Family Storytime Spotlight: Dino Days

Back in August, my library returned to indoor, in-person storytimes. For more about that, check out this post.

I was so excited to take on the family evening storytime at my new branch! I come ready for anything to these mixed age storytimes, and it’s a good thing I do. Our first small but mighty Monday night storytime group included a baby, a second grader and every age in between. Fortunately dinosaurs have universal appeal!

Rhyme: Bread & Butter*

We repeat additional verses with “hello” in different home languages from the audience.

Welcome/Introductions

Sing: Roll the Ball*

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We sit in a circle and roll the ball back and forth. This song helps us learn everyone’s name and, because I include the caregivers, it helps set the expectation that storytime is for adults, too. We have TONS of fun inflatable balls that I switch out each week!

Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story…*

Read: Dinosaurs by Simms Taback

Our first book was of the “guess who,” lift-the-flap variety. The younger ages enjoyed the fun flaps and the older ages liked showing off their dinosaur smarts!

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Sing: One Dinosaur Went Out to Play… (Flannel)

I passed out different kinds of dinosaurs to both kids and caregivers and encouraged the families to compare how their dinosaurs were the same/different. Handing out props to the adults, too, is another great way to encourage caregiver participation!

After everyone had dinos in hand, we sang a counting up song about the dinosaurs out to play. The audience had to listen carefully for their type of dinosaur’s turn to come play. The kids had great fun trying to find space on the board for their dinosaurs!

Then we turned ourselves into dinosaur eggs and pretended to huddle inside of our shells…

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Rhyme: Egg So Quiet

Eggs so quiet…
Eggs so still…
Will they hatch?
…yes they will!

CREDIT: ORIGINAL

We did this rhyme a couple times. The kids enjoyed jumping up and telling everyone what kind of dinosaur they hatched into!

Sing: We Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner

Dance: Fly by Sugar Ray (scarves)

I handed out scarves for wings and we became a flock of pterodactyls, flying round the room. I turned this into a stop and go song by periodically pausing the music and making everyone freeze. Lots of smiles and engagement from nostalgic grown-ups during this 90’s song!

Read: Triceratops or Pterodactyl by Harold Robert

The majority of the audience voted to read and learn more about pterodactyls!

Lit Tip: Giving Kids Reading Choices

Grown-ups, research shows that when kids get to choose what they read, they read much more often AND are more likely to understand what they read! Giving your child reading choices (no matter what age) helps them become better lifelong readers.

Sing: We Are Clapping, Clapping, Clapping*

I’m trying something new with my family storytimes – a “big kid” bonus book! I picked up this strategy from my brilliant teammate, Melissa. Since we have so many different ages and our storytime is so late in the evening, I give the families with little ones an opportunity to head home early (somewhere in between the 20-25 minute mark). We say good night to our friends who are going, and then it’s time for our last extra “big kid” book. I count down from 10 and tell everyone who is staying to find a new spot!

Bonus Book: Crunch the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap


What a fun night! Mixed-age family storytime is definitely my most familiar and favorite storytime. I love serving the families who cannot come to the library during regular business hours. I love getting to see the elementary school kids. Most of all, I love really getting to know and bond with these groups (as these storytimes tend to be much smaller than our morning storytimes).

2 thoughts on “Family Storytime Spotlight: Dino Days”

  1. So many wonderful ideas and practices here! I’m so proud of you for continuing to provide an enriching environment for your families. I will definitely be keeping the idea of a “Big Kid Book” in my back pocket for when my storytime situation changes.

    Liked by 1 person

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