For the past seven months Dana and I have been writing about all the elements that make up our baby storytimes. I decided to write a final post showing how all of these elements come together to form a complete 30-minute baby storytime at my library. Here are the more detailed posts about each element:
- Welcoming Activities at Babytime
- Favourite Fingerplays and Tickles
- Favourite Lap Bounces
- Focus on Newborns
- Favourite Dancing Songs
- Favourite Books for Baby Storytime
- Using Scarves and Egg Shakers with Babies
- Using a Parachute with Babies
You can also check out our Baby Storytime Beginner’s Guide which has links to resource books and other bloggers who share their ideas and plans. It’s important to remember that everyone does storytime different and that includes babytime! In fact, my own baby storytime has changed over the years depending on my community, the size of the group, the resources I have on hand, and the things I’m currently digging. I’ve written up two of my programs before – a basic baby storytime and one with play activities integrated.
This baby storytime is what I do for my group of about 10-14 caregivers and their babies who come to the library each week.
Please read the first post in this series for an explanation of my welcome puppet kisses, opening message, and group introductions. This part takes about 5-10 minutes but really sets the tone for a welcoming and fun program. One of the things I started doing this season is posting all the lyrics to the songs and rhymes on a giant flipchart. I sit next to the flipchart and turn the pages as we go. It has helped tremendously in allowing caregivers to participate in the babytime.
I’m only able to do this song with my small babytime group because we sing a verse for everyone. Can you tell I really want people to get to know each other?
This is one of my favourites. For babytime, I do the following verses: touch your nose, touch your ears, clap your hands, beep your belly. We also practice waving hello to each other at the end, one of the first social skills babies learn.
2. Songs, Rhymes, and Bounces
I learned this one from Mel’s Desk and it’s a babytime staple now. Sometimes we swap out “roll” and use animal sounds like “moo, moo, sugar babies.”
I encourage caregivers to turn babies to face them while we do this bounce so that babies can watch their mouths form the words. This bounce is so fun- we squeeze, dip back, and tilt to the side.
A classic bounce. Many of the caregivers already know this one so it’s fun for them to sing. We do the second verse too – “One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken” and tip babies to the side. I also added a verse called, “Bumping Up and Down in My Little Black Stroller” and we talk about ways to adapt songs to daily life.
This is a really simple bounce. Each week we make up a new verse – a curvy road, a windy road, a rocky road. A great way to model how to incorporate new vocabulary into baby’s life.
3. Dancing and Movement
I love to dance and have incorporated that element into my babytimes. Most of the songs include some lifting which the babies LOVE, but I offer modifications such as lifting baby’s arms instead. Caregivers are also welcome to stay seated for this part. The three songs I’ve been doing lately are:
We sing this song 2-3 times and change out the name of the caregiver. Sometimes it’s Mama, sometimes Papa, sometimes Auntie. Sometimes I ask for family names we can try out together.
My group has been loving this song lately. We get in a circle and swing the babies towards the middle for the first group and then they each turn and face another baby for the second verse. I have the caregivers find a partner before we start the song so they know who to turn towards. Sometimes I’ll add a third verse that goes, “Go up and down the staircase” and caregivers can lift babies into the air.
A Vancouver favourite. I end this song by adding on the line, “and we sit back down” which gets us all sitting and settled again.
4. Read a Book
Please see the post I wrote on what I read at babytime for a list of read alouds that target baby’s brain development and encourage interaction between baby and caregiver. A really easy way to integrate an early literacy tip into storytime is to simply tell people why chose the book you are reading. Does it have repetition? Have bold, sharply contrasted images? Is it by an author you love who has other books you would recommend? Just explaining your choice is a tip to caregivers.
For the last ten minutes of baby storytime, I pull out one of the following play items and we sing some songs. If I had some extra money laying around, I would invest in more baby toys for this part of the program. We usually do 3 songs that correlate to the play item. Check out the links for examples of songs to do with each item.
- Scarves – here and here
- Egg Shakers – here and here
- Puppets (I have enough puppets to give everyone their own, but some are smaller finger puppets)
6. Goodbye Songs