Preschool Programs · Storytime

Favorite Rhymes and Activities for Preschool Storytime

This is the second post in a series I’m doing on my storytime favorites.

Rhymes and ActivitiesThese are my favorite finger plays, rhymes and activities to do during storytime.

  1. Food Rhymes
    These are a fun way to start your storytime and kids at my library love them.
    Form, form, form your corn. (slowly raise your right arm to go over your head)
    Form, form, form your corn. (slowly raise your left arm to go over your head)
    Shuck, shuck, shuck your corn. (slowly lower your right arm to your side)
    Shuck, shuck, shuck your corn. (slowly lower your left arm to your side)
    Pop your corn! Pop your corn! (jump up and down)
    Form, form, form your potato. (slowly raise your right arm to go over your head)
    Form, form, form your potato. (slowly raise your left arm to go over your head)
    Peel, peel, peel your potato. (slowly lower your right arm to your side)
    Peel, peel, peel your potato. (slowly lower your left arm to your side)
    Mash your potato! Mash your potato!
     (stomp feet on floor)
    Repeat with orange (squeeze your orange by giving yourself a hug) and banana (go bananas!–you can interpret this however you like).
  2. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    There are a lot of variations on this rhyme (including a sung version), but this is the one I do. Check out the motions and some additional verses (!!!) discovered by the lovely ladies at Jbrary.
    Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon.
    Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re leaving very soon.
    If you want to take a trip, climb aboard the rocket ship.
    10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… BLAST OFF!
  3. Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree
    This is one of my all-time favorite fingerplays and kids love it, too. The anticipation of the crocodile loudly snapping each monkey out of the tree is the best part.
  4. Having fun with nursery rhymes
    Sometimes I like to have the kids recite a nursery rhyme (like Jack and Jill) or sing a simple song (like the Itsy Bitsy Spider) with me several times. We do it normally the first time through, but then we’ll do it fast, or slow, or really loud, or whisper it (or even do it silently). It’s fun and reinforces those concepts, and gives new life to rhymes/songs that the kids might have otherwise outgrown.
  5. Two Little Black Birds
    Speaking of Jack and Jill, this is one of my all-time favorite fingerplays:
    Two little black birds, sitting on a hill. <hide hands behind back>
    One named Jack and one named Jill. <bring out each hand with thumb out and fingers in>
    Fly away, Jack! Fly away, Jill! <hide each hand behind back>
    Come back, Jack! Come back, Jill! <bring each hand to the front>
    I like to do Rob Reid’s extended version, from his book Family Storytime: Twenty-Four Creative Programs for All Ages. It has additional verses such as: sitting on a cloud, quiet/loud; sitting in the snow, high/low; sitting in the snow, fast/slow.
  6. Little Mouse, Little Mouse felt board rhyme (from Felt Board Fingerplays by Liz & Dick Wilmes)
    This is the simplest concept, but kids go bananas over it. You hide a mouse behind one of several houses and then check the houses one by one until you find him. Together everyone says “Little Mouse, Little Mouse are you in the [red] house?” and you flip the house over to reveal whether anything’s behind it. Prepare yourself for cheers and applause when you find the mouse. And you can simplify it for babiesmake it more complicated for older kidschange what animal is hidinghide extra animalsmake a fabulous Maisy version… the variations are endless.
  7. Song Cube
    I copied this awesome idea from Melissa at Mel’s Desk. You put pictures representing different songs on each side of a small box. During storytime, you roll/toss the box and sing whatever song it lands on! I like to have this in my arsenal for when the kids are wiggly and I need recapture their attention.
  8. Letter Puzzles
    And this awesome idea I copied from Katie at Storytime Katie. Basically, you create a puzzle for each letter of the alphabet; each puzzle piece has a picture of something that starts with that letter. It’s hard to explain, so click through to see it in action, but it helps kids work on letter sounds and vocabulary.
  9. Wave Goodbye (by Rob Reid)This is a great closing rhyme–you wave various body parts and then it’s time to go! And how can you not love an opportunity to explain what a derrière is?
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