Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy! A Storytime About Frogs

April is National Frog Month, which made for a fun theme for Outdoor Musical Storytime this week.

I started by showing pictures of two frogs that live in our area: the Pacific Tree Frog and the California Red-Legged Frog. Then we moved on to our celebration of frogs through books, songs, rhymes, and puppets.

Here’s what we did:


Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley; photos by Nic Bishop

This is such a beautiful book, and it worked perfectly for my storytime group. The photos follow an adorable red-eyed tree frog as he wakes up one night and looks for food in the rain forest (while trying to avoid becoming food himself). The kids were mesmerized!

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

This book appears to be out of print, which is a shame, because it’s so much fun to read aloud. The story, about a frog who narrowly escapes a boy with a jar, a hungry turtle, a flamingo, and an alligator, alternates between “Aaahhh!” when the frog is in danger, and “Ah ha!” when he thinks he’s found an escape. The kids loved joining in, especially on the “Aaahh’s!”

The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner; illustrated by Jonathan Lambert.

It’s always fun to do a pop-up book, because the kids are usually fascinated. (I once had a toddler fall down flat on his bottom when he saw me pull a pull-tab on a pop-up that made something move on the page). This is a hilarious retelling of the old joke about the wide-mouthed frog who enjoys asking other animals what they like to eat, until he meets an alligator who eats “delicious wide-mouthed frogs,” and the frog makes his mouth very small and hops away. The large mouths of the animals are the real draw here. I read the part of the frog while holding up a frog puppet, and my coworker Charlotte read the rest of the parts.

Songs & Rhymes:

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Charlotte and I each held up a frog puppet for this one, while holding up our other hand to show the number of frogs remaining. I like to stop between each verse to ask the kids how many frogs are left. I also like to have the puppet pretend to slurp up an imaginary frog on a child’s head after the “Yum! Yum!”:

Five green and speckled frogs
Sat on a speckled log.
Eating the most delicious bugs! Yum Yum!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Now there are four green speckled frogs!

Four green and speckled frogs…etc.

Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky

This is a great lap-sit rhyme, as well as a fun movement rhyme for toddlres and preschoolers. For babies, I tell the caregivers to bounce them from knee to knee, and then pick them up and swoop them down between their legs at the end. For older kids, I have them jump forward and backward, or side to side, and then crouch down on the ground at the end.

Down by the banks of the hanky panky,

Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky,

With a hip! A hop! A hippety hop!

Jump off the lily pad and


Mmm-Ahh! Went the Little Green Frog

This is a silly camp song that’s always a lot of fun. There are LOTS of different versions, and additional verses. The one I do is fairly close to the one in the JBrary video below:

MMM-AHH! Went the little green frog one day. (blink your eyes and then stick out your tongue)

MMM-AHH! Went the little green frog.

MMM-AHH! Went the little green frog one day.

And they all went MMM-AHH- AHH!

But we all know frogs go “Flow-do-di-o-di-oh! (wiggle your fingers)



We all know frogs go “Flow-do-di-o-di-oh!

They don’t go MMM-AHH-AHH!

Caribbean Amphibean

I couldn’t find the composer of this song, but if anyone knows who it was, please tell me in the comments. This song is a hilariously horrible earworm, but perfect for the theme. We did it as our instrument play-along at the end.

[G]I know a [D]tropical [C]is[G]-land,
Where the [C]mango moon and [Am]banana sun [D]shine.
[G]And on this [D]tropical [C]is[G]-land,
[C]There lives a [D]cousin of [G]mine.

[Am]Sometimes he lives in the [D]water,
[Am]Sometimes he lives on the [G]land.
[C]Sometimes he likes to go [G]sun himself,
On [C] soft Ca[D]-ribbean [G]-sand

He’s a [C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian
He [D]likes to hop in the [G]tropical sea.
[C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian,
A [D]frog in a coconut [G] tree.

[G]The flying [D]fish and the [C]tur[G]-tles,
They’ve seen him[C] hop where the [Am]pineapples [D] grow.
[G] He likes to see [D] all [C]is[G]-lands,
[C]So island [D] hopping he’ll [G] go.

[Am]Sometimes he hops to Ja[D]-maica.
[Am]Sometimes to Haiti he [G] hops.
[C]Sometimes a warm Puerto [G] Rican beach
Is [C] where he [D] finally [G] stops!

He’s a [C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian,
He [D]likes to hop in the [G]tropical sea.
[C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian,
A [D]frog in a coconut [G] tree.

[Am]Sometimes he lives in the [D]water,
[Am]Sometimes he lives on the [G]land.
[C]Sometimes he likes to play [G] music in
An [C] all am[D]phibean [G] band.

He’s a [C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian.
He [D]likes to hop in the [G]tropical sea.
[C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian,
A [D]frog in a coconut [G] tree.


He’s a [C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian.
He [D]likes to hop in the [G]tropical sea.
[C]Caribbean Am[G]-phibian,
A [D]frog in a coconut [G] tree.

Ribbit Ribbit!

Stay & Play: Watercolor Frogs

I went really simple for this one, and just brought a frog coloring sheet and watercolor paint sets. (I used this coloring sheet from I also gave them option of painting whatever they wanted on the back side of the coloring sheet.

The beauty of doing a frog painting is that frogs come in all different colors, and we had some beautiful rainbow-colored frogs in the end. It usually takes the kids a few minutes to figure out the logistics of watercolor painting (dipping the brush in the water, and then into the paint), but once they get the hang of it, they never want to stop!

Hoppy Frog Month! If you have favorite frog books or songs, please share them in the comments below.