How can we manage our props during a storytime session?

First of all, what props will you use during the session (e.g. a doll, a stuffed owl, a beach ball or a puppet)?

  • What will be the function of your prop(s)? Will it be your ‘baby’ so you can use it to model actions that caregivers can perform with their babies during the session? What will you do the rest of the time with it? Where will you put it when it’s not in use?
  • Will you introduce it as a surprise at a special moment in the session? Will you, for example, hide an object in a basket and use it to introduce the theme by describing the object and asking them to guess what it is?
  • Or will it become a mascot for the group, that is, a regular ‘guest’ that makes an appearance each week and that the children connect with routinely? If so, when is the best time to introduce the mascot? Will the children be allowed to touch it? Or will it just appear each week and wave hello (and goodbye) to the group? Be sure to model how you wish children to interact with it and move it away if any child is afraid of it. You may house the mascot in a box and sing a special song with the group (e.g. ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’) to wake it up each week, and then put it back to sleep at the end of storytime.

Will you include musical instruments in the session?

  • What rules will you introduce for instruments when you bring them out?
  • How will you integrate them? Shake them to the beat of a song? Integrate them into a dance? Use them to develop comprehension (e.g. during the reading of a picture book about fire fighters, instruct the children, ‘Shake the instrument when you hear me say ‘siren’’)?
  • Will you get children to practise making music/the action(s) before the song begins (so they have some idea of what to expect and are listening for it)?
  • How will you get children’s attention back once the instrument activity is completed?

Will you use a music player?

If so,

  • check that it is working
  • make sure it is next to you (so you can turn it on/off easily)
  • make sure it is loud enough for everybody in the room to hear
  • make sure you have the CD or audio file/s you plan to play with you, and, if possible, set the music player so that it is ready to go.

How should you organise your props?

  • Before the session begins, order your props: put the first object you will be using on top, then the next one and so forth.
  • Make sure they are all where they need to be for the session to run smoothly and then go and greet the children and their caregivers.