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Children’s Programming Challenge Ideas for preschool children Presented by: Helen Kelly Alicia Subnaik-Kilgour Michele Hopkins Jane Salmon Kimberly Sutherland-Mills

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Children’s Programming Challenge

Ideas for preschool children


Presented by:

Helen Kelly

Alicia Subnaik-Kilgour

Michele Hopkins

Jane Salmon

Kimberly Sutherland-Mills


Take a Bus

  • A piggyback song to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle”
  • A flannel story
  • Theme of : Things That Go
  • Storytime weekly good-bye song
  • Concept tool for shapes, colours and counting

Take a Bus

Take a bus or take a train

Take a boat or take a plane

Take a taxi or a car

May be near or may be far

Take a spaceship to the moon

But be sure to come back soon.


Best Winter Flannel Story Ever:

Build A Snowman

  • Have the children pretend to roll a big, a medium and a small snowball
  • Place the large flannel ball on the board
  • Now place the medium ball under it and have them tell you what is wrong with it. Should it be higher, lower etc
  • Now put the small snowball on top of the large one and again have them explain the problem. Continue to incorrectly assemble the snowman.
  • The children will howl with laughter as you fumble your way through.

3 Little Monkeys Meet A Crocodile

  • Hide your crocodile puppet and monkey puppets in a canvas/fabric bag
  • Describe the animals inside: brown, swing in the trees, eat bananas
  • Shake the bag as you pretend to catch these jumping monkeys: count each one
  • Describe a green animal with sharp teeth who lives in the swamp
  • Put your hand in the bag and have it bitten (ouch), ask everyone to be very quiet while you sneak up on the hungry crocodile

3 Little Monkeys Meet A Crocodile

3 little monkeys swinging in a tree

Along came a crocodile as quiet as can be

The first monkey said, “You can’t catch me.” SNAP

2 little monkeys…

1 little monkey…

The last monkey said, “You can’t catch me.” SNAP

Ha, ha you missed me.


Going on a

Bear/Dragon/Monster Hunt

Going on a Bear Hunt

Going on a bear hunt

(Have the audience echo back each line

after you and tap out the song.)

Gonna catch a big one

I’m not scared

Look at all the flowers.

Do you see what I see?


We can’t go over it.

We can’t go under it.

We can’t go around it.

We have to go through it.

Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp.

We're Going on a Bear Huntby Michael Rosen (Author),

Helen Oxenbury (Author)

Audio CD (May 1, 2004) Language: English Penguin ; ISBN: 0763624292


Going on a

Bear/Dragon/Monster Hunt

Repeat the above verses with GRASS instead of MUD.

Swish, swish, swish, swish.

Repeat again with a TREE instead of GRASS.

Climb, climb, climb, climb.

Repeat again with a CAVE.

We better go in it.

It’s dark in here. I feel a fuzzy face and two fuzzy ears.

Everyone run. It’s a BEAR!

Run up the tree, through the grass, through the mud and back to the library. Safe at last!


Le Hokey Pokey (Bilingual Version)

(Alternate English And French)

Le hokey-pokey

On met la main devant

On met la main derrière

On met la main devant

Et on bouge, bouge, bouge

On fait le hokey-pokey

Et on tourne, tourne, tourne

Et c’est comme ça qu’on joue !

On met le pied devant

On met le pied derrière…

On met la tête devant

On met la tête derrière…

On met le derrière devant

On met le derrière derrière

On met le derrière devant

Et on bouge, bouge, bouge

On fait le hokey-pokey

Et on tourne, tourne, tourne

Et c’est comme ça qu’on joue !


Stories in the Park

  • This is a drop in storytime programme for families. Most of the children were preschool age.
  • Every Friday morning throughout the summer, the library hosted the programme at a local park (hosted at the library on rainy days).
  • This programme was run by our summer students.
  • The programme consisted of stories, songs, crafts, games and a snack.
  • Families were asked to donate $2/family towards the cost of snacks.
  • Caregivers had to remain with their child(ren) and were active participants.
  • The programme was about 1 -1 ½ hours long.
  • Hints:
    • Always have a good supply of stories and activities.
    • Think about the outdoor elements when organizing crafts (i.e. windy days).

Magic Bag

  • This is a fun activity for preschool children.
  • Decorate two opaque bags and fill one with colourful items.
  • Make sure that the item has a distinct colour (i.e. green frog, yellow duck,red bird, etc…)
  • Purchase talking toy. The one I purchased is in the shape of a ball, when you bump the ball it talks (It says “You’re special” or “Good job”).
  • Place the talking toy in bottom of one bag, and then place the other bag inside so that the talking toy is hidden. Place all the other items inside the second bag. I tell the children they have to be quiet and use their ears to listen to the magic bag.
  • I go around the circle and each child reaches into the bag to select an
  • item. We identify the colour of the item and then place it back inside the bag. I shake the bag and the next child chooses an object. Every few minutes, I bump the bag and it talks. The children are amazed!

Magic Bag

  • Hints:
      • This works best during circle time, with a group of 10 – 15 children.
      • Make sure the talking toy is hidden in the bottom bag and the second bag filled with items is covering the toy. This way a child will not select the talking toy and the bag will continue to be full of “Magic.”
      • I try to find items to match all the animals (and their respective colours) in the story “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, Jr.

Mixing Colours

  • Purchase a couple of cans of whipped cream.
  • Place a couple dollops inside a zip lock bag.
  • Add food colouring and zip the bag closed.
  • Have the kids squish the bag a few times.
  • They will be amazed when the white whip cream changes into a different colour.
  • Use the whip cream with a snack afterwards.
  • Hints:
    • This may become very messy.
    • Have lots of wipes on hand.
    • Try different colour combinations (i.e. blue and yellow to make green).

Easter Egg Hunt

  • We bought 10 - 20 pounds of chocolate Easter eggs and hid them inside, throughout the library.
  • Many children came dressed in theme.
  • I ran 2 sessions at Easter Time (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).
  • We read Easter stories, made a simple craft and then had the Easter egg hunt. This worked well with small groups of 20 children.
  • Parents/caregivers were asked to remain with their child during the egg hunt.
  • Over the years, this programme became more and more popular. As a result, we had to modify the programme. When we reached 100 children, we dropped the craft portion of the programme.

Easter Egg Hunt

  • Hints:
    • If you are running more than one session, make sure you have enough time to hide the candy before the second group of children arrive. Beware of families who come early to scout out where the candy is hidden.
    • Having a few extra staff members or volunteers stationed throughout the library is very helpful for maintaining order.
    • Even though this programme can become hectic, it really is a lot of fun!

Form a Partnership with your

Local Early Years Centre

  • We are very fortunate to have a fantastic working relationship with our Early Years Centre. One of their core services is Early Literacy.
  • Currently, they run our “Rhyme Time with Baby” programme for children 24 months and under. The programme runs 4 times a year in 4 -5 week sessions.
  • They also offer a number of “Make and Take” workshops throughout the year.

Form a Partnership with your

Local Early Years Centre

  • They really enjoy running programmes out of the library. It’s a great way for them to network and meet new parents. It is also a great way to promote our library services to families who visit the library for the first time.
  • If I am doing a special week of programming, I let them know. They will often come in and do a programme in theme for children 0 – 6 years of age.
  • We have a great Childcare collection, and they often refer parents.
  • We promote their programmes and they promote our programmes.

Reading Incentives

What are they?

Encouragement for program participants to read library books at home

When do we use them?

As a regular and fun component of every registered program


Reading Incentives

  • Different Types of Incentives that Work
  • Homework
  • Challenges
  • Representational Activities
  • Visual Displays
  • Active Encouragement
  • Games

Jane Salmon

Barrie Public Library


Tapping Sticks Songs

Make tapping sticks from old fashioned clothes pegs or use popsicle sticks.

Avoid coloured popsicle sticks – colours run on sweaty hands!


Tickles and Tunes by Kathy Reid-Naiman ( “I’m Passing Out the Sticks”, “When You’re One”, “Time to Put Away”)

Rhythms on Parade by Hap Palmer (“Tap Your Sticks”)


Tapping Sticks Songs

Let’s tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and stop

Let’s tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and stop

Repeat faster

When You’re One, one, one tap on your bum, bum, bum

Two - shoe

Three – knee

Four – floor

Five – come on and jive

Six – sticks

Seven – up to heaven

Eight – you’ll have to wait

Nine – on your spine

Ten – begin again


Fun with Ribbons

  • Cut out approximately foot long ribbons of different colours
  • Using pinking shears will help stop fraying
  • Give each child a ribbon

Fun with Ribbons

  • Circus theme – children hold ribbons for their circus “costume” as they walk a masking tape line
  • Snakes – Use as child’s “snake” for songs like “Sally the Swinging Snake” (Hap Palmer)
  • Try with songs like “Merry-Go-Round” (Shakin’ It by Parachute Express) as colourful props

Greedy Dog

  • Make a cardboard standing dog - cut a round hole out where stomach would be
  • Attach a paper bag open end up behind stomach using strong tape such as duct tape
  • Make food using clip art, drawing, paper with mac tac over it etc.
  • Feed dog as you read poem

Greedy Dog

This dog will eat anything,

Apple cores and bacon fat

Milk you poured out for the cat

He likes the string that ties the roast

And relishes the buttered toast.

Hide your chocolates! He’s a thief.

He’ll even eat your handkerchief.

And if you don’t like sudden shocks,

Carefully conceal your socks.

Leave some soup without a lid,

And you’ll wish you never did.

When you think he must be full

You’ll find him gobbling bits of wool,

Orange peel or paper bags,

Dusters and old cleaning rags.

This dog will eat anything,

Except for mushrooms and cucumber.

Now what’s wrong with those, I wonder?

By James Hurley



  • Take 2 pipe cleaners
  • Cut each in half
  • Twist pipe cleaner halves around each other in middle forming the spider body with 8 legs


  • To Use
  • Make ahead OR have a craft time before song so that each child has their own spider
  • Use the “There’s a Spider on the Floor” song from Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi and watch the children giggle as they move their spiders all over their body!

Colour Squares

  • Cut out 9”x9” black bristol board squares
  • Cut out 31/2” x 31/2” squares from red, yellow, blue and green construction paper (Squares can vary in size as long as 4 fit on one side of the black square)
  • Glue one square of each colour on each side of a black square
  • Mactac

Colour Squares

  • Give each child their own square with the 4 colours
  • Use song “Put a Little Color on You” from Can a Cherry Pie Wave Goodbye? By Hap Palmer

Kimberly Sutherland-Mills

Kingston Frontenac

Public Library


What Do You Need?

  • 1 sheet of red bristol board
  • 5 or 6 sheets red construction paper
  • Red cup
  • Red felt or cloth
  • Large felt scraps
  • Black marker
  • Assorted buttons or other decorative items
how do you play
How do you play?
  • Guessing game
  • Describe items on her shopping list
  • Children make their guesses
  • Pull the items out of a basket
can you guess mrs o grady s first choice
Can you guess Mrs. O’Grady’s first choice?
  • Crunchy
  • Sometimes sweet, sometimes a little sour
  • Sometimes green, red or yellow
  • You can pick them in the fall
can you guess mrs o grady s second choice
Can you guess Mrs. O’Grady’s second choice?
  • Crunchy
  • Full of little white seeds
  • Good to eat in chilli and spaghetti sauce
  • Could be green, red, yellow or orange
mr whipper snapper
Mr. Whipper Snapper
  • Adapted from an oral telling by Canadian children’s author Richard Thompson

Mr. Whipper Snapper

  • Every shoe is magical
  • What would each shoe make him do?
  • Practise your silly dancing, running, etc.
  • Works with primary grades too
hush little baby a lullaby with props
Hush Little Baby, a lullaby with props
  • Traditional lullaby
  • Uses props to help grab children’s attention
you will need
You will need:

Hush Little Baby, a lullaby with props

  • Toy bird
  • Ring made from tinfoil and faux jewel
  • Small plastic mirror
  • Toy goat
  • Toy bull (and a cart, if you can find one)
  • Toy dog
  • Toy horse
mitten match game
Mitten Match Game
  • Cut out mittens from different colours of construction paper
  • Decorate to create several different pairs
one way to play find a friend
One way to play: find a friend

Mitten Match Game

  • Give every child one mitten.
  • Ask them to find the friend with the matching mitten.
another way to play find your lost mitten
Another way to play: find your lost mitten

Mitten Match Game

  • Hide one mitten from each pair in the room.
  • Give every child a mitten.
  • Ask them to find the one they “lost”.