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.