Parachute Play with Babies

Icon-ParachutePlay Baby Storytime was a little different this week. This summer, we have typically had two to three babies with their moms (and dads). Since it is the summer I’m trying different things with my programs. (Summer in my mind means relaxed and fun…although as I reminded my storytime parents, storytime is always relaxed and fun!) So this week we did a parachute storytime. No stories (although I did have one as a back-up in case this didn’t work). Just nursery rhymes and songs.

gr-25972To prepare, I consulted the internet and the book Parachute Play by Liz and Dick Wilmes. So as not to confuse the babies too much, we began with our usual opening song, “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of Frere Jacques. This is the rest of the storytime (we did repeat each rhyme or song at least two or three times unless noted):

We do a song every week called “The Scarf is on My Head” with lightweight shear colorful scarves. They love this song, so I adapted it for the parachute. I had to change a couple of the actions, but we did this song several times.  

Action Rhyme: The ‘Chute is on My Head! (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!
The ‘chute goes up and down, the ‘chute goes up and down!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes up and down!
The ‘chute goes fast and slow, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!

This next song worked really well because we managed to match the lyrics with the action of moving the parachute. 

Action Rhyme: Itsy-Bitsy Spider

This one is a real arm-workout. 

Action Rhyme: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it, lift it high!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it fast!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it slow!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it low!

I didn’t actually read this book during the storytime only because I didn’t find it was necessary. It was one of the most appropriate stories I could find as far as action books. If you have done a storytime with a parachute before, please comment with appropriate books you have used. 

Story: Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

Action Rhyme: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(sit on the floor, hold the parachute tight and row back and forth)

Action Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock

For the next song, I couldn’t find the plastic balls we have (the kind you would find in a ball bin at an arcade in the 80’s or 90’s), but we have soft, fabric blocks, so I placed about ten or twelve of them in the center of the parachute. We waved the parachute slowly as we chanted the rhyme, and then when we got to the end of the song, we lifted it high in the air to make the blocks bounce high in the air. The babies loved watching the blocks fly and land on the floor. We must have done this one at least six times. 

Action Rhyme: Popcorn!
Put the oil in the pot and make it real hot.
Put the popcorn in and begin to grin.
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, POP!

If there were any blocks remaining on the parachute, I just left them there for the next song. 

Action Rhyme: Toast in the Toaster
I’m toast in the toaster
I’m getting very hot
Tick tock, Tick tock,
Up I pop!

This song is our closing song every week. 

Closing Song: Bounce You Here
I bounce you here, I bounce you there.
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere!
I hug you here, I hug you there.
I hug you, hug you everywhere!
I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you, tickle you everywhere!

This was one of my favorite storytimes I have done, but I will say that it could have been a little longer. When I do it again, I will add in a few more rhymes. Repetition was the key literacy skill this week, and we definitely repeated the rhymes many, many, many times, but I would like to add more variety next time.

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Pete the Cat

From the moment I heard Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, I wanted to make my own flannel and read/sing it with the babies at my Baby Storytime. However, I just didn’t think it would work. I’m not sure how flying buttons would go over with children who are barely crawling or walking and love to put all things in the their months. So I put the idea on hold. Until last month.

I found Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this book/song. With a little help from the staff in our Kidmobile department, I was able to create somewhat of a pattern by enlarging a photo from the Groovy Buttons book. (The kidmobile ladies put together an awesome, awesome version of Pete using craft foam, which was the inspiration for my version.)

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat

I figured it would be easier to create a stand up Pete that could be used for multiple stories instead of several Petes. I mounted him on foamboard to make his sturdy and used some wire I found to make his whiskers. His shirt is attached with Velcro, and the center can be easily removed for the Groovy Buttons story. And he is glued to a paint stick, so I can sit on the carpet with the babies and tell his story without an actual flannel board.

Opening Song

papapishu_Baby_boy_crawlingOne of my favorite programs to plan and do is Baby Storytime. I started doing it exactly one year ago this month, and I look forward to it each week. While I do enjoy YA books, there is something so exciting about picture books (especially getting to read the brand new ones!). Each week, my plan is to post a list of my outline. It works pretty well in small groups. This is also a great way for me to keep track of the songs and books that work or don’t work with the babies. Today I am going to write about opening and closing songs, and then next week, I will begin posting some of my favorite books and songs.

So last week, the first week in our new storytime cycle, the theme was winter. I choose a theme each week. I know there’s a great debate on holding a themed storytime, but A)it’s easier to find books and songs when I have a theme and B)it’s makes for easier transitions during the program.

I have used three different opening songs. They all worked in their own way.

The first one I used was “Gilly, Gilly Good Morning.” It was suggested to me by a friend. While I could never really find a good recorded version, I found a couple YouTube videos that helped with the tune. I only did the first verse, and I used shakers. You could go around and shake each babies hand lightly, I suppose. But they love shakers.
Gilly Gilly Good Morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly Gilly Gilly good morning, good morning to you.

In the summer, I changed the opening song to “Welcome, Welcome Everyone.” It is sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
Welcome, Welcome Everyone
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.
First we’ll clap our hands just so,
Then we’ll bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.

In the fall, I changed the opener to “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques.” This is my favorite one, and I am using it again this winter. I like it because you can substitute the baby’s name for the word “baby,” which helps with name recognition. *Literacy tip moment!* Typically, the parent/caregiver will hold the baby up while we sing to them. The babies love it!
Where is Baby?
Where is baby? Where is baby?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today?
Very well, I thank you.
Please sit down. Please sit down.

I usually follow these songs with another repeated song each week that involves colored scarves or shakers. But that’s another post entirely, so stay tuned!