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


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

    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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. Pingback: Baby Storytime!
  4. 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. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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