Friday, June 17, 2016

Toddler/Preschool Dance Party 2016

We are slowly but surely getting started with summer reading at my library and during our current storytime break I thought another dance party for toddlers and preschoolers would make a great evening program. It is fun, easy to plan and the active nature of it fits the "On your mark, Get set, Read!" theme.

For those who have not tried doing this kind of program yet, I highly recommend it. If you need a playlist to get you started, here are the songs I used this time. For more ideas you can also see my previous dance party post or Pinterest board.

  • Body Talk on Kids in Motion by Greg and Steve: One of the few songs I reused from my previous dance party. It is just such a good warm up song. As a bonus it introduces many great vocabulary words for body parts.
  • Body Rock on Kids in Motion by Greg and Steve: This is another favorite song with a variety of directed motions. It is also a little faster tempo so it seems to get the kids excited.
  • I Really Love to Dance on Buzz, Buzz by Laurie Berkner: My other repeat song from my previous dance party. It is a fun song that fits into a dance party perfectly.
  • Let's Go Swimming on Top of the Tots by the Wiggles: I liked the idea of including a few summer related songs to get into the spirit of the season. 
  • Wipe Out by the Surfaris: Another summer themed addition. I had the kids pretend to surf then yelled "Wipe Out" throughout the song so they could pretend to fall down.
  • Rockin Robin on Songs for Wiggleworms: We pretended to be birds and flew around the room to this classic. 
  • Twist and Shout on Songs for Wiggleworms: This song was chosen as one of my designated shaker songs. I also included it because I wanted another song the parents would recognize.
  • I know a chicken on Whaddya Think of That? by Laurie Berkner: Another terrific shaker song. My kids are familiar with it from storytime, so that was another definite plus.
  • Wimoweh (the Lion Sleeps Tonight) on Whaddya Think of That by Laurie Berkner: As an ending song this worked wonderfully. We sat on the floor and pretended to sleep when the lion did. When it got to the chorus of "Wimoweh" we waved scarves around.

  • Once again I made a playlist on my iPhone and connected it to my CD player with an auxiliary cable. I would definitely recommend this as a method if your group is small enough. Mine was about 30 people and it worked well.

What I learned:
  • Getting parents to participate can be hard. I made several requests for grownups to get up and dance at the beginning of the program but still didn't get the participation I hoped.
  • Participation may look different for toddlers vs. preschoolers. This is totally normal developmentally. Both are benefiting from participating and having fun.
  • Digital music collections such as Freegal are a good resource to recommend to parents at a dance party. They often contain some great kids music. 

I hope these ideas have help if you are planning a dance party, or just provide some good song suggestions for the kids in your life. If you have any questions you can always comment here or email me at marrak at Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Flannel Friday: Going On A Picnic

My contribution to this week's Flannel Friday is a set of flannel food I created for a picnic themed storytime I did this past week. I am always up for talking about food at storytime so this seemed like a very seasonally appropriate way to do so!

A few pieces were reused from previous flannel sets. For instance the apple is from my Five Little Apples set, the cupcake is from the Five Little Cupcakes set I created, and the strawberry was made to go with my Baby Bear Sees Blue flannelboard. The other pieces were traced using templates I found online.

Here is the rhyme I used with these pieces:

Going on a picnic
Going on a picnic,
Gotta pack a lunch.
What should we bring to munch, munch, munch?

I found this rhyme at Sunflower Storytime. Not only does it fit the theme, I also liked that it encourages kids to participate and provide their own input as they suggest what we should bring on our picnic. One major benefit of this is that it gives kids practice taking turns, which I consider an important school readiness skill.

We followed our rhyme up with a game of "I Spy" using these same pieces. This is something I've been meaning to do in storytime since I heard it mentioned in a webinar I viewed awhile back. This game encourages color recognition and categorization. It also allows kids to see the patterns that exist among the pieces.

The Flannel Friday Roundup this week is hosted by Melissa from Mel's Desk! Check it out here to see what was shared. To participate in upcoming roundups, or get more great storytime ideas head over to the Flannel Friday Blog or Pinterest page. You can also follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.