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December 2016

Here is the Beehive

Here is the beehive
Where are the bees?
Hidden inside where nobody sees.
Watch as they slowly come out of the hive…
One, two, three, four, five…. BZZZZZzzzzzzzz!

Developmental Tip of the Month

Talking about numbers with young children can help them feel good about math and make math easier for them when they get into school. Don’t use flash cards or give complex problems, however. Simply use math in your everyday language or play games with it. For instance, as you are taking Cheerios out of the box, count out the first five by saying, “One, two, three, four, five….that’s five!”

November 2016

All the Leaves are Falling Down

All the leaves are falling down
Falling down
Falling down
Let’s rake leaves.

All the leaves are falling down
Falling down
Falling down
Let’s jump in!

Developmental Tip of the Month

Physical play is as important for the brain as it is for the body. As adults, we need to help children find a movement they like. Then play together, using that movement. Play brings pleasure, pleasure brings repetition, and repetition brings learning.

October 2016

I’m a Very Friendly Ghost

I’m a very friendly ghost

But I can scare you, too.

I’ll cover my face with my hands,

And then I’ll shout, “Boo!”


Developmental Tip

**Note from Jennifer ( As a parent of two toddlers, I try to empower my children to keep them safe.  Parents have begun to move away from “Stranger Danger” and towards “Tricky People”.  Our goal as educators and parents is to help children identify tricky people and act quickly to keep themselves safe.

Teach your children how to identify safe strangers when they are lost and repeat it over and over.  Tricky people will ask children for help.  Safe adults ask other adults for help and will not ask a child to help them.

You can read more about “tricky people” here.

Pattie Fitzgerald, the creator of Safely Ever After where the tricky people concept originated says, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe.”

September 2016

Woodpecker, Woodpecker

Check out this rhyme using American Sign Language from Kathy MacMillan, interpreter and co-author of the Storytime Magic series.

Begin by teaching the ASL signs TREE and BIRD. Explain that in this rhyme, you will be learning about a specific kind of bird called a woodpecker, and will be using the signs to show how the woodpecker uses the tree.

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to eat! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now eat up the bugs you found, just like that. (move fingers to show beak eating bugs)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, time to sleep! (sign BIRD)

Woodpecker, woodpecker, fly to the tree. (sign TREE with your other hand and move the BIRD to your forearm)

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! (make the bird’s beak tap quickly on your forearm, which represents the tree trunk)

Now nestle in the hole you made, cozy as can be! (nestle bird in palm of hand)

Developmental Tip

Reading aloud changes the way your child sees a book!  If your child taps the duck in a board book, nothing happens unless you are there to quack!

July/August 2016

Stirring the Witches Brew

 Stirring and stirring and stirring the brew. Hoo, Hoo. Hoo, Hoo.
Stirring and stirring and stirring the brew. Hoo, Hoo. Hoo, Hoo.
Tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe…. BOO!

Developmental Tip

Even the youngest children benefit from exposure to books! Since children learn best through play and may not have long attention spans, it’s not necessary to read an entire book aloud. Looking at the book’s cover and talking about it, pointing to selected illustrations and talking about them, or singing a song that is related to the story or the illustrations are all good ways to share books with your children.

 June 2016

Slippery Fish

Slippery fish, slippery fish, sliding through the water.

Slippery fish, slippery fish,… Gulp, gulp, gulp.

Oh no, it’s been eaten by a….

Octopus, octopus, squiggling in the water.

Octopus, octopus… Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh no, it’s been eaten by a….

Tuna fish, tuna fish, flashing in the water.

Tuna fish, tuna fish… Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh no, it’s been eaten by a….

Great white shark, great white shark, lurking in the water,

Great white shark, great white shark… Gulp, gulp, gulp

Oh no, it’s been eaten by a….

Humongous whale, humongous whale, spouting in the water.

Humongous whale, humongous whale… Gulp, gulp, gulp…. BURP!

Pardon me!

Developmental Tip

Learning to write involves using fine motor skills. Children need to have the muscle control to be able to hold and move a pencil or crayon. Doing finger plays and playing percussion instruments with movements that our young children can master helps them to develop their fine motor skills.

May 2016

Here are Baby’s Fingers

Recited by Jenny Gallagher at the Centerville Public Library in Maryland

Here are baby’s fingers.
Here are baby’s toes.
Here is baby’s bellybutton…
‘Round and around it goes!”

 Developmental Tip

This rhyme encourages parents and children to laugh together during the bellybutton tickle. It’s a fun way to learn the names of body parts through play.

March 2016

Um Ah Went the Little Green Frog

Sung at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore

“Um ah” went the little green frog one day.
“Um ah” went the little green frog.
“Um ah” went the little green frog one day.
And his eyes went “Um, um, um!”

Developmental Tip

Mimicking animal sounds increases children’s awareness of the sounds around them. Recalling and repeating these sounds promotes the use of voice. Knowing the sound an animal makes and being able to correctly imitate it builds self-confidence; even a young child who cannot yet speak is able to go “Moooo” when seeing  a picture of a cow.  This empowers the child (and encourages parents to appreciate their child’s accomplishment).

February 2016

Polish Lullaby

Sung by Robin Hornkohl from the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District

Developmental Tip

Children build language skills when adults talk or sing to them. It does not matter if the words are in English or in another language. Studies have shown that the context of the activity also makes a difference. When a lullaby is shared lovingly, the comfort it can give and the warm feelings it invokes can live on for years.

January 2016

Five Little Ladies

Sung by Jan Fabiyi from Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore

Five little ladies went for a walk
Five little ladies stopped to talk
Along came five little gentlemen
They all danced together and that makes ten

December 2015

Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All Dressed in Black Black Black
With Silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother
for fifteen cents, cents, cents
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant
Jump the fence, fence, fence
She jumped so high, high, high
She touched the sky, sky, sky
And didn’t come back, back, back
Till the forth of july, ly, ly

Developmental Tip
Nursery rhymes can be fun for everyone. Try reciting them, singing them, acting them out, drawing them, and clapping them out with your child.  Children who enter kindergarten knowing a lot of nursery rhymes usually have a learning how to read and spell

November 2015

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the sky so high
like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

Developmental Tip
When looking at flannel board pieces or book illustrations together with your child, talk about what you are both seeing. Doing this helps infants and toddlers learn to focus on nearby objects, learning their names. Building vocabulary like this, bit by bit, is fun and it also help your child build needed skills for learning how to read.

October 2015

Butterfly Rhyme

Tiny little caterpillar crawling on a leaf,
she made a little chrysalis then went fast to sleep.
While she was dreaming, she dreamt that she could fly.
Later when she woke up, she was a butterfly.

Developmental Tip
In addition to introducing children to new vocabulary words in an understandable context, nursery rhymes can also teach children about natural processes in the world around them. This rhyme uses both words and actions to describe the life cycle of a butterfly.

September 2015

Video clip Performed by Megan from British Columbia

Worms Up, Worms Down

Verse 1:

Worms up, worms down (2x)

worms are hiding in the ground.

Verse 2:

Worms Down, Worms up (2x)

  Developmental Tip

Reciting nursery rhymes, singing, and doing finger plays are fun ways to promote language. Children learn new words and practice imitating adult’s pronunciation of words. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to recite rhymes, sing, or do fingerplays. Just have fun and help build your child’s language skills.

August 2015

Video clip Performed by Michele Presley from the Baltimore County Public Library

Scarf Rhymes for Storytime

This collection of activities is full of original material created by Michele Presley. There are a number of short rhymes  For baby programs, you may want to choose just one or two of the rhymes. For older children, see how many they can remember!

We’ll start in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Story-time, Yaaaaay!

I’m waving my scarf, waving my scarf,
waving my scarf, side by side.
I’m waving my scarf, waving my scarf,
waving my scarf, up and down.

Can you wave it up high?
Can you wave it down low?
Can you wave it very fast?
Can you wave it very slow-ly?

Ready? Up, down, crazy all around.
Ready? Throw it up in the air and catch it there.
Lets try that again.
Throw it up in the air and catch it there.
Again, 1, 2, 3, throw it up in the air and catch it there.

Now make it very, very, very small
so you can’t see it at all.
Like it’s a little ball
1, 2, 3, poof!

Now, put it over your face,
What a big disgrace!

Ready, peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo,
Peek-a-boo i see you…

Put it on your face, and 1, 2, 3, blow!
Whoooo! Watch it go!
Go get it, alright, let’s do that again
1, 2, 3, blow!
Whoooo! Watch it go!

Take it and put it gently in your lap
and give your hands a big clap clap clap clap clap.

Developmental Tip

Waving, scrunching, and tossing colored scarves exercises fine motor skills. Moving them up and down, using them to draw lines, and swirling them in big and little circles exercises hands and fingers that will later be used for writing.

July 2015

Video clip of “Two Little Dickey-Birds” by Jenny Gallagher at the Kent Island Library

Two Little Dickey-Birds

Two little dickey birds sitting on a cloud.

(whisper) One named “Soft.”
(yell) The other named “Loud.”

(whisper) Fly away, Soft.
(yell) Fly away, Loud.

(whisper) Come back, Soft.
(yell) Come back, Loud.

Developmental Tip

Music can be considered a “pre-linguistic language.” It nourishes and stimulates the whole human being, affecting body, emotions, and intellect. Music helps develop an internal sense of beauty, sustaining and awakening  unique qualities in all of us.
This tip is adapted from The Secret Life of the Unborn Child by Thomas Verny & John Kelly, London: Sphere, 1987.

June 2015

Video clip of “Little Bitty Bug” by MaryLee Sunseri, Nancy Stewart & the King County Librarians

Little Bitty Bug

A little bitty bug, too small to hug,
sittin’ on a rug, just sittin’ on a rug.
And then to show his might
he took a daring flight!
He landed on my nose,
then, what do you suppose?
He flew down to my toes!

Developmental Tip
Singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments together with others is a social as well as a musical experience. Through these activities, even very young children have opportunities to learn and practice self-regulation, understand emotions, share and take turns, build self-esteem and self-confidence, cooperate and build relationships. When parents sing with their children, they are helping them in a wide variety of ways.

May 2015

Video clip of “Bubble, Bubble, Pop!” Performed by Dana and Lindsey from

Bubble, Bubble, Pop!

One little red fish swimming in the water,
Swimming in the water, swimming in the water.
One little red fish swimming in the water,
Bubble, bubble, bubble, pop.

Two little blue fish swimming in the water…..
Bubble, bubble, bubble, pop.

Three little yellow fish swimming in the water….
Bubble, bubble, bubble, pop.

Developmental Tip
Music stimulates spontaneous motor movement. Each musical activity (such as doing fingerplays, wiggling fingers, clapping hands, and swaying) causes a different part of the brain to fire up, building an infant’s sensory development and control. If your child gets impatient waiting with you on line at the supermarket, do some fingerplays together! In addition to providing a distraction, it will also help to develop brain power.
This tip is adapted from material written by Barbara Cass-Beggs.

April 2015

Video clip of “My 10 Fingers” sung by Paul from the Brooklyn Public Library

Rhyme of the Month: I Have 10 Fingers

I have ten little fingers,  and they all belong to me. (hold hands out in front)

I can make them do things, would you like to see?

I can shut them tight. (make a fist)

I can open them wide (spread fingers out)

I can put them together (clasp hands together)

I can make them hide  (put hands behind back)

I can make them fly high (raise hands and wiggle fingers over head)

I can make them fly low (lower hands to feet and wiggle fingers)

I can fold them like this and hold them just so. (fold hands in lap)

Developmental Tip
The coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers is called “fine motor movements.” Children need fine motor skills to write, cut, use a fork or spoon, zip up a jacket, button a shirt, move puzzle pieces and perform other tasks. A child who does not have well-developed fine motor skills may have difficulty learning to write or doing other important tasks. So, reciting fingerplays actually helps your child develop important skills. Learn the fingerplays here at the library, but make sure to also do them together with your child at home!

March 2015

Video clip of “Fish Alive” sung by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen

Rhyme of the Month: Fish Alive

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Once I caught a fish alive.
Then I threw him back again.
Why did you let him go?
Because he bit my finger so.
Which finger did he bite?
This little finger on the right!
WAAAH… he bit my finger…

February 2015

Video clip of “Horsey, Horsey” sung by Ning Ding, Children’s Librarian, Vancouver Public Library, Kensington Branch

Rhyme of the Month: Horsey, Horsey

Horsey, horsey on the way,
We’ve been together for many a day.
So let your tail go swish
And your wheels go ’round,
Giddy-up, we’re homeward bound.

You may want an accompanying flannel picture of a horse with a wagon, to show that the wheels are on the wagon and not on the horse!

January 2015

The person singing this rhyme is Susan Andrews, a library technician at the Guildford branch of Surrey Libraries in British Columbia. She has more than 25 years as a storyteller – around the Guildford Community she has Rock Star status with the 0-6 crowd!

Rhyme of the Month: Wind the Bobbin Up

Wind the bobbin up, wind the bobbin up. 
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap.
Wind it back again. Wind it back again.
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap.
Point to the ceiling, point to the floor.
Point to the window, point to the door.
Clap your hands together, 1, 2, 3.
Tap your hands upon your knee.