Friday, October 24, 2014

Story Time Staples: Opening and Closing Songs

Kids like routine (although if that is the case, then why does my newborn son keep trying to change things up??) so I use the same opening and closing songs every week for my story times. I have a weekly Baby Time, a Toddler Time, and a Preschool Story Time and I use different songs for each age group.

Baby Time (6 weeks to 18 months)

Opening Song: "Good Day, Everybody!" (I learned this one from my first boss years ago and have no idea where it comes from! Anybody know?)

Good day, everybody! Good day, everybody! 
Good day, good day, good day!
Let's smile, everybody! Let's smile, everybody!
And chase those blues away. 

Repeat with clap, stomp, bounce, and hug. 

I like this one because we start off waving (something many babies can do with caregiver help) and then tickle tummies on "chase those blues away." It makes the babies giggle and we start the session on a happy note. 

Closing Song: "Pat a cake"

Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker's man 
Bake me a cake as fast as you can. 
Pat it and roll it and mark it with a B. 
And put it in the oven for baby and me!

Most parents know this one and are happy to chant along with me. Every time I get new kids in baby time, I encounter different opinions on what you do first (pat it or roll it), but we stick to the pat then roll so after a few weeks we are all chanting together. 


Toddler Time (18 months to 3 years)

Opening Songs: I use three songs to get the toddlers settled and ready to read. They are, in order, "Oh Hey, oh Hi, Hello", "Hello children" and "Shake My Sillies." 

"Oh Hey, oh Hi, Hello" is from Jim Gill's album Jim Gill makes IT Noisy in Boise, Idaho. You can hear the song here, though I only sing through the original version twice rather than all the fun variations that Jim does. (Pause for a moment to celebrate the genius that is Jim Gill. Not a week goes by that I don't use a song of his. Brilliant brilliant man.)

"Hello Hideo" is a song I learned from my first boss, again. You beat a rhythm on your thighs and chant: 

Hello, children, hideo, hideo hideo
Hello, children, hideo
Hideo de ay, HEY!

And on the "HEY!" you raise your arms high over your head. We then say hello to the boys, the girls, and the grownups. This one is fun because everyone is tapping out the beat together and the children love the "HEY!" part. It's one of the first things I see them learning and repeating each week. 

"Shake My Sillies" is a classic song. There's the Raffi version, of course, which is timeless. We shake our sillies, clap our crazies, yawn our sleepies, and then shake our sillies one more time. 

I find by the end of this three song routine, everyone is with me, quiet, and ready to listen. 

Closing songs: "If You're Happy and you Know It" and "Hands say Thank you."

We sing "If you're happy and you know it" right after the flannelboard story (the last thing I do each story time) and we clap, stomp, and wave goodbye. Everyone knows this one enough to sing along and I transition from the waving right in to: 

My hands say thank you with a clap clap clap
My feet say thank you with a tap tap tap
Hands clap clap
Feet tap tap
Rooooollllll your arms and wave goodbye!

(I get lots of drama going on the roooollll part). 


Preschool Story Time (ages 3 to 5)

Opening song: I start with the "Oh Hey, Oh Hi, Hello!" song. With my kids, just twice through this song is enough to settle them down enough to read the first book. The few times I have tried to add another song here, I get the feeling the kids are eager for the song to be over so they can hear the story!

Closing song (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!

Do you have a favorite song to open or close story time? 

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