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Bedtime Storytime Ideas

Updated on February 18, 2012

How often do you have parents come in asking for books about bedtime (while trying not to pull out their hair)? Parents probably don't want to encourage further bedtime antics with the Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. You can suggest any of the following books, but why not use storytime to help show children the positive or lighthearted side of taking a nap or going to bed?

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Bed Hogs - by Kelly DiPucchio


Little Runt finds it hard to sleep when his pig style's filled with a mama who dances in her sleep, a daddy who snores, a sister who drools all over him when he tries to sleep, another sister who thinks she's a beauty queen and a brother who shakes the style giggling in his sleep. Just how does a little pig get some sleep with all that going on?!?!

Visit Kelly DiPucchio's Official Author Website


Canadian Lullaby

Traditional Song

Bed is too small for my tired head.

Give me a hilltop with trees.

Tuck a cloud up under my chin.

Now blow the moon out... please.

Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Traditional Rhyme

Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John

Went to bed with his stockings on.

One shoe off. One shoe on.

Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John.

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late - by Mo Willems

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

The bus driver from Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus needs your help again! The bus driver needs to get ready for bed, but the Pigeon keeps trying to beg to stay up past his bedtime. No matter if he begs for just five more minutes or a glass of water, just tell him NO OK?

Did you know the Pigeon has his own website filled with fun stuff just for kids (and a few things for parents and teachers). He even invited his friends Gerald, Piggie, Knuffle Bunny and Edwina, too.


Froggy Gets Dressed - by Jonathan London

Froggy Gets Dressed
Froggy Gets Dressed

Frogs are supposed to hybernate in the winter. But when Froggy wakes up and sees piles of snow on the ground, he wants to go out and play! But as Froggy's never been out in the snow before, he forgets to put on some of his clothes... including his underwear. After several trips inside to put on pants, shirt, mittens, hat and more, he finally decides to go back to bed (much to the delight of his exasperated mother).

Freddy Frog Felt Set
Freddy Frog Felt Set

Though a flannelboard for the Freddy Frog education series, this flannel board set has everything you need to tell Froggy Gets Dressed.


Jack Be Nimble

Traditional Rhyme

Jack be nimble.

Jack be quick.

Jack jump over

The candlestick.

Goodnight, Gorilla - by Peggy Rathmann

Hey Diddle Diddle - Traditional Rhyme

Hey diddle diddle

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night - by Jane Yolen

How do dinosaurs go to bed when their parents go to turn off the light? Do they stomp? Throw their teddy bear? Demand yet story? Demand a piggyback ride? Throw temper tantrums?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

I made a simple dinosaur pants with an attached dino tail when telling Yolen's dino books. With a storytime partner, I act out the "naughty" behaviors (and "good" ones at the end) while my partner reads the book. Children laugh and yell out NO while parents gasp as they see the dinosaur misbehaving. As with after Willems's Pigeon books, it leads to talking about manners after finishing the book.

Visit Jane Yolen's Official Author Site


Llama Llama Red Pajama - by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama
Llama Llama Red Pajama

Baby Llama becomes quite distressed when she fears Mama Llama has forgotten all about her in this fun story told in rhyme.

Visit Anna Dewdney's Official Author Website

llama llama red pajama puppet
llama llama red pajama puppet

I made simple red flannel pajamas for our Folkmanis llama puppet.

Moon Moon Moon - by the Laurie Berkner Band

Mortimer - by Robert Munsch

When Mortimer's mother puts him in bed, she tells him to BE QUIET, however Mortimer can't stay quiet for long. Instead he starts singing his song....

Clang clang rattle bing bang

Gonna make my noise all day!

Clang clang rattle bing bang

Gonna make my noise all day!

So it's put to Mortimer's father to go upstairs and tell Mortimer to BE QUIET. Mortimer promises... but is soon back to singing his song. His seventeen brothers and sisters and even the police try, but Mortimer keeps singing his song. Will Mortimer ever finally fall asleep?

Mortimer (Munsch for Kids)
Mortimer (Munsch for Kids)

In addition to being a fun and interactive (children help stomp up and down stairs, shout "MORTIMER, BE QUIET!", and sing the song), it's also a great in case of emergency story as it's easy to memorize, needs no props and is fun for children ages 2 to 5th grade. I recently had an emergency impromptu storytime of 50(!) antsy five year olds and no way of getting to a big book. I got a few groans when I announced we were ALL going to tell the story, but by the end all 50 (and their parents and teachers) were laughing and having a good time. Several of the kids were still singing the Clang Clang song when getting on the bus. SUCCESS!

Visit Robert Munsch's Official Author Website


Old Miss O'Leary

Traditional Song

Late one night

When we were all in bed,

Old Miss O'Leary

Took a lantern to the shed.

And when the cow kicked it over,

She winked her eye and said,

"It'll be a hot time

In the old town, tonight."


Ten in the Bed - Traditional Song

Unless you're a preschool or kindergarten class, this would be hard to do in storytime. But it is fun to use in storytime using either flannel board pieces (use felt monsters, monkeys, people, or whatever you have available) or singing outright.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star - Traditional Song

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

Instead of swaying with the music for this song, try adding a few words of sign language.

Wake Up You Sleepyheads

Traditional Song

Wake up you sleepyheads and

Go and get the cattle,

Wake up you sleepyheads and

Go and get the cows.

The cows are lost.

The sun is warm.

I think I'll rest,

Ttil they come home.



Way Up in the Sky

Traditional Song

Way up in the sky,

The little birds fly.

While down in the nest,

The little birds rest.

With a wing on their left

And a wing on their right,

The little birds sleep

All through the night.



Wee Willie Winkie

Traditional Rhyme

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,

Knocking at the window and crying through the lock,

Are all the children in their beds, it's past eight o'clock?

What Do You Do With a Sleeping Baby

Piggy Back Song

Tune: What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?

What do you do with a sleeping baby,

What do you do with a sleeping baby,

What do you do with a sleeping baby,

Early in the morning?

You wake 'em up and shake 'em up,

You wake 'em up and shake 'em up,

You wake 'em up and shake 'em up,

Early in the morning.

As I strongly discourage shaken baby syndrome in storytime, I usually change "baby" to any animals or characters used in the preceding story. Ex. "What do you do with a sleeping Mortimer/Daddy/Mommy/Police Officer...." after telling Munsch's Mortimer.

What is your favorite book or song to share in bedtime storytime?

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    • iijuan12 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Goodnight Moon. Wonderful lens! My preschoolers will enjoy this!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My kids love storytelling. My son calls it "a story that's not a storybook." But I often hig eative block at bedtime. But there's a cool new app that guides you through a story but leaves plenty of room for your own personality/elaboration. Itâs called Shake-n-Tell and you can find it in the Apple App Store.

    • GypsyLyric LM profile image

      GypsyLyric LM 

      6 years ago

      Hmm, I think of the ones you've shown, I'll have to get Bed Hogs for my nephew - thanks!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love so many of these stories, going to save it to read and show my kids later ... *blessed*

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lovely lens with great ideas for bedtime. Blessed.

    • ChrissLJ profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @hlkljgk: For food week, we almost always do "Pigeon Finds a Soydog." =0)

    • hlkljgk profile image


      7 years ago from Western Mass

      we love the pigeon books :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Super list.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      7 years ago

      I love bedtime story reading... this was long time ago a great part of my life, lot of memories about Grandpa and father reading me stories when I wasn't yet ready to read, and trips to the Book store later when I picked up the books but on their supervision...

      this s useful and great lens...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are classics - and very sweet!

    • smithlights profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list of bedtime books! Thanks for sharing!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Goldilocks and the Three Bears has the beds/sleeping in it. Can't forget it.


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