By Awnali Mills
Despite having one session of toddler story time behind me, I still often feel at a loss about what to do. It’s difficult to find books on a theme that are simple enough for toddlers, and my former boss, whose story time I now do, assured me that it was unnecessary to do themes. So, this session I’m going for it. No themes!
I started pulling books and came up with Night Rabbits by Monica Wellington, Early Bird by Toni Yuly, and Clip Clop by Nicola Smee.
After discussing the weather, singing our welcome song and counting how many people were there, I launched into Night Rabbits. Only to begin competing with maintenance workers who were conversing loudly outside the emergency exit next to me.
I’m sure they didn’t realize I was trying to do storytime, and there was no way I could alert them without setting off alarms or being more disruptive, so I just read loudly. This seemed to set the tone for the entire storytime. Kids were distracted for the rest of the time and talking to their caregivers and I was practically standing on my head trying to get and direct their attention.
Some days are just like that. My former boss called them “terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad storytime days.”
After Night Rabbits, I rolled my song cube and we marched around singing “The Noble Duke of York.”
Then I pulled out Clip Clop and handed out board books of the same title. While I was reading, the kids chatted with their caregivers about the pictures and scooted the books back and forth of the floor.
I pulled out the flannel “My Shirt is White” and the kids stared at me blankly while I tried to coax them into telling me what color each piece of clothing was.
So, we rolled the song cube again and sang Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.
The blank stares followed me into Early Bird, so I tried to entice them to act out the book with me. A few of them gamely swooped over the grass and ducked under spider webs while the rest stared at me like I had lost my mind.
We finished by heartily singing the Alphabet Song and I brought out the puzzles for play. They fell on the puzzles like starving animals on fresh meat.
And the parents told me how glad they were that we were back in session because their kids talk all the time about storytime. And how they accidentally came to the library during break and had to find something fun to do to make it up to their distressed kids. And one boy asked permission to give me a hug before he left.
So, yeah, altogether, it was a good day.