Music in the Air: An Outdoor Musical Storytime

This week at Outdoor Musical Storytime, our theme was Making Music. Here are the books and songs that we shared:

Books:

Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas writes so many fun, interactive storytime books, and this is one of my favorites. A cowboy is singing his cows to sleep with a sweet lullaby, but EEK!!! Is that a spider? “No, Cowboy” his cows say. “It’s a just a flower.” More misconceptions follow: a stick that looks like a snake, a cow that looks like a bear, until finally the little group is confronted with an actual threat: a wolf who loves lullabies. The kids loved joining in on the “EEKs!,” which provide a great opportunity to help them make the connection between the written and spoken word. For the lullaby, I use a tune that a coworker of mine made up, but it also works to the tune of Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.

The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka Dot Pants by Eric Litwin; illustrated by Scott Magoon

Hazel Nut has written a song to celebrate her polka dot pants. The problem is that everyone in her family is too busy to sing and dance with her. Luckily, Grandma Nut shows up to save the day. I came up with my own tune (similar to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star) for the “Polka Dot Pants” song that Hazel sings. There’s a YouTube video for the song featured the end of the book.

Kat Writes a Song by Greg Foley

Kat is very proud of her new song, and when she sings it, good things seem to happen. Is her song magic? This is a really sweet friendship story, and the kids loved singing the “Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow” song.

SONGS:

The Cowboy Pokey:

A cowboy-themed version of The Hokey Pokey, to go with Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy:

You put your left lasso in (move your right arm in circles in front of you)

You put your left lasso out (move your left arm behind you)

You put your left lasso in (move your right arm in circles in front of you)

And you shake it all around (shake your left arm)

You do the cowboy pokey and you turn yourself around (turn in a circle)

That’s what it’s all about! (clap as you sing each word)

You put your right lasso in…

You put your left spur in… (put your left foot in front of you)

You put your right spur out… (put your right foot in front of you)

You put your hat in… (tilt your head down)…

Giddy-Up!

This is one of my all-time favorite baby/toddler storytime songs. It’s to the tune of the William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger Theme):

Giddy-up, Giddy-up, Giddy-UP-UP-UP! (bounce baby or toddler, or have older kids “gallop” in place)

Giddy-up, Giddy-up, Giddy-UP-UP-UP!

Giddy-up, Giddy-up, Giddy-UP-UP-UP!

WHOA, Horsey! (Lean back with baby/toddler, or have older kids stop and put their hands out)

If Your Clothes Have any Red

We sang this one after Sing and Dance in Your Polka Dot Pants. It’s to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. It’s fun to come up with your own verses:

If your clothes have any red, any red,

If your clothes have any red, any red,

If your clothes have any red,

Put your finger on your head!

If your clothes have any red, any red.

If your clothes have any blue…put your finger on your shoe…

If your clothes have any green…make believe you can’t be seen… (cover your eyes with your hands, and then say, “Peekaboo!”

If your clothes have any black…put your finger on your back…

Dance Like You’ve Got Ants in Your Pants by Eric Herman

This is such a fun song. I play it on the ukulele (chords below). Each time we spray our imaginary spray, I usually say, “And the ants (bees, bears) say, ‘Ewww! Ewww! Ewww!” and run away!

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] ants in your pants.

[F] Dance like you’ve got [G7] ants in your pants.

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] ants in your pants,

Now [F] STOP! And spray some ant spray!

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] bees on your knees.

[F] Dance like you’ve got [G7] bees on your knees.

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] bees on your knees,

Now [F] STOP! And spray some bee spray!

[C] Dance like you’ve got a [G7] bear in your hair.

[F] Dance like you’ve got a [G7] bear in your hair.

[C] Dance like you’ve got a [G7] bear in your hair,

Now [F] STOP! And spray some bear spray!

[G7] Bop! Bop! Bop! [F] Until you [C]drop!

[G7] Hula, Hula, Hula! [F] Until you [C] drool-a!

[C] Jump like you got [G7] bumped on your rump.

[F] Jump like you got [G7] bumped on your rump.

[C] Jump like you got [G7] bumped on your rump,

Now [F] STOP!

[G7] Dance anyway, [F] Dance any [C] how,

[G7] Dance any night and day.

[F] Keep on dancing [C] now.

[G7] Dance any way you want to.

[F] Dance any way you [C] can.

[G7] Dance like you got ants [F] in your pants a- [C] gain!

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] ants in your pants.

[F] Dance like you’ve got [G7] ants in your pants.

[C] Dance like you’ve got [G7] bees on your knees.

[F] Dance like you’ve got [G7] bees on your knees.

[C] Dance like you’ve got a [G7] bear in your hair.

[F] Dance like you’ve got a [G7] bear in your hair.

[C] Jump like you got [G7] bumped on your rump.

[F] Jump like you got [G7] bumped on your rump.

[G7] Bop! Bop! Bop! [F] Until you [C]drop!

[G7] Dance, Dance, Dance, [F] don’t ever [C] STOP!

STAY AND PLAY: EGG SHAKERS

While looking through our craft closet (which is always an adventure), I found a whole bag of plastic eggs, and a couple of bags of dried beans. Why? Who knows! But it made for a fantastic follow-up activity for after storytime. We put out lots of different stickers for the kids to decorate their eggs after they filled them with beans. (In retrospect, I wish I had brought tape, so that the families could tape their eggs closed, but many of them just put stickers along the seam to hold them together). Super easy, and the kids had a blast!

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

For the Birds: Stories about our Fine, Feathered Friends

Goldfinch Feeder

Goldfinch Feeder

Last night at Family Storytime we read stories about birds, and made a simple bird feeder for goldfinches.

I was happy because I got to open with one of my all-time favorite read-alouds:

beebee

The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie; illustrated by Stephen Kellogg (Amazon.com link)

This book is perfect for storytime: it has large, colorful illustrations, lots of animal noises, and a funny, annoying repeated phrase the kids get to join in on.  A quiet evening at the zoo is interrupted by the newly arrived baby beebee bird, who insists on singing, “Beebee Bobbi Bobbi!” over and over again all night long.  The next morning, the other animals are exhausted, the zookeeper is worried, and the lion has a plan to get revenge.  I’ve also seen this book performed as a reader’s theater, where it works beautifully because there are so many different parts.

hot dog

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

One of the kids spotted this Pigeon book in my stack and got really excited.  I had actually brought two Pigeon books along, and I asked the kids to vote for the one they wanted to hear: they all asked me to read both.  I think this one got the biggest laughs though.  In this book, the Pigeon is about to enjoy the hot dog he found, until an adorable, curious (and deviously clever) duckling asks him what hot dogs are like.

pigeon

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems (Amazon.com link)

This one is more like the original Pigeon book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, where the kids get to respond to the Pigeon’s wheedling demands by yelling, “No!”  In this case, the Pigeon is angling to stay up past bedtime, by using the arguments and excuses that every parent has heard before.

chickens

Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman (Amazon.com link)

Fun, silly farm story about the Greenstalk family, whose chickens always swoop in to save the day.  Wristwatch in the well? Chickens to the rescue! Too tired to make dinner? Chickens to the rescue!  Dog ate your book report? Chickens to the rescue.  This one is always a hit, and the kids love chiming in on the “Chickens to the Rescue!”

emu

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles; illustrated by Rod Clement (Amazon.com link)

Edward the emu is sick of the zoo.  When he hears someone say that the seals are his favorite animal, Edward hops the fence into the seal pool and tries being a seal instead.  But then he overhears someone else saying the lions are best, and has to try that too, until another person raves about the snakes. Finally, someone says they like the emus best, but when Edward returns to his old enclosure, he finds a new emu in his place.  The illustrations in this rhyming story, showing Edward emu-lating the other animals, are hilarious.  The kids also enjoyed making animal noises along with Edward.

SONGS:

Two Little Blackbirds

One of my favorite songs/fingerplays. I usually sing it a cappella, so I can do the hand motions.  Click on the triangle to hear how it goes:

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.)

Six Little Ducks

I’ve done this song for years, and it’s a popular favorite at toddler and baby storytimes.  Last night, I had several 6 year-olds in the group, so for an extra challenge, I asked if any of them could squat down and waddle like a duck (it’s surprisingly tiring, but they had fun).  Here are the lyrics, with the accompanying ukulele or guitar chords:

C                                  G7
Six little ducks that I once knew,
C
Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too.
G7
But the one little duck with the feather on his back.
C
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Chorus:
G7                                         C
“Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!”
G7                                              C
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Down to the river they would go,
Wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble, to and fro.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Chorus

Home from the river they would come,
Wibble-wobble, wibble-wobble, ho hum hum.
But the one little duck with the feather on his back,
He led the others with his “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

Chorus

Little Bird

I actually meant to do this song, but I forgot about it completely, and sang Brush Your Teeth instead (to go along with Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late).  It’s perfect for a bird theme though, since the kids can suggest different types of birds, so I’m including it here.  I originally heard it performed by Elizabeth Mitchell on her album, You Are My Little Bird, which is one of my favorite kids’ albums.  Here’s how it goes:

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!

Jay bird, Jay bird, fly through my window…etc…

Chorus

Repeat the verse and chorus, asking kids for the names of different birds (robin, parrot, etc.) to sing in place of “Little Bird” each time. You can also do this song as a dance, where a pair of kids put their hands together over their heads to make a “window” and the other kids “fly” through the window in a line.

CRAFT: Goldfinch Feeders

Goldfinch Feeder by Sarah

Goldfinch Feeder by Sarah

I found this easy goldfinch feeder on Do-It-Yourself N Save: http://diynsave.com/?p=337.  I was really happy, because we get a lot of goldfinches here on the coast, and they are beautiful, and fun to watch.  Also, I had originally thought of doing one of the typical kids bird feeder projects, where you put peanut butter on a pine cone and roll it in bird seed, but one of my regular storytime kids has a severe peanut allergy, so this was a much safer alternative.

It is super easy to make (although a bit messy, since the thistle seed tends to spill).  After showing the kids a picture of a goldfinch, I gave each of them a knee-high stocking or the foot of a regular pair of stockings (one of my coworkers brought me some old ones from her mom, and I had also picked some up at Goodwill).  I also had a variety of old jar lids, a chopstick, some yarn, and a bag of thistle (Nyger) seed.  The kids each stuffed a lid into the bottom of their stocking, then filled the stocking with thistle seed (I gave them little plastic cups to scoop and pour).  Then they tied them shut with the yarn, and stuck the chopstick through the stocking just above the lid.  The chopstick makes a hole for the goldfinches to reach the seed, while also giving them a place to perch.   One dad wisely waited on sticking the chopstick through the stocking until they got home, to keep the seed from spilling out all over the car (and the library!).  All in all, it was easy and fun.  I hung one on a tree in my backyard at home, and I’m eager to see if the goldfinches find it.

OTHER BOOKS ABOUT BIRDS:

There are so many great books about birds, especially once you factor in all the duck, penguin, and chicken books out there.  Here are some others that I considered:

Penguin by Polly Dunbar (Amazon.com link)

This one is super-quirky, and a little dark, but I love it, and it’s always been a hit at storytime.  Ben is frustrated with his new penguin, who refuses to talk.  He tries everything from tickling it, to trying to feed it to a passing lion, but the lion eats Ben instead.  Luckily, Penguin saves the day, rescuing Ben, and finally speaking, in a language of his own.

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo; illustrated by David Small (Amazon.com link)

When Eliot secretly brings a penguin home from the aquarium, his father seems oblivious to all of Eliot’s attempts to make his new pet feel at home, until the surprise at the end.  I’ve read this one to a wide range of ages, including a few second grade classes, and they loved it.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell; illustrated by Patrick Benson (Amazon.com link)

This has always been one of my favorite books for toddler time.  A sweet story about three baby owls whose mother has left them alone in their nest.  As time passes, they grow increasingly worried, and wish their mother would come back, and of course, she does.  The illustrations are beautiful.  I have a personal copy of this book that I’ve read many, many times to my own kids.  It is perfect for a snuggly bedtime story.

What are your favorite books about birds?