Rhyme Cube: Click here for description.

Sign Language: We learned the sign for “quiet” and repeated it throughout storytime.

First Book:  Ninja! by Arree Chung Ninja!

Felt Board: Five Little Ninjas

Ninjas 5

5 little ninjas creeping through the door,
One said HIYAH, and then there were four.
4 little ninjas, climbing up a tree,
One said HIYAH, and then there were three.
3 little ninjas with nothing to do,
One said HIYAH, and then there were two.
2 little ninjas, having so much fun.
One said HIYAH, and then there was one.
1 little ninja, on the run.
He said HIYAH, and then there were none.

(Source: Falling Flannelboards)

Song:  Ninja, Ninja Sneak Around

Ninja, ninja – sneak around.
Ninja, ninja – roll on the ground.
Ninja, ninja – climb up high.
Ninja, ninja – touch the sky.
Ninja, ninja – jump down low.
Ninja, ninja – touch your toe.

(Source: Storytime With Miss Mollie)

Second Book:  Nightime Ninja by Barbara DeCosta Nighttime Ninja

Felt Board:  Ninja Made from Shapes

Do you see a ninja? I do.
To make a ninja, first we need a head.
This one is round and red.
The rectangle will make a space,
Just big enough for a peeking out face.
Next we’ll add two small circles for eyes
And two tiny rectangles, to make our ninja look surprised!ninja shape 1ninja shape 2ninja shape 3ninja shape 4

Song: If You’re a Ninja and You Know It!

If you’re a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)
If you’re a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)
If you’re a ninja and you know it,
then your face will surely show it.
If you’re a ninja and you know it,
Be really quiet.  (Shhh!)

Contine with:
If you’re a ninja and you know it…walk on tip toe (Tip Toe)
If you’re a ninja and you know it…say HIYAH (HIYAH!)

Third Book:  Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! by Todd TuellNinja, Ninja, Never Stop!

Activity:  Ninja Memory Game

You can’t do a ninja themed storytime without at least mentioning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  I decided to incorporate them into a fun matching activity.  I made cards then laminated them and put velcro on each side.  One side of each card had and image of a turtle shell (a different color for each card) and the other side had an image of one of the ninja turtles.  I made sure that I made two Michelangelo’s, two Donatello’s, etc…. so that we could play a matching game.  Here’s some pictures:

ninja memoryninja memory 2

I asked the kids which color card I should turn over and we played the memory game until we found all the matches.  I wish I had written the names of each ninja turtle under their faces but didn’t think of that until after I laminated them.  Oh well.

For fun: Ninja Head Bands

Another idea I thought of after the fact:  I created simple ninja head bands out of paper towels.  Next time I do a ninja themed storytime I’ll give one to each kid at the start so we can pretend to be ninjas!

ninja head band 2Ninja Head band


Rhyme Cube:  Click here for description.

Sign Language:  Word of the day was “Boat

Opening Rhyme:

“Open them, shut them,
Give a little clap!
Open them, shut them,
Now put them in your lap!”

First Book:  App – Boats by Byron Barton (Oceanhouse Media)

So I finally have the equipment to do digital storytelling!  Thanks to a generous donation from our Friends group we were able to purchase a 70 inch flat screen TV and an Apple TV.  The Apple TV lets me wirelessly mirror whatever is on my iPad to the TV.  I had a few issues getting everything set up.  Even though we have a staff-only wifi network, it was too congested and apps ran slowly/stuttered when I mirrored them.  I decided to use my iphone as a hotspot and connected both the Apple TV and the iPad to that.  It was an easy fix!

Boat ST1

Byron Barton’s book apps developed by Oceanhouse Media are awesome so I used this as an opportunity to recommend them to the grown-ups in the room.  Today was a great day to use the Apple TV because I had about 60 people at storytime.  Mirroring it to the TV made what would have been a 10 inch by 8 inch book into a 4 foot by 3 foot book!

Felt Board:  “This Little Boat Went…”

I got the idea for this felt board (and the clip art!) from Sunflower Storytime.

“The first little boat went chug, chug, chug.
The second little boat went tug, tug, tug.
The third little boat went row, row, row.
The fourth little boat went oh sooo slooooow.
Here comes the sailboat, watch it go!”

Boat ST clipart

Song:  “I’m Sitting in a Boat”

I learned this song from Jbrary‘s Youtube channel.  Since it isn’t a well known song, I put the lyrics up on the screen (using the iPad and a presentation app called Keynote) and asked the grown-ups to sing along with me.  Here’s what it looked like on the screen:Boat ST song

“I’m sitting in a boat and the boat is rocking, rocking, rocking.
I’m sitting in a boat and the boat is rocking, rocking, rocking.
I’m sitting in a boat and the waves are oh so high, oh so high
In the morning, oh oh oh!”

Credit:  This song was written and recorded by Debbie Carroll for her album “Up and Over the Moon:  Giggle, Dance and Cuddle Songs for the Very Young”.  You can purchase the CD from her website

Second Book:  Little Tug by Stephen Savage

Digital Pictures:  Anchors and Oil Tankers

Next I planned on doing a felt board activity with the kids involving an anchor and some oil tankers.  Those are pretty big words so I thought I’d use the iPad to show some images and expand their vocabularies and background knowledge!  I used the Keynote app for this too.  First I showed a picture of an anchor and briefly explained how they work.Boat ST anchor

Next I showed the kids a picture of an oil tanker and explained that they are huge ships!  Since they are so big they need really big anchors – around 10 feet tall, and they usually have more than one anchor for a ship that big! [this fact is courtesy of my dad who used to be a captain on cargo ships – thanks dad 🙂 ]

Boat ST oil

For the felt activity I cut out the outline of an oil tanker in four different colors.  I also cut out a cute little anchor.  I told the kids to close their eyes as I hid the anchor behind one of the oil tankers.  I asked them to guess where it was hidden and we recited this rhyme:

“Little anchor, little anchor
Are you underneath the blue oil tanker?”

I then lifted up the blue oil tanker to reveal if the anchor was there or not.  We played this a few times. Here’s the felt board:

Boat ST anchor felt

Third Book:  Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw

Felt Board:  Sailboat Colors

I got this idea from Storytime Katie.

“Riding around in my little red boat,
Riding around in my little red boat,
Riding around in my little red boat,
Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, Splash!”  (tune of 10 Little Indians)

I put up a different color sailboat for each verse.  We have a sailboat shaped die-cut so making the sailboats was super easy.

.Boat ST sailboats

Ukulele Song:

We sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as I played the melody on the ukulele.  I included some silly verses too:

“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.
Row row row your boat gently down the stream,
If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream! AHH!!!!
Row row row your boat, gently to the shore,
If you see a lion there, don’t forget to ROAR!!!”

(credit: Sunflower Storytime)

Goodbye Song:

Tickle the clouds
Tickle your toes
Turn around
Tickle your nose
Reach down low
Reach up high
Storytime is over
So wave goodbye!

A Horse of Course!

This week we read stories about horses!

Rhyme Cube:  Click here for description.

Sign Language:  Word of the day was “Horse

Opening Song:

“Open them, shut them,
Give a little clap!
Open them, shut them,
Now put them in your lap!”

First Book: Horses: Trotting! Prancing! Racing! by Patricia HubbellHorses: Trotting! Prancing! Racing!

Felt Board:  I Gave My Horse an Apple

horse apple

I gave my horse an apple, (pretend to give something)
And she gave me a neigh. (neigh)
I gave my horse a carrot, (pretend to give something)
And she moved her head this way. (move head up and down)
I gave my horse a sugar lump, (pretend to give something)
She gave me a smile. (smile big)
And then she took me for a ride,
For more than half a mile. (slap hands on thighs like galloping)

(credit: Storytime in a Box)

Fingerplay: 10 Galloping Horses

Ten galloping horses, (hold up ten fingers)
Came through town. (slap hands on legs like galloping)
Five were white, (hold up five fingers)
And five were brown. (hold up five fingers on other hand)
They galloped up, (slap up toward top of thighs)
They galloped down, (slap down toward knees)
Ten galloping horses, (hold up ten fingers)
Came through town. (slap hands on legs like galloping)

(credit: King County Library System)

Second Book:  Are You a Horse? by Andy RashAre You A Horse?

Activity:  Giddy-Up!

I had all the kids stand up and pretend to hold onto reins.  I told them to gallop as we sang (to the tune of the William Tell Overture):

“Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-up-up!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-up-up!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-up-up!
WHOA, Horsie! ”  (we leaned back and paused on this part)

We sang the song a few times, getting faster and faster!

(credit: The Loudest Librarian)

Felt Board:  Colored Horses

horses color

I got this idea from Storytime Katie.  I laminated different colored horses, put a little velcro on the back, and gave one to each child.  I told them to wait until I called their color horse and then they could come up and put it on the board.  This is so hard for them!  It’s too exciting to wait! We did a similar activity last week with shells and this time they did honestly get a little better at waiting for their turn.  One little trick I do when a kid comes up with the wrong color is to say “Oh how cool! But your horse is yellow not blue.  Can you go show it to your grown-up until I call the yellow horses up?” This works some of the time!

Here’s the rhyme I came up with:

“If your horse is the color blue,
Gallop it on your shoe!
If you have a blue horse,
Come put it in the barn, of course!”

(yellow –  gallop it on your elbow
green – gallop it on your knee
purple – gallop it in a circle
red – gallop it on your head)

Third Book:  Clip-Clop by Nicola SmeeClip-Clop

Ukulele:  She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain

horse uke

I printed out some clip art to go with each verse of the song and put it up on the wall before we sang.  We also counted the horses to make sure there were six!  The verses we sang were:

She’ll be coming round the mountain,…
She’ll be driving six white horses,…
She’ll be wearing pink pajamas,…
We’ll all come out and greet her,….

The chords I used can be found here.

I have no natural music ability and I make lots of mistakes but the kids seem to still enjoy it.  Jason Poole, a good friend and children’s librarian (who also happens to be a wonderful musician) told me that it’s good for kids to see you make mistakes.  It lets them know that adults aren’t perfect either and the important thing is to not give up!

Goodbye Song:

“Let’s tickle the clouds,
And tickle our toes,
And turn around,
And tickle our nose,
Reach down low,
Reach up high,
Storytime is over,
So wave goodbye!”


Rhyme Cube:  Click here for description.

Sign Language:  Word of the day is “Paint

Opening Rhyme:
“Open them, shut them,
Give a little clap!
Open them, shut them,
Now put them in your lap!”

First Book:  Blue Goose by Nancy TafuriBlue Goose

Felt Board: Five Little Paintbrushes

paint 5 little

Five little brushes went out to paint.
One painted white, then ran away in fright.
The second painted red and jumped under the bed.
The third painted green then fled the scene.
The fourth painted black than ran around back.
The fifth painted yellow and felt so mellow,
He invited everyone back to begin again!

(credit:  I think I got this rhyme from a Summer Reading Manual years ago.)

Although I didn’t do the following felt board this time, I’ve done it in the past with slightly older kids. First I put the felt paintbrushes on the board in rainbow order and go over it with the kids.

paint rainbow

Next I tell them to close their eyes.  I turn the board around and remove one paintbrush.  I then recite the following rhyme:

“I know the colors of the rainbow.
Do you know them too?
If one color were missing,
Would you know which hue?”

Then the kids tell me which color is missing.  We do it a few times like this but if you want to really challenge them, you can put the paintbrushes in random order instead of rainbow order.  Then remove one brush and ask them to tell you which one is missing.

Song: “We’re Making Some Purple Paint”

This is actually a twist on a camp song called “We’re Making Some Purple Soup” (I used to be a camp counselor) and I just changed the words to fit my theme.

“We’re making some purple paint,
Whip whip, whip whip              (pretend to stir paint)
We’re making some purple paint,
Shooby dooby do                    (pointer fingers to the sky and do a little dance)
With purple potatoes and purple tomatoes….
And…..”                                    (have kids tell you things they can put in the mix ie. purple socks, grapes, one kid told me to put a purple baby in….)

Mix in whatever they come up with and start the verse over again until your purple paint looks nice and mixed up!

Here’s video of some campers doing the song for reference.

Second Book: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

mouse paint book

Felt Board:  Mouse Paint

mouse paint

Next I had the kids retell the story as I placed the felt pieces on the board.  As Storytime Katie suggested, I had the kids dance in place at the part of the story where the mice dance in the puddles to make new colors.

Third Book:  I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen BeaumontI Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

Activity:  We Painted Ourselves!

paintbrush real

Next I gave each child a paint brush and we pretended to paint ourselves just like the character in the book.  I asked kids to give me suggestions on what we should paint next- our ears, our knees, our heads, our backs (grown ups helped with this one)…  Once we were covered in pretend paint I told the kids we should wash it off so we don’t drip puddles everywhere.  We pretend the giant rug on the floor was a cat’s water dish (like in Mouse Paint) and we all jumped in and cleaned off!

Goodbye Song:

Let’s tickle the clouds,
And tickle our toes,
And turn around,
And tickle our nose,
Reach down low,
Reach up high,
Storytime is over,
So wave goodbye!


Rhyme Cube: Click here for description

Sign Language:  Word of the day is “Hat

Opening Rhyme:  “Open them, Shut them…”

Finger Puppets:  Timothy Mouse

I found this cute story at ArtFelt.  I used two finger puppets I had (from IKEA!) and made a simple felt hat for the mouse.  In the story, Timothy Mouse feels embarrassed about his ears because they aren’t big like all the other mice.  So he always wears a hat.  He also is a notoriously bad listener.  His friend, the Bunny, tells Timothy that she got her big ears from being a good listener.  Timothy begins to listen and soon his ears grow big and beautiful! (remove hat to reveal his big ears).  Here are some pictures:mousebunnyhatmousebunny

After this story I told the kids to put on their big beautiful mouse ears so they would be good listeners too!

First Book:  The Magic Hat by Mem FoxThe Magic Hat

Finger Play:  My Hat Has Three Corners

My hat it has three corners
[Join thumbs and index fingers to form triangle and place on top of head.]
Three corners has my hat
[Raise three fingers.]
If it did not have three corners,
[Raise three fingers and shake head.]
It would not be my hat.
[Join thumbs and index fingers to form triangle and place on top of head.]

Felt Board:  “Little Bat, Little Bat…”

Another variation on one of my favorite felt boards.  This time I made four felt hats (in different colors) and one black bat.  I turned the board so the kids couldn’t see and told them to close their eyes (no peeking!).  I hid the bat under one of the hats and then let the kids guess which hat he was under.  We recited this rhyme:

“Little Bat, Little Bat, are you under the ____ Hat?”four hats

Second Book:  This Is Not My Hat by Jon KlassenThis Is Not My Hat

(p.s. Jon Klassen is my favorite illustrator)

Song:  Silly Hat Song

(Tune: This Old Man)
On my head, I wear my hat.
It is such a silly hat
That my head will wiggle waggle to and fro
Where else can my silly hat go?
[Repeat using foot, elbow and knee.]

credit: Surlalune

Felt Board:  Shape Recognition

I made three felt “people” using different shapes.  I had Mr. Blue (circle), Mrs. Green (triangle), and Mr. Orange (square).  Here’s a picture:shape hats 3

I also made three different hats; round, pointy, and square.shape hats 2

We talked about the shapes.  I pointed out that Mrs. Green has three corners because she’s a triangle. We talked about how Mr. Orange has four sides,…etc

Next we put the correct hat on the correct person.shape hats


Rhyme Cube: Click here for description

Sign Language: Word of the day was “Cake

Opening Rhyme: “Open them, shut them…”

First Book: The Cake That Mack Ate by Rose RobartCake That Mack Ate

Song: “This is the way…”

This is the way we mix the batter, mix the batter, mix the batter
This is the way we mix the batter, when we bake a cake!

This is the way we spread the frosting, spread the frosting, spread the frosting
This is the way we spread the frosting, when we bake a cake!

This is the way we eat our piece, eat our piece, eat our piece
This is the way we eat our piece, when we bake a cake!

Felt Board: 5 Bright Birthday Candles

candlescandles out

(5 candles with flames
remove flames as we blow them out)

Five bright birthday candles and not one more,
The red one got blown out  (blow)
Then there were four.

Four bright birthday candles, pretty as can be,
The blue one got blown out (blow)
Then there were three.

Three bright birthday candles waiting for you,
The green one got blown out, (blow)
Then there were two.

Two bright birthday candles oh what fun,
The yellow one got blown out, (blow)
Then there was one.

Just one bright birthday candle standing oh so tall.
The purple one got blown out, (blow)
And that was all.

(credit: Storytime Katie, I altered the words slightly to include the color of each candle)

Second Book: Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro NakagawaWho Made This Cake?

(I was originally going to read Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson but I had a lot of very little ones in the group today so I went with this one instead.)

Song: “Patty Cake”

Patty cake patty cake,
Bakers man bake me some a cake as fast as you can.
Roll it pat it mark it with a “B”
And put it in the oven for baby and me

Felt Board:  Layer Cake

I ended up making this flannel board myself but I got the idea from one I found for sale on ebay.  I changed it up a little to suit my needs (I didn’t include flannel candles and numbered the layers differently).

Here are some pictures of what I did:

cake layers cake layers assembled

We started with the layers all mixed up.  I asked one child to come up, find layer number one, and bring it to me.  I then put the first layer on the wall.  I continued asking children to find the next layer until we had them all in the right order.  We stopped along the way to count up the layers and at the end I pointed out that the cake was taller than them!

(*since I had more kids than layers, we did this activity more than once to give all the kids a chance)

Third Book: If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff

Song:  “Mix the Batter”

Mix the batter, stir the batter
(make a stirring motion with one arm/hand)
Shake some flour in
(make a shaking motion with one arm/hand)
Mix the batter, stir the batter
(make a stirring motion with one arm/hand)
Place it in a tin
(pretend to pour)
Sprinkle in some raisins
(pretend to sprinkle)
Pop it in the oven
(open both hands, palms up, and slide them forward)
Open wide the oven door
(pretend to open door)
And out comes the cake!
(open both hands, palms up, and slide them forward)

(credit: Baby World Child Care Center)

Felt Board:  Cupcakes

Here’s the pattern I used for the cupcakes


Down the corner at the cupcake shop
There were 6 yummy cupcakes with sprinkles on top
Alone came _________(child’s name), all alone
S/He bought the _________(color) one and took it home!

(credit: Mel’s Desk, but I changed the words slightly)

Bees! (bees?!?)

Rhyme Cube: Click here for description.

Sign Language:  The word for the day is “Bee

Opening Rhyme:  Open them, Shut them,…

First Book:  Where There’s a Bear, There’s Trouble!  by Michael Catchpool

Flannel Board:  5 Bees

One little bee flew and flew.
He met a friend, and that made two.
Two little bees, busy as could be.
Along came another and that made three.
Three little bees wanted one more.
Found one soon and that made four.
Four little bees going to the hive.
Spied their little brother and that made five.
Five little bees working every hour.
Busy away, bees and find a flower.


(rhyme from: )

Song:  “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee…”

Second Book:  Bear and Bee by Sergio RuzzierBear and Bee

Flannel Board:  Here is a Beehive

I got this cute idea and the template from Sunflower Storytime

Make a bee hive and little bees that you can velcro onto a glove.  Here’s a picture of mine:beehive

Then recite this rhyme”

Here is a beehive. Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
Soon they come creeping out of the hive (have one bee pop out)
1-2-3-4-5! BUZZ! (bring each bee out as you count)
(make your bees fly all around the hive)

Song:  Bumble Bee, Bumble Bee

(I can’t remember where I found this song but it’s basically a version of “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear…”)

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing all around.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing on the ground.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing up so high.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing in the sky.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing past your toes.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee
Buzzing on your nose.

Third Book:  Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Went the Bumblebee by Colin West

Flannel Board: Patterns

Using the flannel bees I used previously, I pointed out that the bees had a pattern on them.  Tell the kids that bees have stripes.  Point to yellow, black, yellow… “this is a pattern!  It’s the same over and over again.”

“You can make patterns with shapes too. Not just colors.  Here is a pattern I’ve made:
Bee, hive, bee, hive, bee, hive   – Let’s see if we can make the same pattern right below-”

beehive pattern

(I asked the kids to repeat the pattern right below the first one while I put the pieces up.  Here’s a picture:)

beehive pattern 2

We did the activity again but I made the pattern a little more difficult:

beehive pattern 3

You could also create a pattern leaving one piece out and ask the kids to tell you what’s missing.

This is a very easy way to introduce a simple STEM concept into the storytime and the kids liked it!

Activity:  Egg Shakers

We used egg shakers (pretended they were bees!) and danced around while we listened to Laurie Berkner’s song “Buzz Buzz”

*  I already conducted this storytime but just found an app that could be used in storytime to emphasize pattern recognition.

iPad App:  Park Math HD by Duck Duck Moose

This is a great app (Duck Duck Moose is one of my favorite developers) that promotes math skills for the very young.  There are a number of cute activities included in the app but the one that I could use the next time I do this storytime is activated by tapping on the green kite (unfortunately, the activities are not labeled).

The screen displays a pattern made up of a number of everyday objects.  There is one object missing from the pattern and at the bottom of the screen there are four choices of objects that can be used to complete the pattern.  Here’s a couple screen shots:pattern app1pattern app2

You could hold the iPad facing the children and discuss the pattern that is displayed on the top half of the screen.  Then ask them to tell you what object would complete the pattern.  The app starts out with simple patterns (like the ones above) but there are slightly more difficult patterns included as well.