story time

Bird Story Time (Outreach)

I do outreach for a bunch of amazing 3-, 4- and 5-year olds at a local preschool. I go once a month to do a story time and it’s one of the biggest joys of my job. Because they’re a little older and used to a more “structured” atmosphere than some of the kids who come to my story times at the library, I can explore longer books and more complicated rhymes and songs with them and they go with the flow and really love to sing and dance along. I even get (mild) kid complaints when I bring books that are deemed too short (as you’ll see below). I’ve been in this job for a year so some of my outreach munchkins just went on to kindergarten. *sniff*

I start with the same welcome song as my library story time:
Welcome Song: Hands Go Up and Hands Go Down
(to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Hands go up and hands go down
I can turn around and round
I can hop upon two shoes
I can listen so can you
I can sit, I’ll show you how
Story time is starting now

Rhyme: Open Shut Them
Open shut them (open and shut hands)
Open shut them
Give a little clap clap clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap lap lap
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them right up to your chin chin chin
(crawl hands up your arms to your chin)
Open up your mouth … but do not let them in! (put hands behind your back)

Book: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills


I adore this book and it’s on the longer side so  it’s perfect for these little ones. It’s great for spelling simple words out loud for the kids. There’s even a place to sing The Alphabet Song.

Song: Where is Thumbkin?
I only do thumb, pointer, and pinkie. The ring finger is tough to isolate and the middle … well, frankly, I don’t want to go into it. Although I remember doing all five fingers in preschool back in the day I don’t want the kids going home and somehow giving their parents the finger and telling them Miss Elena sang a song showing them how to do it…

Wiggle Rhyme: Watch Out for the Bugs (to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Clap your hands, stomp your feet
Wiggle all around
Throw your hands up in the air and now let’s touch the ground
Touch your head, touch your hips, give yourself a hug
Now sit down upon the floor
But watch out for the bugs!!

I got this rhyme from the children’s librarian at the library where I used to work. Always a crowd pleaser.

Song: Row Row Row Your Boat
I do three verses of this classic:
Row row row your boat (the traditional way) //
Rock rock rock your boat, sway from side to side
Merrily merrily merrily merrily what a bumpy ride (bump hands on lap) //
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile (crocodile snap with arms)
Don’t forget to scream (*scream AH*)

All kids LOVE this last verse. Every time I do it at any story time it’s a hit. I got this version from the fabulous children’s librarian where I did my grad school practicum.

Book: I’m Not Cute by Jonathan Allen


I love this book. It’s sweet and a fun opportunity to throw a mini temper tantrum for the kids. However, my outreach kids told me it was too short! See? They’re very discerning …

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Sung three times, getting faster each time.

Action Rhyme: Little Birds
Little birds, little birds, jump up and down
Little birds, little birds, don’t make a sound
Little birds, little birds, give a sneeze
Little birds, little birds, bend your knees
Little birds, little birds, peep, peep, peep
Little birds, little birds, sleep, sleep, sleep
Little birds, little birds, fly to the leaves
Little birds, little birds, sit down please

The third line is actually supposed to be “tip toe to me” but I did this rhyme with them last year and it cause a massive pileup in front of me and someone got stepped on. There were tears. So I changed it up to something a little more solo to avoid the risk of injury.

Book: Little Quack’s New Friend by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Derek Anderson


This book was long enough (phew!) and went really well with the theme of friendship (which I found out the preschool was celebrating that week!). It shows how much fun it is to play together and just because someone is small or looks a little different doesn’t mean they aren’t fun. A great message for all people of earth.

Song: Six Little Ducks by Raffi
I played this song off of my phone for the kids. I like to mix in some real singers from time to time so they don’t have to listen to me warble every time. Fun time to shake some tail feathers.

Egg Shakers
I bring the Shake It CD and the egg shakers with me to the preschool and they love it just as much as the library kids. I hand out shakers to them since there would be a wrestling match over the animal shakers if I didn’t. The preschool has a great rule — You get what you get and you don’t get upset!

After shaking we take a nice big deep breath to get everyone calm and ready to listen to the last story.

Book: Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard

boo hoo bird.jpg

Sadly this book was given the “too short” kiss of death by the kids. But I think it’s a fun story about trying to make your friend feel better even when they’re being a bit of a drama queen.

Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It …
We did a bird them on this one:
Flap your wings
Shake your tail
Give a tweet
Do all three

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This (to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
We wave goodbye like this.
We wave goodbye like this.
We clap our hands for all our friends.
We wave goodbye like this.

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