State of the Art: A Storytime about Painting

It was a beautiful day in the park today, and we had a great time sharing stories and songs about painting. Here’s what we did:


Monet’s Cat by Lily Murray and Becky Cameron

This book was a lot longer than the ones I usually share, since my group tends to skew more towards toddlers, but it was such a cute story I couldn’t resist. When the famous artist, Claude Monet, brings his porcelain cat, Chika, to life by tapping her with his paintbrush, she causes lots of trouble by wandering through his paintings. I kept the kids engaged by having them act out things that the cat was doing (yawning, stretching, nibbling bread, and waggling her tail). The author includes pictures of several of Monet’s paintings at the end, along with a photo of his actual porcelain cat.

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow

This is one of my all-time favorite storytime books, and it worked perfectly with the theme. Sung to the tune of It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (here’s a link to a Cocomelon video for the tune), this colorful book tells the story of a boy who gets in trouble for painting all over the house. But even though his mother has ordered him to stop, he can’t resist painting himself all over. Before we read the book, I handed out play scarves for the song Paint with Me. While I read, I had the kids pretend to paint their own heads, arms, legs, etc. with their scarves.

Bear’s Picture by Daniel Pinkwater; illustrated by D. B. Johnson

Cute story about a bear who paints a picture, only to face criticism by two very proper gentlemen. But Bear doesn’t care–he just keeps painting until his picture is complete, and then looking at it because it makes him happy. This was a great lead-in to our pom-pom painting activity.

Songs & Rhymes:

I Have a Cat

We did this rhyme after reading Monet’s Cat, and the kids loved it:

I have a cat (pet imaginary cat).

My cat lies flat (put one arm on top of the other).

I have a cat (pet imaginary cat),

He wears a hat (pat your head).

I have a cat (pet imaginary cat),

He caught a rat (clap your hands together).

I have a cat (pet imaginary cat),

Purr, purr, MEOW!

Paint with Me

Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. We handed out play scarves ahead of time, and asked the kids to wave the scarves like paint brushes while we sang the song together.

Grab your brush and paint with me.

Paint a flower, paint a tree.

Paint it fast, and paint it slow.

Paint up high, then paint down low.

Paint in zig-zags, circles too.

How I love to paint with you!

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

We sang this as a follow-up to Ain’t Gonna Paint No More. I like to sing it three times through, getting faster and faster each time. This is an old stand-by, but here’s a video from ABC Mouse, in case you need the tune.

Head and shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.

Head and shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.

And eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose.

Head and shoulders, knees and toes,

Knees and toes.

Rainbow Round Me by Ruth Pelham

We did this song as our instrument play-along, after we handed out egg shakers and maracas. I asked the kids to suggest things they might see outside the window for each verse. We had a blue ocean, a purple tree, a yellow bird, and a green dinosaur.

When I [C] look outside my [G7] window,
There’s a world of color I [C] see.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
There’s a [G7] world of color I [C] see.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

And the [C] ocean outside my [G7] window,
Is as blue as blue can [C] be.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
It’s as [G7] blue as blue can [C] be.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

And the [C] tree outside my [G7] window,
Is as purple as purple can [C] be.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
It’s as [G7] purple as purple can [C] be,

And the ocean is as [G7] blue as blue can [C] be.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

Stay & Play: Pom-Pom Painting

Pom-Pom Painting (the rock is to hold the paper down, because it was windy)

This process art activity was so easy, and the kids had a great time. I put out bowls of tempera paint (with three different colors in each bowl), along with some pom-poms of different sizes, and paper.

It was fun to watch the different ways the kids approached the project. Some were very deliberate about how they placed each pom-pom print, while others used the pom-poms more like a paint brush.

What are your favorite picture books about painting and art? Please share them in the comments below.


Swimming with Sharks: A Storytime for Shark Awareness Day

July 14 was Shark Awareness Day so we had a great time celebrating our toothy ocean friends today. I had actually planned to do it last week, but I ended up catching COVID from my daughter and having to take an unexpected two weeks off of work. Thankfully, my coworkers stepped in to cover for me while I was out.

Here’s what we did:


I’m a Shark by Bob Shea

This is one of my favorite books to read aloud. A brave shark brags about how he’s not not afraid of anything: dinosaurs, bears, giant squid, even the dark. But he seems a little bit nervous about spiders. A parent who also teaches preschool said this was one of her favorite books too.

Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway

Very cute story about a friendly shark who just wants to play, but all of the fish swim away from him in fear. When they all get caught in a fisherman’s net, Smiley Shark saves the day by scaring the fisherman with his big smile.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist and Julia Gorton

Cute adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, about three fish who set out to build their own homes in the ocean. Both the seaweed and sand houses get destroyed by a big shark, but when he tries to chomp down the third fish’s home in a wooden ship, he knocks out all of his teeth.


Slippery Fish

We did this one with puppets (a fish, an octopus, a shark, and a whale). Here’s a video by Silvia Sanchez with the tune.

Slippery Fish, Slippery Fish,
Swimming in the water.
Slippery Fish, Slippery Fish,
Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

She was eaten by an octopus, octopus,
Swimming in the water.
Octopus, Octopus,
Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

He was eaten by a great white shark,
Great white shark,
Swimming in the water,
Great white shark, Great white shark.
Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

She was eaten by a humongous whale,
Humongous whale,
Swimming in the water,
Humongous whale,
Humongous whale,
Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!
BURP!! Pardon me!


This is an old standby of mine, except I changed the words from a fish to a shark, which made it a lot more exciting.


I caught a shark alive!

I let him go,

And he bit my toe…Ouch!


The Sharks in the Ocean

I found this ocean-themed version of The Wheels on the Bus on I asked the kids for suggestions of other animals.

[C]The sharks in the ocean go chomp, chomp, chomp,

[G7]Chomp, chomp, chomp, [C] chomp, chomp, chomp.

The sharks in the ocean go chomp, chomp, chomp,

[G7]All day [C] long.

The crabs in the ocean go click, click, click…

The turtles in the ocean go snap, snap, snap…

The fish in the ocean go gulp, gulp, gulp…

The whales in the ocean go spout, spout, spout…\

Baby Shark

Of course, we had to end with the PinkFong version of Baby Shark!

C] Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo

[F] Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo

[Am] Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo

[G] Baby shark!

Mommy shark…

Daddy shark…

Grandma Shark…

Grandpa Shark…

Let’s go hunt!…

Run Away…

Safe at last…

That’s the end…

Stay & Play: Shark Scene

I found this fun craft on I had printed and cut out shark pictures ahead of time, along with strips of colored tissue paper to make seaweed. For the stay & play, I put out pieces of blue paper, glue sticks, the shark pictures, the tissue paper, and some play sand (the sand was everyone’s favorite part, but they liked the sharks too).

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