group, and I asked her mother to do the actions along with her daughter. In the end, though, her daughter grabbed the scarf and just played with it. Still good, because it was more of a sensory experience for her.

Rhyme: Five Little Cakes
Five little cakes in a bakery shop,
Round and fat with frosting on top.
Along came __________ with a quarter one day
And bought a cake and ran away!
Four little cakes...
Three little cakes...
Two little cakes...
One little cake...

Reaction: we had a layered cake plush toy as a prop for this song. Each time I called out a kid's name, they would come up to the toy and take one of the layers of the cake and "run off" with it. We did a second round of the song so that each child in the group could perform the action once. It was a good chance to see whether some of the kids would share their acquired cake piece with the next set of kids. In truth, I had no problems. When I asked the first set of kids to return their cake pieces, some of them actually gave their piece to one of the kids who still hadn't had their turn yet. I think I'm really lucky to have a great set of kids in my storytime :D

Song: It's Birthday Party Time
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
It’s birthday party time
It’s birthday party time
Hi ho the derry-o
It’s birthday party time

It’s time to blow out the candles
It’s time to blow out the candles
Hi hi the derry-o
It’s time to blow out the candles

It’s time to eat the cake
It’s time to eat the cake
Hi ho the derry-o
It’s time to eat the cake

It’s time to open presents
It’s time to open presents
Hi ho the derry-o
It’s time to open presents

Reaction: the kids liked this one because we used very exaggerated movements and facial expressions for each of the actions. For blowing out the candles, we held up our index fingers and pretended they were candles; for the cake eating, we made a scarfing-down-delicious-cake sound while cupping our hands and moving them toward our faces; for opening presents, we pretended to open a box in front of us, and then yelled "Wow!" afterward.

Song: Happy Birthday to Curious George
We sat Curious George in the middle of the group and everyone crowded around him to sing the Happy Birthday song. Afterward, I brought out a cute puppy-in-a-box hand puppet and asked the kids to guess what was inside. Some of the kids guessed correctly, and one of the really young ones said her papa was in the box! Heh heh!

Craft: Peek-A-Boo Birthday Box
This cute craft is originally from A Happy Song. I just tweaked it a little to suit my Curious George birthday theme :D

clothesline pin
glue gun
card stock, cut into a 4.5" x 4.5" square
cardstock, cut into a 1" x 4.5" rectangle
stickers, crayons, markers for decorating
Curious George or other character card

1. cut out your card stock pieces
2. glue gun half of the clothespin to the square card stock, and the other half to the rectangular piece
3. let kids colour in the Curious George card and decorate their gift box
4. tape the Curious George card on an angle

5. press the clothesline pin and play peek-a-boo!

Parachute with Rhymes
(Sing to “The More We Get Together”)
Come under my umbrella
Umbrella, umbrella
Come under my umbrella
It’s starting to rain!

(Sing to “Frere Jaques”)
Peek a boo, peek a boo
I see you, I see you
I see your button nose
And your tiny toes
Peek a boo, peek a boo.

Bubbles and Handouts
-I usually play the Beach Boys' song, Wouldn't It Be Nice, when blowing bubbles for the kids

Credits: I took the songs and rhymes from a variety of sources, some from work, and others from different parts of the internet. I will try to give credit where it is due, so if something is yours and I haven't credited you, please let me know and I will link back to you. Thank you!
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