Elephants: Toddler Storytime

This week we had an “elefun” time learning about elephants! We also did lots of counting practice in both English and Spanish, and played with bubbles using a new bubble song I found.

Books We Shared

This is Our Baby, Born Today by Varsha Bajaj and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler is a beautifully illustrated and poetic book about the birth of a baby Asian elephant, surrounded by its loving family. Want to know something cool too? One of our parents shared a fun fact with me, that elephants do indeed trumpet and celebrate the arrival of a baby, as the book describes. Here is a video taken by someone on safari, recording an elephant giving birth in the wild and the herd coming around and celebrating:


Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow is a cute story about a boy playing hide and seek with his elephant, who claims to be “very good” at hiding. Since it’s slightly long for this kind of group I cut it short, so you’ll have to check it out and see what happens when they meet a turtle who wants to play tag!

Flannel Boards We Shared

Letter of the Day: E

We made a big capital “E” in the air, and brought out felt pictures of different objects that begin with E, and guessed what they were.

One Elephant in the Tub

One elephant in the tub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
Come on in!

Two elephants in the tub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
Come on in!

Three elephants in the tub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
Come on in!

Four elephants in the tub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
Come on in!

Five elephants in the tub,
Going for a swim,
Knock-knock (clap twice), splash-splash (slap knees twice),
And they all FELL IN!

(Source: King County Library System)

Nursery Rhyme We Shared

Five Elephants on a Spider’s Web

This is based on a Spanish nursery rhyme:

One elephant went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day.
He had such enormous fun,
He called for another elephant to come… “Oh, ELEPHANT!”

Two elephants…

Three elephants…

Four elephants…

Five elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day.
The web went creak, the web went crack.
And all of the elephants went KERSPLAT!

(Source: The Measured Mom)

Action Songs & Bounces We Shared

We share a lot of songs, bounces & rhymes during storytime!
You’ll find lyrics/words to those songs & rhymes we shared without CD accompaniment here.

Willabee Wallabee

Willabee, wallabee, wee
An elephant sat on me!
Willabee, wallabee, woo
An elephant sat on you!

We sang this song and then substituted the kids’ names like this:

“Willabee, wallabee, wackery,
An elephant sat on Zachary!”

(Source: Sam Pesin, Open House Nursery School)

An Elephant Has

An elephant has a great big trunk (swing arm)
That goes swinging to and fro.
And he has tiny, tiny eyes, (make binoculars with hands)
That show him where to go.
His great big ears go flopping, (put hands by ears to be elephant ears)
Flopping all around
While his great big feet go stomping, (stamp feet)
STOMPING on the ground!

(adapted from https://www.kidsparkz.com/preschool-sings-zoo.html)

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 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And they didn’t come down, down, down
‘Til the 4th of July, ly, ly!

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie ’em in a knot?
Can you tie ’em in a bow?
Can you throw ’em over your shoulder
Like a continental (regimental) soldier
Do your ears hang low?

Open Shut Them

Open shut them, open shut them.
Give a little clap, clap, clap.
Open shut them, open shut them.
Place them on your lap, lap, lap.
Creep them, crawl them
Creep them, crawl them
Right up to your chin, chin, chin
Open up your little mouth… Buuuuuuuuuuut…
Do not let them in!

Goodbye Friends (song in sign)

Click here for video:  Goodbye Babies (Friends) 

Goodbye babies, goodbye babies
Goodbye babies, it’s time to say goodbye.

Music from CDs We Shared

Children love to sing and dance to music.  Here are some of the songs/bounces on CD that we used in storytime.

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

“Bubbles” from Bon Voyage by Jazzy Ash

Video We Shared

We watched “Emily Elephant” from the Peppa Pig Bubbles DVD, in which a new girl at school, an elephant, shares with everyone what she can do.

Continue the Fun

Here are some more books about elephants to check 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.

2 thoughts on “Elephants: Toddler Storytime

  • March 25, 2020 at 7:35 am

    I am curious what message you share with adults around screen time for infants and toddlers, given recommendations that there be virtually none.

    • October 15, 2021 at 9:37 am

      Hi Pamela! I’m sorry for the long delay in answering. Great question! We’re aware that pediatricians recommend no screen time for children under 2. We don’t doubt their advice, but we have seen some evidence that certain kinds of screen time (together with a parent or caregiver) can still have positive impacts on toddlers. Our basic recommendation is to limit the amount of time spent watching screens but still avail yourself of interpersonal engaging interactions around screen media, incorporating the important early literacy practices of Talking, Singing, Playing, Reading and Writing. We’ve observed that there are apps, for example, that can go far in actually promoting those skills. Feel free to email me at akolakowski [at] cityofpasadena [dot] net if you would like to discuss this topic further!



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