I was inspired by a recent post by Librarian Jenna titled What’s in the Sky? which features all kinds of fun songs and stories about, well, things that come from the sky! For anyone who follows us on Twitter, you may notice we like to talk about the weather A LOT. So, it was a natural choice for my next blog post to reach into the vaults of Youtube and pull together some of our favourite songs about meteorological wonders! These songs and rhymes are perfect because they are universal in their appeal, can be adapted to fit different themes or just to get kids up and moving.
This storytime was inspired by the great city I live in, Vancouver, BC and wanted to share this love with children and families. These are the songs and books I used for a 30-minute Preschool Storytime. You can hear all of the songs and rhymes by clicking on the Watch Here links. For more ideas about city living with kids check out our Pinterest board here.
Books I Shared:
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle City Lullaby by Marilyn Singer
This folktale explains why some animals appear in certain places, while other animals don’t. We’ve slightly modified it to fit into a city themed storytime. You can find the basic outline of the story which can be told by as many or as few people as you’d like in the About section under our Youtube video.
A hip, a hip, a hippopotamus Got on, got on, got on a city bus And all, and all, and all the people said, “You’re squishing us!” (hug baby) A sheep, a sheep, a sheep got on a city bus and all, and all, and all the people said, “Baaaack up!” A cow, a cow, a cow got on a bus And all, and all, and all the people said, “Mooooove over!”
The seals on the bus go arp, arp, arp arp, arp, arp, arp, arp, arp The seals on the bus go arp, arp, arp All around the town.
The rabbits on the bus go up and down… The snakes on the bus go hiss, hiss, hiss The monkeys on the bus go eeh, eeh, eeh, The tigers on the bus go roar, roar, roar The geese on the bus go honk, honk, honk The people on the bus go help, help, help!
This is the key to the city. The city is on a hill. And on the hill is a street. And on that street there is a house. And in that house there is a room. And in that room there is a bed. And on that bed there is a basket. And in that basket there is a blanket. And under that blanket there is a baby. The baby in the basket The basket on the bed The bed in the room The room in the house The house on the street The street on the hill The hill in the city And this is the key to the city.
This is the way we pound the nails, pound the nails, pounds the nails This is the way we pound the nails so early in the morning. This is the way we saw the wood, saw the wood, saw the wood. This is the way we saw the wood so early in the morning.
Other Verses: Stack the bricks, Stir the paint, Paint the wall
One little house all alone it stood Then another was built There grows the neighborhood. Two little houses… Three little houses… Four little houses… Five little houses All together they stood On a beautiful street in a happy neighborhood.
Oh the city is great and the city is grand There’s a whole lot of people on a little piece of land And we live way up on the 57th floor and this is what we do when we go out the door. We take the elevator up and the elevator down, take the elevator up, take the elevator down Take the elevator up and the elevator down and we turn around.
Zoom down the highway Zoom down the highway Zoom down the highway Fast! Up goes the drawbridge Up goes the drawbridge Up goes the drawbridge The ship is going past. Down goes the drawbridge Down goes the drawbridge Down goes the drawbridge The ship has past at last. Zoom down the highway Zoom down the highway Zoom down the highway Fast!
This 30-minute storytime was designed for a family storytime with a mix of ages and language abilities. You can hear all of the songs and rhymes by clicking on the Watch Here links. If you’d like to hear more songs about food, check out our Food playlist. For more Making Food storytime ideas, check out our Pinterest board!
Books I Shared:
To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda; illustrated by Janet Stevens Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
I tried to choose books that dealt with buying food, making food, and eating food. To Market, To Market and Bee-bim Bop! use a lot of repetition which is what I was looking for knowing a lot of the kids are English language learners. I also wanted to feature foods from a non-Western culture, not only to make it more inclusive, but also to expose Canadian children to foods from around the world.
Bananas Unite! (clap hands above head) We pick bananas, pick pick bananas (do a “milking” motion up and down in the air) And peel bananas, peel peel bananas (hands spread to side-right and left alternating) And chop bananas, chop chop bananas (karate chop in front of body) And mash bananas, mash mash bananas (hands in fists, “pounding” the air) And eat bananas, eat eat bananas (“scoop” bananas into your mouth) Then go bananas! (jump around wildly)
The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos Happy Belly, Happy Smile by Rachel Isadora Soup Day by Melissa Iwai Tyler Makes Pancakes by Tyler Florence Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly by Carolyn Parkhurst; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison; illustrated by Joe Cepeda How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman Whopper Cake by Karma Wison and Will Hillenbrand The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philemon Sturges; illustrated by Amy Walrod
This 30-minute storytime is aimed at welcoming new families to the library. It includes songs, rhymes and stories which celebrate reading, books and using the library as a family. You can hear all of the songs and rhymes by clicking on the Watch Here links. For more library storytime ideas, check out our Pinterest board!
Books I Shared:
Beverly Billingsly Borrows a Book by Alexander Stadler Read it, Don’t Eat it! by Ian Schoenherr We’re Going on a Book Hunt by Pat Miller and Nadine Bernard Westcott It’s a Book by Lane Smith
The more we get together, together, together The more we get together The happier we’ll be For your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends The more we get together The happier we’ll be
The more we read together, together, together the more we read together the happier we’ll be. Read big books and small books Read short books and tall books The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
If you’re happy and you know it read a book (read a book) If you’re happy and you know it read a book (read a book) If you’re happy and you know and you really want to show it If you’re happy and you know it read a book (read a book)
Alternate verses: turn the page, renew the book, swipe your card, tell a friend
Mmm ahh went the little green frog one day. Mmm ahh went the little green frog. Mmm ahh went the little green frog one day. And they all went mmm, mmm, ahh. But… We know frogs go (clap) shanananana. (clap) shanananana. (clap) shanananana. We know frogs go (clap) shanananana. They don’t go mmm, mmm, ahh.
Bloop, bloop went the little blue fish one day. Bloop, bloop went the little blue fish. Bloop, bloop went the little blue fish one day. And they all went bloop, bloop, bloop. But.. We know fish go (kiss) kissy, kissy kiss. (kiss) kissy, kissy kiss. (kiss) kissy, kissy kiss. We know fish go (kiss) kissy, kissy kiss. They don’t go bloop, bloop, bloop.
This 30-minute storytime has been adapted from one I learned from Allison Taylor McBryde in my Children’s Services courses. You can hear all of the songs and rhymes by clicking on the Watch Here links. For more transportation storytime ideas, check out our Pinterest board!
Books I Shared:
Who’s Driving? by Leo Timmers Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha Down by the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter Freight Train by Donald Crews
Who is Driving? is a highly interactive story that helps kids learn to make inferences. I did this one first, but it could have easily come last because it kept the kids engaged the whole time. When I do Trashy Town, I teach everyone three hand movements that match the refrain in the book: dump it in, smash it down, drive around the trashy town. It’s a great way to emphasize the repetition and get the kids involved. I sing Down by the Station to the tune of Little Bunny Foo Foo. Lastly, I did Freight Train as a felt story. I don’t have the pattern to share, but you can find it here with lots of good early literacy tips as well.
I’m in the mood for singing. Hey, how about you? I’m in the mood for singing. Hey, how about you? I’m in the mood for singing, singing along with you. Hey, hey, what do you say? I’m in the mood for that today. Hey, hey, what do you say? I’m in the mood for that.
Other Verses: Clapping, Stomping, Listening, Reading
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom We’re going to the moon Zoom, Zoom, Zoom We’re going to the moon If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship Zoom, Zoom, Zoom We’re going to the moon In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,,, Blast off!
This song is an African American spiritual. I have the kids sway side to side and then lift their arms (or their whole bodies) when the waves are high.
I’m sitting in a boat And the boat is rocking, rocking, rocking I’m sitting in a boat And the boat is rocking, rocking, rocking I’m sitting in a boat And the waves are oh so high Oh so high in the morning Lord, Lord, Lord
The books were such a hit! Three out of the four were very interactive and I think that helped keep the attention of the 2-year-olds who tagged along with their older siblings. When signing I’m Sitting in a Boat, I mentioned that the rhythm of the song would make a great lullaby or bedtime song for any age group. If I could do it again, I would introduce the sign language stop light rhyme at the beginning of the storytime and then again at the end to reinforce the signs.
This 30-minute storytime was designed for a ages 3-5 years. You can hear all of the songs and rhymes by clicking on the Watch Here links. For more Superhero storytime ideas, check out our Pinterest board!
Books I Shared:
The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis Felt Story: Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident by George McClements
I was really conscious of making sure there was an even amount of boy vs. girl superheroes, or gender neutral pronouns used throughout today’s storytime. I wanted to read Soman and Davis’s other book, Ladybug Girl, but it was checked out. The kids loved the stories, and Baron Von Baddie was a great choice for discussing motives and words like villain, enemy, and nemesis. When we did the felt story we talked about how you have to have courage and a brave spirit when you face monsters. I also like to pitch it to parents as a way to teach their kids to deconstruct their fears.
A little brown bear, went in search of some honey (shade eyes with hand) Isn’t it funny, a bear wanting honey? (shrug shoulders) He sniffed at the breeze (lift head and pretend to sniff) And listened for bees (hold hand to ear) And wouldn’t you believe it (shake index finger) He even climbed trees! (pretend to climb)
We adapted this book as a flannel song which you can watch here. We used the repeating refrain, “Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam” and had the kids help us count to ten.
All around the strawberry fields, We picked some juicy berries We brought them home and washed them off, Pop! Go the berries! (have kids jump up on “pop”) Other verses: blueberry, blackberry, huckleberry, raspberry
Grizzly bears are big and brown, Big and brown, big and brown, Grizzly bears are big and brown, And live in the woods. Polar bears are soft and white, Soft and white, soft and white, Polar bears are soft and white, And live where it’s cold. Teddy bears are just my size, Just my size, just my size, Teddy bears are just my size, To cuddle with at night.
We had a lot of toddlers mixed in with this preschool group, so it was nice to have a large range of songs and rhymes to choose from. Starting with the oral story was a good choice as the kids were engaged the whole time. They especially liked it when tiny chipmunk pops up out of the log. Many of the preschoolers understood the humor in Jez Alborough’s Where’s My Teddy? and we will definitely use that book again. Both of the berry songs were a hit – the kids loved popping up and shouting out different names of berries! We’ll be recycling these songs in any future summer-themed storytimes we do in the next few months.