A One-derful Storytime

What I love most about my job is the variety in the day….I get to order books, help out patrons at the desk, and develop programs for kids.  One of my favorite programs to lead is our Fun for Ones Storytime, which is a 4-week series of storytimes designed especially for children ages 13 – 23 months.  Prior to developing this program, though, I had no idea what to expect.  Wow, what an exciting adventure!

With a group of new walkers, a librarian can encounter many interesting challenges…. For example, anything within grabbing height is fair game.  They will explore everything and anything, from pushing every button on CD players, to pulling on cords near your set of blinds.  So, if you are done with using some in your storytime—a book, puppet, a flannel board—make sure it is put away somewhere that is either high or out of sight from your little ones.  Otherwise, chaos might ensue. 

I found myself experimenting with a lot of different stories at first, too.  For me, short picture books with big, bold illustrations work best.  I also try and look for a book that promotes language that is accessible to this developmental age.  So, I look for stories about food, animals, parts of the body, and families.  Rhyming and repetition is a plus!  Some of my favorites to use are Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett, All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri, and My Nose, Your Nose by Melanie Walsh.  I pan the story across the room and give “facetime” to each one-year-old as I read.  These kids are very active, moving constantly throughout the storytime, so I typically will not read more than 1 or 2 books.  The core of my program is the time devoted to action rhymes and movement activities.

I start each program with an action-packed Jim Gill opening song and jump right into my movement activities. Each parent receives a handout at the beginning of each program, which lists all the rhymes we will be doing throughout the program.  (I have a lot of fun designing these using all those cute clipart images that no one really wants to use anywhere else)  I led each rhyme using a small doll, and model how parents should lead each rhyme with their child.  I always do each rhyme two for repetition and retention, and I’ve found it really helps children get a lot of their wiggles out. 

Here’s a brief outline of this week’s Fun for Ones Storytime

  • Bubbles to welcome each baby
  • Opening Song with doll: Alabama Mississippi (Jim Gill)
  • Action Rhymes
    • Patty-Cake
    • Itsy Bitsy Spider
    • Alice the Camel
    • A Smooth Road
    • Pop Goes the Weasel
  • Book: I Like It When…Mary Murphy
  • Song: Zoom Zoom Zoom (Oh baby!)
  • Final Action Rhyme: Row, Row, Row Your Boat (sway our boats, bounce our boats, wiggle our boats)
  • Playtime

Share your own one-derful storytime ideas here!


By Renee Grassi, Youth Services Librarian

Deerfield Public Library, Deerfield, IL


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