This fall I was insanely excited to start a baby storytime at my library. There had been one a few years ago, but when the babies aged out they ended up with toddler and preschool storytimes instead. I decided to tack on a babytime (0-18 months) before toddler storytime, allowing plenty of time for play in between.
Our toddler storytime is called Wiggletime, so for the babies one of my great coworkers came up with the name Snuggletime. (Rejected titles included cuddletime, tickletime and, uh, fondletime).
Although it has been slow to grow, it has been well received and IS growing little by little. Snuggletime is by far one of my favorite moments in the week. When I started planning I got a LOT of ideas from Brooke and Kendra. Here is what I ended up with.
I usually have music playing and chat with each family as they arrive, especially new ones to learn baby names. We do nametags, but so far my groups have been small enough that I don’t really need them.
Parents and babies sit on the floor in a circle, and I welcome everyone by talking about what we will do and my expectations that they will all sing along and participate.
I also introduce Panda, who will be my baby during storytime. I explain to parents that I’ll show them how they can interact with their baby’s bodies as we do each song or rhyme. Then, we always sing hello to each baby:
Book: Usually a short, simpler book from the ones I pulled for toddler storytime later, or sometimes a simple baby favorite. I’ve done alphabet books where we just read a few letters and talk about how you do NOT need to read an entire book. My favorites are ones that are super interactive with body parts/cuddles/movement.
Prop: We do shakers a lot, or scarves. We’ll sing 3-4 more songs/rhymes with our prop, and the babies explore whatever the new object is.
Choral reading: We all read a board book together. I usually hold mine face out like I would a regular book because some babies look or toddle between me and their grownup.
More songs: A few more songs. Sometimes I pull out the little parachute here and we sing with it and then let the babies crawl on it and explore.
Bubbles: We sing goodbye with bubbles and each kids gets some bubbles in their direction to pop or at least grab for (working on those future writing muscles!)
Goodbye bubbles, goodbye bubbles
time to go, time to go
I will help you, I will help you
With a blow, with a blow
Playtime: I dump out a bin of toys and the babies (and grownups) play and socialize for about 15 minutes before we start cleaning up for the next group. I turn the music back on, and sometimes we do more bubbles.
One goal moving forward is to remember the need to constantly be promoting and recruiting for baby storytime! Babies grow up fast, and I’ve already lost one of my regulars who aged up into toddler storytime.