In my opinion, themes are not appropriate for ages 18 months and under. The most important thing is that the books and rhymes are developmentally appropriate. If you use a theme, you expend too much energy trying to find books that fit into the theme. I have a list of my go-to books that I rotate. Luckily, Memphis Public received a grant from International Paper that has allowed me to have my own small collection of books to read for our Babies & Books storytime. Repeating rhymes and books is a good thing because it helps the babies feel secure because they know what is happening next.
Below is an extensive list of books many with pictures that are good for babies and good to share in storytime. I do not recommend giving this list to parents, since it is all inclusive; give them a modified one with about ten books.
Next we need some age appropriate bounces, songs and rhymes in addition to the four that we repeat each storytime. Based on Mother Goose on the Loose, I have added one Mother Goose rhyme to each session. I pick the easier Mother Goose rhymes and ones that aren’t as morbid (Three Blind Mice is scary!). Again, I rotate these often, so it can get a little boring for the adults (but hey, it isn’t for us!). I LOVE when the regular babies are able to sing the song with me.
Again, I place each of these rhymes individually in PowerPoint and place in a sheet protector so I can mix and match them in my 3-ring binder. A “bounce” is the key to baby storytime. Always have a least one bounce per storytime. Usually, the caregiver bounces the child on their knee preferably looking at the mother (caregiver) creating a bond, however, in my experience all my moms have the baby look at me. I suggest to them sometimes to hold their baby towards them, but for some reason it seems more natural for them to all face me. I go with whatever they choose. Action rhymes like Did you Ever See a Lassie lends the baby and caregiver to sway with the song. Kissy Kissy Baby type rhymes has the caregiver performing the actions in the rhyme and Shoe the Old Horse has the caregiver stomping baby’s sock feet to the “bare, bare, bare” lyric.
Below is the PowerPoint’s for all these rhymes individually, the rhymes that have both elements of Traditional rhyme and bounce are in the middle:
Bounces or Action Rhymes Both Mother Goose or Traditional Rhymes
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Diddle Diddle Dumpling
Jack and Jill
Jack be nimble
Kissy Kissy Baby
Noble duke of york
Sing a song of sixpense
Shoe the old horse
Trot Trot to Boston
Two little bluebirds