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 Babytime Series:

Our Other 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
  • Mother Goose on the Loose : A Handbook and CD-ROM Kit with Sripts, Rhymes, Songs, Flannel-board Patterns, and Activities for Promoting Early Childhood Development (2006) by Betsy Diamant-Cohen
  • Early Literacy Programming en Español: Mother Goose on the Loose Programs for Bilingual Learners (2010) by Betsy Diamant-Cohen
  • The Early Literacy Kit: A Handbook and Tip Cards (2009) by Betsy Diamant-Cohen and Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting

41 thoughts on “Baby Storytime: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. Yep, I’ll just link to all your posts and my youth services grad course is taught! Another incredible resource post! You guys rock!! Prof. Marge

    1. Haha thanks Marge! We try to fill the need where we see it.

  2. …I have to echo your recommendation for “Baby Storytime Magic”. I just browsed it the other day and I LOVE IT! So many great songs & books, and the literacy bits are invaluable.

    1. We are so glad to see more of these books being published – definitely a sign of our growing service to the youngest of patrons.

  3. Starting a regular baby time next week – excited and nervous! Thanks for all the great references!!

    1. No problem, Jane! I’m sure you’ll rock it!

    1. Thanks, Jane! I added it in under Blogs with a link directly to your Baby Storytime wiki page.

  4. Thank you for adding me to this list! I can’t believe I forgot to add this Jbrary resource page in my list of great baby storytime resources. I’m fixing that right now.

    1. No worries! I just discovered your blog and have added it to our blogroll. Loving all your posts!

  5. Thanks for including the Mother Goose on the Loose website.
    Please feel free to add my following Mother Goose on the Loose books (published by ALA Editions/Neal-Schuman) as resources for baby storytime:
    Mother Goose on the loose : a handbook and CD-ROM kit with scripts, rhymes, songs, flannel-board patterns, and activities for promoting early childhood development
    Early literacy programming en español : Mother Goose on the Loose programs for bilingual learners

    Thanks for your great blog!

    1. Thank you, Betsy! I will add them in for sure.

  6. OMG, i am soooo honored to see my blog listed on this post! You guys are my idols!! Doing the happy dance now (-:

    1. haha, thank you for writing such a wonderful blog! We love to link to it 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for all of these tips! I’m starting up an infant lapsit for the first time and I’m very excited to bring it to our community – and now I’m not nervous at all with all of these helpful tips!!!

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear! We also just started a new series on baby storytime, so keep your eye out for even more posts!

      1. Can’t wait for more posts! Thanks so much, ladies! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Baby Storytime!
  9. As always and again, your blog has provided inspiration, information and the actual tune to baby bounces (ha!). We had 30 babies today at our 2nd “Baby & Me @ the Library” and it was a joyous time 🙂 Thank you, thank you both!!

    1. That is so wonderful to hear! It sounds like you’ve got an eager audience ready to bounce, sing, and play 🙂

  10. Thank you very much — this post (another the others on baby lapsits) have helped me so much to put together my own program!!

      1. haha, I am often a culprit of too fast fingers 🙂 I’m so glad the babytime posts have been helpful to you – it really makes my day getting this kind of feedback!

  11. Hi Dana and Lindsey,
    I plan to begin a sing along and story time where I live in France, mainly to benefit my 17 month old daughter…but also for her little friends in the village. What age group would you recommend opening it up to, bearing in mind that parents would be present: 0-3? Is this too wide a range?
    Also, because this would be delivered to French speakers, but in English, I would use lots of repetition and have a flip chart as you’ve done, as well as email links to the songs weekly (Jbrary videos?! 🙂 Do you have any other information I should consider? Perhaps even some links to librarians writing about such activities with an immigrant population learning English in Canada perhaps? Thanks! 🙂

    1. How lucky are those kids! If I had to decide on the age range, I would consider a few factors. How many kids will be attending? I suggest the more kids the smaller the age range. Otherwise it can turn into (somewhat) controlled chaos. I think 0-3 would work for a small group; however, bear in mind that a 6-month-old will be interested in way different things than a 3-year-old so you’ll have to think of activities that can be adapted for little babies and walking, talking preschoolers at the same time. Some people split their storytimes by developmental ability rather than age. So for example you could have walkers and non-walkers. At my library we do a babytime for 0-18 months and a toddler storytime for 18 months – 3 years. But again, some older babies do better in toddler storytime if they are already walking because it’s more active and we do more felt stories which they enjoy. If you’ve got a small group though, I think 0-3 is perfectly doable, especially since you’ll get to know the kids and what they like best. I think you are on the right track with the flip chart and videos – thanks so much for sharing Jbrary! The only other thing I would suggest is to consider using felt stories and puppets (if you haven’t already) as they tend to hold the attention of toddlers better than just singing. I’ve got a whole series on toddler storytime that you might find useful. I don’t know of anyone writing specifically about these kinds of activities – the closest I can think of are American bloggers sharing bilingual storytime tips but they are for Spanish speakers. There is a Facebook group called Storytime Underground that you could post in with your questions too and thousands of other storytime providers may respond. Hope this helps! Best of luck to you – I’m sure it will be amazing!

  12. I’m new to sharing babytimes, thank you for sharing this resource page! I haven’t combed through it yet, but I often visit your page for ideas, and I’m wondering if you could suggest anyone who does babytimes (10-18mo) in a daycare setting? I’m struggling to translate rhymes from one on one (parent/child) iteractions to where 2-3 caregivers and I can engage 8-12 babies at a time. There must be librarians who provide outreach like this right?

    1. Hmmm, I haven’t seen anyone blog about this topic specifically. It’s definitely a totally different type of storytime! When I do outreach toddler visits with that kind of adult/child ratio I usually stick to really familiar songs and rhymes – Head and Shoulders, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle. Mainly to try and keep the little ones engaged. That age group also benefits most from gross motor activities so songs that have jumping, walking, stretching would be a good choice. I know it can feel like barely controlled chaos, but it’s the age group not you! Perhaps if you asked the Storytime Underground Facebook Group you could find others who have song and rhyme suggestions.

  13. I have just started a new job as a children’s librarian and would not be able to start without your guys help! It is SO valuable to me, you have no idea! Thank you so much

    1. Oh wow, that means a lot! Thank you so much for this feedback – I really appreciate it 🙂

  14. I came across your blog and resources and I can only say that they are marvelous!! There are no words to describe the wonderful work you two do..thanks a lot!!

    1. Thank you so much, Monica, for your kind words!

  15. Hello ladies,
    I know this was from a few years ago but… thoughts on older siblings (still toddler/pre-k) in baby storytime? We held baby storytime for a while but due to popularity of our storytimes (80+ x2) and our room (no storytime room for us) we had to cut it. Now, we are thinking of bringing it back but we have a lot of families that have babies (birth to 18 months) that have older siblings that are toddlers and pre-k that would “ruin” the storytime aspect (talking) and playtime (I’ve seen a toddler tackle a 6 mo baby).
    Do you allow older siblings in on baby or any advice for us? Thanks,
    Ashley Bigay

    1. Hi Ashley, great question! My library offers a family storytime open to ages 0 – 5 twice a week and a babytime twice a week. Because of this I don’t get a lot of older siblings tagging along to babytime because those families will go to the family storytime instead. If I do get an older sibling coming in with the baby sibling I try to welcome them as best I can because I know it can be hard on caregivers with multiple kids. If they are old enough I will give them a stuffy or puppet to use as a baby themselves. But I’ve only ever had 1 or 2 at a time and can easily see how the babytime would transform into a “not babytime” if a high percentage of people brought older siblings with them. Do you offer any other storytimes for a mixed-age group? Based on your demographics maybe that would be a better option? Or if you have the support of your coworkers/managers you could start to have conversations with those families asking them to come to your other storytimes instead so that babytime stays focused on the babies. I know that’s tough though. Another option is to make babytime registration based so that you can have those conversations before the program starts, though I know registration can be a hassle and a barrier. I’m sorry I don’t have a perfect solution for you. I think if it was me I would start directing those families to other options because otherwise the benefits of the babytime program specifically are diminished. I wish you and your library all the best! You could try posing this question in the Storytime Underground Facebook group and see what others say too.

  16. Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been a children’s librarian for about 2 years now and believe it or not I have never done a baby storytime until today! This has helped me immensely and I think everyone had a great time! I can’t wait to do more and incorporate more of the rhymes/bounces that you guys have recommended. Thanks again!

    1. Welcome to the family 🙂 Babytime is one of my favourite parts of the job. So glad this was useful to you!

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