Steal This Storytime!

After years of doing toddler storytimes, it can start to feel like you’re recycling the same old material over and over (and over.)  This is not necessarily a bad thing; the rhythm and rhyme of classic nursery songs and fingerplays are perfect for developing pre-literacy skills.  Plus, parents and caregivers appreciate when you sing songs and recite rhymes that they already know.

Repetition can be good.  That said, if you’re doing one or more toddler storytimes per week over the course of the year, it’s entirely natural to develop a slight twitch and bouts of nausea anytime you hear the opening bars to Five Little Monkeys.  So, here’s a little storytime trick I like to use when I’m getting sick of my usual repertoire but don’t want to completely abandon the material that my attendees have come to expect at storytime: the thematic switcheroo!  

Theme: Dinosaurs (Or, really, any animal you prefer as long as you can easily insert or adopt them into your existing standards.)

Recommended age group: Toddlers

Intro Activity: I like to start off this storytime by encouraging the children and grownups to warm-up with some dinosaur stretches and exercises.  We stomp our feet, swish our tails, proudly display our claws, and end with a nice, loud ROAR.  Now, we are ready to begin.

Opening Song: Hello Song

Hello, hello, hello.

It’s time to say, “Hello!.”

Hello, today, to all my (dinosaur) friends.

Hello, hello, hello! (ROAR)

Fingerplay: Open, Shut Them

Action Song: Did You Ever See a Dinosaur?  (to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie?)

Ask the children and growups to stand up and follow your movements as you sway from left to right.

Did you ever see a dinosaur, a dinosaur, a dinosaur?

Did you ever see a dinosaur go this way and that?

Go this way, and that way, and this way, and that way.

Did you ever see a dinosaur go this way and that?

Repeat twice.

Book: Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Strickland

Action Song w/ Music: We Are the Dinosaurs (from The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)

Action Song: The Wheels on the Bus: Dino Edition

Simply add in different dinosaurs in addition to the usual bus riders.  For example,

The T-Rex on the bus say ROAR, ROAR, ROAR!

The pterodactyl on the bus goes swoop, swoop, swoop!

Sit-down Rhyme: Bumpin’ Up and Down On My Big Green Dinosaur

Movements are the same as the standard, Little Red Wagon.

Bumpin’ up and down on my big green dinosaur,

bumpin’ up and down on my big green dinosaur,

bumpin’ up and down on my big green dinosaur,

won’t you be my darling?

One foot’s up and I’m slippin’ this way,

one foot’s up and I’m slippin’ this way,

one foot’s up and I’m slippin’ this way,

won’t you be my darling?

Continue with “the other foot’s up and I’m slippin‘ that way” and repeat first verse again.

Flannel Board Story (in lieu of a second book): Five Enormous Dinosaurs

If you don’t have flannel dinos, you can print out any five dinosaur pictures and use a bit of velcro or double-stick tape to secure them to a board as you recite the rhyme.

Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It: Dino Edition

For this sneaky switch, just add in a few dino-inspired moves into the usual Happy fare.  For example,

If you’re happy and you know it gnash your teeth!

Action Song: Dino Hokey Pokey

Explain to your group that today you are all dinosaurs doing the Hokey Pokey, so get ready to “Put your dino foot in!  Put your dino foot out!”  And so on.

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Dinosaurs.  (to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Goodbye, dinosaurs.  Goodbye, dinosaurs.

Time to go, time to go.

Thank you for your roaring, thank you for your clawing,

time to go, time to go…..


2 thoughts on “Steal This Storytime!

  1. Thanks so much! Those little one love those dinos!
    You can find out more about my dinosaurs and the fabulous range of dinosaur gifts and clothing at my DinosaurStore at
    or my blog
    Free dinosaur colouring pages and dinosaur pop ups at
    and do check out submit your own pop up books and ideas!

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