Toddler Storytime – Outer Space

Outer Space (3)

Last week we shot for the stars and had a “blast” imagining we were astronauts flying off to space (see what I did there?). As I was planning this storytime, I came to realize that there really aren’t many great outer space books out there for this age group, and those that do exist don’t work very well as read-alouds. However, the theme allowed for some great play-pretend songs and activities, and the few kids that were particularly engaged with the books seemed really excited about the whole outer space idea.

Welcome Song: “We clap and sing hello” (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

We clap and sing hello,
we clap and sing hello
With our friends at storytime,
we clap and sing hello!
(We stomp and sing hello…
We wave and sing hello…)

Sign: Stars,” “Moon”

Flannelboard: “Four Little Rockets” (First time making my own flannel pieces. Click the link for the template I used… Thanks, Roving Fiddlehead!)

Outer Space (4)Outer Space (5)We counted the stars as I placed them on the board, and identified the color of each of the rockets before saying the rhyme.

Four little rockets winking at me.
One shot off, and then there were three!
Three little rockets, with nothing to do.
One shot off, and then there were two!
Two little rockets, afraid of the sun.
One shot off, and then there was one!
One little rocket, alone is no fun.
It shot off, and then there were none.

Book 1: Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off to the Moon! by Dan Yaccarino

This is a great book, but a little too long for the 1-2 year age group. My solution? Paperclip a couple of the pages together to create my own “abridged” version. 🙂

Wiggler activity: Pretend to blast off in a rocket ship, like the little boy in the story!

Everyone stood up and we did actions as I said the following rhyme:

Put on your spacesuit. We’re going to the Moon. (step into suit and buckle boots)
Climb aboard your rocket ship.
We’re going to blast off soon.
Put on your helmet.
Strap yourself in tight.
(put on helmet and buckle your safety belt)
Check your controls and instruments.
Get ready for the flight. (pretend to turn on switches)
Hear the engines rumble, hear the engines roar… (wiggle wiggle)
Hold on tight, we’re about to soar! (crouch down)
Time for your journey.
The countdown has begun.
Here we go, Get ready, Get set!
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
(slowly rise from seated position)
BLAST OFF!
(jump up)

Song: “If You’re Going to the Moon, Wear Your Boots” (Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If you’re going to the moon, wear your boots (stomp stomp)
If you’re going to the moon, wear your boots
If you’re going to the moon, this is what you have to do,
If you’re going to the moon, wear your boots.

…wear your gloves (clap your hands)
…wear your helmet (point to your head)

Book 2: A Trip Into Space by Lori Haskins Houran

Song: “Rocket Ship Run” – The Laurie Berkner Band, from the CD Rocket Ship Run

I handed out scarves for this song. Most of the kids enjoyed twirling around and doing the actions for each verse (especially “jumping from star to star”), and I learned that I need to modify my movements if I want to have enough breath to lead the next song and read the next book (ha ha).

Song: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (with hand motions)

After the last high-energy song, this was a good one to throw in to calm things down a bit before the last book.

Book 3: Higher! Higher! by Lisa Patricelli

This is a super simple book, consisting of mostly the words “Higher! Higher!” So I filled in by narrating what was happening and asking the kids questions as the little girl flies higher and higher on the swing. Unfortunately, this tactic didn’t work too well for my groups. Perhaps it was just the placement of the book at the end of the storytime, or the fact that the groups were pretty large, but this book kind of flopped. In fact, I ended up skipping it altogether with one of my rowdier groups. However, I would still consider trying it with a different group in the future as I love the illustrations and appreciate the opportunity to ask the kids to help fill in details.

Song: “Mr. Sun”

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me.
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
Hiding Behind a tree
These little children are asking you
To please come out so we can play with you
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me.

Closing Song: “Icky Sticky Bubble Gum” – David Landau

Craft: Make your own constellation

The kiddos stuck Avery star stickers onto black construction paper and connected the dots using sidewalk chalk. It was fun to give them a different “medium” to play with than just the typical crayons or markers. To ensure that no one loaded their papers with stars, I cut the stickers into strips and gave each child two different colored strips. It looked like they were having fun, and one little girl even gave me her picture to keep! Pretty darn adorable…

As always, I provided a handout with the books, songs, and rhymes from the week’s storytime, as well as a literacy tip and some extension activities.

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