Saturday, February 18, 2012

The more we get together

I use this traditional song to open every storytime - it's the best way I've found to memorize children's names (although I still have to get them to put name tags on every time)

The more we get together, together, together
The more we get together the happier we'll be
Because your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends
The more we get together the happier we'll be

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together the happier we'll be
We have (insert names here)
The more we read together the happier we'll be.

If you have a really big group, you can go on to dancing, singing, etc. together. We clap while we sing the song.

Sunny Day by Elizabeth Mitchell

This is my go-to song for closing storytimes, outreach visits, etc. I put together actions (and changed a few words) to make it a perfect calming-down song.

Start by crouching down and holding out your hands - this is always good for developing balance!
The sun comes up (Stand up slowly)
The flowers bloom (Hold out fists and slowly open them)
The rain comes down (Flutter your fingers like rain and slowly bend or crouch all the way down)
The flowers grow (Stand up again and raise your hands in the air)
People dancing everywhere (Turn in a circle)
The sun goes down again (Sink back down - if you're starting storytime with this, you end up sitting and calm)



Let's Go Riding in the Car

I use Elizabeth Mitchell's version and we make up words as we go along, as well as actions. You can find her version on her cd You Are My Sunshine.

Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee by Paul Galdone

I mostly use the words from Paul Galdone's version, Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee, but my tune is borrowed from Aaron Copland. We clap while we sing.



Flutter, Flutter Butterfly

Flutter, flutter butterfly
Floating in the summer sky
Floating by for all to see 
Floating by so merrily
Flutter flutter butterfly 
Floating in the summer sky

We sing this to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and slowly flap our arms - which is a lot more exercising than you would think, especially when you do it over and over again.

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs
Sitting on a hollow log
Eating some most delicious bugs
Yum yum!
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green speckled frogs
Glub glub

We always sing the Raffi version of this song, but we do it with vigor. And also clapping, rubbing our tummies for the yum, and making frog sounds for the glub, glub.

Pretty Ladybug

Ladybug had one spot, one spot, one spot
Ladybug had one spot, pretty ladybug

This song can take forever, especially if you let every kid put a dot on, which takes the numbers up to the 20s for me sometimes! But parents love that we count to higher numbers than five occasionally, and the kids adore putting their spots on. But around about ten, you might want to start singing it really, really fast...

I sing it to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb and clap to get the rhythm going briskly. Oh, and I usually put the numbers in rows across the top of the flannel board.

I got this one from Storytime Katie and I think she got it from someone else, who got it from someone else...

Head and Shoulders

Monster Version


Horns and fangs, knees and claws, knees and claws
Horns and fangs, knees and claws, knees and claws
Eyes and ears and tail and paws
Horns and fangs, knees and claws, knees and claws.


Use your hands to make horns, fangs, touch your knees, and touch your feet or make claws of your hands in the general vicinity of your feet. Then make big googly eyes, long waggly ears, wiggle your tail, and arch your hands like claws.

Hop Little Bunnies

This is our favorite, favorite song! We also use it with frogs, kangaroos, or any other animal that hops - and many that don't! "Flap little birds" works, but isn't as much fun as hopping.

There are a gazillion versions on Utube, but none of them are exactly the way we do it, which is the way I learned it at the Champaign Public Library, with gradual disintegration of the tune over time, as frequently happens to my songs. However, I'm personally fond of the British versions, even if they're not quite the same as ours. The one major difference is the way we do the transition...

(All the kids lie down. If you're not flexible and able to leap up and down multiple times and still belt out a tune, without stepping on anybody, don't lie down with the kids! Sing softly)
See the little bunnies sleeping 'till it's nearly noon
Shall we wake them with our merry tune?
They're so still, are they ill?

Then I ask "Are you sick little bunnies?" The kids, who are well-trained by now, all giggle and say "NO!" Then I yell, "Wake up little bunnies!" We all leap up and...

Hop little bunnies, hop hop hop
Hop little bunnies, hop hop hop
Hop little bunnies, hop hop hop
Hop little bunnies, hop (pause) and stop

Be prepared to do this at least three times in a row. My rule is we don't do songs more than three times, no matter how much they beg!

Here we go round the Mulberry Bush

This song works well for processes - I usually use it with planting a garden.

This is the way we plant a garden
First we have to dig the ground
Then we have to plant the seeds
Then we have to water the seeds
Then we have to pull the weeds
Then we have to harvest the fruit
Then it's time to eat the harvest

It's usually rather impromptu, so these are approximations of the words we use. I also tell parents it's good to use when they're doing processes at home - this is the way we wash the dishes, get ready to go, etc.

Crazy Crabs

Crazy crabs walk sideways
What a giddy way to go!
Snails slip, slide forwards
And that is very slow.
Ducks waddle, waddle
And that is funny too
And what about the hopping of the big red kangaroo?

Do the various animal action, then everybody hops like crazy!

I'm a Little Teapot

These don't fit exactly into the "I'm a little teapot" tune, but close enough.

I'm a little pumpkin, Fat and round
Here is my face, Making a frown
I'm a little pumpkin, Tall and thin
Here is my face, Making a grin
I'm a little pumpkin, I've got style
Here is my face, Making a smile

I am a robot big and tall
Stand me up against the wall
Wind me, wind me with a key
Now I'm ready, don't you see?
Walk, walk, stiff and slow
That is how the robots go
Walk, walk in the town
Oh, I hope I don't run down!
Slow, slow, I'll have to stop
I've run down and so kerplop!


I'm a little penguin
aren't I cute?
I'm a bird in a penguin suit
My suit has thick feathers
black and white
I can't fly but I swim all right
I can waddle 'round
on my webbed feet
Fresh fish are what I like to eat!
from Abby the Librarian

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves are floating down
They make a carpet on the ground
Then, swish, the wind comes whistling by
and sends them dancing to the sky

This rhyme is all about floating and swishing. Do your leaves however you want, and get a vigorous swish going by swinging your arms.

Way Up High in an Apple Tree

Way up high in an apple tree
5 red apples were smiling down at me
I shook that tree as hard as I could
and down fell an apple, mmm it was good!

Arms in the air, sway back and forth, shake an imaginary tree, tumble down to the ground, and take an imaginary bite!

Five Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen, all in a row
Each had a hat and a big red bow
The sun came out and shone all day
And one little snowman melted away.

Stand stiffly, hands at sides. Hands on head for hat, cross hands at neck for bow. Open and close fists for sunshine, and melt away (the more dramatically, the better!)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Five Little Cookies

5 little cookies were sitting on a plate
Waiting for Santa, he was running late
Along came a reindeer and guess what he ate?
Chomp!

Make a big round plate with your arms, "look" for Santa, make reindeer horns, chomp a big cookie!

Five Little Frogs

5 little frogs were down at the pond
Down at the pond one day
Along came a hungry/wiggly/purple/flying/giant monster/bird/dragon
And chased one frog away

This one is completely interactive. The kids fill in the adjective and the noun - I've put up some suggestions in the rhyme.

Five Fat Peas

5 fat peas in a pea pod pressed
One grew, two grew, so did all the rest
They grew and grew and did not stop until one pea in the pod went POP

Start by crouching down in a small ball. Slowly stand up and repeat the rhyme faster and faster until you explode in a jumping jack! One of our most popular rhymes.

Five Little Jack O'Lanterns

5 little jack o'lanterns sitting on a gate
The first one said, "oh my, it's getting late"
The second one said, "let's have some fun"
The third one said, "let's run, run, run"
The fourth one said, "let's prance and dance"
The fifth one said, "now's our chance"
Whooo went the wind and out went the light
And five little jack o'lanterns rolled out of sight.

The Wheels on the Bus

This traditional song is great on its own - it's also marvelous for changing up with new themes.

I always ask the kids to suggest the animals, insects, etc. and we usually get more or less the same creatures so it's easy to remember the actions for them. If some enterprising smart aleck suggests a sea cucumber (True story. He was four.) ask them what the animal does and make them come up with the action. Some of our favorite themes include:
  • The creatures in the ocean (this is the one we use most often) (I added photographs to this one to make it a flannelboard)
    • The whales in the ocean go spout, spout, spout (put hands on head and then "spout" into the air)
    • The crabs in the ocean go pinch, pinch, pinch (only if you're sure your audience won't pinch each other!)
    • The dolphins in the ocean go leap, leap, leap (have to have an old enough group to all leap in the same direction. This is very important)
    • The fish in the ocean go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle (put hands together and wiggle your whole body)
    • The shark in the ocean goes chomp, chomp, chomp (make a giant mouth with both arms and open and close them)
  • The animals in the jungle
  • The parts of the robot
  • The animals on the farm
More Resources

I consider Raffi's version (included in Rise and Shine) to be the ultimate wheels on the bus and of course there are lots of picture book versions
  • Wheels on the bus by Raffi, illustrated by Sylvia Wickstrom
  • Wheels on the bus go round and round by Annie Kubler
  • Wheels on the bus by Jane Cabrera
  • Wheels on the bus by Paul Zelinsky
  • Seals on the bus by Lenny Hort

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

I can't, of course, duplicate the inimitable facial expressions, but kids LOVE telling this story with me. I've adapted it slightly with more motions with the legs (walking, splooshing, etc.). We're always happy when it's time to go bear hunting!




Here's a Little Egg

Here's a little egg, so smooth and white
Peck, peck, peck, there's something inside
Peck, peck, peck, here comes a little beak
Peck, peck, peck, here come two little feet
Peck, peck, peck and pick, pick, pick
And crack, crack CRACK!
Out pops the baby chick!

A favorite despite my inability to remember the words, no matter how many times we do it.

Start by crouching in a ball on the floor. As you say the rhyme, slowly get up until on the last "crack" you leap up and wave your arms.

Rain on the Green Grass

Rain on the green grass
Rain on the tree
Rain on the housetop
But not on me!

Wiggle your fingers for the rain, make a roof from your hands, then curve your arms over your head like an umbrella

Stretch up High

Stretch up high, stretch down low, clap your hands and away we go!
Make a circle in the air, sweep your arm around
Now the other – do the same - and jump up off the ground
Bend your knees, then stand up tall, down up, down up, just like a rubber ball


Just do the actions as described - you need strong knees for this one! A good quick stretch between stories.

Five Hungry Ants

5 hungry ants, marching in a line
They came upon a picnic where they could dine
They marched into the salad they marched into the cake
They marched into the pepper, uh oh that was a mistake!
Ah, ah, ah, CHOO!

This is another one of our favorites - march vigorously, swinging your arms in rhythm, then stop and sneeze!

Five Red Apples

5 red apples in an apple tree
Bouncing on the branches 1 2 3
An apple falls down for you and me

This is our favorite, favorite fall apple rhyme! Wave your hands around or whatever for the apples, then we bounce, three jumps. This is the best part! You have to jump HARD. Then tumble down.

Five Little Leaves

5 little leaves, brown gold and red
Were dancing on their tree leaf bed
The wind came whooshing through the town
And one little leaf came tumbling down

This is one of our favorite, favorite fall rhymes. Hold your arms out and make your fingers, the leaves, dance. Then SWOOSH your arms through the air for the leaves, and tumble to the ground.

Five Little Froggies

Five little froggies sitting on a well
One jumped up and down he fell
Froggies jumped high
Froggies jumped low
Four little froggies jumping to and fro

I've tried to do the specific jumps, but we usually just end up jumping!

Five Apples in a Basket


The first apple in the basket was a bright and shiny red
The second apple in the basket said my what a cozy bed
The third apple in the basket said now we two are a pair
The fourth apple in the basket said please move over there
The fifth apple in the basket said oh dear oh me oh my this basket looks like pastry - I think we're in a pie!

This rhyme teaches the first five ordinal numbers - first, second, third, fourth, fifth. My pie pan isn't very good so the kids don't always guess the last rhyme!

Five Enormous Dinosaurs


5 enormous dinosaurs letting out a roar
One stomped away and then there were four
4 enormous dinosaurs knocking down a tree
One stomped away and then there were three
3 enormous dinosaurs eating tiger stew
One stomped away and then there were two
2 enormous dinosaurs sitting in the sun
One stomped away and then there was one
1 enormous dinosaur left all alone
He stomped away and then there were none

I've never actually used the flannelboard for this.



Jumping Beans

1, 2, 3, 4 beans came jumping through the door
5, 6, 7, 8 beans are jumping on my plate
9, 10, 11, 12 beans are jumping off the shelf

This is really a jumping rhyme and not a counting rhyme. We do it fast and jump up and down as heavily as we can to mark out the strong rhythm. It's a good quick rhyme to get rid of wiggles before sitting down again.