How can we incorporate movement into storytime?

Storytime at Gilgandra Library

Storytime at Gilgandra Library

After children have listened to one (or more) books, it is a good idea to change activities as they may be getting restless. It may be possible, for example, to incorporate focused movement activities such as putting actions to a story or acting out parts of a story. Activities such as these give children a break from sitting and can be used to enhance comprehension. For example, you could ask children to act out the steps of growing from a caterpillar to a cocoon to a butterfly. This has the potential to improve their understanding of the process of metamorphosis through movement.

Other ways of supporting their physical development include incorporating movement experiences such as bouncing, clapping, swaying, swinging, galloping, marching and dancing according to the age of the children. A popular movement activity, especially if the theme involves animals, is imitating animal movements.

Other movement activities involve using scarves, rhythm sticks, shakers, musical instruments or ribbons. If you are using shakers or musical instruments, before the song, allow children to experiment with the sounds they make (soft, loud, slow, fast) and their placement (high, low, front, back, side, left, and right).

Handing out musical instruments, and collecting them at the end of the activity, offers an important opportunity to connect with each child by name, look them in the eye and smile as you thank them for returning the object. We observed this in a large Baby Rhyme Time lesson attended by 40 children, from infants to preschool age. As already mentioned, such interpersonal connection is vital to building a strong library community. After the collection of objects, you will likely need to realign the group into a cohesive whole again. To do this, songs such as ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’ which incorporate actions and singing can be useful. Other choices could be gentle songs like ‘Twinkle Twinkle,’ which tend to have a calming effect on a group and bring the participants together as one again