Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes


I generally run my Babytime the same way every week. The program lasts about 30 minutes, followed by a 20-minute play time. (I’d let them play longer, but I have Storytime right after, so I need time to set up for my preschoolers.) I get babies ranging in age from newborn through 2, although many of the toddlers also attend one of our Rhymetime programs.

I used to put my rhymes on posterboards and post them at the front of the room for everyone to see. Now I use PowerPoint and project them at the front of the room, which gives me a little more flexibility on adding new rhymes.  I also make them available in booklet format which I leave out on the table for anyone who wants them. Sorry for the funky formatting in pdf – they work out to nice little 8-page booklets the size of a quarter sheet of paper.

Booklet 1 (Spring-Summer 2012)

Booklet 2(Fall 2012 – Winter 2013)

Booklet 3 (Fall 2013)

I try to focus on rhymes mostly from one booklet per season, but I do swap things in and out of all 3 booklets as my mood dictates.

instruments1     instruments2   scarves

Here’s the general outline for the program:

Arrival & greetings; patrons take materials (books, scarves, instruments and more instruments) and get seated in a circle.

We start with the Hello name song (no slide)

Beginning action song: “My Sweet Baby” (with a slide)

3-4 bounces, rhymes, tickles – each is repeated 2-3 times; the words are projected at the front of the room so that everyone can join in.

CD music and bubble time – I change the CD weekly, just pulling whatever looks fun at the moment. This is a nice, relaxing time where the adults can chat and the babies can chase bubbles, dance, and generally hang out. It lasts 3-4 minutes.

Lullaby: (switches seasonally) (with a slide) – Doing a lullaby here really helps pull the group back together, since everyone is wound up from bubbles.

Shared reading time – I have a few different sets of board books (25 copies of the same book) and everyone reads from the same book, but at their own pace. For Row, Row, Row Your Boat we usually sing it together, because it would be hard for everyone to be singing at a different pace. I have a big book of Freight Train, so we sometimes do this one together as well. This tends to lose everyone again, so I make sure that the first rhyme when we come back together is something that uses shakers – that seems to work for getting people back with me again.

3-4 additional bounces, rhymes, tickles; each is repeated 2-3 times; words are on large poster at the front of the room so that everyone can join in

Goodbye name song (no poster)

Free play time with CD music, toys.  I inherited a few toys from a previous babytime presenter, but I purchased most of our toys from Lakeshore Learning.  I do have some staples, but I rotate a few toys too to keep things interesting. I aim for wipe-able items, but will also use things that need to be machine washed.  This is what we have:


color-viewers go-cars  mirrors pegboard pots-and-pans stacking-cups tubes  see-inside balls soft-blocks sensory balls

Hello & Goodbye Songs

For the hello and goodbye songs, I roll a ball to each child and they roll it back. The tune is “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians.” I let the adults say the names, which is very helpful in learning names and which kids/adults go together. The words are:

Here are, here are (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
Here are, here are (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
Here are, here are (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
Here we are together. (clap to the rhythm of the last line)

And then:

Goodbye, goodbye (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
Goodbye, goodbye (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
Goodbye, goodbye (adult’s name) and (child’s name),
We’ll see you all next week. (clap to the rhythm of the last line)

Board Book Sets

I have 10 different board books we use at Babytime.  I have 25 copies of each.  On a busy day, we sometimes have to share, but usually there’s enough for each baby to read with a caregiver.  We store these away from the general collection and they are shadowed in the catalog, but they can be checked out by Babytime families.  We’ve marked the spine with a star sticker (and no call number label) so that people know to get them back to me when they’re returned.  Most of the books were purchased in spring 2012, when I first started Babytime here, but I will occasionally add a new title that I really like.  The links are to, in case you want to look at the books.


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