Wheely Fun! A Storytime for National Bike to Work Day

This Friday (May 20) is National Bike to Work Day, which our library system is celebrating with a series of bicycle workshops, giveaways, and free bike inspections in a three-day Bike to Your Library Weekend. Our libraries even allow patrons to check out bicycles for a week at a time from most of our locations.

Since my Outdoor Musical Storytime is at a local park, several of the kids ride their own bikes there each week, so I thought Bicycles would be a fun theme to explore.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

This book worked perfectly for storytime because it features so many farm animals. The kids loved calling out the name of each one and the sound it makes. When Duck finds an unattended bike on the farm, he enjoys showing off in front of all of the other animals, until they all decide they want to ride bikes too. I wasn’t able to get a second copy of the book in time, so my coworker Claire held up puppets of the different animals (cow, dog, mouse, etc.) as I read, and then we sang Old MacDonald Had a Farm at the end, using the same puppets.

Take a Ride By My Side by Jonathan Ying and Victoria Ying

A rhyming book reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, featuring a conversation between a cat and dog as they take a trip using bicycles, a canoe, a submarine, an airplane, and a rocket ship. They finally arrive on the Moon, and then head back home. Very cute, simple story, with clear illustrations.

Bear’s Bicycle by Laura Renald; illustrated by Jennie Poh

Bear hopes to learn to ride a bike in time for the Spring Scoot, but after following the instructions in his book, he falls down the first time he tries. He decides he needs a new book, and on his way to the library, sees several other friends learning to ride too. I had the kids act out the “pedal-wobble CRASH!” each time it came up in the story, which they loved.

SONGS:

The Wheels on the Bike

A bike version of The Wheels on the Bus.

[C]The wheels on the bike go round and round.

[G7]Round and round, [C] Round and round.

The wheels on the bike go round and round,

[G7]All over [C] town.

The helmet on my head goes on and off…

The streamers on the bike go swish, swish, swish…

The bell on the bike goes ring, ring, ring…

The light on the bikes goes blink, blink, blink…

I Have a Little Bicycle

I found this one from Miss Nina, whose video is below. I printed out pictures of a red light and a green light to hold up, and had the kids move their arms in circles while we sang:

I have a little bicycle,

I got it at the shop.

And when I see the big red light,

I know it’s time to stop!

I have a little bicycle,

I ride it to and fro.

And when I see that big green light,

I know it’s time to GO, GO, GO!

My Bicycle by Laurie Berkner

I can always count on Laurie Berkner to have a song to go with almost any theme. We did this as an instrument play-along (when we hand out shakers at the end), but it would be just as fun with just the motions. You only need two chords to play it on ukulele or the guitar:

Here’s a link to the video with the melody:

[C] First I ride my bicycle very slowly,
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba [G7] bicycle riding.

[G7] Then I ride my bicycle a little bit faster
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba [C] bicycle riding.

[C] Then I ride my bicycle even faster
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba [G7] bicycle riding.

[G7] Then I ride my bicycle
Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba bicycle,
Really, really, really, really, really, really [C] fast!

[C] First I ride my scooter very slowly,
Scoot scoot, scooby doot, [G7] scooter riding.

[G7] Then I ride my scooter a little bit faster,
Scoot scoot, scooby doot [C] scooter riding.

[C] Then I ride my scooter even faster,
Scoot scoot, scooby doot scooter riding.

[G7] Then I ride my scooter,
Scoot scoot, scooter,
Really, really, really, really, really, really [C] fast!

[C] First I walk around the house very slowly,
Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa walkin’ a- [G7]round.

Then I walk around the house a little bit faster
Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa walkin’ a-[C]round.

[C] Then I run around the house even faster
Ra-ra-ra-ra-ra runnin’ a-[G7]round.

[G7] Then I run around the house
Ra-ra run around the house,
Really, really, really, really, really, really [C] fast!

I’m really, really, really, really,
Really, really, really, really,
Really, really, really, really,
Really, really [G7] fast!

Stay & Play: Bicycle Drawings

This was a really easy project, but it was fun to see what the kids came up with. I printed out a blank sheet with a bicycle clip art picture in the corner. Then I gave the kids markers and stickers to create a picture of where they would like to ride their bicycle, or how they would like to decorate their bicycle, or the kinds of things they might see while they were riding. It was pretty open-ended. Here’s a .pdf of the template:

What are your favorite books about bicycles? Please share them in the comments.

Out of This World: A Storytime About Space

Last Saturday, May 7, was International Astronomy Day, so it seemed like a fun week to do a storytime about Space.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max

Very sweet, empowering story about a girl named Astrid, who tells her father that she wants to be an astronaut. He asks her if she’s ready to eat food out of a tube, be in zero gravity, and do science experiments, and she enthusiastically says yes. In the end, the family goes to see her mother, who is just arriving home from a space mission herself.

A Kite for Moon by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, and Matt Phelan

Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the lonely Moon, and the boy who tries to hug her. When he finds that she is too far away, he sends up kites to keep her company. He spends his whole life studying how to be an astronaut, and finally goes to visit the Moon in person, while the whole world watches.

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

This silly, colorful book got lots of giggles. When aliens come to Earth, it’s not to see you, but to steal your underpants, which they all love!

Songs:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

It’s always nice to throw this song in, since it’s a surefire way to get the families singing along. I like to sing it really fast the last time through.

[C] Twinkle, Twinkle, [F] Little [G7] Star,
[G7] How I [C] wonder [G7] what you [C] are.

[C] Up a-[F] bove the [C] world so [G7] high,

[C] Like a [F] diamond [C] in the [G7] sky,

[C] Twinkle, Twinkle, [F] Little [G7] Star,
[G7] How I [C] wonder [G7] what you [C] are.

If You’re Going to the Moon

This one is from JBrary, although I found it on this wonderful list of Space Songs for Preschools from Preschool Inspirations. It’s to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It:

[C] If you’re going to the Moon,

Wear your [G7] boots (stomp! stomp!)

[G7] If you’re going to the Moon,

Wear your [C] boots (stomp! stomp!)

If you’re [F] going to the Moon,

This is [C] what you have to do.

If you’re [G7] going to the Moon,

Wear your [C] boots (stomp! stomp!)

If you’re going to the Moon,

Wear your helmet… (mime putting on helmet)

If you’re going to the Moon,

Wear your gloves… (mime putting on gloves)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

This one is always a hit. I have the kids crouch down while we sing the first part, then jump up in the air when we blast off. Here’s a slightly different version from Jiggle Jam, which uses the same tune:

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.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Blast-off!

Rocketship Run by Laurie Berkner

This one was so much fun, and worked perfectly for the theme. Here’s a link to the You Tube video.

[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!
[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!

[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] Sun,
[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] Sun,
[C]When I [G7] get there [F] I’ll be spinning everywhere.
[C]Spinning [G7] round the [F] Sun.

[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!
[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!

[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] Moon,
[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] Moon,
[C]When I [G7] get there [F] I’ll be dancing through the air,
[C]Dancing [G7] on the [F] Sun.

[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!
[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!

[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] stars,
[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] stars,
[C]When I [G7] get there [F] I’ll be jumping everywhere,
[C]Dancing [G7] from star to [F] star.

[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!
[Am] 5-4-3-2-1 [C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run!

[C]Take me [G7] to the [F] Earth,
[C]Leave me [G7] on the [F] ground,
[C]When I [G7] get there [F] I’ll be [C] home.

[Am] 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

[C] Blast off! Another rocket [E7] ship [Am] run

Stay & Play: Mixed Media Night Sky

I originally just intended to have the kids stamp circles with pompoms dipped in tempera paint (to represent planets), and then add the sparkly star stickers. But I was surprised to see that some kids were sticking the pompoms onto their paper with the paint, which added a whole other dimension. The kids loved everything about this craft.

What are your favorite books or songs about space? Please share them in the comments.

Pet Projects: A Storytime for National Pet Week

This week is National Pet Week, which is one of the easier themes to work with. There are SO many great picture books about dogs, cats, bunnies, and even unusual pets like rhinoceroses and unicorns. The hard part was deciding which ones to read. But, with the large, spread-out crowd for our Outdoor Musical Storytime, I ended up choosing books that I hoped the kids would be able to follow, even if they couldn’t see the illustrations very clearly.

Here is what we did:

Books:

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

The Pigeon books are always a lot of fun to read aloud, and this one is no exception. The Pigeon really, really wants a puppy…until he realizes how big (and toothy!) they are. Instead, he decides, he really wants a walrus.

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

This is such a sweet book, and works well for a wide range of ages. The large, clean, black-and-white illustrations make it perfect for storytime, and so does the repetition of certain lines. When Kitten sees the full moon for the first time, she thinks it’s a big bowl of milk in the sky, and she wants it. But all of her efforts to get it just leave her soaking wet, exhausted, and hungry. Luckily, there’s a surprise waiting for her on her own front porch.

How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani, based on the song by Bob Merrill

No matter how many times I read this one, I always get choked up at the end. It’s so embarrassing! But it works so well for storytime. Iza Trapani has extended the classic song How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? to tell the story of a little boy who is saving up his money to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window. But he ends up spending all of his money on his family, and then discovers that the little dog has already been sold…and is waiting for him at home.

Songs:

B-I-N-G-O

We sang this one with the Monkey Mitt set, which has little removable dogs featuring each letter. I have the kids bark instead of clap every time we leave out a letter. This is an old standby, but here’s a video from Super Simple Songs, just in case you’re not familiar with it.

The Cat Went Fiddle-I-Fee

I love the Sam Hinton version of this song. It’s a great song for storytime, because you can ask the kids to suggests animals and sounds for each verse.

[G] I had a cat and the cat pleased me,

And I fed my cat under [D] yonder [G] tree.

And the cat went [D] fiddle-i-[G] fee.

I had a wolf and the wolf pleased me,

And I fed my wolf under yonder tree.

And the wolf went “Arrrrroooo!”

And the cat went fiddle-i-fee.

Two Little Kitty Cats

I learned this one years ago from a Music Together class. Here’s a video from Sally’s Music Circle with the tune:

Two little kitty cats lying in the sun (crouch down)

One jumped up and said, “I’d like to run!” (jump up and run in place)

Then said the other one, “I’ll run too!

Running, running, running, and I’ll play with you!

Meow! Meow! Meow!

Two little puppy dogs lying in the park,

One jumped up and said, “I’d like to bark.”

Then said the other one, “I’ll bark too,

Running, running, running and I’ll play with you.”

Woof! Woof! Woof!

How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Bob Merrill

I sang this one for our instrument playalong (when we hand out shakers to the kids). Here’s a link to the Patti Page version. It’s very easy to play on the guitar or ukulele, since it only has two chords:

CHORUS

[C] How much is that doggie in the [G] window? (Arf! Arf!)

The one with the waggley [C] tail?

How much is that doggie in the [G] window? (Arf! Arf!)

I do hope that doggie’s for [C] sale!

VERSE 1

[C] I must take a trip to [G] California,

And leave my poor sweetheart a-[C]lone.

If he has a dog, he won’t be [G] lonesome,

And the doggie will have a good [C] home.

CHORUS

[C] I read in the paper there are [G] robbers,

With flashlights that shine in the [C] dark.

My love needs a doggie to [G] protect him,

And scare them away with one [C] bark. BARK!

CHORUS

Stay & Play: Paper Bag Puppets

I got this idea from the Ann Arbor Library District web site. I had precut different shapes for ears out of construction paper (triangles for cats, ovals for dogs and bunnies, circles for mice). For the craft, I put out paper lunch bags for each child, along with the ears, some gluesticks, markers, googly eyes, and some foam shapes. One thing I love about the stay & play crafts is that a lot of the caregivers end up collaborating on the project, especially the ones with toddlers and preschoolers, and they all really seem to enjoy it.

What are your favorite books about pets? Please share them in the comments.