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Roar! The Dinosaurs Are Coming-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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They’re big, they’re tall, and they stomp and roar. Dinosaurs invaded Storytime today. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

If You're Happy

Stomp your feet if you’re happy!

Our first book was Dinosaur Train by John Steven Gurney. Jesse loved two things, dinosaurs and trains. One night, both of those things combined for him in a spectacular way when the Dinosaur Train arrived. Jesse boarded the train and met all manner of amazing, friendly dinosaurs, even getting to eat dinner with a brontosaurus. As the train rounded a bend and went through a tunnel, all the passengers saw the most amazing sight, an erupting volcano. When everyone leaned over to get a better view, the train fell off the tracks. Not to worry though, Jesse came to the rescue and, with the triceratops’ help, got the train back on the tracks. The journey continued all the way home to Jesse’s room.

Dino Train

Here was Jesse meeting all his new friends on the Dinosaur Train

For our first activity, I paired an action song with a flannel board. The song “All Around the Swamp” was taken from Sur La Lune Storytimes. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, images of all the different dinosaurs mentioned in the song. As we sang through the song we identified every dinosaur, and the children were able to act out the motions mentioned, flapping their wings and moving their tails. Here are the lyrics:

All Around the Swamp
Tune: “The Wheels on the Bus”

The Pteranodon’s wings went flap, flap, flap,
Flap, flap, flap, flap, flap, flap,
The Pteranodon’s wings went flap, flap, flap,
All around the swamp.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex went grr, grr, grr,
Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr,
The Tyrannosaurus Rex went grr, grr, grr,
All around the swamp.

The Triceratops’ horns went poke, poke, poke,
Poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke,
The Triceratops’ horns went poke, poke, poke,
All around the swamp.

The brontosaurus went munch, munch, munch.

Munch, munch, munch, munch, munch, munch.

The brontosaurs went munch, munch, munch.

All around the swamp.

The stegosaurs’ tail went spike, spike, spike.

Spike, spike, spike, spike, spike, spike.

The stegosaurs’ tail went spike, spike, spike.

All around the swamp.

All Around Swamp

Everyone doing their best pteranodon impression during “All Around the Swamp”

Rawr! by Todd H. Doodler was our next book. Being a young dinosaur can be tough, as we learned in this book. The little dinosaur in our story was very big, bigger than his friends at school bigger than his teachers, even bigger than the school bus. People always got the wrong impression, that he was loud or scary. This was not the case, he was careful, helpful and friendly. He was very good at sports, and could become a great slide at recess using his long tail. By the end of the story we all looked at a dinosaur in a new way, and as he reminded us, Rawr! means hello in Dinosaur.

Rawr (2)

Remember, Rawr! means hello in dinosaur

Our next book was Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beaumont. This delightful rhyming tale was about a little dinosaur named Dini who loved to play in the mud, which always meant he had to take a bath before bed. Dini had a little trouble with taking a bath though. First, he splashed in the tub and tried to wash his feet, but his shoes were still on. Next he tried to scrub his legs, but his pants were still on. Each time Dini had to climb out of the tub, remove the article of clothing, and then climb back in. Eventually, Dini was all scrubbed from head to tail. His mother dried him off, read him a story, and sang him a lullaby. Dini was soon tucked into bed, and was fast asleep, under a sky filled with stars.


Scrub all your scales Dini

Our next activity was part dinosaur, part science experiment. I had made baking soda ice cubes in different colors, and frozen little plastic dinosaurs within them. Each child came up and picked the ice cube of their choice and dropped it in a cup filled with vinegar. To the delight of the children, when the baking soda hit the vinegar, it bubbled, frothed and exploded over the sides of the cups. After we finished the mini science experiment each child reached into the cup for the “surprise”; their own plastic dinosaur toy, which were sealed in plastic eggs to create dinosaur shaker eggs that the were able to take home.

Egg2 Egg1

Bubbling, frothing dinosaurs

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen was our last selection. I love using Yolen’s dinosaur books when I do this Storytime theme. She has several in this series, among them How Do Dinosaur’s Eat Their Food and How Do Dinosaurs Go To School. The illustrations were vivid and the dinosaurs had such humanlike personalities and expressions. Also, in each illustration was the name of the dinosaur depicted so the children can learn to match the names of each dinosaur with their image. As we read through the book the children laughed at giggled at the dinosaur’s antics as they, reluctantly, got ready to go to bed.


Say goodnight dinosaurs!

For our finale, we shook our sillies out to Raffi’s lively tune “Shake My Sillies Out” from his CD More Singable Songs.


We jumped our jiggles out

Our Storytime today was a rollicking prehistoric adventure.

Next week we will celebrate the First Day of Fall.

-Miss Jessica

Brown and Panda and Polar, Oh My!-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we had adventures with a plethora of bears. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

If You Were a Panda Bear by Wendell and Florence Minor was our first book. This rhyming book introduced us to many different kinds of bears, and their unique attributes. Panda bears wore black and white and loved to eat bamboo, Sloth bears look very strange with their long shaggy fur. Black bears loved to climb trees and moon bears had a mark on their chest that looked just like a crescent moon. We met all these bears, and more besides, in this enchanting story.


As we would talk about a new bear, it would appear from our puppet stage. Here is panda bear.

Next we did a short activity with a song and a bear puppet. “Sleepy Bear” was borrowed from Storytime Katie, and is a song sung to the traditional tune “Where is Thumbkin?” Prior to beginning I went over the song with the children and hid the bear puppet out of sight. When we all got to the line where bear said “Here I am” the puppet popped up for all the children to see. We sang the rest of the song and put the puppet bear to sleep. At the end of the song, (as I previously explained to the children), they had to shout “Wake up bear!” and bear would pop back up and we would all sing the song again. This was great fun and the children loved seeing bear fall asleep and then be able to wake him up again. Rhyming action songs like this can help children learn, and better, understand language as this article from Cbeebies BBC states. As children become more comfortable, and proficient, with language, they will begin to experiment with it. Adding in an element of participation, like calling out for bear to wake up, adds an extra level of fun for the child and makes the activity more engaging. The article goes on to discuss other ways that action rhymes had a positive benefit for children. Here are the lyrics to “Sleepy Bear”:

“Sleepy Bear”

(Tune: “ Where is Thumbkin”)
Where is bear? Where is bear?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.
(Have kids shout “WAKE UP BEAR” to do the song again.)


Here is bear at the start of our song


Now, bear is asleep. Wake up bear!

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson was our next book. Wilson has several books about Bear and his other forest friends. In this installment in Wilson’s series, Bear and his friends are planning a party. All of the other forest animals from raven, to rabbit, to owl all brought yummy dishes to Bear’s cave. Bear’s  cupboards were, well, bare. It turned out all right in the end though, because Bear’s friends said that they would all share the food with each other and Bear was very grateful.


Everyone listening to Bear Says Thanks

My Little Polar Bear by Claudia Rueda was our next book. This was a charming story about a mother polar bear and her cub. The little cub was very curious about who he was, and where he lived. His mother told him all about the Arctic, the place he was born. She also described what made him unique as a polar bear, from his white fur to his padded feet, and how all of that helped him live in his cold, white world. His mother told the little cub not to worry, that she would be there to teach him, care for him and love him.

Our last activity was one the children always enjoy, a bear hunt. Using the song “We’re Goin on a Bear Hunt” from the CD Away We Go, we all marched around the room on our bear hunt. We wound our way through wavy grass, squelched through sticky mud, entered the really dark cave and, finally, encountered the big black bear. Luckily we all were able to run out of the cave, and back to our seats safely. Whew!


Watch out for the squishy mud!

Our last book, Old Bear by Kevin Henkes, was paired with an activity board. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, images of not only the bear in the book, but also images representing each of the four seasons. I placed the bear in the middle of the board and handed the images of the seasons out to the children. As we read through the story, and Bear journeyed through the seasons, the children came up and placed the appropriate images on the board. The story began in winter with bear snug asleep in his cave. While asleep, he dreamt that he was a cub again and we traveled with him while, as a cub, he experienced each of the four seasons. When old bear woke in his den and peeked outside, spring had come at last.


Old Bear was in spring, so it was time to add our flowers to the board


Now, it was winter, and our snowflakes went up

Our closing song was “Shake My Sillies Out” from Raffi’s CD More Singable Songs. Soon we were all shaking our sillies out, jumping our jiggles, stretching our stretchies out and having a wonderful time. Everybody loved to move and dance to this lively tune.

We met all sorts of wonderful bears today at Storytime.

Dinosaurs is our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Read to the Music-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today was our first Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime and we moved and grooved to music. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

If You're Happy 1

Here we are patting our heads during “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

For our first story, we combined the iPad app “123 Kids Fun Music” with Hey Diddle Diddle by Eve Bunting. This interactive App let the children experiment with various musical instruments. There were several distinct groups of instruments such as percussion, strings and horns, and within each group were multiple instruments from which to choose. By tapping on the pictures of the instruments, the children were able to hear what each instrument sounded like individually, or coupled with others in its group.

 In Bunting’s rhyming retelling of the traditional nursery rhyme, many different animals each had their own instrument to play. As we read through the story, and each instrument was mentioned, the app would be used to demonstrate what the instruments sounded like. At the very end of our tale we saw that each animal was actually a figurine in a music box being played by a little child. After our story, everyone was able to come up play some instruments on the app themselves.

Meeow and the Pots and Pans by Sebastien Braun was our next book. Meeow the cat and all his friends, Woof the dog, Moo the cow, Baa the sheep and Quack the duck (who were all identified by the sounds they made) were all in his kitchen one day examining his cupboards. They found a wide variety of items, from pots and pans to bowls and spoons. What did all these fun loving animals do with this kitchen equipment, why they created a band of course! Each animal improvised their own instruments and crafted their own beat.


We had a blast with Meeow and his friends.

Our next activity incorporated the song “Tap Your Sticks” from the CD Music With Mar by Mar Harman. We began by having everyone come up and get a set of two sticks. Then I quickly went through the order of the motions in the song. Once the music started playing everyone was tapping their sticks enthusiastically along with the beat.

Tap Sticks

It was time to tap our sticks to the beat.

Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig was our next book. This book was something of a music themed guessing game. We were shown pictures of various animals’ feet and asked who those dancing feet belonged to. As each animal was revealed, from elephants, to bears, to ladybugs, we learned that they all danced in different ways. As I read through  the children had a lot of fun identifying each animal, based solely on their feet.


What animal is that dancing to the beat? It’s a duck!

For our next activity I put on the CD Songs and Games for Toddlers by Bob McGrath, and we all danced to “Hop Scotch Polka.” This energetic song had us hopping and moving and tapping different parts of our bodies. McGrath’s engaging lyrics told us when to hop, and on which foot, or when to tap our hip or our elbow. The children really enjoyed getting to do all the motions he heard in the song.

Hop Scotch

It was hip tapping Hop Scotch Polka time!

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora was our last book. This Caldecott Honor Book was a favorite of mine as a child, and I loved sharing it with the children in Storytime. Ben was a young, African American boy who grew up in the 1920’s, an era which Isadora’s art deco illustrations vividly brought to life. He saw the wealth of musical talent in the Jazz musicians who played at the Zig Zag club in his neighborhood. What Ben wanted most in the world was to be like those musicians, but he didn’t have a trumpet of his own. One night though, a musician at the Zig Zag club changed everything for Ben, and his dreams.

Ben's Trumpet

Ben’s Trumpet was quite a hit.

 Our closing song was “Shake My Sillies Out” from Raffi’s CD More Singable Songs. This is an energetic, lively song with lots of accompanying movement. Prior to playing it, it explained what the movements where, and when in the song we all got to do them. Then it was time, everyone stood up and the song began. Soon we were all shaking our sillies out, jumping our jiggles out and having a wonderful time.

Shake Sillies

We ended by shaking, clapping and wiggling our sillies out.

Music is such an integral part of childhood development. It enriches children in a multitude of areas, from cognitive development, to motor skills, and memory. Listening to music helps children learn sounds and the meaning of words, and if they listen to the same songs often, they retain what they hear, aiding in memory improvement. Music can also benefit a child’s social skills. Learning how to make music within a group helps build teamwork and increase social interaction.  This article from Kinder Musik outlines multiple points regarding the benefits of music in early childhood development.

A melodious time was had by all!

Next week our theme will be Bears!

Back to School Yoga Mindfulness Workshop

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Have you ever rushed through the day going from activity to activity on auto-pilot?  Eating without tasting and looking without seeing?  Children are leading an increasingly busy life with school, sports events, music lessons and more. So they also experience that rushed pace.  Mindfulness techniques train you to pay attention to those things in the present moment in a nonjudgmental and accepting manner. This gives children the opportunity to stop and choose a response thoughtfully rather than reacting impulsively.

Here are some of the exercises we tried this last week in our workshop:

Smiling Meditation: Smiling is mouth yoga. When we smile we release tension in our face. With our eyes closed as we breathed in and out  we silently said “Breathing in, I smile – Breathing out, I relax”

Finger Meditation: You simply touch each finger to your thumb and repeat Peace Begins With Me for each tap.
For example:

  1. touch thumb to index finger while mentally saying “peace”
  2. touch thumb to middle finger while mentally saying “begins”
  3. touch thumb to ring finger while mentally saying “with”
  4. touch thumb to pinkie finger while mentally saying “me”

We then tried a few sensory exercises:

The Raisin Meditation:
Everyone got one raisin. We pretended we had never seen a raisin before and really examined it closely to see all the wrinkled and grooves. We then chewed it very slowly for 3 whole minutes before swallowing it and noticed it’s taste and texture. We talked about other ways to slow down when eating like chewing each mouthful 30 to 50 times or using your non-dominate hand.
Find Your Stone:                                                                        

Each child was given a stone to feel and observe for one minute. Then I took back all the stones and asked the children to sit in a circle with their eyes closed. As I passed around the stones one at a time we tried to guess which was our stone purely by touch. This was very successful as almost everyone picked the correct one.

Hand Clapping:

Hand clapping songs have been shown to improve motor and cognitive skills in children. We practiced the hand clap below called “My Little Light”.

Guided Meditation:

A deep relaxation is a wonderful way for our bodies to rest and heal. We dimmed the lights and played some soft music while I read a guided meditation. If your child is apprehensive about a big test the next day you could read a script similar to this.  Or a nice relaxation before bedtime for children having difficulties in settling down is this  “Magical Playground Guided Imagery”

You also might enjoy these CD’s from the library:

The Floppy Sleep Game by Patty Teel.

Good Night: Enchanting Stories for Children by Jim Weiss

Other resources from the library include:

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises For Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel.

Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children by Thich Nhat Hanh

Ms. Mercedes

Movement, Dance, and Literacy

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Before children have the ability to speak,they communicate through movement, smiling, and pointing. Speech is a complex fine motor skill that develops after children have the ability to understand their needs. But even the youngest baby will sometimes respond to the rhythm of a song by swaying or bouncing. Movement can be comforting as in rocking or fun as in bouncing and spinning.  Here are some stories, songs and activities that promote dance and movement,

Book: Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont

Action Song: Hop Scotch Polka from Songs and Games for Toddlers by Bob McGrath.

Hop a little on your right, right foot.

Hop a little on your left, left foot.

Hop a little on your right, right foot.

That’s the Hop Scotch Polka.

Tap a little on your right, right hip…..

Tap a little on your right, right elbow…

Tap a little on your right, right cheek…

Book:  Hop a Little, Jump a Little! by Annie Kubler

Action Song: Momma’s Little Baby Loves Dancing

(To the tune of Short’ning Bread)

Momma’s little baby loves dancing, dancing (rocking up and down)

Momma’s little baby loves turning around (turn around)

Momma’s little baby loves dancing, dancing

Momma’s little baby loves to boogie down (Dance down to ground)

Lean to the left,

Lean to the right,

Hug that baby nice and tight!

Fine motor skills, or the ability to grasp, pick up, and release are all an important building blocks in your child’s ability to hold a pencil and write. Fingerplays are fun and rhythmic but they also develop the small muscles of the hand and strengthen eye-hand coordination.  Here are some fun examples:

Where is Thumpkin?  (Helps your child to move fingers independently)

 This Little Train (Helps children “walk” their fingers providing practice in using visual information from the eyes to direct hand movements)

This little train ran up the track (Walk fingers up the arm)

It went choo choo! (Tap baby’s nose)

And then it ran back (Walk fingers back down arm)

Isty Bitsy Spider (Offers practice in holding pointer finger and thumb in an open (OK) circle which children will need to hold pencils or crayons successfully.

Also, when children hold hands and fingers up in front of their bodies for fingerplays, they usually bend the wrists back. This is a position that allows them to move their fingers freely and is the best pose for writing.

Goodybye Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (“Twinkle” fingers open and closed)

Goodbye Sign: 


friendMy Friends

timeIt’s Time


Tap Chin  With Finger  –  To Say



Ms. Mercedes