Balloons – Preschool Storytime

I have never done a balloon storytime before — this surprises me!  I wish I had started planing this a little earlier because I think there are some other book options that may have been great, but I didn’t have time to get the holds (I listed some of the titles in the Additional Materials Idea section so I could remember them for next time.).

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song*

MOVEMENT: “Clap Your Hands” from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill


Sebastian and the Balloon
 by Philip C. Stead

My Red Balloon
I had a little red balloon (make ball with hands)
And I blew and blew and blew (blow into hands)
Until it grew and grew and grew. (stretch hands apart)
I tossed it in the air (pretend to toss balloon up)
and never let it drop (pretend to catch)
Until it hit the ground (slap lap)
And it went POP! (Clap!)

Pete the Clown and His Five Bright Balloons
Pete the Clown flannelboard
(flannelboard made by my awesome coworker AnnMarie.  Idea from Storytime Secrets)

Pete the Clown bought five bright balloons at the carnival.
He was so excited about them, he sang a song as he walked along.
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”  (sung to a congo line chant).

But then… POP!
One balloon broke and started to drop. (remove balloon from board.)
Now how many balloons did Pete have?

Did Pete cry? No, never.
He knows balloons don’t last forever.
Pete was still so happy to have four balloons, that he kept walking along and singing his song.

“I’ve got four balloo-oons! I’ve got four balloo-oons!”

(Repeat the same sequence of events until Pete is out of balloons, then add the following ending.)

Pete was out of balloons! What could he do?

Well, he stopped where he was, turned around, and went back to the carnival, where he got five more balloons.

As he walked along, he sang his song:
“I’ve got five balloo-oons! I’ve got five balloo-oons!”
Five Balloons in the Sky
Five balloons in the sky
(Idea adapted from Teacher Tom)

Five balloons in the sky
Way up high
Watch them fly!

If one should POP! (clap hands)
And quickly drop (remove balloon from board)
How many balloons do you see?

Continue until you have no balloons left.

MOVEMENT: “Shake My Sillies Out” from More Singable Songs by Raffi


Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid

(taken from Anne’s Library Life via Sunflower Storytime)
I’m going to blow up this balloon (make a circle with hands)
And never ever stop (shake head)
I’ll blow and blow and blow and blow and blow and (pretend to blow into balloon each time you say blow and make the circle bigger with your hands)
POP! (Clap hands)

A is for Alligator
(adapted from Anne’s Library Life)
A is for alligator CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP (clap your hands with arms out straight in front of you)
B is for balloon POP POP POP (clap hands)
C is for circle, turn around (turn around)
D is for dizzy, let’s sit down. (sit down)


“Max’s Balloon Buddies ” from Max and Ruby: Everybunny Loves Winter

MOVEMENT: Storytime’s Over*


Book: Molly Who Flew Away by Valeri Gorbachev
Book: Come Back, Ben by Ann Hassett and John Hassett (a beginning reader, but I think it may work in storytime)
Book: A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Laura Rankin
Book: The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes and Barbara Firth
Book: Balloons, Balloons, Balloons by Dee Lillegard, illustrated by Bernadette Pons
Book: Emily’s Balloon by Komako Sakai
DVD: “The Balloon Ride” from Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride

When I first read through Sebastian and the Balloon, I really liked it but I wasn’t sure if it would work in a storytime setting.  I thought it might be too long, especially since we sometimes get more toddlers than preschoolers.  But, we had a little older crowd today and it worked beautifully, and got a great giggle each time I said “pickle sandwich”.  Pete the Clown was great as a flannelboard, and as noted on Storytime Secrets, if you dance in your seat while you chant kids and parents will chair dance with you.  The video today also got a lot of giggles which was fun.  Parents really seemed to enjoy Max’s exasperated-with-Ruby look today.

ATTENDANCE: 28 (adults and children)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Shapes – eStorytime

When planning this storytime, it felt like there were a lot more good apps/ebooks about shapes than print ones about them.  (At least in my library when I was last-minute-planning.)

Opening Slide on Keynote:
Shapes eStorytime - 2015-03-06 start slide

Come Along and Sing With me Slide
Come Along and Sing with Me

toddler teasers app 1toddler teasers app 3toddler teasers app 2
Toddler Teasers – Shapes     (FREE; iOS)

I thought it would be fun to start out the storytime by allowing kids to identify different shapes.  I was asking my colleague AnnMarie (our resident iPad guru) for ideas about apps to use and she mentioned this one.  It had exactly what I was looking for, except I wish I had played with it a bit long before deciding to use it.  Because after a few kids got to play, you then “earn a sticker” which takes you out of the app a bit.  It wasn’t a big deal, and you can continue playing after that, it’s just a reminded to use the apps for longer before I bring them out so there are no surprises.

Four Little Corners appFour Little Corners app icon
Four Little Corners by Dada Company

In Four Little Corners little square wants to play with the little circles, but he can’t fit through the round door!  Can the friends figure out a way to get everyone inside?


Draw a Circle
Draw a circle, draw a circle (draw a circle in the air with your finger)
Round as can be
Draw a circle, draw a circle
Just or me.

Draw a square, draw a square (draw a square in the air with your finger)
Shaped like a door
Draw a square, draw a square
with corners four.

Draw a triangle, draw a triangle (draw a triangle in the air with your finger)
With corners three
Draw a triangle, draw a triangle
Just for me.

pet cafe app matching 1Pet cafe app matching 2
Sago Mini Pet Cafe by Sago Sago ($2.99, iOS)

This time, we played the “dog” game with Sago Mini Pet Cafe.  In this game, a purple shaded version of a food is placed in front of the animal and the user has to drag the purple shape with their finger to match it to the white shape.  When you get it right, the shape shows you want it is, the animal eats it, and then you get to see what the animal things of the food.  Dog is not a fan of broccoli, apparently.  I walked around with the iPad so that each of the children present had a turn to match the shapes.


The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss from Oceanhouse Media (iOS, Android Kindle, Nook, $3.99)

The Dr. Seuss story comes to life in this app.  The app will say the name of some of the shapes when you tap on them, so this makes it fun to have the guess what a silhouette is, and then see if they are right!

“Jump Up, Turn Around” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill’s Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times

Tino the Triangle app 1Tino the Triangle app 2Tino the Triangle app 3
Tino the Triangle from Larixpress (iOS; free for starter story, $1.99 for full story)

This was a fun app to read/play because it is half story, half guessing game.  The story begins, and as you tap the yellow triangle it turns into the blue background page with an animal noise sound.  The children can guess the animal and then tap again to see if they are correct!  Some of the noises are actually pretty difficult to decipher.

SONG: “Storytime’s Over”*


APP: Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong, Illustrated by Grace Lin from PicPocket Books ($2.99 iOS)
APP: Geoboard by The Math Learning Center from Clarity Innovations (FREE; iOS) (To make shakes on the board)
APP: Busy Shapes by Seven Academy ($1.99; iOS) (This may have been a good alternative to Toddler Teasers Shapes that I used in the beginning)

After looking through the estorytimes I have done, I realized that most of my technical issues arise when I am moving from one media to the other (like from iPad mirroring to cd).  This time, so as to avoid that, I decided to play the Jim Gill action song I use through the iPad.  I forgot to add it to my playlist, but I did find a streaming version of it online and just went there to play it.  And it worked!

ATTENDANCE: 14 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Preschool Dance Party!

On Friday February 20th I hosted my first dance party here at the library!  I’m currently working on a grant to bring more play into the library, had heard about many libraries offering one, and thought it would be a perfect way to play and move.  After being inspired by some fabulous blog posts from Storytiming, Jbrary, The Show Me Librarian, Storytime with Miss Sara, Thrive After Three, Catch the Possibilities, and Fat Girl Reading I finally felt confident enough to make the dance party happen!


1) “The Tempo Marches On” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings Do Re Mi On His Toe Leg Knee 
I wasn’t sure how quickly parents and kids would start dancing, or how comfortable people would feel at first, so I picked this one first because I thought it was an easy movement song that was easy enough for everyone to participate.  You are practically running at the end of the song, so be prepared!

Chocolate Milk and Other Tasty Tunes
2) “Whatever Dance” by Dana McCarthy from Chocolate Milk and Other Tasty Tunes
I feel like this one was sort of the mission statement for my dance party: “Whatever dance you want to do, it’s good for me if it’s good for you.”

Caspar Babypants I Found You
3) “All The Fish” by Caspar Babypants from I Found You!
Caspar Babypants is one of my favorite children’s bands, so I was happy when I saw this title highlighted on Jbrary‘s blog.  As suggested, we pretended to be all the different animals mentioned in the song and swim like they would swim.  Perfect song for breaking our your swim moves.

Yo Gabba Gabba Music is Awesome
4) “Robo Dancing” by Money Mark from Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome!
I thought it would be fun (and funny) to have all the kids show me their best robot moves.

Brother Yusef Kids Get the Blues Too
5) “Shake It” by Brother Yusef from Kids Get the Blues Too/Blues for Beginners
Time to break out the shakers!  For each prop I used I wanted to find a song that would just allow the kids to dance freely with it, and then one that they could follow instructions to.  This one was the free dance for the shakers.  Brother Yusef has visited our library many times and he never fails to get toes tapping and shoulders shimmying.

Kathy Reid-Naiman Reach for the Stars
6) “Shake It To the East” by Kathy Reid-Naiman from Reaching for the Stars!
This was the song we used to follow instructions with the shakers.    Especially fun was the little pause part in the middle where everyone stops shaking.

Imagination Movers Juice Box Heroes
7) “Shakable You” by Imagination Movers from Juice Box Heroes
Moving from shaking the shakers to shaking your body!

The Muppets the Green Album
8) “Mahna Mahna” by The Frey from Muppets: The Green Album
At this point in the program I was tired, so I decided we needed to have a sit down.  We all sat in a circle and danced only with our arms for this song.

Josh Levine for Kids
9) “The Hokey Pokey” by Josh Levine from Josh Levine for Kids
We stood up from our circle and then Hokey Pokey-ed!

Carole Peterson Dancing Feet
10) “Dancing Scarf Blues” by Carole Peterson from Dancing Feet.
Time to bring out the scarves!  We started with the instructional song first this time.

Laurie Berkner Buzz Buzz
11) “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” by Laurie Berkner from Buzz Buzz
And now just dancing freely, with scarves going wild when the bumblebee buzzes.

William Janiak Arms Up Keep Moving
12) “Arms Up!” by William C. Janiak from Arms Up Keep Moving
Another guided movement song.  I wasn’t so sure about this one, but Fat Girl Reading mentioned that it was a great track so I thought I would try it out.  Of course, total success.

Bari Koral Rock and Roll Garden
13) “Clap It” by Bari Koral Family Rock Band from Rock and Roll Garden
While I’m not exactly sure how to clap my toes, this was a fun one to move along to.

Pharrell GIRL
14) “Happy (From Despicable Me 2)” by Pharrell Williams from G I R L
I’d heard that this one was always a hit in family dance parties as well.  Yup, it is.

Joanie Leeds I'm a Rock Star
15) “Goodbye, Goodbye” by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights from I’m a Rock Star
A nice song to end things with.

ATTENDANCE: 40 people


This was a super fun program, but a TIRING one.  I counted this as my workout for the day.  Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable to move in.  I am glad I held my dance party close to the end of the day.  If I do a future one early in the day, I may consider bringing an extra change of clothes, just in case.

I wasn’t sure how many people would attend the program and I was waffling regarding where I should hold the dance party.  Our storytime room would have been great, because it has a door that closes so that the sound can be contained.  But, it has large, broad step areas that make the space more like an amphitheater, and I knew we would need plenty of space to move around.  My library recently opened a studio space which is a large open area on our 4th floor.  It has no doors, so the sound carried everywhere, but the flat emptiness made it really nice for everyone to move around.  And since it was just 45 minutes or the noise wasn’t too much of problem.

As the dj I sort of tried to guide the patrons into what dance moves we would do for each song.  “Ok, now we’re going to put on the robot song!  How would you dance if you were a robot?”  I am wondering if this is too limiting, or if it provides needed structure.  Will think about his.

I played everything from my iPad through the wireless speakers we had.  This is awesome and much easier to control than having to deal with a cd player.

I think I am going to have to do one again during our music-themed summer reading program.

Birds – eStorytime

After one blissfully tech issue free eStorytime, it’s back to having to deal with a few.  I think it’s just a matter of doing this enough to figure out what is going wrong, so I know what to do to fix it.  But, glitches aside, this was still a great fun time!  And I had parents after asking about some of the apps — exactly what we want to happen!!

Opening Slide on Keynote:
Slide1 edited

Animal Sounds App 1 Animal Sounds App 2 animal sounds app 3
Animal Sounds – Fun Toddler Game by Innovative Mobile Apps/Alligator Apps

Before storytime I actually had a eStorytime regular asking me what the storytime was going to be about.  I used this app to have the children figure out the theme.  For this app, I turned of the mirroring function of the iPad so that you couldn’t see the images on my screen.  Then I played an animal sound, and had the children see if they could guess what it was.  (I also used this same intro for my cats eStorytime, but used a different app).

Come Along and Sing With me Slide
Come Along and Sing with Me

I should have done this prior to doing the bird sound app, but I was so excited to start with that I forgot about our song.  I used Keynote to project the lyrics to parents.


Jerry’s Day Out! by Ink Robin ($2.99 ;iOS)

A cute story of a budgie bird who gets lost in New York, and travels all over the city to be reunited with his friends.  The kids especially loved the break dancing pigeons interaction on the app.  I really like this story, and think it would be perfect for one-on-one sharing, or with an older audience, but it may have been too long for my preschoolers.


Little Robin Redbreast
Little Robin Redbreast (make fist and join thumb & index finger)
Sitting on a rail (rest wrist on edge of other hand)
Nibble nabble goes his head (move thumb & index finger up and down)
Wiggle waggle goes his tail  (tilt wrist over other hand)

5 Little Birds
Five little birds without any home (raise left hand fingers)
Five little trees in a row (raise right hand fingers)
Come build your nest in our branches tall (interlace fingers)
We’ll rock you to and fro (sway nest gently)


Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! by Mo Willems from Disney ($5.99 ;iOS)

I selected the Big Pigeon version of the storytelling mode, where the Bus Driver asks kids different questions and then records their answers to place in the story.  It is one of the most adorable and funny things hearing the completed story “Don’t Let the Pigeon play the Game” we created.

If the iPad’s Disconnected
(to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
song taken from Cen Campbell)

If the iPad’s disconnected clap your hands.
If the iPad’s disconnected clap your hands.
I can fix it in a minute
I just have to re-connected it.
If the iPad’s disconnected clap your hands.

“Jump Up, Turn Around” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill’s Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times

Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton from Loud Crow Interactive (iOS, Android, Nook Color; $3.99)

Reading Jerry’s Day Out!, creating our own Pigeon story, and a few technical difficulties meant this storytime was running a little longer than planned.  I changed my plan up a little bit to use this shorter story as the last element of the storytime.  It wasn’t a hardship at all, since all of Boynton’s ebooks are amazing!

SONG: “Storytime’s Over”*


APP: Angus the Irritable Bull from Watermark LTD (2.99; iOS)
APP: Felt Board by Software Smoothie (for two little bluebirds, or lots of other bird fingerplays (iOS: $2.99)
APP: Pete and the Secret of Flying by (FREE; iOS)
APP: Peepers I Say, You Say… by Once Upon an App ($1.99; iOS)


This was really fun, and it was especially great to have the kids work together to create a story with the Pigeon App.  Since this is my first time using that one, I would like to try it more and see what the different ways of building stories are and which works best for my groups.  This was the app that I had a parent ask about at the end of storytime as well.  I just wish there was some way to share the stories created on the app somehow – save it so I could send it to parents who participated, etc.  I’m sure it doesn’t allow this due to copyright issues.

My tech issue this time was mainly that I had issues going from iPad sound to the cd player sound.  I think I just need to make sure I have the tuner on for CD time, but make sure it is off for iPad time.  There was a mirroring issue also around this time, but the iPad’s disconnected song made everyone laugh and helped smooth things over.

ATTENDANCE: 8 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.

Underwear – Preschool Storytime

I noticed lately that there were a lot of fun books about underwear, and figured why not share some of them in storytime?  I was hesitant about the topic at first, and wondered if people would find it inappropriate.  But, I felt better when I saw that other storytime bloggers had paved the way.  Just to be on the safe side,  I checked with my supervisor before presenting it, just to make sure she would have my back in case of complaints.  Thankfully, my community is fairly open and I don’t think anyone had a problem with it (at least that they let me know).

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song*

MOVEMENT: “Can’t Wait to Celebrate” from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill


One Big Pair of Underwear
 by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

MOVEMENT: Now You’re Getting Dressed
(to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)

First put on your underwear, underwear, underwear. (pretend to put on underwear)
First put on your underwear. Now you’re getting dressed.
Stick your arms up in your shirt, in your shirt, in your shirt.
Stick your arms up in your shirt.  Now you’re getting dressed.
Pull your pants up to your waist, to your waist, to your waist.
Pull your pants up to your waist.  Now you’re getting dressed.
Wiggle your toes down in your socks, in your socks, in your socks.
Wiggle your toes down in your socks.  Now you’re getting dressed.
Slip your shoes on, tie them tight, tie them tight, tie them tight.
Slip your shoes on, tie them tight.  Now you’re getting dressed
Now you can go out and play, out and play, out and play.
Now you can go out and play, You got yourself all dressed.


Bear in Underwear Flannelboard 1 logo Bear in Underwear Flannelboard 3 logo Bear in Underwear Flannelboard 4 logo

To make the pieces for this flannelboard, I just blew up the Monday page from the book on the copy machine and used that as my template for the bear and for his underwear.  I told the story by putting the (naked) bear up on the flannelboard, then recited the words from the book.  At the correct time, I put the underwear on the bear.  When it was time for bear to wear a new pair of undies, I moved the old one to the bottom of the board (you can kind of see this in the second picture.)  Then I brought out the days of the week and we talked about what color underwear Bear wore each day (notice the color of the text of the days matches the color of bear’s pants).

MOVEMENT: Head, Shoulders Knees and Underwear
I sung this to the traditional tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, but just substituted the word “underwear” for “toes” or “nose”.   Thanks to Miss Sarah’s Storytime for this great idea!  It was a hit.

Head, shoulders, knees, underwear.
Knees, underwear.
Head, shoulders, knees, underwear.
Knees, underwear.
Eyes and ears and mouth and underwear.
Head, shoulders, knees, underwear.
Knees, underwear.


The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach

MOVEMENT: “Shake My Sillies Out” by Raffi from A Young Children’s Concert with Raffi

“Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed” from The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog Snowy Day… and more stories by Mo Willems based on the book by Mo Willems

MOVEMENT: Storytime’s Over*


Book: Pants by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Nick Sharratt
Book: Veggies with Wedgies by Todd H. Doodler (is he the underwear laureate of our time?)
Book: I’m Not a Pig in Underpants by Elwood H. Smith
Book: What Color is Your Underwear? by Sam Lloyd (I haven’t read this one yet, because we don’t have it in our system, but this flannelboard that Miss Sarah made is amazing!)
Book: Pirates Love Underpants (or Aliens… or Dinosaurs…) by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort

A fun storytime, but I didn’t get quite as many giggles as I thought I might have.  I perhaps should have chosen some younger stories.  The idea of a zoo where animals wear underwear did seem pretty funny to them though.  And I really liked reading aloud One Big Pair… it has such a nice rhythm to it. “Naked Mole Rat” might have been a bit of a stretch for the video, but there aren’t a lot of good ones that I could find about underpants.  Plus, the Naked Mole Rat is wearing undies on the title page, and at the end the advertisement mentions underpants.  Good enough for me.  I need to remember to bring my bottle of water and keep it with me — my throat was getting kind of rough.

ATTENDANCE: 29 (adults and children)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

Shopping at the Market – eStorytime

Something amazing happened at this storytime, dear readers.  There were no technical difficulties!  The wireless worked!  My iPad cooperated! The apps never froze!  This is all especially wonderful since our main tech guy was out today.  Hooray!

Opening Slide on Keynote:
Slide1 edited
I was thinking about no longer using the Powerpoint slides in between my presentation, but I really like putting up the words for the fingerplays and the rhymes so parents can sing along.  Maybe just do it for when I need it?

Come Along and Sing With me Slide
Come Along and Sing with Me

For this presentation, I actually deleted the text that says it’s to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” because I found that I kept singing it to the tune of “London Bridge”.


A Day in the Market story by May Tobias-Papa, illustrated by Isabel Roxas from Adarna house (iOS: $2.99; Android Free)

A wonderful story about a little Filipino girl and her trip to the market with her Nanay. You have to interact with the app in order to turn the page, and on some pages this can take a lot longer than others (especially the large market scene).  But, there is a lot to talk about while that is on the screen, so it didn’t feel too forced during the storytime.  Since my group was small today, I had the children tap and interact with the app during the sorting activity in the middle of the story and the cooking game at the end.  Once they touch the device though, that’s all they want to do.


“Five Little Cookies in the Bakery Shop”
(I found this rhyme via the King County Library System Site.  You should really watch their video because it is adorable.)

The rhyme seemed to be a big hit with the group.

Toca Store by Toca Boca (iOS; $2.99)
The kids help me set up a store together, each one got to pick out a few items they wanted to sell by actually tapping the iPad (The kids came running up to do this.  It only went as well as it did because we had so few children there.)  Then I played the customer and asked the group how much each item should cost.  We counted the money together.  Parents really wanted the purse when they found it magically supplied money for items if you didn’t have enough to buy it.

“Jump Up, Turn Around” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill’s Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times


To Market, To Market
by Anne Miranda, illustrated by Janet Stevens


Nursery Rhyme with Storytime (iOS: FREE)

We read “This Little Piggy” from this app and did it together as a fingerplay as well.

Dino-Store by Roger Sedarat, illustrated by Trade Loeffler, from Bluemarker. 

This is such a fun and funny story — and it’s free!  Leo and his father go to the grocery store and are surprised when their large eggs hatch into dinosaurs on the way home!  The interaction of the story is subtle, but funny.



MOVEMENT: Storytime’s Over*

APP: Just Grandpa and Me from Oceanhouse Media (iOS, Android, Nook, Kindle, HP TouchPad: $1.99)
APP: Five Little Monkeys go Shopping from appropos (iOS,$2.99)


This was a super fun storytime.  I only wish that we got more people attending!  Those who do come, however, seem to enjoy it.  And having only a few people come does me we get to interact more, so I suppose that is the trade off.

Thanks to the wonderful category page at Digital-Storytime that helps me come up with theme and app ideas.

ATTENDANCE: 5 people (children and adults)

*To see the words to these movements and activities I use frequently, please visit my A-capella Movements Section on my Storytime Movements and Music Page

App prices were correct at the time of writing this blog, but may have changed since. There may also be changes to available platforms for apps as well.