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.


Let It Snow: A Storytime About Winter


Salt Snowflake

Salt Snowflake


It’s been a while since I posted one of my storytimes, but I had a good time doing this one last week at Family Storytime. I have a new group of families who have been coming with their 2 year-olds, so I’ve had to skew my book choices a bit younger. Here is what we read:


A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke

This book has always held a special place in my heart. Years ago, I had a preschool class who used to come regularly to storytime. There was always one boy in the class I could never seem to engage…until I brought out Minerva Louise. Something about this confused chicken, who thinks a flowerpot is a hat, and a garden hose is a scarf, struck him as the funniest thing ever. He laughed and laughed, and for weeks later, everything I saw him, he said, “Remember that chicken book?” The kids at this week’s storytime laughed at Minerva Louise too. She is just that kind of chicken.


Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London; illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

I read this book earlier in the week at a local preschool for special needs kids. It was a longer story than I usually share with them, but they LOVED it! Like all of the Froggy books, it has the usual refrain of “FROGGY!” (something I always point out and have the kids say with me), but this one has lots of other sound effects, as Froggy pulls on his boots (“zup!”), puts on his hat (“zat!”), etc. The kids at the preschool echoed all of these sounds, laughing all the way through, in a way I had never seen them respond to a book before. It was amazing! It made me want to seek out other books with simple sounds for them to repeat. My family storytime kids loved the book too, especially when Froggy forgets his underwear!


Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Koharo

I love Kazuno Koharo’s books, with their whimsical artwork and simple, imaginative stories. In this one, a boy befriends Jack Frost, and plays with him all winter, until he accidentally mentions that spring is coming. It reminds me of Frosty the Snowman. The storytime kids were captivated.


If Snowflakes Tasted Like Fruitcake by Stacey Previn

A survey of the kids revealed that none of them had ever tried fruitcake, or were familiar with its reputation, so the book’s punchline (“If snowflakes tasted like fruitcake, we would give them all away.”) was a bit lost on them, but they still enjoyed the other ideas: “if snowflakes tasted like oatmeal, they would get me out of bed;” “if snowflakes tasted like cocoa, they would warm me to my toes.” A warm and simple, rhyming book that appealed to the toddlers as well as the older kids.


Five Little Snowmen Standing in a Row

One of my favorite wintertime songs is “Five Little Snowmen.” The kids love the part where we “melt” to the floor, and I always have them count to three and pop up for the next verse. Click on the triangle for the tune I use. I’ve found other versions of this song on Youtube, but I wish I knew who wrote the version I heard originally.

Five little snowmen standing in a row, (hold up five fingers)
Each with a hat (touch head), and a brightly colored bow (adjust imaginary bowtie).
Five little snowmen dressed up all for show.
Now they are ready,`
Where will they go?

Wait! (hold out hands in a “Stop!” motion) Till the sun shines. (move hands in a circle)
Wait! Till the sun shines.
Then they will go
Down through the fields
With the melting, melting snow (“melt” all the way down to the floor, then pop up for the next four snowmen).


For the past year or so, I’ve been adding in a scarf play time to my family storytime. The kids always look forward to it. You can find some of my regular songs on this post. For my winter theme, I had the kids sing the first verse of “Let it Snow.”

Let It Snow

Oh, the weather outside is frightful (put scarf around back of neck like a winter scarf)
But the fire is so delightful (hold scarf in hand and bounce it lightly so it looks like a fire).
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! (throw scarf in the air and let it fall to the ground).

CRAFT: Salt Snowflakes

Lately, given my younger audience, I’ve been switching to more process art-oriented crafts, rather than having the kids replicate a specific project. It cuts down on the frustration for the toddlers, and allows the older kids to get creative. They had a lot of fun making designs on black paper with glue sticks, and sprinkling salt on top. I also put out some chalk in case they wanted to add some color. The only challenge was keeping the kids from eating copious amounts of salt! My sample snowflake is at the top of this post. Here’s some other salt art the kids came up with:

Salt Art by Jade

Salt Art by Jade


Salt and Chalk Christmas Tree by Jordan (and his dad)


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The timeless classic (and one of my own favorites from childhood) about a boy’s adventures on a snowy day.

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Another favorite of mine, and great for even the youngest toddlers. This is a simple story about a boy’s hope for snow in spite of all of the grouchy adults who insist it will never come.

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Another classic, although a bit too long for the toddlers, about a boy whose lost mitten serves as a shelter for a number of animals.

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