I’m updating my toddler storytime series, yay! This week is all about moving, grooving, and putting all that squirmy toddler energy to good use. To read more about toddler storytime, check out the links below:
- How I Plan
- Favourite Read Alouds
- Favourite Read Alouds, Part 2
- Favourite Songs and Rhymes
- Favourite Songs and Rhymes, Part 2
- Songs To Get the Wiggles Out
- How I Incorporate Puppets
- Favourite Felt Stories
- Favourite Felt Stories, Part 2
A toddler’s physical development is closely tied to their literacy development. It’s unfair of us to expect them to sit still for a 30-minute storytime, and I always let caregivers know it’s okay if their toddler moves around as long as the caregiver keeps them clear of my storytime supplies. Here are some of my recent favourite ways of making movement fun at storytime.
My mom takes my 2-year-old nephew to storytime every week down in Southern California, and they play this one every week. My nephew loves it! I knew it would be perfect for toddler storytime – you just need some room to stretch and march.
Before I sing this one I tell caregivers that one of the ways you can make learning to stop fun is by practicing it in a song. I do three verses: walking, tip toe, and marching. Get creative and ask the kids for other actions you can do.
Oh, I really love this one! Being able to follow three simple directions by the time they start kindergarten helps kids do better in school, and this song helps them practice that skill. I sing it very, very slowly the first time and then get faster and faster. We always joke about being ducks and not even knowing it.
If you’re like me and do Zoom, Zoom, Zoom every single week for fear of a toddler riot, then you’ll love this pirate themed version. Pair it with our ocean themed version of The Elevator Song and you’re halfway to a pirate themed storytime. One of the things I tell caregivers is that even if a toddler can’t get both feet off the ground when jumping at the end, they are still practicing their gross motor skills.
Get ready to shake your booty! Probably most appropriate for the autumn season, I’ve also been using this squirrel song to practice colours. It also works perfectly as a scarf song because you can use the colours of the scarves as inspiration for the lyrics.
My toddlers adore Bananas Unite, so when I learned these new verses with verbs like shuck, slice, peel, pop, and squeeze I was sold. I use this one often when I visit preschools right before lunchtime because they can connect the song to something they are about to do – eat!
Start with your thumbs, move to your hands, then your arms, then your legs, then your hips, then your whole body. You will *literally* get the wiggles out! I like doing this one with toddlers because you can extend the song as much as you’d like or just do a few verses depending on their levels of wiggles.
Another great one for teaching the power of stopping. Mix it up with actions such as wiggling, bouncing, jumping, tapping, waving, spinning, clapping, and stomping. This makes a fun prop song too if you want to add in some shakers, scarves, or rhythm sticks.
This right here is my go-to, all time favourite way of getting toddlers to sit down. It starts with actions – clapping hands, jumping – but it ends with a quiet, gentle instruction to get seated. I don’t know why it works so well, but this song never fails me. We get one last chance to move before settling down for a story.
What are your favourite songs to help toddlers express their energy? Let me know in the comments!