I teach a program for 3 to 15-month-old babies and their parents. This is the littlest group we have. They are adorable and when you work with kids this young, you start to see their personalities because they aren’t eclipsed by their older siblings (who aren’t allowed in).

This is what our structure looks like each time. The first ten minutes of the program is social time for the babies to play with the age appropriate toys, get used to the environment, and get used to me and the other babies. Often, this is their only contact with people outside of their family.

This is our floor set-up for Little Listeners.

This is our floor set-up for Little Listeners.

Before the program starts and after I set up the room, I pull a set of board books from our public bins and sanitize them. I pull high contrast books one week, books that rhyme another week, etc. I used to do this myself based on ECRR research, but now ALSC has come out with a handy dandy book list called Babies Need Words Everyday. So I made copies of that handout and made sure we ordered the books we didn’t own yet that appeared on the list. When the books are all clean and I discuss why those types of board books are great for their babies, parents tend to check out more from that collection because they know they have less germs and they know a little background on why their child will enjoy the book.

We have songs for all of our structured transitions. Here they are:

Clean Up Song: (We sing this usually twice, until all the toys are in the basket)

We can put the toys away,

The toys away,

The toys away,

We can put the toys away,

Hip-hip-hooray-hooray!

Then we sing our Welcome Song and practice waving our hands. It’s really cute when they start waving backwards and then learn to do it the right way. I also like when the babies start to recognize their names and their face lights up and they start clapping or the shy ones hide behind the chair.

Hello, hello,

Hello and how are you?

I’m fine, I’m fine,

And I hope that you are, too! (x2)

Last in the program is our Goodbye Song. I like it because it looks like I’m at a rock concert at the end.

Open shut them, open shut them

Give a little clap, clap, clap

Open shut them, open shut them

Lay them in your lap, lap, lap

Wave them, wave them

Wave them, wave them

High up in the sky, sky, sky

I wave to you, you wave to me

Let’s all wave bye bye

 

After the clean up and hello song, we do 3 songs/fingerplays, a choral read, 3 more songs/fingerplays, and then an individual read.

For the choral read, I hand out a book to each parent and we all read that book together out loud to the kids. We do this because, at this age, the babies are more focused in front of them, with their parents than being able to pay attention to a regular storytime book read at the front of the room. The new parents are usually embarrassed to sing and read out loud but then they get over it after a couple of weeks. We do a different choral read each week.

These are the guidelines I give to parents for this portion.

  • Everyone reads out loud together
  • Even if your child is wandering around, still read out loud, they will get curious and come back
  • It’s okay to eat the book or turn the pages
  • Don’t hold your child down in your lap if they don’t want to, we want the reading experience to stay positive

Here are this session’s books for choral read:

  1. Barnyard Dance by Boynton
  2. Here Are My Hands by Martin
  3. Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Martin
  4. Bird, Fly High by Horacek
  5. Spot on the Farm by Hill
  6. Wiggle Waggle by London

For the individual read, we have a bin of board books that parents chose 2-3 books from. Then they have about 4 minutes to read with their child. They can do a picture walk, read the book straight through, let their child turn the pages, chew on the books, etc…, practice making animal noises, identify things in the pictures. These are the guidelines I give to parents for this portion:

 

Choral Reads on the left, Individual Reads on the right. Hidden remote that the kids covet in the middle.

Choral Reads on the left, Individual Reads on the right. Hidden remote that the kids covet in the middle. 

  • Read the book as it is written
  • Do a picture walk
  • Make the animal noises, if there are animals in the book
  • Ask questions, even if they can’t respond yet (and give them a few seconds to “respond”)
  • Let them turn the pages and point at what interests them
  • Hold the book upside down and see if they correct you yet

Like I said, in between, we have songs and fingerplays. These are the ones I chose for the July/August session. (I did not make any of these up, they are from online and print storytime sites and professional books.)

Little Fish, Little Fish

Little fish, little fish,

Swim up high—

Little fish, little fish,

Swim down low—

Little fish, little fish,

Swim so fast—

Little fish, little fish,

Swim so slow!

 

Baby Bumblebee

I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee.

Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?

I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee,

OUCH!! It stung me!!

 

Baby in the Cradle

The baby in the cradle goes

rock-a-rock-a-rock.

The clock on the wall goes

tick-a-tick-a-tock.

The rain on the window goes

tap, tap, tap

And when the sun comes up we

clap, clap, clap!

 

If You’re Happy and You Know It

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap clap)

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap clap)

If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it;

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. (clap clap)

…tap your toe

 

Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go

Round and round,

Round and round,

Round and round,

The wheels on the bus go

Round and round

All through the town.

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish. . .

The windows on the bus go up and down. . .

The doors on the bus go open and shut. . .

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep. . .

 

Dig, Dig, Dig

I dig, dig, dig

And I plant some seeds.

I rake, rake, rake,

And I pull some weeds.

I wait and watch

And soon I know

My garden sprouts

And starts to grow.

 

Rickety Rocking Horse

Rickety, rickety rocking horse,

Over the hills we go.

Rickety, rickety rocking horse,

Giddy-up, giddy-up, whoa!

 

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle, diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon.

The little dog laughed to see such fun,

And the dis ran away with the spoon.

 

I’m a Little Car (tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a little car,

Just watch me go!

Sometimes fast,

And sometimes slow.

I have four wheels,

And a horn that beeps.

See me going

Down the street!

 

Right Shoe, Left Shoe

Tap your right shoes,

All of you.

Tap your left shoe,

We’re not through.

Right shoe,

Left shoe,

Tap, tap, tap!

Hands together,

Clap, clap, clap!

 

Bubbly Bubbly Bath

Bubbly bubbly bath

Filled to the top

Listen to the bubbles

Pop, pop, pop!

 

Tick-Tock

Tick-tock, tick-tock

I’m a little cuckoo clock.

Tick-tock, tick-tock,

Now it’s almost three o’clock.

Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!