Storytime Spotlight: Celebration Sounds

Last week I posted about my new party hats flannel, so this week I wanted to share them in storytime action! This was a smaller group than usual (less than 20 kiddos) and, although we had our usual wide range of ages, everyone in the group had been storytiming with me for at least six months. It was delightful! We focused on phonological awareness.

*Sing: Good Morning To You

Welcome & Set Expectations

Mini-Message: Getting Ready to Read and Write Through Play

We’re going to start today with a song where we roll the ball back and forth to each other! Grown-ups, I love this song because playing catch and other ball games is a great way to build hand-eye coordination and visual tracking skills. We build so many important reading and writing skills through play!

*Sing: I Roll the Ball To…

I found a new opening song on Whimsy Libarian’s blog over the summer and we’ve been singing it since August. We sit in a circle and roll a ball back and forth. If I have a smaller group, we’ll go round the circle a few times and pick up the tempo. Sometimes I’ll be tricky and roll the ball to kiddos out of order instead of going round the circle, which they LOVE. Whimsy Librarian doesn’t name a tune, but here’s how I sing it:

Roll the Ball

Tune: Going to Kentucky (first two lines, not the chorus)

I roll the ball to Maya,

Maya rolls the ball to me.

I roll the ball to Ashton,

Ashton rolls the ball to me…

(after the ball has gone round the circle)

It’s time for a story, is everyone ready?

It’s time for a story, everyone look at me!


Credit: adapted from Whimsy Librarian

I love this song because it helps us learn each other’s names, build self-regulation skills, and gets our bodies ready to read and write, too! This song works especially well with my Saturday group. We get a lot of latecomers, so this song gives more families a chance to arrive and settle in before we dive into our first book.

*Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story…

Why is cow wearing a party hat and looking so fabulous? Because today is their birthday! I wonder how cows celebrate birthdays?

My kiddos didn’t have too many ideas, although one thought Cow would probably want to go to Chuck E. Cheese. 😆

Read: A Birthday for Cow by Jan Thomas

All the giggles during this silly story!

Sing: Can’t Wait to Celebrate by Jim Gill

It looks like Cow’s friends are late to the party… waiting can be so hard! Let’s sing a song to help us pass the time.

Play: Cat/Hat Flannel Game

Here they are at last! Look at all those party hats. What do you notice? How are they the same/different?

But who is who? I can’t tell under the party hats! Where is cat?

Sing: Happy Birthday

After we uncovered all those party animals, we sang Cow happy birthday in different animal voices! This went really well… until I accidentally broke into “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.” Whoops! 😅

They especially loved when I exaggerated the final syllable and really drew out the sounds:

Happy Birthday in Animal Voices

Meow meow meow meow, meow meow.

Meow meow meow meow, meow meow.

Meow meow meow meow, dear cow.

Meow meow meow meow, meow meoooooooow!

Lit Tip: Building Phonological Awareness with Animal Sounds

Grown-ups, I love activities with animal noises because they help kids hear and articulate sounds – especially tricky vowel sounds! Learning to read and write in English is hard because although there are only 26 letters, there are 44 different sounds. When you read books and sing songs with animal noises, you help your kiddos build the phonological awareness skills they need to recognize those smaller sounds in words.

Transition: Candle Breaths

It’s time to blow out the candles on the cake! Let’s take in a deep breath and slowly blow them all out! This breathing exercise is one of my favorite ways to calm the crowd down. I found it in Kara Willey’s Breathe Like a Bear book – she also has a video of the exercise you can watch.

Read: Everyone is Yawning by Anita Bijsterbosch

I don’t know about you, but I think parties are EXHAUSTING. I always get so tired!

The kiddos enjoyed making more animal noises in this fun lift the flap book, especially for the snake.

Sing: Sleeping Bunnies by Kathy Reid-Naiman (scarves)


I always take some group suggestions for additional verses to this song and model writing. We cross off each animal as we go along. The kids love seeing their ideas on the board!

Learning Through Play

*Please visit this page to learn more about my regular storytime songs and routines.

Are you trying anything new this fall and loving it? How do you make room for writing in storytime? Would love to learn more in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Storytime Spotlight: Celebration Sounds”

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