Toddlin' Tales

From Heather McNeil at the Deschutes Public Library in Bend, OR:

“I present Toddlin’ Tales Storytime three times a week in Bend, Oregon, as part of the Deschutes Public Library.  Typically, I have 30 toddlers at each session, plus their parents and care providers.  Sometimes I have as many as 80 toddlers; registration is not required.  The program is designed for age 18-36 months, and includes 3 stories, two action rhymes, a tickle, an early literacy tip, an opening song, a closing song, and a story song before each story.  I also frequently do a “Here’s My Bag,” activity, where I pull out objects that reflect either the theme of the day, or an early literacy focus, such as words that rhyme, or words that all begin with a certain letter.  Plus I use a puppet, either Winston the sheep dog or Sapphire the rag doll cat, to open and close each session, as well as to model how to do the tickle or lap bounce rhyme.  At the end of Toddlin’ Tales, the children can come forward and hug the puppet, plus play with whatever toys were in my bag.”

Sample program

Opening song

(tune: London Bridge Is Falling Down)

Hi, hello, and how are you, how are you, how are you?
Hi, hello, and how are you?
Now it’s storytime.
Everybody clap their hands, clap their hands, clap their hands.
Everybody clap their hands.
Now it’s storytime.
Everybody give a hug, give a hug, give a hug.
Everybody give a hug.
Now it’s storytime. 

Story song

It’s Time To Sit

(tune: Sipping Cider Through a Straw)

(repeat after me wherever you see the xxx)

It’s time to sit, xxx It’s time to see (fingers around eyes) xxx
It’s time to listen xxx (cup hands around ears) To a good story. xxx
So I’ll clap my hands, xxx Then quiet as can be xxx
I’ll listen close xxx To a good story. xxx


Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh 

Counting song

This Old Man

This old man, he played one (hold up one finger)
He played knick knack (clap) on my thumb.
With a knick knack (clap) paddy whack (slap thighs)
Give a dog a bone.  (hold out hand)
This old man came rolling home.  (roll hands)
...2...shoe...3...tree...4...door...5...hive...6...bricks...7...heaven...8...gate...9...line...10, He’ll play knick knack once again….

Action song

The Ants Go Marching

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah!  Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah!  Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to run, run, run.
And they all go marching down into the ground to get out of the rain, boom, boom, boom!
...two by peek a BOO!
...3 by 3...climb a tree.
...4 by 4...stomp the floor.
...5 by 5...jump so high…. 


Hickory Dickory Dock by Keith Baker

Action rhyme

Number One

Number 1 touch your tongue….2, touch your shoe.
...3, touch your knee….4, touch the floor.
...5, dance and jive….6, give a lick.
...7, reach to heaven….8, stand so straight.
...9, run so fine….10, that’s the end!


Ten Tickles

1 little, 2 little, 3 little fingers,
4 little, 5 little, 6 little fingers,
7 little, 8 little, 9 little fingers,
10 fingers everywhere!  (tickle with all 10 fingers)


Ten In the Bed by Jane Cabrera 

Ending song

I’m Glad We Had Our Storytime

(tune:  We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

I’m glad we had our storytime, I’m glad we had our storytime
I’m glad we had our storytime, but now we must go.
Let’s all stand and jump like crazy….But then we must go.
Let’s all count to ten together….but then we must go.
Let’s all wave our hands up high, let’s all wave our hands down low,
Let’s all wave our hands to everyone, and then we must go. 

Early literacy tip

Whenever possible, rhyme with words.  “Let’s play in the sand.  It’s so grand!”  “Good morning, Jamie Bug.  Can I give you a hug?”  Put a word on the refrigerator, and all day long see who can come up with words that rhyme.  You’re teaching phonological awareness, a skill children need to be ready to read.  (and that rhymes!)