Overlooked and undervalued, transitions are the secret superhero of any great storytime. Or heck, anytime you’re trying to help kidlets move from one activity to the next! I for one had no idea how important transitions were until I started doing Toddler Storytimes on the regular and now I collect and admire them like gemstones. Think I’m crazy? You only need one koala or kid to give you this look before you wise up to the ways of the transition song, rhyme or activity.
So let’s jump right in, first I’d like to share some of my favourite songs and rhymes which can be used when transitioning between parts of your storytime. Many of these have been picked up from other librarians, early childhood educators, and daycare workers. In case you’ve never noticed, anyone who deals with toddlers and preschoolers on a daily basis basically becomes a professional transitionalist. For an example of this check out Teaching Mama’s awesome list of ideas!
My Two Hands
If You’re Ready for a Story
Toddler Stretching Rhymes: Reach for the Ceiling and First You Stretch High
I’m in the Mood for Singing (or whatever!)
Open, Shut Them
I’m an Airplane
Put Your Wiggles in the Bag
Put Your Hands up High
Everybody Count One
One of the best parts of blogging is when people comment and share their brilliant ideas. The lovely Naomi shared this version of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear which ends in sit down please:
Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch the sky
Teddy bear, teddy bear wink one eye
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch your nose
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch your toes
Teddy bear, teddy bear touch your knees
Teddy bear, teddy bear sit down please!
The other type of transition comes with its own meme and came up lately in response to our post about rhythm sticks. And this transition is: we’re so excited to being using scarves, shakers and sticks but how do we mitigate the chaos which is handing out and collecting play items when a bazillion little grabby hands are involved?!
We’re so glad to have our colleagues over at Storytime Underground for tricky questions just like this! The Ninjas give some great and varied ideas for techniques, language (“You get what you get and you don’t get upset!”) and even games to get play items out to your folks and back again without tears being shed. We asked our wonderful friends on Twitter and they came up with using a container by the door with a sign that says “Please take one as you come in”, leaving piles around your storytime space so folks can help themselves and/or passing around a container or two so families can take one and pass it on. In our comment section Lisa suggested the song “Goodbye shakers, goodbye shakers, goodbye shakers, I’m glad you came to play OR I’m glad you came today” OR singing “Shakers away, shakers away, time to put our shakers away!” Yay for sharing!
And going beyond storytime there are lots of fun games and songs to use with school age kids too. My personal favourite is playing “Would You Rather,” using lots of characters, settings and animals from books they might be enjoying or the old classic arrange yourselves by height without saying a word challenge. Sigh! When all else fails (with any age!) my newest transition is as simple as it gets: take a deeeeeep breath in, let it out slowly and take a seat on the floor.
What do you guys use for moving between activities with tweens? What songs and rhymes work for settling down your storytime crowd? Do you have any great tips for ensuring smooth programs where scarves, shakers and sticks go out and come back in without a fuss? Please share below!