18 December 2014

Alphabet Theme - Toddler Storytime

Age group: toddlers (24 - 36 months)
Group Size: about 12 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: Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Song: Hokey Pokey
Song: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
Felt Storytime: Letters and Words
Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Game: Alphabet Sorting Game
Board Book: 5 Little Ducks
Craft: Name Letter
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: Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming

Reaction: I thought that because this was a big giant version of the book, it would attract the attention of the kids, but I had to stop reading this after less than half-way through. It was too long, and I don't think the kids recognized any of the tools being used in the alphabet's construction. Next time I'll pick a simpler book.

Song: Hokey Pokey 

Reaction: Since the Alphabet Under Construction book could not hold the toddlers' attention (a lot of them were moving around the room), I thought I'd better put something on that would get the wiggles out. This song is in a storytime CD we made, so unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly which version of the song I played. They really enjoyed moving to this song.

Song: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean
Pete the cat put on his favourite shirt
with four big colourful round groovy buttons
My buttons my buttons
my four groovy buttons
My buttons my buttons
my four groovy buttons
Ahhhh!! One of the buttons popped off and rolled away!

Did Pete cry? Goodness no!
Buttons come and buttons go
He kept on singing his song
My buttons my buttons 

my three groovy buttons
My buttons my buttons 

my three groovy buttons
I guess it simply goes to show
That stuff will come and stuff will go
But do we cry? Goodness no.
We keep on singing!! 

Reaction: I sang this book using the song from youtube and my Pete the Cat hand puppet. The toddlers enjoyed the puppet because they kept trying to grab it from me. None of the kids or the parents participated in singing the song, which makes sense, because the tune isn't well-known. I should have sang it once, then repeated it so that they could try to sing along the second time.

Felt Storytime: Letters and Words
We have an alphabet set made by volunteers. Each letter is on a square piece of cloth, and the letter is accompanied by a felt picture of something that starts with that letter. For example, the letter B is beside a butterfly. I showed each letter, one by one, and then asked them to guess the picture. Then I passed each finished letter around so that the toddlers could trace the letter's shape and feel the texture of the felted picture.

Reaction: I only went up to the letter I, but I think the toddlers enjoyed being able to feel the materials for themselves.

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Head shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes, knees and toes
Head shoulders knees and toes
Eyes ears nose and mouth.

Reaction: They love this song because it's well recognized and familiar to them (probably because their parents already use it at home...?).

Game: Alphabet Sorting Game
I grabbed 4 buckets and labelled them with the letters A, B, C, D. I then found little objects in our programming storage room that start with those letters, like balls, a big stuffed caterpillar, a rubber duck, a Dora the Explorer plush, etc. These were then given to the toddlers and I asked them to come up one by one to sort their toys/objects into the correct bucket.

Reaction: This game is probably a little too advanced for the toddlers. They weren't able to figure out which bucket to drop their toys/objects into without my help or their parents' help. I probably won't use this exact game in future for this group, but I think the sorting game is still a valuable one. Next time, I'll just make it simpler -- maybe I'll ask them to sort by colours instead. Regardless, even though they weren't able to figure out this game, speaking to them and asking them what they have in their hands still helps them start the recognition process.

Board Book: 5 Little Ducks by Penny Ives
We have a set of this same book, so I handed a copy out to each toddler and asked them to help me read the book. They turned the pages themselves as I read out loud to them, while also asking them questions about the pictures on each page, or asking them to help me count how many ducks were on the page.

Reaction: One of the parents really liked that each toddler was able to hold their own book, turn their own pages. And, I think the toddlers really enjoyed having their own book on hand as well. Some were really enthusiastic about turning their own pages and were telling me how many ducks were on each page even before I asked the question!

Craft: Name Letter
Our volunteers cut out letters that corresponded with the first names of each of the toddlers in our group. Since this is a registered program, it's easy for me to know which letters to cut out.Then we found pictures of animals with names that start with the first letter of each toddler's name. I wrote out the first name of each child on their letter so that during the craft time, the toddlers could match sticker letters to the ones on the page. Afterward, the toddlers can then colour in their animals.

coloured cardstock paper, cut into different letters
alphabet stickers
animal colouring cards

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
-also gave them a T Is For Turtle colouring sheet

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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