Toddler Storytime: Using Puppets

So far I’ve covered how I plan, what I read, what I sing, and what I do to get the wiggles out for a toddler storytime.  Here’s a quick re-cap in case you missed any of the previous posts:

This week I’ll be talking about using puppets.  Now if you are like me, puppets are not your natural inclination. In fact, before I started performing regular storytimes the thought of using puppets every week terrified me.  But, the toddlers at my storytimes absolutely love puppets! Like there is an audible gasp when I pull one out of my storytime bag.

I was lucky enough in my MLIS program to have one teacher who was AMAZING with puppets, and I learned a lot from her, but I realized that I would also have to create a style that works for me. So that’s why I wanted to share some really easy ways to incorporate puppets into your storytime that are low prep and low pressure.  You won’t need an impressive vocal range or a degree in theater arts to try these out.  And if you’re toddlers are anything like mine, they will still go nuts when you bring them out at storytime.

1. Slippery Fish

Puppets Needed: Small Fish, Octopus, Large Fish (Tuna), Shark, and a Whale

I do this song with felts and with just my hands, so I thought why not try it with puppets? And it works – brilliantly!  You can even act out the “eating” part to the kids’ delight.  And honestly, if you don’t have those exact sea creature puppets, go with what you’ve got!  I’m sure you can fit a crab or a  turtle on the food chain somewhere.

2. When Cows Wake Up in the Morning

Puppets Needed: Any animal. Seriously.

My co-worker taught me this song and I’ve been using it ever since. It makes a nice welcome or hello song, and it goes great with a farm themed storytime.  Honestly you can use whatever animals you want, but sometimes I’ll throw in a dragon or a bunny and see what sounds we can think of together.

3. Little Bunny in a Hat

Puppets Needed: Any type of jack-in-box puppet

I do this rhyme with three different jack-in-box type puppets – a bunny in a hat, a creature in a can, and a bear in a tent. We say the rhyme two times for each puppet and by the last time, all the toddlers are yelling, “Yes, he will!” It’s a great chance to point out the importance of repetition to caregivers, and I like that it’s a rhyme instead of a song. And check out this super cute monkey in a barrel!

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We’ll Link to That: Winter 2014

This is the second instalment of the column we write for YAACING, which is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association. We promise to post a little more promptly in the future, but in the meantime read about all the amazing work being done by youth services librarians every-which-where!

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

This time around we didn’t have to look far for the Storytimer of the Winter, because she was standing right in front of us! Tess Prendergast is a Children’s Librarian at VPL by day and a PhD student in UBC’s Department of Language and Literacy Education by night. As if that’s not enough she is active on Twitter and can be found blogging about inclusive early literacy. Tess is a fierce believer that libraries should play a role in supporting families as they engage with new media. Her posts on Little eLit which explore mobile technology and kids are passionate and scrupulously researched. And take it from us, her storytimes are even better.

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We’ll Link to That: Fall 2013

This week’s post comes to us from the past. We’ve been writing a column for YAACING, which is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association since the Fall and thought it was high time we shared it with those of you out-of-province! Especially because we might just have mentioned you! Read on for great ideas and tales of heroic youth services librarians…

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

Following all the app chatter at the BCLA Conference this year the West Vancouver Memorial Library just launched their Recommended App tumblr, as well as their new website. Their tumblr highlights the best apps for children, making it easier for parents to find age appropriate, educational options. The best part is that patrons can try out these apps on one of the Youth Department’s technology petting zoo devices.

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Toddler Storytime: Songs to Get the Wiggles Out

The Toddler Storytime saga continues!  In this post, I’ll be featuring my top 10 favourite songs to use when the kiddos just can’t seem to sit still.  Which is perfectly normal for toddlers! And in case you missed it, here are the other posts in my Toddler Storytime series:

So let’s get to it!

1. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

One of my storytime moms told me the other day that her daughter comes to storytime just for this song. We definitely do it every week.  I stand up when I sing this song and pretend to climb a ladder. Then I crouch down and jump up for the blast off.  Younger toddlers enjoy being lifted into the air by a caregiver.

2. Everyone Can March

And jump, and spin, and clap, and stomp, and stretch, and wave….and sit! This song also uses the ASL sign for “stop” which is a great concept for toddlers to learn in a fun and positive way.

3. See the Little Bunnies Sleeping

This song takes a few times before the caregivers and parents know it well enough to sing along, but once they do the kids will be all about it!  I have one little boy in particular who loves popping up and down from “sleeping” to “waking” so much that we had to sing this song 3 times one week.

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Using American Sign Language in Storytime

If you are like us, you may have noticed a growing interest from families in using sign language, especially when it comes to storytime. What’s it all about? And how can you learn more? Sit back and enjoy some resources courtesy of our amazing Twitter pals and then we’ll share some of our videos which incorporate American Sign Language.

First up, check out Renee Grassi’s fantastic post on the ALSC Blog all about American Sign Language (ASL) in Your Library. Renee explains that ASL is “a completely separate and distinct language from English” and details ways in which libraries can better serve patrons for whom American Sign Language is a first language or those who are looking to try it as a second or third language. She includes a great list of resources from American Sign Language experts as well as youth services librarians who have incorporated ASL into their programs.

Kathy MacMillan is someone else who has written (and presented!) extensively about American Sign Language and because she also wears a Librarian Hat, how it can be used in library programming. Her presentation Liven Up Baby and Toddler Storytimes with Sign Language can be viewed on Slideshare from the comfort of your couch, and provides background on American Sign Language, Deaf Culture as well as practical tips on using ASL in a range of programs.

Finally, the great Tess Prendergast of Inclusive Early Literacy pointed us to PrAACtical AAC’s post on 10 Interesting Resources for Learning to Sign. It is a tech-licious list of apps and sites to help young and old learn to sign.

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Toddler Storytime: Favourite Songs and Rhymes

Next up in my Toddler Storytime series is my selection of songs and rhymes that I use every week or almost every week.  I’ll be doing a separate post on songs and activities to get the wiggles out – these ones are just my go-to, familiar tunes that I know the caregivers and kids love to sing.  In case you missed it, here are my other posts in this series:

Without further ado!

1. Hello, Friends

I use this as my welcome and goodbye song every week.  I love it because it’s simple and repetitive. It’s also exciting to see the toddlers get better and better at making the sign for friends each week.  And I’m always surprised at how many remember the signs even after singing it once!

2. Open, Shut Them

We do this song at least two times every week. The kids love hiding their hands behind their backs at the end of the song. I have a little boy who tells me every time, “I let them in my mouth!”

 3. Roly Poly

The BEST song for teaching opposites, in my opinion.  You can get creative and add as many verses as you’d like.  I’ve been adding a verse called “High/Low” where we just change the pitch of our voices.

4. Mmm, Ahh Went the Little Green Frog

I fell in love with this song when my 2-year-old niece was struggling to make the “K” sound. You can give lots of good early literacy tips around phonological awareness before and after singing it. We also have multiple verses to try.

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