I’m a little late but here is what I did for my Thanksgiving storytime this year:

Rhyme Cube: (click here for description)

Sign Language:  word of the day is “Turkey”

I have the kids repeat the sign for turkey after each book we read.

Opening Rhyme:  Open them, shut them…

First Book:  I’m a Turkey by Jim Arnosky

I'm a Turkey!


The turkey is a funny bird.   [Hook thumbs together and spread fingers to create turkey tail.]

Its head goes wobble, wobble.   [Wobble head back and forth.]

And all it knows is just one word,   [Hold up one finger.]

“Gobble, gobble, gobble.”  [Make mouth shape with hand, opening and closing it while sounding like a turkey.]

Flannel Board:


Five little turkeys by the barn door,

One waddled off, then there were four.

Four little turkeys out under a tree,

One waddled off, then there were three.

Three little turkeys with nothing to do.

One waddled off, then there were two.

Two little turkeys in the noonday sun,

One waddled off, then there was one.

One little turkey – better run away!

Soon it will be Thanksgiving Day!

Second Book:  Thank You, Thanksgiving by David Milgrim

Thank You, Thanksgiving


If you’re thankful and you know It clap your hands!

If you’re thankful and you know it clap your hands!

If you’re thankful and you know it and you really want to show it,

If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your hands!

(Continue with: stomp your feet, shout “I am”, do all three)

Another song I like but didn’t use this year goes like this:

(to the tune of Frère Jacques)

We eat turkey, we eat turkey.

Yum, yum, yum.

Yum, yum, yum.

Always on Thanksgiving

Always on Thanksgiving

Yum, yum, yum.

Yum, yum, yum.

(continue with other Thanksgiving foods.  You can ask the kids what they like to eat on Thanksgiving and use their suggestions!)

Flannel Board:

So this isn’t technically a flannel board but it’s still fun.  One of my all time favorite Children’s Librarians, Amy J., told me about the Sunflower Storytime blog and the awesome “There was an old lady…”  template she got from there.  I recreated it but did a Thanksgiving version using Alison Jackson’s book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie.

Old LadyOld Lady Pie

As I told the story I added each item that she swallowed (velcro dots can be seen in the first pic if you look closely).

Third Book:  Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell

Feast for 10

iPad App:  Feed the Animals by Curious Fingers

feed animals

For more on my philosophy of using apps in storytime click here.

I told the kids that we eat lots of yummy food at Thanksgiving but that I need their help feeding animals because animals want to celebrate Thanksgiving too!  The app shows you an animated image of an animal and three choices of what that animal might eat.  When you drag the food over to the animal, it will either eat the food happily (if you choose correctly) or refuse the food (if you choose incorrectly).  I held the iPad so the kids could see and then dragged food to the animal.  This was fun because I played dumb and kept giving the animal the wrong food and the kids would get excited by my utter stupidity and yell out the correct answer.

Here’s a picture of the monkey from the app.  I would say “we can feed the monkey some peanuts, a flower, or a banana.  I know monkeys loooove to eat flowers so I’ll give him a flower.”  The kids all shout out “No! Monkeys like bananas!”  I did this with 5 or 6 animals and the kids had a lot of fun.

This app isn’t specific to Thanksgiving so you could use it at anytime of the year.  I’m sure I’ll use it again!


Wheels on the Bus!

Another storytime I’ve done recently was based on buses!

Rhyme Cube:  (Click here for description)

Sign Language: word of the day is “bus”

There are often multiple ways of saying a word in sign language so I usually try to teach the kids the easiest sign.

I have the kids repeat the word after each book we read.

Opening Rhyme:  Open them, shut them…

First Book:  Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort

I have the kids do corresponding motions as I read this story.  For example, when the geese on the bus go “honk, honk, honk”  I have the kids make quaking motion with their hands.

Flannel Board:

“5 yellow buses,

Around the town they zoom.

1 makes a stop and the others go vroom.

How many yellow buses are there?”

…continue until all the buses are gone!


My director (who used to be a children’s librarian) gave me the best tip!  You can use the die cut machine to cut through flannel!!!  I don’t know why I hadn’t ever thought of this.  We have a bus die cut so I used it to make this flannel board.   It saves so much time and the flannel pieces look so nice!

Second Book:  Don’t Squish the Sasquatch! by Kent Redeker

Don't Squish the Sasquatch!

This book is ridiculous and funny so the kids really love it.  They catch on quick and shout along with the “Don’t Squish the Sasquatch!” refrain.  When all the characters each give the sasquatch a smooch, I have all the kids blow a big smooch into the air.

Rhyme: (tap your lap along to the beat of the rhyme)

A hip, a hip, a hippopotamus,

Got on, got on, got on a city bus,

And all, and all, and all the people said…

You’re squishing me! (squish cheeks in with your hands)

Third Book:  Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

The kids looove shouting “NO!” to the pigeon every time he asks to drive.  I make sure to tell them at the beginning of the story that no matter what the pigeon says they can not let him drive the bus!

iPad App: Wheels on the Bus by Duck Duck Moose

small icon wob Wheels on the Bus

To learn more about my philosophy for using apps in storytime click here.

This was a fun app to use during storytime.  It basically goes through each verse of the song with corresponding animations.  I hold the iPad facing the children and then activate the animations as we sing.  The app also lets you record your own voice and then listen to it as you go through the song again.  I recorded the kids singing a few verses and then played the app again so they could hear themselves.  According to Every Child Ready to Read singing is an important early literacy skill!

 Wheels on the Bus

Using the iPad in Storytime – and No, I don’t read ebooks from it…

Before I post too frequently about storytimes in which I’ve used the iPad, I thought it might be helpful to explain how I use it and what I believe the benefits are.

Every time I’ve told fellow librarians that I sometimes use the iPad in storytime people assume that I read books from it.  This is not what I do!  I love “real” books (although I also believe ebooks are wonderful too).  Picture books in ebook form have a place in this world but I would much rather read a physical picture book in storytime.

icn med wob AppsToca-Robot-Lab

How I use the iPad:

I often download apps that relate to my storytime theme and find ways to incorporate the app into my storytime the same way I would use a flannel board or a puppet.  I use the app as an interactive extension of the storytime theme.

In the future you’ll see posts on this blog with examples of different apps that I’ve used but check out my Robot themed storytime for a quick example. (scroll to the bottom of the post)

The Benefits of Using Apps in Storytime:

When we read picture books in storytime, part of what we are doing as children’s librarians is modeling to caregivers how to engage with the child while we read.  We ask questions about the illustrations and the story.  We ask children to predict what will come next.  We use silly voices and try to make it an engaging experience.

You can do the same with iPad apps!  Instead of just handing a kid an iPad and sending them off,  imagine how much more fun they would have if the parent plays too! And how much more engaging the experience would be!  We can model, to the caregiver, how to engage with the child while playing.

Another benefit of using apps in storytime is that it creates an easy way for the caregiver to extend the learning experience beyond storytime.  I doubt most parents have time to go home and recreate a flannel board that I’ve used in storytime but they can (and do) go home and download a fun, educational app that I used in storytime!

Also, technology will be (and probably already is) an integral part of these kids’ lives.  We should use it with children in a way that is educational, engaging, and promotes literacy!

If you’ve used an app during storytime or if you have any questions about how I’ve done it please leave a comment!


Here’s what I did for my recent robot themed storytime:

Rhyme Cube:

I always start with my rhyme cube. See my previous description here.

Sign Language:  Today we learned the word “Robot”

(I have the kids repeat the word to me after each book we read so they really have a chance to memorize it)

I gave each of the kids a red dot sticker and told them these were their listening buttons.  Robots have on/off buttons so when they press their “buttons” it would turn on their listening ears!  I asked the kids to press their listening buttons before each book I read.

Opening Rhyme:

Normally I do “Open them, shut them, give a little clap.  Open them, shut them, put them in your lap.”  The kids all have it memorized but I switched it up a little for the robot theme and did  “Open them, shut them, give a little clap.  Open them, shut them, push your button like that!”

First Book: Boy + Bot by Dyckman

Boy and Bot

Make sure you use your robot voice when you read the Bot’s lines!

Flannel Board:

Five Noisy Robots

5 noisy robots in the toy shop,

Shiny and tall with antennae on the top.

Along came a girl with a penny one day.

Bought a noisy robot and took it away.

(continue with 4, 3, 2, 1 noisy robots)

robots Here are my flannel robots!


I’m a little robot, short and strong,

Here are my handles, just turn me on. (put fists on hips for handles, then push your sticker “button”)

When I get all warmed up, watch me go.

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. (march in place fast and then slow)

Second Book:  If I Had a Robot by Yaccarino


If you’re a robot and you know it clank your coils (clap)

If you’re a robot and you know it clank your coils (clap)

If you’re a robot and you know it and you really want to show it clank your coils (clap)

Continue with: “Clunk your gears” (stomp feet), and “Press your buttons” (“Beep beep”)

Third Book:  Robots Everywhere by Hebson

iPad App:

Toca Robot Lab

Robot Lab by Toca Boca

I occasionally use iPad apps in storytime.  I use them in the same way I would use a flannel board: as an interactive extension of the storytime theme.  Everytime I’ve done it, the kids have fun and its very simple.  Soon I’ll write more about how I think apps can be used and why I do it but for now I’ll just explain how I used this app.

So Robot Lab is an app where kids can build a robot.  I held the iPad and asked the kids to help me by choosing what the robot would look like.  First you are prompted to choose your robot’s legs and are given three choices.  I’ll show the kids the choices and say something like; “should we choose the yellow legs, the blue and white striped legs, or the red legs?”   Then the kids all shout out their choices and I go with whatever gets the most votes (or whatever option is shouted the loudest!).  We then choose a body for the robot in the same manner.  Then I’ll ask the kids to tell me what else we need for our robot.  They will inevitably shout out that we need arms!  So we choose arms and continue until our robot is built.  Once the robot is built you are supposed to drag him to the giant magnet so he can be sent to the factory and “certified.”  I asked the kids to cheer for the robot (“Robot!, robot!, robot!…”) as I dragged him to the magnet.

The kids had fun with it and as often happens, I had a parent ask me to repeat the name of the app so they can go home and download it!

So that’s my Robot storytime!  I had fun and I think the kids did too!