Laptime: Shake the parachute!

Laptime is a weekly story time offered at my library for babies and toddlers (0-24 months).  We follow a formula that seems to work pretty well for us.  We start of by singing “Welcome, welcome” (a song sung to the tune of “Twinkle, twinkle little star”) and then continue singing familiar songs such as “I’m a little teapot”, “pat-a-cake” and “Old MacDonald.”  I try to include as many songs as I can that have some sort of hand motions or other way to participate (“Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”) because it keeps the little ones engaged and wakes us all up on a Friday morning 🙂

Each week, I read one book after we have sung a few songs.  This week, I read Shaggy Dogs, Waggy Dogs by Patricia Hubbell.  This was a big hit!  It turns out that many of the toddlers have dogs, so they were eager to look for the dogs on each page and talk about what they were doing in the pictures.  Some of the kids were so enthusiastic, they came right up to point things out.  We paused at each page to talk about what was going on in the story.

Then we moved on to the parachute.  This is probably everyone’s favorite part of Laptime.  We begin by sitting in a circle and slowly raising the parachute up (saying: “up, up, up”) and then slowly bringing it down (saying: “down, down, down”)  The toddlers have the option to run under the parachute after we raise it up.  Most little ones are wary of this at first, but after a few sessions, they are zipping back and forth, squealing with delight.  Then, we throw some animal finger puppets on the parachute and shake it.  The animals bounce up and down like popcorn (sometimes we say “pop, pop, pop!” during this part) and they eventually fall off.  The toddlers love picking up the animals and putting them back on the parachute.  I got the idea for the parachute from a wonderful site online about baby storytimes (can’t remember the link-sorry!)  I was worried at first that it would scare some kids, but so far everyone has loved it.

I would like to incorporate sign language into my Laptime program.  If anyone has any suggestions about teaching sign language to toddlers, please leave them in the comments.  Thanks for your advice!

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