Thank You Very Much! A Thanksgiving Storytime

It was a beautiful day at the park today for our Outdoor Musical Storytime. After our opening song (Put Your Finger in the Air), I asked the families what they were thankful for. They said sunshine, ice cream, and librarians (Awww!).

Here’s what we did for the storytime:

Books:

Firefighter’s Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Terry Widener

To be honest, I don’t like a lot of Thanksgiving picture books,because they often only focus on turkeys who are in danger of being eaten. This book is a rare exception, and I never get tired of reading it. It’s Thanksgiving Day at Fire Station 1, and firefighter Lou volunteers to cook the Thanksgiving meal. But the cooking keeps getting interrupted by calls to put out fires, and Lou gets injured in a big fire that afternoon. The firefighters are relieved to hear that he’ll be okay, but they still have no Thanksgiving dinner, and the calls keep coming. But while they are out fighting yet another fire, people from the town bring them a meal and a note to say thank you. Told in simple, rhymed verse, this is one of the most poignant Thanksgiving books I’ve ever read. The kids loved making bell sounds with me every time I said, “A call comes in…”

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Another rhyming book, this time about Bear, who would love to share a special meal with his friends, but discovers that his cupboards are bare. He is surprised when all of his animal friends show up bringing special dishes of their own to share, but is sad that he has nothing to contribute to the feast. His friends tell him that he can share stories instead, and they all say thanks to each other. I love the large, warm illustrations in the Bear books, and the story does a nice job of illustrating the idea of sharing a meal with friends and loved ones. I taught the kids the sign for Thanks, and we all used it on the repeated line, “And the Bear said, “Thanks!”

You Are My Happy by Hoda Kotb; illustrated by Suzie Mason

Sweet story about a baby bear and his mother sharing simple things throughout the day that made them happy. I like this book because thinking about things that make you happy is probably easier for younger kids to understand than the concept of feeling “Thankful.” Some of the parents were intrigued to learn that the book was written by Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb, and the book got lots of “Awww’s” at the end when the mother bear says, “You are my happy!” The illustrations are lovely too.

Songs:

Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck!

We sang this one as a follow-up to Firefighter’s Thanksgiving. I had the kids pretend to put on their fire fighter gear, and then we slid down the pole before climbing into the truck. We sang the whole thing through three times, getting faster each time (the kids loved it!). There are lots of different versions, but these are the words I use. Here’s a video from Kiboomers with the tune.

Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Hurry, Hurry, Spray the water…

Hurry, Hurry, Climb the ladder…

Hurry, Hurry, Save the kitty cat…

Hurry, Hurry, Back to the station…

If You’re Thankful and You Know It

To the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It:

[C] If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your [G7] hands (clap, clap)

If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your [C] hands (clap, clap)

If you’re [F] thankful and you know it, and you [C] really want to show it,

If you’re [G7] thankful and you know it, clap your [C] hands! (clap, clap)

If you’re thankful and you know it, give a hug… (hug yourself, or a caregiver)…

If you’re thankful and you know it, say “Thank you!” Thank you!

The Turkey Jerky

To the tune of The Hokey Pokey. Although I don’t like focusing on the eating turkeys part of Thanksgiving, I do love doing this song at storytime!

You put your right wing in,

You put your right wing out,

You put your right wing in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the turkey jerky and you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about! Gobble! Gobble!

Repeat with your left wing, your right drumstick (right foot), left drumstick, waddle (your chin), and tail feathers!

I Am Thankful

I wrote this one a while ago. Feel free to use it or adapt it however you like. We did it as our instrument play-along at the end:

[C] I am thankful for
The [F] colors that I see,
For [C] friends who play with me,
And for my [G7] loving family.

[C] I am thankful for [F] rainbows in the sky,
For the [C] taste of pumpkin pie,
And for a [G7] warm hug when I cry.

I’m thankful [F] for the sky above
I’m thankful [C] for the ones I love,
[D] My cozy bed at night,
And for [G] the summer sun so bright.
[C] I am thankful for the [F] monkeys at the zoo
But [C] most of all I’m [G7] thankful for [C] YOU!

[C] I am thankful for [F] bubbles in the air,
For a [C] cool breeze in my hair,
And for my [G7] snuggly teddy bear.
[C] I am thankful for [F] yummy things to eat,
For [C] ice cream cones so sweet,
And for a [G7] special birthday treat.

I’m thankful [F] for the sky above
I’m thankful [C] for the ones I love,
[D] My cozy bed at night,
And for [G] the summer sun so bright.
[C] I am thankful for the [F] monkeys at the zoo
But [C] most of all I’m [G7] thankful,

[C] I am so very [F] thankful!
[C] Most of all I’m [G7] thankful for [C] YOU!

Stay & Play: Watercolor Turkeys

I don’t often do watercolor as a Stay & Play Activity because the set-up can be a little involved. But the kids always LOVE it! In fact, the biggest problem is that many of them don’t want to stop painting, and cry when it’s time to stop.

For today, I printed out turkey pictures (I used this one from printablee.com) on card stock, and put them out on the tables along with watercolor sets, small paintbrushes, and cups of water. I told the kids they could either paint the turkey or turn the paper over and paint whatever they liked. Most of the kids opted to paint the turkey, but we did have some nice original paintings as well.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for all of you, and especially love hearing about your favorite books, songs, and ideas. Please share them in the comments below!

Be Kind: A Storytime for World Kindness Day

Because of the rainy weather recently, today was our first Outdoor Musical Storytime in three weeks. Our theme was Kindness, in honor of World Kindness Day on Sunday, November 13. Our library system is also offering programs in support of United Against Hate Week, and the two topics seemed to fit together nicely, although for my young crowd, I focused more on the kindness side.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

One of my very favorite Elephant & Piggie Books, which is saying a lot! In this one, Gerald buys an ice cream cone, and then is hit with a difficult dilemma: should he share it with his best friend, Piggie? After an agonizing debate, he decides that he will share it, only by then, his ice cream has melted. Luckily, Piggie has brought a cone of her own to share with him. Claire read the part of Gerald, and I read Piggie, and we had an ice cream cone made of paper to use as a prop, which the kids were fascinated by (several little ones came up to the front to have a closer look).

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

I love this book so much, and it fit perfectly with the theme. In this adaptation of the classic song by Bob Merrill, a little boy is determined to save his money to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window, but ends up spending it all to help cheer up different members of this family. When he goes back to say hi to the puppy, the shop keeper tells him the puppy has been bought by a family to thank their very special young son for all the kind things he had done. When the boy gets home, he finds the puppy waiting for him (which gets me every time!). One of the parents came up to take a photo of the book cover at the end, so she could find her own copy.

Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein

This one was a bit longer than the books I usually read, but it fit so well with the theme. A little girl’s smile inspires a woman to send cookies to her grandson in Mexico, who is inspired to share the cookies with his class, which starts a whole chain of other kind acts that spread all around the world.

Songs:

If All the Raindrops

We sang this one after Should I Share My Ice Cream? This is one of my favorite storytime songs, because the kids love joining in on the “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ahs” and suggesting different foods to fall from the sky for each verse. Today we had pizza and gum, chocolate and goldfish crackers, and blueberries and watermelon.

[C] If all the raindrops were [G7] lemon drops and [C] gum drops,

Oh, what a rain it would [G7] be.

[C] I’d stand out- [G7] side with my [C] mouth open [G7] wide,

[C] “Ah, Ah, Ah, [G7] Ah, Ah, Ah, [C] Ah, Ah, Ah, [G7] Ah!”

[C] If all the raindrops were [G7] lemon drops and [C] gum drops,

Oh, what a [G7] rain it would [C] be!

If all the raindrops were blueberries and watermelon, etc…

B-I-N-G-O

We sang this one to go along with How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? Claire held up a dog puppet, and I had the kids bark instead of clap every time we left out a letter. At the end, we barked the whole song. This is an old standby, but here’s a video from Super Simple Songs, just in case you’re not familiar with it.

[C] There was a farmer [F] had a [C] dog,

And Bingo [G] was his [C] name-o.

[C] B-I- [F] N-G-O

[G] B-I- [C] N-G-O

[Am] B-I- [F] N-G-O

And [G] Bingo was his [C] name-o.

We Bounce and We Bounce and We Stop!

This one didn’t have anything to do with the theme, but it’s such a great movement song, and the kids always love it. I added different actions for each verse: clapping, turning, running in place, and hugging.

[C] We bounce and we bounce and we stop!

[C] We bounce and we bounce and we stop!

[C] We bounce and we bounce and we bounce and we bounce,                    

[C] And we bounce and we [G7] bounce and we [C] stop!

We clap and we clap and we stop! … etc.

This Little Light of Mine

We did this one as an instrument play-along, and everyone was dancing along. It’s such a happy song! I changed the lyrics a bit, in order to fit the theme. Here’s a Raffi video for the tune:

[G] This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

[C] This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it [G] shine.

[G] This little light of mine, I’m [B] gonna let it [Em] shine,

Let it [G] shine, let it [D] shine, let it [G] shine.

Gonna spread some kindness ’round the world. I’m gonna let it shine…

Won’t let anyone (pff!) it out, I’m gonna let it shine…

Stay & Play: Kindness Rocks

Super easy craft! I just put out small rocks and crayons and told the kids to decorate them however they liked. They could either keep the rocks, give them to a friend or loved one, or put them in a place outside where people might see them and smile. I had a wide range of rocks, some that a coworker had purchased for a previous craft, and some I just found on the beach. The one in the photo was a bit dark. If I do it again, I think I will stick to lighter colored rocks.

Other Books About Kindness

I was recently asked to do an outreach storytime at a Kindergarten about kindness, so here are two other books I read:

A Small Kindness by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Wendy Leach

Very sweet classroom story, similar to Because Amelia Smile, about a chain of kind acts that spreads from one person to another in a school. The kids loved how each kind act added color to a new person in the illustrations.

Thank You, Omu by Oge Mora

This was the Read for the Record book a few years ago, and I really enjoy reading it to elementary school classes. When an old lady named Omu (an Igbo word meaning “Queen”) makes a pot of stew for her dinner, the smell draws people from all over her community to her door. She gives a bowl of stew to each person, until it is all gone. But just as she is feeling sad about not having any stew for herself, everyone she shared with shows up at her door with a feast. The kids always love joining in on the “Knock, Knocks!”

What are your favorite books, songs, or crafts celebrating kindness? Please share them in the comments below.

Witching Hour: A Storytime for Halloween

For Outdoor Musical Storytime today I read three of my favorite non-scary Halloween books, and had a great time.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Moonlight: The Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant and Melissa Sweet

Very sweet book describing the sights of Halloween through the eyes of a cat who loves them all. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and the book does a nice job of presenting Halloween as a fun and festive night instead of focusing on the elements that might scare younger kids (my storytime audience includes a lot of babies and toddlers, so this was perfect).

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

My coworker Angela and I read this one together (I read the part of Sam, which includes one of my favorite monologues of all time). Leonardo is a terrible monster, who can’t scare anyone. Frustrated, he searches for the most scaredy-cat kid in the entire world to scare, and roars and makes scary faces until the little boy (Sam) cries. But when he hears Sam’s story, he decides to become a wonderful friend instead.

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara

This is my all-time favorite Halloween books for younger kids. A girl moves into a big old house that has one problem: it is haunted! Luckily the girl is a witch, who knows how to catch ghosts. One by one, she catches them, puts them in the washing machine, dries them on the line, and turns them into very friendly-looking curtains, tablecloths, and blankets. We had handed out movement scarves before we read this one, and I had the kids pretend the scarves were ghosts.

Rhymes & Songs:

On Halloween

I asked the kids for suggestions of Halloween things they might see in the house for each verse. We had pumpkins, monsters, cats, bats, tigers, and witches. I always end with “The kids at the door say, ‘Trick or Treat!'”

To the Tune of The Wheels on the Bus

[C]The ghosts in the house say, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]“Boo! Boo! Boo! C] Boo! Boo! Boo!”

The ghosts in the house say “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

[G7]On Hallo- [C]ween!

Five Little Pumpkins

This was a repeat from last week, which was nice because the kids recognized it and found it easier to say the rhyme with me.

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “But WE don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!” (run in place)
The five one said, “This is Halloween fun!”
Then, “OOOH” went the wind, and OUT (clap!) went the light!
And the five little pumpkins rolled (roll your hands) out of sight.

We Are Scary Ghosts

We handed out movement scarves before we sang this song, so the kids could put them on their heads and pretend to be ghosts. I took suggestions from kids each time we sang it, so we were creepy cats, scary wolves, flying bats, and scary witches.

We are scary ghosts floating down the street,

Walking down the street,

Walking down the street.

We are scary ghosts walking down the street,

We’ll scare you…BOO! 

Candy Corn for Dinner

We sang this as our instrument play-along (after handing out the shakers). This was one of the first songs I ever wrote.

This song was also on an album we made a long time ago to distribute to storytime families at the Millbrae Library. Here’s a link to that version on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ashley-larsen-1/sets/musical-storytime-2016

C                                                                     G7                  
Mom and dad put me in charge of our dinner tonight.
C                                                                                G7
They said I could make anything as long as we ate right.
C                                                        G7                   C
I had to serve some vegetables, a salad, and a stew.
C                                                                        G7               C
I thought a while and cooked a bit, and here is my menu.

F                                                     C
We’re having candy corn for dinner
G7                             C
With a side of chocolate stew.
F                               C
A three jelly bean salad,
G7                                                C
And an ice cream sandwich too.

I don’t know why Mom and Dad say cooking is a chore,
‘Cause I had such a great time going to the grocery store.
My mom said we were out of milk, so I bought a big milkshake,
And since my dad likes cheese so much, I got him a cheesecake.

We’re having candy corn for dinner
With a side of chocolate stew.
A three jelly bean salad,
And an ice cream sandwich too.

Life is better when it’s sweet,

Like a big hot plate of Rice Krispie treat.

So if you have to cook tonight, I hope you’ll learn from me.
And make your family carrot cake, or cherries jubilee.
Even if they don’t approve, you can count it as a win.
You’ll have a yummy dinner, and you won’t be asked to cook again!

We’re having candy corn for dinner
With a side of chocolate stew.
A three jelly bean salad,
And an ice cream sandwich too.

Stay & Play: Paper Bag Monsters

This was an easy, versatile craft. The paper bags can be puppets, but also double as trick-or-treat bags. Basically, I just put out paper bags, googly eyes, glue sticks, markers, and an assortment of colored paper shapes. The kids always seem to enjoy projects that involve a mix of drawing and gluing, and it’s fun to see all of the different things they create.

What are your favorite Halloween books or songs? Please share them in the comments below.

Happy Halloween!

Turning Over a New Leaf: A Storytime for Fall

The San Francisco Bay Area is unusual in that September and October are often the hottest months of the year. But lately we’ve actually had what feels like Autumn weather, which made it perfect for a Fall-themed storytime in the park.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry & The Fan Brothers

Very sweet rhyming story about a scarecrow who rescues an injured baby crow, and raises it until it flies away. The scarecrow is lonely through the long winter, until the crow returns and starts a family. The illustrations are beautiful.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Colorful leaf collages form different animals and scenes in this simple story about a Leaf Man who blows away on the wind. I’ve also followed up this book by having the kids make “leaf people” of their own, which is a lot of fun.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein

I love the simplicity of this story about a young bear who is surprised when the leaves fall off of the trees, and tries to stick them back on. We had handed out play scarves before we read this one, and we had the kids toss their scarves in the air during the parts about the falling leaves. Claire also dropped some actual leaves as we read.

Songs & Rhymes:

Scarecrow, Scarecrow

To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. I got this one from Little Fox — Kids Songs and Stories.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, turn around.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, touch the ground.

Stand up tall and blink your eyes.

Raise your hands up to the sky.

Clap your hands, then tap your knees.

Turn around and tap your feet.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, touch your toes.

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, tap your nose.

Swing your arms so very slow,

Now real fast to scare the crows!

Touch our head, jump up and down.

Now sit down without a sound.

Two Little Blackbirds

I had done this one last week too, so it was fresh on the kids’ minds.

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, (Hold up both thumbs)
One named Jack, and the other named Jill.
Fly away, Jack! (Put one thumb behind your back)
Fly away, Jill! (Put the other thumb behind your back)
Come back, Jack! (Bring the first thumb out in front).
Come back, Jill! (Bring the second thumb out in the front).

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud,
One was quiet, and the other was loud (I make my voice as loud and obnoxious as possible each time I sing the word “Loud!”)
Fly away, Quiet!
Fly away, Loud!
Come back, Quiet!
Come back, Loud!

Two little blackbirds sitting in the snow.
One flew high,
And the other flew low…

Two little blackbirds sitting on a gate.
One was early,
And the other was…late!…  (I like to drag the pauses out as long as possible before saying “Late!” until the kids are all yelling it out.)

Way Up High in the Apple Tree

This is a classic rhyme that works really well for toddlers and preschoolers. Today Claire and I held up maracas shaped like apples as a visual the first two times we did it, and then asked for suggestions of another fruit that could be in the tree (the kids chose oranges) the third time.

Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arms up)

Two little apples smiled at me (made circles with the thumb and fingers of each hand).

I shook that tree as hard as I could! (shake imaginary tree)

Down came the apples (lower arms quickly)

Mmmm! They were good! (rub stomach)

Leaves are Falling on the Ground

To the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. I got this one from PreschoolExpress.com, who credits Jean Warren as the author. We handed out play scarves before we sang it, and pretended they were leaves falling through the air, then swished them in the air like rakes for the second verse:

The leaves on the trees are falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
The leaves on the trees are falling down,
All through the town.

Let’s rake the leaves into a mound,
Into a mound, into a mound.
Let’s rake the leaves into a mound
All through the town.

The kids in the town jump up and down,
Up and down, up and down.
The kids in the town jump up and down,
All through the town.

What Falls in the Fall? by Laurie Berkner

This is a really catchy, moody song for Fall. Here’s a link to the YouTube video:

[Am] What falls in the Fall?
[F] Rain falls in the Fall.
[G] Down, down, down, down ,[Am] down.
[Am] The rain is falling down,
[F] Puddles on the ground,
[F] It’s wet beneath my feet in the [Am] Fall.

[Am] What falls in the Fall?
[F] Temperatures fall.
[G] Down, down, down, down, [Am] down.
[Am] It’s when the summer ends,
[F] You’ve got to hug your friends,
[F] To keep your body warm in the Fall [Am].

[G] And when the leaves start to [C] change,
[F] It’s beautiful to me.
[G] Red, gold, and yellow [C] colors all around,
[F] High up in the trees.

[Am] What falls in the Fall?
[F] Leaves fall in the Fall
[G] Down, down, down, down, [Am] down.
[Am] They twirl everywhere,
[F] And I throw them in the air.
[F] They crunch beneath my feet in the [Am] Fall.

[Am] What falls in the Fall?
[F] Kids fall in the Fall.
[G] Down, down, down, down, [C] down.

Stay & Play: Leaf Rubbings

This was a really simple process art activity that many of the kids (and grown-ups) had never done before. I put out leaves of different shapes and sizes (along with some Scotch tape for anyone who wanted to tape their leaf to the back of the paper to hold it in place), along with crayons to do leaf rubbings.

One thing I forgot to take into account is that the concrete tables at the park have a bumpy texture of their own that also came through in the rubbings. But the kids still enjoyed the magic moment when the leaf shape appeared, and loved trying out the different crayon colors. Some of the caregivers commented that they had never thought to try this activity with their kids before.

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

Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends: A Storytime for Kindness to Animals Day

Today is Kindness to Animals Day, a day that originated in the Philippines in 1958. It made for a great storytime theme. I started by asking the kids for ideas on how to be kind to animals. Most of them said things like, “pet them,” and “be gentle,” and “talk quietly.” Then we went into our books and songs.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham

I told the kids that this book hit home for me because we are constantly having to rescue hummingbirds that get trapped in the library. I must have cursed myself, because sure enough, another one (our fifth this year!) flew in this afternoon, and it took us over an hour to catch it in our special extra-long hummingbird net. Anyway, all that aside, this is a very sweet book about a boy named Will who finds a pigeon who has broken its wing after crashing into a window. He carefully brings it home and patiently nurses it back to health until it is ready to fly away. The kids were mesmerized by the story.

Ginger Finds a Home by Charlotte Voake

Another very sweet story, about a thin cat who lives in a patch of weeds at the end of a garden. One day, he finds a plate of delicious cat food, and the next day another, and then he meets a little girl who wants to take him home. The author does a nice job of capturing the patience it requires to earn the trust of an animal. The ending got a collective “awwww!” from the crowd.

Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman

I love this book. Not only are the illustrations hilarious, but it captures so well the overwhelming excitement that dogs (and kids!) feel in the face of small animals. Plus, there are lots of opportunities for the kids to say “AROOOOOO!” throughout the book. Katie loves the three adorable kittens that Sara Ann brought home, but every time she sees them, she ends up scaring them away. Finally, when she is so sad that she curls up in her bed and goes to sleep, she wakes up to find all three kittens lying on top of her, and she is finally able to stay still and quiet.

Rhymes & Songs:

Two Little Blackbirds

This is one of my favorite songs to use with toddlers and preschoolers. They especially love the loud and late verses. Today I started out by teaching them the ASL sign for bird.

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, (Hold up both thumbs)
One named Jack, and the other named Jill.
Fly away, Jack! (Put one thumb behind your back)
Fly away, Jill! (Put the other thumb behind your back)
Come back, Jack! (Bring the first thumb out in front).
Come back, Jill! (Bring the second thumb out in the front).

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud,
One was quiet, and the other was loud (I make my voice as loud and obnoxious as possible each time I sing the word “Loud!”)
Fly away, Quiet!
Fly away, Loud!
Come back, Quiet!
Come back, Loud!

Two little blackbirds sitting in the snow.
One flew fast!
And the other f-l-e-w s-l-o-w!…

Two little blackbirds sitting on a gate.
One was early,
And the other was…late!…  (I like to drag the pauses out as long as possible before saying “Late!” until the kids are all yelling it out.)

Little Bird

This is an old folk song, which I’ve also done as a kind of a dance with small groups of kids. You have the kids stand in a circle with their arms raised out to the sides and their hands touching, and then each kids takes a turn “flying” under their raised arms, in and out of the circle. For larger groups, I just have them suggest bird names to sing about. Today they suggested chicken and pigeon.

C
Little Bird, Little Bird,
C
Fly through my window.
G7
Little Bird, Little Bird,
G7
Fly through my window.
C
Little Bird, Little Bird,
C
Fly through my window.
G7                       C
Find molasses candy.

Chorus:
G7
Fly through my window, my sugar lump!
C                            G7            C
Fly through my window, my sugar lump!
G7                        C
Find molasses candy!

Robin, Robin, Fly through my window…

I Have a Cat

Simple rhyme that the kids always enjoy. They especially like the “caught a rat!” part, and the “MEOW!” at the end.

I have a cat, (pet imaginary cat)

My cat lies flat, (put one hands on top of the other)

I have a cat, (pet imaginary cat)

He wears a hat. (pat the top of your head)

I have a cat, (pet imaginary cat)

He caught a rat (pretend to catch a rat in your hands)

I have a cat, (pet imaginary cat)

PURR! PURR! MEOW!

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

Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends

I threw this one in as a surprise at the end. We actually used to use this as our final song for Musical Storytime years ago. The abrupt ending always gets a laugh. It’s to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Souza.

[C] Be kind to your web footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody’s [G7] mother.
Be kind to your friends in the swamp,
Where the [C] weather is [F] very, very [G7] damp.
You [C] may think that this is the end:
And it is!

Stay & Play: Cheerio Bird Feeders

This was one of the easiest Stay & Play activities I’ve ever done, and the kids loved it. They were especially excited to see the Cheerios, (which many of them also ate). Basically, all I did was put out pipe cleaners and paper plates full of Cheerios. The idea was for them to thread the Cheerios onto the pipe cleaner and then bend it into a circle and twist the ends together. You can hang it on a tree to turn it into a bird feeder, but a lot of the kids just made bracelets.

Happy Kindness to Animals Day! If you have any favorite animal stories, please share them in the comments below.

Sign of the Times: A Storytime for International Day of Sign Languages

Last Friday, September 23, was International Day of Sign Languages. I try to incorporate basic ASL signs (more, bird, thank you, etc.) into my storytimes when I can, because I know firsthand that they can be really helpful for families with young children. So I was happy to have the opportunity to highlight signing with kids.

A few weeks ago we were approached by one of our regular storytime parents who happens to be fluent in American Sign Language, and she offered to provide sign language translation whenever we liked. She helped us out today by signing along to the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, which the kids found mesmerizing. She had also suggested sticking to one main sign for the audience to focus on, so we chose the word “bear.”

I started out by asking the kids to guess what animal I had in a paper bag, and giving them some clues (“It’s furry! It has claws! It growls!”). Once they guessed, I pulled out a teddy bear, and taught them the sign for bear. We repeated the sign whenever the word appeared in one of our songs or books.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle

Coincidentally, last week was Banned Books Week, and I learned that this book was accidentally banned by the Texas Education Board in 2011, because they confused its author for another Bill Martin. As I mentioned above, we had a parent sign the entire book while I read it aloud. The kids enjoyed shouting out the colors and animals on each page, and joining in on the familiar rhyme.

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood and Don Wood

The classic book about a little mouse who finds the perfect red, ripe, strawberry, only to be told (by a tricky narrator) that he needs to watch out for the Big Hungry Bear. The illustrations are absolutely stunning and hilarious, and we were lucky enough to have a big book version to read from, so that the kids could see them more clearly.

Thank You, Bear by Greg Foley

Adorable, simple book about a bear who finds a box. When he looks inside, he knows he has found the perfect gift for his friend, Mouse. But none of the other animals he meets think it’s anything special. Luckily, Mouse thinks the box, which turns out to be empty, is the perfect place to curl up and go to sleep. Claire held up an empty box as a prop, and we also taught the sign for thank you.


Rhymes & Songs:

Going on a Bear Hunt

This was one of my favorite activities as a kid. I ask the kids to repeat each line after me, and I really ham it up: pretending to have a grasshopper in my shirt, scraping mud off my shoes, shaking dry after the swim in the lake, and RUNNING away from the cave with the bear.

We’re going on a bear hunt!
(We’re going on a bear hunt!)
It’s a beautiful day!
(It’s a beautiful day!)
We’re not scared!
(We’re not scared!)

We’re coming to some grass.
(We’re coming to some grass).
Can’t go over it.
(Can’t go over it.)
Can’t go under it.
(Can’t go under it.)
Have to go through it.
(Have to go through it.)
Swish! Swish! Swish! Swish! (Rubbing hands together)

We’re coming to some mud.
(We’re coming to some mud.)
Can’t go over it.
(Can’t go over it.)
Can’t go under it.
(Can’t go under it.)
Have to go through it.
(Have to go through it).
Squilch! Squelch! Squilch! Squelch! (Clapping hands together).

We’re coming to a lake.
(We’re coming to a lake.)
Can’t go over it.
(Can’t go over it.)
Can’t go under it.
(Can’t go under it.)
Have to swim across it.
(Have to swim across it.)
Splish! Splash! Splish! Splash!

We’re coming to a cave.
(We’re coming to a cave.)
Can’t go over it.
(Can’t go over it.)
Can’t go under it.
(Can’t go under it.)
Have to go inside.
(Have to go inside.)
Tiptoe…tiptoe…tiptoe…tiptoe…
It’s dark in here…
(It’s dark in here…)
It’s cold in here…
(It’s cold in here…)
Two yellow eyes…it’s a bear!

Run!
Swim across the lake!
Run through the mud!
Run through the grass!
Into the house!
Slam the door!
Lock it!
We’re never going on a bear hunt again!

The Bears Go Marching In

The kids loved this variation of The Saints Go Marching In. We did lots of spinning, and jumping, and clapping.

[C] Oh, when the bears go marching in,

Oh, when the bears go marching [G7] in,

Oh, [C7] how I want to be in that [F] number,

When the [C] bears go [G7] marching [C] in!

Repeat with other actions, like:

Oh, when the bears go clapping in…

Oh, when the bears go stomping in… etc.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

There are several versions of this song, but the tune I use is closest to the one in this video from Kiboomers. Claire held up my teddy bear to demonstrate the motions along with me.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Turn around.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Touch the ground.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Tie your shoe.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

I love you!

I’m a Gummy Bear by Gummibär

I couldn’t resist doing this one, even though it is a terrible earworm. I just sang the English lyrics. Here’s a video of the Just Dance version (I apologize in advance for getting it stuck in your head!):

[Am] Oh I’m a gummy bear.
Yes I’m a [C] gummy bear.
Oh I’m a [G] yummy tummy funny lucky gummy [F] bear
I’m a [Am] jelly bear.
Cause I´m a [C] gummy bear.
Oh I’m a [G] movin’ groovin’ jammin’ singing [F] gummy bear.
Oh yeaoooh.

[Am] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[C] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[G] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[F] Three times you can bite me.

[Am] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[C] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[G] Ba Ba Bidubidubi Yum Yum,
[F] Three times you can bite me.

Stay & Play: Bear Masks

Full disclosure: the prep work for this project (cutting eye holes in the plates, and precutting noses and ears) was a bit of a pain. But it was totally worth it because the kids had such a great time wearing their masks and pretending to be bears! A couple of kids made dinosaurs instead. Lots of fun (and roaring and growling!) was had by all.

Other than the precutting, I just put out craft sticks, tape (for the craft sticks), glue sticks, and markers, so the project itself was fairly simple.

Happy International Day of Sign Languages!

You’re Welcome! A Storytime for Welcoming Week

This week, all of our libraries have been offering special storytimes for Welcoming Week, a week that celebrates welcoming people, especially immigrants, into our communities.

Here is what we did:

Books:

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

All of our library storytimes featured either Dreamers or What Is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel. Dreamers tells the story of author-illustrator Yuyi Morales’ arrival in the United States with her infant son, and how, although she made many mistakes, she found wonder and acceptance at the public library. Some of the vocabulary was a little advanced for my audience of mostly toddlers, but the kids enjoyed the beautiful illustrations, which feature lots of colorful books, butterflies, and flowers. It also provided a good opportunity to explain the word “immigrant.” It’s a gorgeous book, and an inspirational story.

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates; illustrated by Juniper Bates

This is a simple book about a friendly, red umbrella, which is magically large enough to provide shelter to absolutely anyone who needs it. It was the perfect metaphor for Welcoming Week. I introduced it by showing the kids an umbrella. I also shared the story of how once, as a visitor in Tokyo, Japan, my two young kids and I were out sight-seeing when we got caught in a sudden rainstorm. A man rushed up to me, and before I could even react, he put his umbrella in my hand and hurried away. I’ve always remembered that as a moment of remarkable kindness and generosity, and yes, welcome!

Ways to Welcome by Linda Ashmann; illustrated by Joey Chou

Sweet, colorful rhyming book about different ways to welcome people and animals, including gifts, food, friendly words, smiles, flowers, and more. We had given out play scarves for a rhyme before we read this one, and the kids enjoyed waving them or pretending they were the lost hat in one part of the book.

Songs/Rhymes:

Put Your Finger in the Air

This is my regular opening song, but I thought I would include it in this post because we spent even more time than usual counting to three in different languages. I always ask for volunteers to share how they count to three, and it’s often amazing how many responses we get. Today we counted in Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and German.

Here’s a link to a version performed by Miss Nina, which uses different lyrics, but the same tune. These are the lyrics I use:

[C] Put your finger in the air, in the air,
Put your finger in the air, in the [G7] air,
Put your [C] finger in the air,
And now [F] hide it in your hair,
[C] Put your finger in the [G7] air, in the [C] air.

Put your finger on your nose…
And now see how long it grows!…(mime making your nose grow long, and then short again)

Put your finger on your knee…
And now can you count to three?…1,2,3 (uno, dos, tres; un, deux, trois, etc.)

Put your fingers all together, all together… (clap your hands in time to the beat)
We will all be friends forever!

These Are My Glasses by Laurie Berkner

The kids always love this song, and it worked really well as a follow-up to the book Dreamers. Here’s Laurie Berkner’s video with the tune and the motions:

The lyrics are:

These are my glasses,

This is my book.

I put on my glasses,

And open up my book.

Then I read, read, read,

And I look, look, look.

I put down my glasses and whoop! close up the book.

Making a Rain Storm

This is such a simple activity, but always fun, and it was a great follow-up to The Big Umbrella.  I ask the kids to copy what I’m doing in order to make a rainstorm.  First we rub our hands together, then click our tongues (to sound like drops of rain), then clap our hands, then slap our knees, then stomp our feet.  Finally I have them all stand up, and we all jump at the same time to make a thunderclap, and then we do all of the actions in reverse to make the rain “stop.” Claire added thunder effects by shaking a thunder tube

Down Come the Rain Drops

We handed out play scarves before we did this rhyme, which I got from Let’s Play Kids Music.

Down come the rain drops, SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! (stamp feet on the splashes, or throw scarf in the air)

Let’s run for cover, DASH! DASH! DASH! (run in place)

Pitter patter, pitter patter, DRIP! DRIP! DROP! (clap hands or shake scarf in rhythm)

I’m under my umbrella till the raindrops STOP! (put up pretend umbrella, or hold scarf over your head)

No One Like You by Andrea Willis Muhoberac:

We did this song as our instrument play-along, after handing out the shakers. Here’s a recording we made years ago for a Musical Storytime CD we made to give out to families:

I like your [C] eyes.

I like your [F] nose.

I like your [G] mouth.

Your ears, your hands, your [C] toes.

I like your face.

It’s really [F] you.

I [Dm] like the things you say and [G] do.

There’s not a [F] single [G] soul

Who [C] sees the [Am] skies

The [G] way you see them.

Through your [C] eyes.

[F] And aren’t you [G] glad.

[E]You should be [Am] glad.

There’s [C] no one, [G] no one

Exactly like [C] you.

Stay & Play: Coffee Filter Umbrellas

To go along with the book The Big Umbrella, we made umbrellas out of coffee filters and pipe cleaners. Before the storytime, I cut the coffee filters in half and scalloped the edge to look like the base of an umbrella. I also cut the pipe cleaners in half.

For the Stay & Play, I put out blue cardstock, markers, dot markers, glue sticks, and Scotch tape for the pipe cleaners (for those who were having trouble getting the glue to hold). Kids always love using the dot markers!

For more about Welcoming Week, visit Welcoming America.

All Around the Town: A Storytime About Circles

Today I had a blast doing a storytime about Circles. There are so many books that feature circular objects, making it a really versatile, easy theme.

We started by asking the kids what things they could think of that were shaped like a circle. They had LOTS of ideas, including planets, the moon, pizza, pie, lids, cookies, doughnuts, and balls. Then we went into our books and songs. Here’s what we did:

Books:

A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems

This is one of my favorite Elephant and Piggie books, and it worked really well with Claire and I reading different parts. When a “Big Guy,” takes the big ball Piggie found, Gerald vows to get it back…until he sees that the Big Guy is an enormous whale. Luckily, the whale turns out to be friendly, and they all invent a brand new game to play together.

Bubblegum, Bubblegum by Lisa Wheeler; illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

Admittedly this one was a little bit of a stretch (no pun intended), since the actually round thing (a bubble) doesn’t appear until close to the end of the book. But it gave me an excuse to do one of my favorite scarf songs (Icky Sticky Sticky Sticky Bubblegum). It’s also a fun book to read aloud, about several animals who get stuck in a big glob of gum in the middle of a road.

Box Meets Circle by Aaron Hartline

Very cute, simple book about a box and a circle who have trouble finding activities that they can both enjoy. Circle loves to jump, but Box just falls over. Box likes to sit, but Circle can’t stop rolling. Finally, they find a way to pair their favorite activities, with Box sitting on Circle as he jumps. We only had one copy of the book today (usually Claire shows the pictures from a second copy, since our storytime group is large and spread out in the park), but Claire acted out the story with a real box and a paper circle as I read. The kids loved jumping along with Circle.

Songs:

Do You Know What Shape I Have?

To the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man? I cut different shapes (circle, square, triangle, and rectangle) out of paper, and put them in an envelope. Each time we sang the song, my coworker, Claire, pulled one out of the envelope, and we asked the kids what it was:

[C] Do you know what shape I have?

What [F] shape I have? What [G7] shape I have?

[C] Do you know what shape I have?

Right [F] here [G7] in my [C] hand!

The Wheels on the Bus

The kids are always excited to sing this song, so I throw it in whenever I can. We did all of the usual verses (wipers, driver, horn, door, babies, etc.). Then I ended with a Tyrannosaurus Rex going “Roar, Roar, Roar!” and then we sang the first verse again, making our wheels (and the song) go as fast as we can:

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

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

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

[G7]All over [C] town.

Icky Sticky, Sticky, Sticky Bubblegum

I used to do this one every week before COVID, and I was very happy to introduce it to a whole new group of kids today. We handed out play scarves before we sang it, and stretched the scarves out like bubblegum for the “icky sticky” lines, then “stuck” them to different body parts suggested by the kids: head, chin, arm, belly, etc.

Icky Sticky Sticky Bubblegum (stretching scarf between hands)
Bubblegum, Bubblegum.
Icky Sticky Sticky Bubblegum,
Sticking my hand to my nose. (put one end of the scarf on your nose)
1-2-3 UNSTUCK! (throw scarf in the air).

Repeat, sticking the scarf to different body parts: belly button, eyebrow, etc.

Can You Draw a Circle?

To the tune of I’m a Little Teapot. The kids still had the play scarves from the previous song, so I had them hold the scarves as they drew the shapes in the air, and then bundle them up at the end to throw like a ball.

Can you draw a circle in the air?

Now draw a triangle,

Now draw a square.

Draw another circle, nice and small,

And throw it in the air

Like a round snowball.

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows by Marvin Hamlisch

This is such a happy old song, and I figured that sunshine and lollipops both fit the circle theme. We handed out maracas and other simple shakers, and all the kids were dancing and playing along.

Here’s a YouTube link with the Lesley Gore version:

[C] Sunshine, [F] lollipops and [C] rainbows,
[F] Everything that’s [C] wonderful is what I feel when [F] we’re to-[C] gether,
[C] Brighter [F] than a lucky [C] penny,
[F] When you’re near the [C] rain cloud disappears, dear,
And I feel so [A] fine [F] just to [G7] know that you are [C] mine.
My life is [F] sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
That’s how this refrain goes, so come on, join [G7 in everybody!
[C] Sunshine, [F] lollipops and [C] rainbows,
[F] Everything that’s [C] wonderful is sure to come your [A] way
When [F] you’re in [G7] love to [C] stay.
Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,

[C] Sunshine, [F] lollipops and [C] rainbows,
[F] Everything that’s [C] wonderful is what I feel when [F] we’re to-[C] gether,
[C] Brighter [F] than a lucky [C] penny,
[F] When you’re near the [C] rain cloud disappears, dear,
And I feel so [A] fine [F] just to [G7] know that you are [C] mine.
My life is [F] sunshine, lollipops and rainbows,
That’s how this refrain goes, so come on, join [G7 in everybody!
[C] Sunshine, [F] lollipops and [C] rainbows,
[F] Everything that’s [C] wonderful is sure to come your [A] way
When [F] you’re in love, and love is here to [C] stay!

Stay & Play: Bubble Painting

I have been wanting to do Bubble Painting for a long time, but with COVID cases still fairly high in our area, I’ve been nervous about anything involving kids blowing air around each other in a crowded area. Happily, we had a lot of cardboard tubes left over from a Cotton Ball Launcher program we did last week, so instead of blowing the bubbles onto the paper, I just had the kids dip the tubes into bowls of bubble stuff colored with different shades of liquid watercolor, and stamp them onto sheets of white paper. The tubes actually also work for blowing bubbles too though, so they could also blow bubbles directly onto the paper.

For bubble stuff, I usually mix four tablespoons dishwashing soap with a cup of water, then add a little sugar or corn syrup to make the bubbles more durable. The kids had a great time, although some of the paintings were pretty wet. But since it was all soapy water, the clean up was pretty easy.

Do you have any favorite books or songs about circles? Please share them in the comments below.

Hitting the Books: A Storytime about School

Tomorrow is the first day of school in our local district, so today we did a storytime about school. Here’s what we did:

Books:

Even Monsters Go to School by Lisa Wheeler; illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Very cute rhyming book showing different monsters (Bigfoot, Yeti, Frankenstein, etc.) going to school. The kids enjoyed seeing all of the different monsters, and making monster faces with me.

Rosie Goes to Preschool by Karen Katz

I don’t typically read picture books like this one, which is more of a description of a day at preschool, rather than a story, but I thought this one did a nice job of presenting preschool in a fun and engaging way, hitting all of the highlights, like playtime, music time, and lunch. Plus, the illustrations are colorful and inviting.

Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

Chu, the panda with the enormous sneeze, is worried about starting school, and whether his classmates will like him. When each student is asked to share something they like to do, Chu says nothing, but the chalk dust in the air soon makes it clear what he does better than anyone. The kids loved joining in on the big sneeze, and naming the different types of animals in the illustrations.

Songs & Rhymes:

The Wheels on the School Bus

A simple school bus themed version of The Wheels on the Bus:

A bike version of The Wheels on the Bus.

[C]The wheels on the school bus go round and round.

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

The wheels on the school bus go round and round,

[G7]All over [C] town.

We kept most of the usual verses (the driver on the bus says “move on back,” the doors on the bus go open and shut, the wipers on the bus go “swish, swish, swish,” etc.), and then had the wheels go really fast at the end.

My Friends Go Marching

[Am] My friends go marching one by one, [C] hurrah, hurrah.

[Am] My friends go marching one by one, [C] hurrah, hurrah.

My friends go marching [G7] one by one,

They [Am] walk through the door, they don’t [E7] ever run.

And we [C] all feel [G7] happy now [Am] school has begun.


My friends go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah.

My friends go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah.

My friends go marching two by two,

They hop through the door like a kangaroo.

And we all feel happy now school has begun.


My friends go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah.

My friends go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah.

My friends go marching three by three,

They fly through the door like a bumblebee.

And we all feel happy now school has begun.

Alphabet Song

We sang this through three times, going super fast the last time through. (I also played the silly trick where I said, “Now let’s sing it backwards!” and I turned my back to the crowd).

[C] A, B, C, D, [F] E, F, [G7] G,
[G7] H, I [C] J, K, [G7] L, M, N, O, [C] P.
[C] Q, R, [F] S, [C] T, U, [G7] V,
[C] W, [F] X, [C] Y and [G7] Z,
[C] Now I know my [F] A, B, [G7] C’s,
[G7] Next time [C] won’t you [G7] sing with [C] me.

A is for Alligator

This is a great rhyme for getting kids refocused after a movement song:

A is for Alligator, chomp, chomp, chomp (clap hands together on each chomp)

B is for Bunny, hop, hop, hop. (hop up and down)

C is for Circle, round and round, (draw a big circle in the air)

And D is for when we all sit Down.

Stay & Play: Homemade Books

This was a really simple activity, and nice because it gave the kids a lot of flexibility. I pre-folded paper “zines,” little books with several pages, which are folded out of one piece of paper. You can find the instructions from Red Ted Art here: https://www.redtedart.com/mini-school-supplies-notebook-craft-study-aid/

For the Stay & Play, I gave each kid a paper book, and put out markers and stickers. Some of them wrote in their books, some drew picture, and some just had fun adding stickers to each page. Some grown-ups wrote a letter on each page and had the kids decorate the rest of the book. They had a lot of fun, and many of them said they were going to keep working on it at home.

Happy First Day of School! If you have any favorite school-related books, please share them in the comments below.

Starstruck: A Storytime about the Night Sky

Today we did a storytime about the Night Sky, which ended up being a really fun theme.

Here’s what we did:

Books:

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

Adorable story about a little boy who dreams of having a star for a friend. The kids were really engaged, with some of them even mimicking the boy’s efforts to reach way up into the sky. The story ends with the boy finding a sea star, which was an ideal conclusion for our beach community.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay

Very sweet illustrated poem about a night-time walk with the moon.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

Like Tap the Magic Tree by the same author, this book encourages kids to participate by touching, swiping, or waving at different things in the illustrations like fireflies, stars, and owls, and tracing the Big and Little Dipper in the air. Several of the kids were so interested, they came up to stand right in front of me.

Songs:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

We sang this three times–twice at normal speed, and once really fast, which the kids always enjoy.

[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.

Bend and Stretch

An old classic from the TV show Romper Room.

Bend and stretch,
Reach for the stars.
There goes Jupiter,
Here comes Mars.
Bend and stretch,
Reach for the sky.
Stand on tippy toes,
Oh, so high!

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] Moon.

[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

I Don’t Want to Live On the Moon by Jeff Moss

One of my very favorite Sesame Street songs.

[C] Oh, I’d like to [G] visit the [Am] moon,
On a [F] rocketship [G] high in the [C] air,
[C]Yes, I’d like to [G] visit the [Am] moon,
But I [F] don’t think I’d [G] like to live [C] there.
Though [F] I’d like to look down at the [C] earth from above,
I would [F] miss all the places and [C] people I love.
So al-[F]though I may [C] go, I’ll be [E7] coming home [Am] soon,
‘Cause I [F] don’t want to [G] live on the [C] moon.

[C] I would [G] travel under the [Am] sea,
I could [F] meet all the [G] fish every-[C]where.
[C] Yes, I’d [G] travel under the [Am] sea,
But I [F] don’t think I’d [G] like to live [C] there.
I might [F] stay for a day there, if I [C] had my wish,
But there’s [F] not much to do when your [C] friends are all fish.
And an [F] oyster and [C] clam aren’t [E7] real fami-[Am]ly,
So I [F] don’t want to [G] live in the [C] sea.

I’d [F] like to visit the jungle hear the [C] lions roar,
[F] Go back in time and meet a [C] dinosaur.
There’s so [F] many strange [E7] places I’d like to [Am] be,
But [F] none of them [G] permanent-[C]ly.

[C] So if I [G] should visit the [Am] moon,
Well I’d [F] dance on a [G] moonbeam and [C] then,
[C] I will [G] make a wish on a [Am] star,
And I’ll [F] wish I was [G] home once a-[C]gain.
Though [F] I’d like to look down at the [C] earth from above,
I would [F] miss all the places and [C] people I love.
So al-[F]though I may [C] go, I’ll be [E7] coming home [Am] soon,
‘Cause I [F] don’t want to [G] live on the [C] moon.
No, I [F] don’t want to [G] live on the [C] moon.

Stay & Play: Watercolor Night Skies

I got this idea from Pre-K Pages. Crayon resist art has always been one of my favorite activities, and this one worked out so well that several kids didn’t want to stop painting.

I put out watercolor paper, watercolor paints, brushes, small cups of water, and white crayons. The younger kids usually had their caregiver draw a star or other shapes with the white crayon, and then the kids painted over it to reveal the image. They had such a great time mixing the colors.

What are your favorite books or songs about night-time? Please share them in the comments below.