Revamping Baby Storytime: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ‘Chute

As an on-call librarian, I do many babytimes throughout Vancouver to groups of many different sizes.  Since July I’ve had the opportunity of providing the baby storytime to one particular branch each week, allowing me to cultivate relationships, grow the attendance, and try new things.  On average, I get about 20-30 caregivers + babies per week which is a great number for me. I’ve been able to adapt my babytime to meet the needs of this group, and I’m excited to share how I’ve changed things up since last summer.

The babytimes at my library are 30 minutes long.  When I first started doing babytimes, I stuck to a pretty straightforward outline. Each week I did:

Continue reading “Revamping Baby Storytime: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the ‘Chute”

Give Your Storytime a Shake!

We are happy to report that we’ve come out of it now, but Lindsey and I went through a mean shaker phase back in December. We appreciated your support and kind words and because we lived to tell our tale we’d love to share a few things we learned along the way! A few quick links if you’re a busy beaver we suggest you check out our Egg Shaker Songs playlist and  Egg Shaker Songs Pinterest board. If you’re not a busy beaver and feel like sticking around give Lisa’s Shake Shake Shake post a read. She not only shares song ideas, but explains why you should use shakers, which ones and even better…how! Coming to us from Scotland Library Quine has also shared a great list of shaker songs and activities. Finally we love this post from the Massillon Public Library Children’s Department blog which has some delicious food themed songs and tips on how to make your own shakers. Ok we think that’s quite enough reading for now, here are some of our favourite shaker songs!

1. If You’re Happy and You Know It, Give a Shake!


This is a classic and for that reason it’s a great song to warm up with and let your storytimers get used to shaking their shakers.

2. Shake Your Shakers


Speaking of shaking your shaker, this video has one version that is more challenging and one that’s perfect for beginners. Continue reading “Give Your Storytime a Shake!”

Toddler Storytime: Favourite Felt Stories

This is the last post in my Toddler Storytime series.  Did you miss any?  Here’s a recap:

This post features my favourite felt or flannel stories to use with ages 1-3 years old. If you are looking for a collection of outstanding felt patterns, be sure to visit Kiz Club.

Felt stories use to scare me. Caregivers don’t always keep the little ones from coming up and grabbing the felt pieces right off the board, which makes it hard to complete the story or rhyme.  And once one toddler grabs a felt piece, it’s like a green light signal for every other toddler and at that point there really isn’t any hope.  I’ve been lucky to be at a branch that has two felt boards – one large one that extends almost to the ground, and another smaller one that is high enough to be out of reach. I use the smaller one during storytime, then I bring out the larger one after storytime for the kids to play with. It’s been a win-win solution! Do you have an ingenious way to use felt stories with babies or toddlers?  I’d love to hear them!

So here are some of my favourite felt/flannel stories that are the right length, the right topic, the right amount of repetition – all that good stuff.

1. The Bus for Us

This is the felt story version of the book by Suzanne Bloom. Excellent repetition and rhyme – the parents join in after the first example in my experience. And I love how it builds transportation vocabulary. You can find the pattern here or check out this flannel game by In the Children’s Room.

2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear

This book by Bill Martin is a classic for a reason. Check out Libraryland’s version for some really cute puff paint animals. There are many versions of this story – try doing a shape themed version called Red Circle, Red Circle or a Halloween version called Black Cat, Black Cat. Here in the Northwest we have a version called Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle with a series of animals common in our part of the world.

3. Dear Zoo

This book by Rod Campbell is one of the best stories for teaching toddlers to make educated guesses and inferences.  Definitely check out Storytime Katie’s version for some artistic inspiration. When you’re ready to make your own, get the pattern here.

Continue reading “Toddler Storytime: Favourite Felt Stories”

Storytiming the Whole Day Through

We celebrated Family Literacy Day here in Canada last week and one thing I like to tell the families that come to storytime is that it’s possible to sing the whole day through. So I have accepted my own challenge and put together a collection of songs and rhymes that will truly have you singing from dawn to dusk. Let’s get started shall we!

1. Wake Up Feet

This is a favourite at babytime as it allows us lots of time to say good morning to each and every body part. For an added challenge with an older crowd try waking up elbows, tummy and hair!

2. Early in the Morning

A lovely little rhyme to sing about morning routines, like the postman coming! Try changing the time of day and visitor and be sure to tell parents to incorporate their child’s name.

3. Mix a Pancake

This has got to be one of my favourite rhymes because it lends itself so well to play. Whether or not you’re making real pancakes try this out and be sure to catch them if you can! I always check the ceiling for stragglers just in case. Continue reading “Storytiming the Whole Day Through”