You may have this blog has been on a bit of a break. We’ve had a two-week break between storytime sessions and during this time we have tried something new. Instead of storytime, we’ve done a new program called Little Movers. This is basically a drop-in, casual movement program for children 3-5 years with lots of music and song related activities.
I did not invent this idea. I learned about it when I went to the Illinois Library Association conference this past fall and saw a presentation by Hi Miss Julie. She discussed successful movement programs she’s presented and I was inspired and I wanted to do it! Upon returning to my library, we tried to find a time to implement this program.
What’s great about a program like this is you really can be flexible and do whatever works best for your patrons. This is what my program entailed:
I began with a book (this is a library after all!) I tried to choose books that have a bit of movement to them that expected the children to get involved.
A great title is Dancing Feet! By Lindsey Craig, illustrated by Marc Brown. I’ve discussed this one before with the dancing storytime theme. I just love reading this one aloud!
Another great book to include is Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. This is another one of my favorites and it has also been mentioned before on this blog. This is one of my go-to books, it’s fun to read and encourages the kids to participate.
I also read Can You Make A Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. This book is very silly and just as with the other two books, I have used this in storytime previously.
After a book or two, we started by streaching and moved on to some movement activities with music.
There is no limit to the amount of kid’s music that is out there. But, full disclosure here, I can’t stand most of it. Luckily, there is some fantastic stuff available and that’s what I shared with my group.
Jim Gill is awesome. He has five albums and each one is packed with great tunes that get little ones hopping and bopping all over the place. His music makes it way into many storytimes and my library has been fortunate enough to have him perform for our patrons. It was a fantastic show.
I also really like Georgina Stewart’s Bean Bag Activities & Coordination Skills.
These songs are instructional and incorporate bean bags. Tons of fun. Yes, the cover is a bit dated and the music may seem silly but everyone always has a great time. I use one song, The Bean Bag Rock, regularly in storytime.
In addition to kid music I also played some old-fashioned rock and roll. We had a little Beatles, Beach Boys, and Chuck Berry. I also tried to incorporate newer music as well. Israel kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a great song to slow everything down and was a good at way to wrap up the program.
I also (attempted) to teach them the Chicken Dance and the twist. The results were (as expected) so-so but there was a lot of laughing. We got the parachute out, which is always a super fun surprise because we don’t do that all that often. I forgot our limbo stick, but that would have been a great addition.
What I learned from this program:
We had it in an hour drop-in time slot. The idea was they would drop in and out but they didn’t. That is a-ok because we had a great time. However, an hour was a bit long for some of the kids and they “had to go to the bathroom” and never came back. In retrospect, I think a half hour or even 45 minute time slot would work better for this group. Additionally, we did this program two weeks back to back so I need two hours of material. Obviously it’s ok to repeat but I couldn’t repeat everything.
Bubbles make everything better! We use bubbles in our baby storytimes and I got out the bubbles for the last few songs. This really rejuvenated the group and kept us going towards the end. When in doubt, blow some bubbles!