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Storytime Ideas: Themes for Librarians and Circle Time
Topics for Preschool Storytimes
I started my career as a children's librarian presenting eight storytimes a week. Over the years, I used a lot of themes for these. To help out busy children's librarians and childcare providers, I've assembled a wide range of storytime ideas to make their job a little easier.
These also work for homeschooling parents or any parent wanting to enrich their child's exposure to books. In nursery schools, the stories and activities can be used for circle times.
These topics come from a variety of sources and include a wide range of books, crafts, and fun activities for preschool children. I think it is important to provide a mix of music, movement, even crafts to expand on the telling or reading of stories in storytime.
(photo of Virginia Allain in the children's area of the Weslaco Public Library)
Getting Ready for Storytime
Keeping the children's attention and keeping them focused on the story takes more than just story telling or animated reading abilities. You need to learn about group dynamics and some little tricks to use. Some of it comes with experience. Take a look at the recommendations here.
Stretching Activity for the Preschoolers
- Preschool Library Storytime Ideas for Presenters
Here is the basic formula I use for our library's story hour. I use books, music, movement, and transitions to create the sense of routine that young children crave.
- Start a Preschool Storytime Program/ Story Hour at Y...
This topic describes the basics of setting up a children's storytime program in your community. I will share tips on how to organize your program and build successful relationships with your library, church, or...
- How to Host a Group Story Time for Preschoolers | eHow.com
Preschoolers enjoy hearing stories read aloud. Group story times can bring preschoolers together for socialization and learning. Immerse preschoolers in a theme by doing more than just reading a...
- How Telling Stories Affects Preschool Children | eHow.com
The telling of stories is as old as mankind itself. We have always told stories, even long before we knew how to write them down. Taking the time to read and tell stories to preschool children is vitally important for their mental development. It hel
A New Way to Hold Storytimes
Decorate the Room with Fall Colors and a Scarecrow to Go with Your Theme
Fall Themes for Storytimes
Autumn brings to mind harvest, scarecrows, colorful leaves and pumpkins. That should give you plenty of stories and activities for your group.
- Scarecrow Storytime (check the Thanksgiving Storytime below) Julie Douglas suggests this song "If you're a scarecrow and you know it clomp (clomp clomp) your boots, if you're a scarecrow and you know it wiggle (wiggle wiggle) your pants. If you're a scarecrow and you know it then you really ought to show it, if you're a scarecrow and you know it clomp your bootts (clomp clomp) ...and wiggle your pants (wiggle wiggle).Continue with shirt and gloves, then hat and head. Each time after "you ought to show it" we say all of the clothing from the boots up. It's been a hoot!
- Autumn Colors (check thePerry Public Library instruction sheet for details)
- Apple Storytime (another Perry Public Library one)
- Autumn Storytime (check eHow.com for details)
- Back to School Storytime (check eHow.com for details)
- Squirrels Storytime - Read Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. Librarian, Virginia Kiviniemi used these activities, "After the stories, we searched for acorns using our toilet paper roll binoculars and did the action poem 'grey squirrel grey squirrel shake your bushy tail'. At the end I had acorn treats for each child made with Hershey's kisses (an idea she found on Pinterest).
- Pumpkin or Jack O'Lantern Storytime
- Thanksgiving Storytime (Make a game of building and knocking down a scarecrow, pumpkin chunkin' and turkey bowling.) The scarecrow was a large one for a bulletin board. Separated into 4 pieces, each was attached to an orange colored box. Those were stacked and then you can knock them down by tossing a ball at the figure. Idea from the Storytime Undergound group on Facebook.
- Halloween stories to read aloud: Skeleton Hiccups, Creepy Carrots, the Ugly Pumpkin, The Little Green Witch, Room on the Broom (use different character voices for this), The Monster at the End of This Book, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything - Linda D. Williams; Pumpkin Heads - Wendell Minor; Pumpkin Trouble - Jan Thomas; and The Little Witch cut and tell story. Here are some more from the Storytime Underground group: Los Gatos Black on Halloween, Piggie Pie, 10 trick-or-treaters, if you're a monster and you know it..., The Bumpy Little Pumpkin (after the story, pass around bumpy pumpkins for the sensory experience), Little old lady who was not afraid of anything, By the light of the Halloween moon, The Spooky Box, There was an old lady who swallowed a bat, Pumpkin Trouble, Click Clack BOO! Shake dem Halloween bones,
Pumpkin Themes Make Fun Fall Storytimes
More Ideas for Your Halloween Storytime
- Halloween Storytime Crafts
Librarians, teachers and parents love simple crafts for children for Halloween. Here's some ideas for your group and ways to find more. Many of the crafts use recycled or inexpensive items.
- Children's Picture Books for Halloween: For Preschoo...
Halloween-themed children's picture books can help preschoolers prepare for the spooky side of Halloween with plenty of humor. Books about ghosts, witches, bats, and kids in costume make up this reading list for story time presenters, parents, and th
- Good Reads for Young Vampire Fans
Currently The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and the movie have created a strong public interest in vampires. Even young children get curious about all the discussions of vampires. Obviously most children below the teen years won't be plowing...
- Draw Cartoon Ghosts for Halloween or Anytime
Drawing is fun and ghosts make a great subject to draw. First of all, no one really knows what a ghost looks like, so you can make your ghost any way you want. Here are some ideas of what you might want to put in your ghost drawing. Ghosts are...
- Spookley: The Square Pumpkin, A Children's Halloween...
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a 45-minute children's show based on the book entitled The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, which was written by Joe Troiano. The film is a Kidtoon Films and Lionsgate presentation from 2004. Spookley's...
November Storytime Themes
Pete the Cat's Thanksgiving
We Are Thankful Book Swap
The Color Orange
Pumpkin stories, autumn leaf stories,
Mustaches for Movember
Mustache Baby, Book O'Beards, Mo's Mustache
have the kids make a mustache on a stick for a craft
Dinosaurs for Dinovember
Beary Fun November
teddy bear picnic near Thanksgiving
"Feast for 10" by Cathryn Falwell, Stone Soup
Turkey Day Tales
Library Links to Storytime Theme Ideas
- Storytime themes | Perry Public Library
The Perry Public Library (Ohio) gives complete instructions for storytimes on a wide variety of themes (examples: Drums & Rhythm, Eat Your Veggies! Elephants, Fishy Fish, Food, Friends, Grandparents, etc.)
Tips for Storytimes
The Rapid City Library Storytime on YouTube
This library has a number of storytimes on video posted to YouTube. Browse them to see different themes and techniques. If you are new to presenting story hour, then these will give you an idea of how to proceed. If you are experienced, it's always good to pick up tips from other librarians.
Did You Watch the Video?
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Storytime Topics: Frogs, Dogs and December
- Children's Picture Books for December Storytime Them...
These themes and book selections will make your December story hour planning a snap! Themes include snowmen, mittens, playing in the snow, and gingerbread.
- Children's Books About Frogs for Preschool, Storytim...
Come investigate one of the small wonders of science in this children's picture book list including recommendations with summaries and book cover images. This article includes some delightful fantasy fiction, fairy tales, and science-themed nonfictio
- Children's Books About Dogs for Preschool, Storytime...
Children's picture books for dog lovers abound. My not so short list of recommendations includes classic titles and some new modern favorites. You can present these during a preschool story hour or read with children at bedtime!
Books and Songs for Storytimes - Tested by a Children's Librarian
- Dr. Seuss Storytime Ideas
Celebrate Read Across America... aka Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2nd)... with a storytime featuring your favorite tales by the author of The Cat in the Hat. Check below for books, songs and rhymes by and inspired by the beloved children's author. ...
- Great Storytime Ideas by a Children's Librarian
One of my library friends posted some great storytime topics with suggested books and songs on the List My Five website. Her username there is PupFashionista. Try out some topics from this long list of themes. You'll have instant, easy storytimes.
- Songs and Rhymes to Use in Bedtime Storytime
Rhymes and songs related to a bedtime theme. Some libraries have pajama storytimes or evening storytimes.
- Picture Books to Teach the Size Concept
Teaching young children about different sizes? The size concept can be difficult for children to understand, but each of the following books cleverly teaches small, big and bigger in a way that toddlers and preschoolers can easily understand.
Techniques to Use in Library Storytimes
Here's a Free Download with 250 Ideas
- 260 Creative Ideas for Storytimes
A free booklet with lots of ideas.
Guide for Storytimes - With Fingerplays, Flannelboards and More
With a book like this on the shelf, you'll be ready for storytime anytime. Lots of ideas, lots of tips for the busy librarian.
Fingerplays, Flannelboards and Other Activities
Storytimes arranged by themes with flannelboard, craft, fingerplays, songs and book titles all conveniently laid out for you.
Flannelboards and Storytimes
Enhance your storytime with flannelboard stories. It's easy once you have a book like this to get you started.
TIP: To make an easy flannel board story, rescue a book that's being withdrawn from the collection. Have a volunteer cut out the figures or scenes from the book and glue flannel on the back of those. Instant flannel board!
Use Pinterest to Find Ideas
Find Hundreds of Storytime Ideas on Pinterest
Librarians all over the country use Pinterest to stockpile favorite storybooks, fingerplays, craft tutorials, songs and other ideas to use in storytimes. Here's a sampling of recent pins. Start your own pinboard and pin the ones you want to use.
Kids Love Pirates
Plan a Pirate Storytime
- Storytime ABC's: Celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Lots of ideas. Kids will love "Five Scurvy Pirates."
Help for Your Pirate Storytime
- Things to do with Kids : Childrens pirate party
All kids love dressing up as pirates and you can hold an entertaining party with great games and activities at a minimal cost.
- Pirate Party Ideas and Treasure Hunt Games
Are you looking for a fantastic party theme for your next get together or a library program? Then why not consider going with a pirate theme! Pirate parties are an excellent choice for both adults and children.
- Pirate Accessories and Props
Need a pirate hat, eye patch and a rubber sword for your storytime? Here's a selection to enhance your pirate storytime.
Storytime for Babies and Preschoolers - Books to Use
Crafts for Storytimes
I like to choose a craft that's easy enough for the youngest children, yet can be more elaborate for the ones who can handle that. It needs to relate to the theme of the storytime and the supplies for it need to be readily available or very inexpensive. Here are some online sites to find crafts for your storytimes.
Storytime Crafts - Book available from Amazon
You'll find 79 craft projects to use with storytimes. Just what you need to have on hand while plannng your themes for the season.
Easy and Inexpensive Craft Ideas for Storytimes
- Budget-Friendly Crafts for Kids to Make
Looking for easy to make kid craft ideas that won't break the bank? Here are five budget-friendly craft ideas that use recycled products from around the house that both your kids and wallet will love!
- More Paper Plate Crafts
You'll find that More Paper Plate Crafts features additional paper plate craft projects and their site addresses, crafts that aren't included in the All Paper Plate Crafts article. All different ones.
- ENCHANTED LEARNING
Enchanted Learning Software creates children's educational web sites and games designed to stimulate creativity, learning, enjoyment, and imagination.
Puppets for Storytimes
Using Music in Storytimes
Not cheap, but look at the used copies being offered. There are some good buys there.
This has a wealth of ways to use music (including rhythm band instruments) in storytimes. Essential for the children's librarians resource shelf.
Include Fingerplays and Music in Your Storytimes
- Using Songs and Music Education Techniques in Your T...
Music education is a popular and useful technique when working with young preschoolers and kindergarten students. This article offers some tips and advice for integrating music and simple preschool-friendly musical instruments into your teaching curr
- Fingerplay Benefits for Children | Unlock the Learni...
Finger plays are a fun and educational way to teach young children through a multi-sensory experience. They bond caregiver and child in a legacy of learning in a nurturing way.
- Fingerplays for Children
Preschool children benefit greatly from attending storytimes at the public library. These free programs introduce them to the world of books while learning songs and nursery rhymes to develop their vocabulary. At the same time, the children learn to.
Do You Use Puppets with Your Storytimes?
Vote in the Poll
Puppets to Use with Storytimes
Every storyteller needs a signature puppet, one that he or she can use at each storytime. It's great to have a selection to use for different themes too.
Tips for Making and Using Puppets
- It's Puppet Time!
Young children love puppet shows and a lap stage is a great way to introduce toddlers and small children to puppetry. Sometimes babies and toddlers are afraid of puppets until they realize what fun they are to watch and interact with. A lap stage...
- How to Make a Puppet Stage: PVC Puppet Stage Plans
Kids love puppets! Maybe not all kids, but certainly lots of kids! How many puppet related kid shows do you remember through the years? Lamb Chop was a favorite! Mr. Rogers had a blast with his puppets. And who doesn't know Kermit the Frog and the...
- Crocheted fox finger puppet free pattern
Find out how to make this simple and adorable finger puppet for your little one. This pattern is quick to whip up too.
- Scripts For Hand- And Finger-Puppet Shows for Kids
Puppets are an invaluable medium for teaching your child life skills. To help you get started I have written two scripts for parents who wish to make use of puppets as a platform for providing their child with basic life skills. As children love rhym
Puppet Skits for Schools and Libraries
© 2010 Virginia Allain