Storytimes That Grow

STORYTIME FOR: Berwyn Public Library (Outreach)

Hello/Goodbye Song

We Say Hello/Goodbye Like This (with ukulele)
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)
D                                                          A7
We wave hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we wave hello like this.
D                                                         A7
We clap hello like this…with our friends in storytime, we clap hello like this.
D                                                           A7
We stomp hello like this… with our friends in storytime, we stomp hello like this.

Why These Books?

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea.  I heard another storytime librarian at Skokie Public Library read this book and instantly fell in love with it.  This books rhymes, it involves call and response, and it easily helps kids understands the things that grow and the things that don’t.  It’s a great book to start a storytime, because the call and response really gets kids warmed up.  I would suggest it for any age.  It’s easy enough for two-year-olds, but humor of the things that grow really engages the general preschool crowd.

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson.  I love this book for Kadir Nelson’s art alone–his oil on canvas paintings are absolutely life-like, stunning, and vibrantly colored.The book begins by showing how a seed will grow, and then transition into a message about what happens when you plant seeds of selfishness and kindness.  When I read this book, I paused and asked the preschoolers to identify different food that grew in the garden.  Though the language–or poetry–is sparse for a preschool book, it definitely succeeded in capturing the preschoolers’ attention.

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  This book is less designed to teach about growing, but rather offers a hilarious, imaginative perspective.  When an alligator who loves watermelon swallows a seed, he begins to panic that it will grow in his stomach until he becomes a watermelon.  When he spits out the seed, the drama begins all over again.  It’s a short book, but a great story to end on.  A lot of the kids I read to told me the liked this one a lot.


Green Leaf (fingerplay, scarves)
Here is a green leaf (hold out one palm)
And here is a green leaf (hold out other palm)
That, you see, makes two (hold up two fingers)
Here is a bud (cup hand together)
That makes it a flower (slowly open hands)
Watch it bloom for you (slowly open hands)

*Credit: Jbrary video

Not a Garden
Have kids identify different types of fruit and vegatables that grow in the garden, and have each student put a food item on the felt board.

In My Garden (action song)
Digging, digging, his is how we dig the ground
In our garden, in our garden …
Digging, digging, this is how we dig the ground
early in the morning.
Repeat: hoe the weeds, plant the seeds, peas will grow, pick the peas, eat the peas.

*Credit: Raffi

How It Went

This has, rather unexpectedly, been one of my favorite storytime themes.  The idea of growing is so tactile and interactive that all the extensions worked really well.  The kids (and teachers) liked the Green Leaf scarf rhyme the best.  For some classes, I ended up repeating it more more than three times.  It took a for some classes to get through the felt activity, just because there were so many students, but completely worth it.  They loved being able to come up and put something on the board.  For the Raffi garden song, I got into a habit of asking the kids what we should do next (many classes came up with a new verse: water the seeds).  They loved the books too!  Personally, I loved how this ended up being both fun and educational.