After my mild freak out a month ago about doing baby storytimes I am starting to get the hang out it. By no means am I anywhere near an expert and I still have a lot to learn (from both the babies and my children’s librarian peers) but so far I am enjoying it!
I came into my position in the midst of a storytime cycle so currently we are using the Babygarten curriculum. It is also for babies 0-35 months which is a pretty huge age difference for me and something I’ve already noticed a problem with. I did page through the binder and find some interesting things but honestly I learned more from asking on twitter and visiting other blogs (again: see freakout post). For these first few weeks I really have been sticking to stuff I already know and have done before until I get a real feel for the kids and caregivers coming in.
So, without further ado, here is what a typical baby storytime has been for me:
As they are coming in we have a short playtime and BUBBLES. This goes on for about 10 minutes which gives everyone a chance to come in and not be late and miss the songs and stories. I am not sure if I want to keep it like this or not so we’ll see what happens!
Opening Song I have been using Hi, Hello because it helps me to remember everyone’s names. Also, last week, after three weeks of struggling and getting embarrassed about having to ask every session what names were, I brought out nametags. SUCH A BIG HELP. I just grabbed some mail labels (which for some reason were being hoarded in my office– seriously i have boxes of them) and wrote each baby’s name on it. I was honest about my fault and just told each parent “I am really terrible at remembering names so hopefully the nametags will help!” No one seemed to mind.
After the opening song I’ll do 2 rhymes/songs and repeat each at least twice. Check out my BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Songs & Rhymes page to see some of what I do :)
Next I’ll read a Big Book to the group…This last week I did The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
1 rhyme, again repeated at least twice
Felt Game… so this started out by accident; I had a duck storytime for the pre-schoolers and decided to use the same felt activity with the babies to see how it went and the absolutely LOVED it. For the weeks after that, instead of doing the eggs, I just hid the duck behind shapes. When I am doing this activity all of the walking kids. I later found that Brooke at Reading with Red does something similar! I currently don’t have themes for my baby storytime so we’ve just been using the duck, although I like Brooke’s idea of hiding something that represents the theme.
Knock knock knock
baby duck, baby duck
are you behind the (blue rectangle)?
Next we do a Board Book read together. I recently asked on the Storytime Underground facebook page for board book recommendations and got some awesome responses! I plan on making a post about the recommendations and the books I ended up purchasing soon. This week we read Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox… It was a little bit longer than what we’ve done in the past but it went well.
Another ryhme… repeated! Sometimes I do two shorter ones here.
Egg shaker song! I pick a shorter song to play and give every kid an egg shaker or scarf. Always a hit.
Afterwards I give them a chance to play with the felt game!
So far it all seems to be working but I assume I’ll always be making some little changes here and there. Really, it’s about being flexible and working with your group that day. Sometimes it’s a younger group and you can do more baby bounces and lap rhymes and sometimes it’s older and we need to shake our sillies out! I am also loving doing storytime’s with this age group :)