Favourite Hello Songs for Storytime

After a long summer off, I’m back in the storytime saddle! My family storytime just started up and it’s got a great mix of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I’ve learned so many new tunes since I last wrote about my favourite storytime songs, so I wanted to put together a list of the ones I’ve been loving lately, especially at the beginning of storytime.  For even more hello and goodbye songs, check out our playlist. I’ve broken these ones into age categories, but there are no hard and fast rules about when to use them.

Do you have a favourite welcome or hello song for storytime? Let me know in the comments!


Wake Up Feet

You can wake up babies’ eyes, ears, hair, nose, etc. I also love adding the verse “Wake up Tummy” and we say “tickle, tickle, tickle” instead of wiggle. I encourage parents to use this song when their baby is waking up in the morning or from a nap.

Well Hello Everybody, Can You Touch Your Nose?

I love this song! I even sing it with toddlers if they are on the younger end. You can get creative with it too – can you pat your head, rub your tummy, touch your toes, etc.

Gilly Gilly Gilly Good Morning

It’s a bit of a tongue twister and you definitely have to teach it to caregivers over the course of the storytime session, but once they learn it it’s gold.  This song was made for an early literacy tip about phonological awareness.


Hello Friends with Sign Language

We do this one every week at my family storytime and it’s so exciting when the toddlers start to sign! It’s also got a matching goodbye song.  I also use it with my preschoolers.

If You’re Ready for a Story

I use this one a lot when I do outreach storytimes because everyone knows the tune already and it’s not intimidating.  I’ll also use it with a particularly rambunctious group of toddlers because it gets them up and moving. You can add lots of action verses such as jump up high, shake your hips, touch your toes, etc.

Let’s All Clap

I do this one with babies or toddlers as long as it’s a small group. We sing it once for every child, inserting his or her name into the song. The parents really like to hold up their baby or toddler when it’s their turn. A great choice for a smaller, more personalized storytime.


The More Get Together and Read Together

There are two ways to freshen up this traditional welcome song. First, try singing it with sign language. Second, try adding this second verse we learned from Katie at Storytime Secrets. Preschoolers are ready for these added challenges. I also use this when I visit Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes and they enjoy it too.

When Cows Wake Up in the Morning

There are so many different tunes and lyrics to this song – this is just the one we learned first. If I want to bust out the puppets early on, I’ll sing this song and ask the kids to help me identify the sounds. Preschoolers pretty much know the basic animal sounds so I always throw in a few that make them think, like a dragon or a cricket or a porcupine. We have fun just thinking up different sounds.

School Age Kids

Bread and Butter

You can use this one with preschoolers too, but my K-2 kids love it! We talk about opposites and brainstorm some before we sing. It’s more of a rhyme than a song which oddly enough gives it a cool factor that school age kids dig.

Clap Everybody and Say Hello/Ni Hao

Again, you can use this with any age, but when I use it with K-2 students I ask them all the languages they know how to say hello in. I like doing this because it gives them a chance to teach me something, and I can model how to be a learner. We usually sing it 2-3 times depending on the languages of the group.  I also encourage different actions besides clapping, such as stomping, blinking, shaking, and other silly things like cha chaing.

Happy singing!

Young Conservationist Storytime Resources

A couple months ago now in a staff meeting a colleague shared one of those books that gives your shivers. You all know of what I speak. This time around it was A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. In this beautifully illustrated book Rabinowitz tells the story of a boy who stutters except in the company of animals and goes on to give voice to wildlife conservation and in particular wild cats, like the jaguar he met at the Bronx Zoo many, many years ago. Oh yes, and that boy is him! This book got me thinking about all the fabulous narrative non-fiction out there, particularly the books which focus on connecting children to the planet around them, and of course incorporating all this into storytime! (Because honestly, what else do we think about!?)

A Boy and a Jaguar

So after putting the call out to our fabulous Tweeps, I got lots of lovely ideas and wanted to throw them all together to create a list of literacy resources for Young Conservationists! Because there is a range in age I’ll break them down as such, though some are great right across the board.

Toddler- Kindergarten Crowd

First off a couple of my favourite read-aloudable (shhh!) environmental books include 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh and One Child, One Planet by Bridget McGovern Llewwllyn.  Our tweeps had the following book ideas to share: Angela likes Junkyard by Mike Austin,  Heather suggested Rose’s Garden by Reynolds, Angie had a whole bunch like The Curious Garden by Brown, The Gardener by Stewart, Plant a Little Seed by Christensen, And the Good Brown Earth by Henderson and finally Brandy mentioned the lovely All the World by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon.

Now that your books are chosen how about crafts and activities? I stumbled upon the gold mine that is the Earth Day and Environmental Awareness for Kids Board by Carolyn Hart of Storytime Standouts. And then a couple storytime outlines to round us out: Earth Day Storytime by Mollie Kay, Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by LibrErin and with great music and puppet suggestions another Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by Carol Simon Levin.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My WorldOne Child, One Planet

School Agers

Because I truly think A Boy and A Jaguar is best suited for kiddies 5 and up I wanted to include some other resources for putting together a school age Young Conservationist program (or club, oh how 10 year old Dana would have swooned!) A couple other books which would be fun to read throughout a program, while throwing some songs and games in there include The Tree Lady by Hopkins, Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Roth, selections from the movement known as The One and Only Ivan or alternatively beautiful panels from Ottaviani’s graphic novel Primates.

Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan
Rabinowitz, Alan

Rabinowitz, Alan

I found one really neat school age storytime on a new-to-me blog called Librarianism Chronicles all about Garbage, Garbage, Garbage! Finally our twitter-pal Brytani came up big with some music recommendations which could also be used with a crowd of any age. She likes Jack Johnson’s 3 R’s, Raffi’s This Land is Your Land (about Canada!) and Water in the Well.


While Earth Day is plenty far away, this gives you enough time to check out some new books and more importantly post your brilliant ideas below. Thanks to all who shared thus far, after all it’s sharing which makes our beautiful planet go around (SCIENCE!)

Baby Storytime: A Beginner’s Guide

Recently on the Storytime Underground Facebook group, people have been asking questions about how to run a baby storytime.  Baby storytime is also known as simply babytime or lapsit.  Yes you get to be surrounded by super cute babies, but I find interacting with caregivers, especially with regards to providing early literacy training, a key component to a successful babytime.  I thought I’d create a resource guide for anyone new to the field or just starting a baby storytime at their library.

As always, please leave a comment with your ideas or links to resources I can add to this list.

Our Resources:

Blogs with Baby Storytime Outlines and Ideas:

Please note, these links will take you directly to their baby storytime pages or blog posts.

Other Helpful Websites


  • Baby Storytime Magic (2014) by Kathy MacMillan
  • What’ll I Do With Baby-O (2006) by Jane Cobb
  • Storytimes for Everyone: Developing Young Children’s Language and Literacy (2013) by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting
  • Lapsit Services for the Very Young II (2001) by Linda L. Ernst
  • Baby Rhyming Time (2008) by Linda L. Ernst
  • Babies in the Library (2003) by Jane Marino

Also, check out this huge list of Resource Books for Baby Storytime by CLEL.

Storytiming in the Wild: Mall Storytime

While storytiming within my own four library walls can often feel chaotic, I’ll admit it is indeed my natural habitat. I can set up the room the way I want, the room can only hold so many people and I’M IN CONTROL. My library was recently approached by the mall we are connected with, aka “The People Upstairs” and asked to do a Mall Storytime. What joy, what glee and what an opportunity to get out of our library box and bring storytime to a wider audience! Here’s a little bit about my process as well as some other folks who have also braved the wilds.

Mall Storytime Mall Storytime

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Building Your Storytime Confidence

Last week we got an email asking how to build confidence in delivering a storytime, especially if you’re new to the field or not used to working with young children.  I wrote up these tips, and rather than having them disappear into the interwebs, I decided to share them here in case other people are looking for some ideas on how to become more confident in providing storytimes to children ages 0-5.

1. Find Songs You are Comfortable Singing

It takes some time to figure out what works for you.   It may be worth spending an afternoon just listening to songs and picking out the ones you enjoy and that you think you’ll remember (don’t forget to factor in the nerves – I always forget things when I’m nervous).  Other things I look for are the vocal range – it’s harder for me to sing lower pitched songs – and repetition of lyrics. Some of my favourites that kids and parents LOVE are Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, The Elevator Song, Roly Poly, and Open Shut Them. But everyone has their favourites. Our most popular video is Mmm, Ahh Went the Little Green Frog but I honestly hardly ever sing it in storytime!  Having about 5-6 songs that you are really comfortable singing was very helpful to me when I first started.  It’s also okay to rely on the classics – ABCs, Twinkle, Twinkle, etc. I also made a song cube and we roll it every week to determine a few songs.


2. Use the Same Hello and Goodbye Song Each Week

One of the things that keeps families coming back to my storytimes is the right mix of repetition and new material.  One of the things they love is our hello and goodbye routine.  I do Hello, Friends using sign language and the parents get so excited when their toddlers start signing.  Having a set start and end to my storytime outline also made me feel more comfortable with storytime in general.  On the same vein, I only introduce a one or two new songs a week – the kids need the repetition.

3. Choose Age Appropriate Materials

When you’re first getting to know a group of kids, it’s common to choose too long or too complicated books for storytime.  I am a big fan of books you can sing or books that encourage participation.  And I always, always practice reading the books out loud before storytime so that I know the plot, the words, and can think about any early literacy messages I want to sneak in.  In terms of songs, we’ve got playlists for different ages: babies, toddlers, preschoolers.

4. Ask a Co-worker to Observe You (and Vice Versa)

This can be nerve wracking but getting someone to give you feedback can be a big confidence booster!  They’ll let you know all the things you did awesome and things you can improve.  If you’re not sure where you’re going wrong, having another set of eyes can shed some light (or simply let you know you already rock!).  Ideally, this person would be someone who also does storytime and can look for things like book selection, pacing, interaction with kids, early literacy message, etc. On the flip side, try to observe as many other storytimers as possible. I’ve gotten so many good ideas from watching my colleagues, and it’s perfectly acceptable to take the things you like about their style and adapt it to yours.

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Celebrating Summer Reading: A Visual Guide

Whether you prefer the hashtag #SRC or #SRP, children’s librarians across the world have been sweating over how to make reading over the summer fun for everyone. We wanted to throw together a quick post to show off some of the awesome we’re surrounded by and to say a huge congratulations to everyone for all the hard work! Our summer was full of Funny Business like An Afternoon of Disguise, Battle of the Funny Books and Silly Songs Dance Party and we’ve been reading all about the Fizzing, Booming and Reading going on from our neighbours down south.

During a presentation at ALA Annual in Vegas called What No Tchotskes? Creating an Experience Based Summer Program I was captured by Amber Creger’s images of ways in which she helped make the reading her young patrons did VISIBLE! As Arlington Heights Memorial Library (where Amber runs the Kids’ World!) moves away from incentive based Summer Reading, these hands-on displays celebrate reading or challenges completed and contribute to the larger community of library users. Check out the old school Reading Brick Road she shared too!

Luggage ties equal each challenge completed.

Luggage ties equal each challenge completed!

Behold, a reading forest!

Behold: a reading forest!

The Reading Brick Road!

The Reading Brick Road!

Finally, the super cool teen light board!

Finally, the super cool teen light board!

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Silly Songs Dance Party

As I’ve mentioned before, our Summer Reading Club theme this year is Funny Business. What better excuse to throw a Silly Songs Dance Party! I was completely inspired by magnanimous Angie at Fat Girl Reading who shared her Baby Dance secrets including her playlist! A lot of these songs I stole from her, but the rest I either already knew or found by going through the Music CDs in my collection.

When creating this program outline, I knew I wanted to have a mix between recorded music and just us singing. I also knew I wanted a mix of high energy and low energy songs because let’s be real – 1 hour of dancing is a lot for both me and the kids! I definitely over planned – this outline is probably enough for two hours, but I’m glad I had lots of options to choose from because I wasn’t sure exactly how many kids would show up or how old they would be.  We did advertise this as a family program, and I got kids ages 2-12 joining in.

Logistics wise, all I did was clear out a large space in our program room for the dancing part. I had two tables along the side with a display featuring Music CDs and books about dance and music. Then I had one table up front where I could put the CD player (yes, I’m old school), my water bottle, the egg shakers, and my program notes. Then I had a flip chart on an easel with the lyrics printed for all the oral songs. Easy peasy.

Here’s what we did! When possible, I’ve provided links that allow you to listen to the songs.

1. Welcome Song

Bread and Butter

2. Warm Ups

Body Talk by Greg and Steve on Kids in Motion
This is a great song to begin with because it is slow paced and has the kids go through each of their body parts and warm them up.

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi on More Singable Songs
It’s a Beautiful Day by Kathy Reid Naiman on Reaching for the Stars

3. Let’s Jam

Bananas Unite
Baby Shark
We are the Dinosaurs by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

Laurie Berkner is my all time fave. We marched around the room and it was awesome.

Wiggy Wiggles Freeze Dance by Hap Palmer on Two Little Sounds
This song is quite fast paced, but the kids were busting up laughing just trying to freeze at the right time.

Baby Bumblebee by The Countdown Kids on 50 Silly Songs
Hurry, Hurry Drive the Fire Truck
The kids needed a little break at this point, so we sat down for this one. I added in a dramatic play element – we put on our seatbelts, got dressed in our fire gear, got a call about a fire, slid down the fire pole, and then sang this song.

Herman the Worm
I’m Gonna Catch You by The Laurie Berkner Band on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

My 3-year-old niece is obsessed with this song so it was no surprise that it was the best song of the whole program. We acted out the whole thing; the kids loved chasing each other around.

Alice the Camel by The Countdown Kids on 50 Silly Songs
Horns to Toes by Adam Bryant and Sandra Boynton on Rhinoceros Tap

One of my new favourite songs! We pointed out all of our body parts as we listened. Such a great beat.

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The Magic That Was ALA Annual: A Recap

So a few weeks have passed since the glory that was #alaac14. We’re mostly surviving. I thought writing this post would help keep the magic alive. Well this post and this picture.

Twitter Friends IRL

Words cannot capture how it was amazing to meet all these folks in real-deal life, these folks and so many more. We were also fortunate to attend some pretty amazing sessions and wanted to share the highlights for those of you at home. For other great ALAAC 2014 recap posts be sure to check out Storytime Underground’s full recaps from all FOUR GUERRILLA STORYTIMES Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as well as write ups by Amy here and here, SLJ and SLJ Teen. One more glorious picture before I start session talking of Angela, our Mentor/Fairy Godmother and us. So much love!

Angela and Us! Continue reading