Toddler Time: Safari Animals

We did farm animals recently, so I wanted to mix it up a little and do some safari/jungle animals. There aren’t quite as many songs and books about them, but they’re so fun!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Nursery Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock and Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Opening Fingerplay: Open Them, Shut Them

Book: The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenze

This is a really fun book with lots of silly rhyming words. I think that maybe preschoolers would enjoy the word play a little more than the toddlers did, but it was still a success. The illustrations in this book are crazy-bright and eye-catching.

Action Rhyme: A Giraffe is Tall

From Storytimes Online I snagged this simple action rhyme. Participation was pretty high! Probably because the actions were easy to do, even for little bitties.

A giraffe is as tall as tall can be.
(Reach hands high in to the air)
She eats leaves right off of the tree.
(Make eating motion with hands)
Her legs are long, and her neck is too!
(Point to legs and neck)
And she can run faster than me or you!
(Run in place)

Book: We’ve All Got Bellybuttons! by David Martin

This is an awesome book! How did I not know about it before now? The right amount of text to entice toddlers (read: very little), bright illustrations, and built in interactivity! Toddlers pulled their ears, kicked their feet, and closed their eyes along with the animals.

Song: Where is Lion?
Where is Thumbkin is even more fun when it’s Where Is Lion, and there are puppets to boot! We called out a lion, a snake, and an elephant, and were greeted with visits from each. It’s surprisingly hard to make an elephant sound! I ended up going with “toot toot toot”. Ridiculous!

Flannel: Animal Parade
I found a fun flannel pattern in the oldie but goodie 2’s Experience Felt Board Fun, which has been languishing on our professional development shelf forever. I made a felt elephant, lion, snake, and monkey. We had an animal parade and walked like each of our animal friends! Very fun, and interactive!

Sneakin’ in Some STEM: Well, not exactly. But I brought in some nonfiction books and we looked at the photographs of the actual animals. Given how ridiculous (pink elephants!) some picture book illustrations are, it can be nice to actually look at photos.


Book: Simms Taback’s Safari Animals

Another excellent guessing game/fold out book from Simms Taback.  These books are sooo perfect for toddlers. The clues are easy enough that they can actually be successful, and the huge fold-out drawings are so visually pleasing.

Shaker Songs: We’re Going to Kentucky and Shake Your Shakers High

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

A fun, active story time! With so many action rhymes and interactive books, I felt like we actually had a good story time, even though we had some wigglers today. This was also a slightly larger than usual group. I’m glad we had a crowd favorite topic on hand to use — the puppets and singing were even more fun with lots of folks!


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