Music: Toddler Storytime

For our sixth Toddler Storytime of the spring session, we read books about making music.


Books We Shared

Our first story, Bears in a Band by Shirley Parenteau and illustrated by David Walker, follows four bear cubs as they jingle, shake, pa-rum-pa-pum and tootley-toot in cacophony, until they wake Big Bear from his nap. But he doesn’t get mad; he helps them to harmonize.

Our second book, Pots and Pans by Patricia Hubbell and illustrated by Diane de Groat, was a lyrical, upbeat book about a baby who has fun exploring all the things in the kitchen that make noise!


Flannel Board Song

The Band on the Bus

(to tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”)
The guitar on the bus goes strum, strum, strum (strum an air guitar)
Strum, strum, strum
Strum, strum, strum
The guitar on the bus goes strum, strum, strum
All through the town!

Other verses:

The trumpet on the bus goes toot, toot, toot… (put an imaginary horn to face)
The drum on the bus goes bang, bang, bang… (pat thighs)
The bell on the bus goes ring, ring, ring… (shake wrist like you’re ringing a bell)


Letter of the Day

To emphasize writing skills I have the toddlers practice drawing the letter of the day in the air. Our letter of the day was “M.” We talked about things that start with M, like monkeys, meerkats, money, motorcycles, and music!


Video We Shared

The first group watched “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin” based on the book by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman.

But this film didn’t hold the toddlers’ attention. I think it was too long. (Also, holding shaker eggs and jingle bells while watching a movie really doesn’t work out very well if you have any intention of hearing it!)

So for the eleven o’clock group, we watched a different film: “Musical Max” based on the book by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey.

That one seemed a little more fun, though it was still a bit long. It helped that I required the toddlers to put back their jingle bells and percussion instruments before we watched the movie.

Both films are on the DVD Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin and more stories for young musicians:


Rhymes & Fingerplays & Songs We Shared without Music

We sing a lot of songs during storytime!  You’ll find lyrics to those songs without music here.

Open Shut Them
Open, shut them (open and close fingers)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap, clap, clap (clap hands)
Open, shut them (open and close fingers)
Open, shut them
Place them on your lap, lap, lap (pat knees)
Creep them, crawl them, creep them, crawl them (“crawl” your fingers very slowly from your knees up to your face)
Right up to your chin, chin, chin (touch chin)
Open up your little mouth BUT…(open wide!)
Do not let them in! (quickly and abruptly move hands behind your back and smack lips shut)

The Jingle Song
(move shaker egg or jingle bells to the directions in the lyrics)
We jingle up high,
We jingle down low,
We jingle fast,
We jingle slow,
We jingle to the ceiling,
We jingle to the ground,
We jingle and we jangle
As we dance all around!

This next one we used puppets to enact:

This Little Bear
(tune: “This Old Man”)
This little bear, she played one
She played knick knack on her drum
With a knick knack paddy whack
Give a dog a bone
This little bear came rolling home

This little bear, he played two
He played jingle bells on my shoe
With a jingle jangle
Give a dog a bone
This little bear came rolling home

This little bear, she played three
She played shaker eggs on my knee
With a shake shake, shakey shake
Give a dog a bone
This little bear came rolling home

This little bear, he played four
He played tap tap on the floor
With a tap tap tappy tap
Give a dog a bone
This little bear came rolling home

Storytime’s Over
Hands up high! (Put your hands in air)
Now give a big sigh (sigh and bring hands down)
Our storytime’s over
So wave bye-bye (wave)


Music from CDs We Shared

I love to sing and dance to music.  Here are some of the songs and cds used in storytime.


“Clap Everybody and Say Hello” from Sally Go Round the Sun by Kathy Reid-Naiman

Clap everybody and say hello, (clap hands)
Clap everybody and say hello,
Clap everybody and say hello,
No matter what the weather.

Stamp everybody and say hello, (stomp feet)
Stamp everybody and say hello,
Stamp everybody and say hello,
No matter what the weather.

Wiggle everybody and say hello, (wiggle baby)
Wiggle everybody and say hello,
Wiggle everybody and say hello,
No matter what the weather.

Jump everybody and say hello, (lift baby up high)
Jump everybody and say hello,
Jump everybody and say hello,
No matter what the weather.

Sing everybody and say hello, (wave hi)
Sing everybody and say hello,
Sing everybody and say hello,
No matter what the weather.


“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” from Songs for Wiggleworms by Old Town School of Folk Music

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream.

Other verses:
Twist, twist, twist your boat
Bounce, bounce, bounce your boat…
Sway, sway, sway your boat…
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your boat…
Tickle, tickle, tickle your boat…


“I’m a Little Teapot/Two Little Blackbirds” from Wiggleworms Love You by Old Town School of Folk Music

I’m a little teapot, short and stout
Here is my handle (bring one hand to waist)
Here is my spout (stick the other hand out like a teapot spout)
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout: (wiggle a little bit)
“Tip me over and pour me out!” (bend in the direction of your outstretched hand)

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill (hold both your index fingers out and wiggle them)
One named Jack and the other named Jill (wiggle each index finger)
Fly away Jack and fly away Jill (bring each finger, one at a time, behind your back)
Come back Jack and come back Jill (bring each finger back in front of you one at a time)


“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” from Walt Disney’s Children’s Favorite Songs Volume 1

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.

“Roll Your Hands” from Toddlers on Parade by Carol Hammett & Elaine Bueffel

Roll, roll, roll your hands
As fast as fast can be
Do it now, let me see
Do it now with me

Clap, clap, clap your hands
As loud as loud can be
Do it now, let me see
Do it now with me

Tap, tap, tap your feet
As soft as soft can be
Do it now, let me see
Do it now with me

Shake, shake, shake your feet
As quickly as can be
Do it now, let me see
Do it now with me



Additional Activities

We played with puppets, jingle bells and other percussion toys!


Continue the Fun

Want more stories about making music?  Check these out at your Pasadena Public Library branch:

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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