Babies are both natural musicians and dancers which as far as we’re concerned means they were made for scarves and egg shakers! We absolutely love busting out these props in baby storytime and hope by the end of this post you will too. In case you’re interested we have written about using scarves and shakers for the general storytime crowd too. And of course don’t forget to check out the other posts in our Baby Storytime series:
- Welcoming Activities
- Favourite Fingerplays and Tickles
- Favourite Lap Bounces
- Focus on Newborns
- Favourite Dancing Songs
- Favourite Books for Baby Storytime
- Using a Parachute with Babies
- Putting it All Together: A Baby Storytime Program
So first up the nuts and bolts: why are scarves and shakers so great for babies? Play is one of the five early literacy skills AND also one of the most overlooked. Tell parents baby storytime is not only a chance for them to learn new songs and rhymes but also learn ways to play with their infant. Scarves and shakers lend themselves to peek-a-boo’ing, hide and seeking and best of all: tickling! Babies learn about conversations when they play back and forth games with adults and scarves and shakers can make this fun and help elicit a response from even the quietest infant. If parents are not convinced that early literacy can be this fun let them know when babies hold, scrunch, drop, and wave scarves and shakers these movements develop their fine and gross motor skills which will make writing and typing easier down the road. Or tell them that when you gently touch baby’s body parts with a scarf or shaker while naming them it will help baby remember the vocabulary better. And if they’re still listening maybe mention that shakers (and also scarves to some extent) help break words into smaller sounds, all the better for baby to process them!
A couple other notes on shakers and scarves: moreso than with any other storytime crowd, when they’re out they’re out. To try and get shakers and scarves back before the little ones have really had a chance to play with them would just be cruel. I tend to hand them out halfway through the program, after we’ve done a couple stand-up-and-move songs to capture the babies’ attention again and I collect them when the program is over and they’re getting ready to leave. If the group is new to you handing them out is a perfect chance to practice names and collecting them is a perfect chance to chat with parents. Sneaky, oh so sneaky! A final note, expect anything you hand to a baby to be chewed and drooled on. A lot.
Ok, let’s finally get into some songs and rhymes. Here is a list of our favourites to use with scarves and shakers. Feel free to use them interchangeably and make up your own versions. But only if you promise to share below 🙂
Peek a Boo
A baby storytime must. Have parents peek out from behind the scarf or for older babies place the scarf on their head and take turns pulling it off for the peek-a-boo.
Rain on the Grass
Another absolute gem which you can repeat several times and change the weather each time. Make sure to tell parents to drop the scarf on baby when they sing “not on me!”
Rain is Falling Down
When you live in Raincouver you’ve got to have several different rain songs and this one is soothing and calm. Encourage parents to have the scarves fall like rain on baby and gently drag them across baby’s chest when they sing splash and pitter, patter, pitter, patter rain is falling down.
All the Little Babies
Consider this our challenge to engage caregivers and have some fun. Parents will get a laugh out of this one which in turn equals happy babies!
We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop
Similar to Everyone Can Shake, Shake, Shake this song is a fun way to introduce babies to the concept of stop before it’s an emergency. Encourage parents to try out new vocabulary like shiver, shake or tap when they’re singing at home.
Ride Baby Ride
This is another new song that I cannot get enough of. Parents can let baby hold the shaker while bouncing them on their lap or draw attention to the ch, ch, ch sound by shaking louder during those lines.
Head and Shoulders Baby
I like to tell parents this is a special version of head and shoulders just for baby- and it’s even more special when you sing it with shakers. Have parents gently tap on the body part they’re singing about and then shake out the 1, 2, 3.
Ending with yet another favourite. Have caregivers rock baby or just the shaker back and forth to the rhythm and then shake it up high for the cuckoo!
That about does it for using scarves and shakers in Baby Storytime. This is your friendly reminder that we’ve got a Scarf Songs and Rhymes Playlist as well as one for Egg Shaker Songs if you want more ideas and if you’ve got ideas to share please leave them below!