Using Instruments in Storytime

It’s been a goal of mine to start using instruments and other manipulatives on a regular basis at my storytimes. For some reason, I’ve always gotten a panicked feeling when thinking about what could go wrong: “What if I don’t have enough instruments for everyone in the group?” “What if a child cries when it’s time to give back the instrument?” “What if a child hits someone else with a rhythm stick?” What if… what if… WHAT IF!?!”.

And then I decided to simply try it out; I would adjust my routine if any of those worries actually happened. It was time to stop letting these instruments gather dust on the shelf, and get them in the hands of children. Here are some of my favorite songs to play while using the following instruments:

Egg Shakers:
Shakin’ Egg Blues – MaryLee (Baby-O!)
I Know a Chicken – Laurie Berkner (The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)
Shake Your Shakers Slowly – Kathy Reid-Naiman (I Love to Hear the Sounds)
Goin’ to Kentucky – Carole Peterson (Baloney!)
Milkshake Song – Wiggleworms (Songs for Wiggleworms)
I Can Shake My Shaker Egg – Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael (Rockin’ Red)

Make sure to check out Jbrary’s YouTube channel for songs (and examples!) using egg shakers. Lisa from Libraryland shares an awesome post on the how’s and why’s of using shakers in storytime.

Shake Your Scarves – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)
Scarves Up and Down and Around – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)
Scarves On Your Laps – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)
Circus Parade – Johnette Downing (The Second Line)

Check out Jbrary’s YouTube collection of scarf songs for storytimes. Future Librarian Superhero shares ideas for using scarves in storytimes. Library Quine has a great post on how to use scarves in storytime.

Shake Those Bells – Lynn Kleiner (Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too!)
Oh Children Ring Your Bells – Kathy Reid-Naiman (I Love to Hear the Sounds)
Ring Them on the Floor – Kathy Reid-Naiman (I Love to Hear the Sounds)
Ring Those Bells – Carole Peterson (H.U.M. All Year Long)

Rhythm Sticks:
Tapping on My Sticks – Kathy Reid-Naiman (I Love to Hear the Sounds)
I Have a Little Hammer – Kathy Reid-Naiman (I Love to Hear the Sounds)
Tap Your Sticks – Hap Palmer (Rhythms on Parade)
Stick Dance – Hap Palmer (Rhythms on Parade)

Laptime and Storytime explains how to make your own rhythm sticks if your library doesn’t own any.

Bean Bags:
Bean Bag Shake – Hap Palmer (Rhythms on Parade)
Beanie Bag Dance – Greg and Steve (Kids in Action)
Bean Bag Rock – Georgiana Stewart (Bean Bag Activities & Coordination Skills)
Bean Bag Boogie – Learning Station (Me and My Bean Bag)

Storytime Stuff has a lot of creative ideas for ways to use bean bags in storytime.

Fat Girl Reading has a tons of suggestions on ways to use instruments and interactive movement songs to get your group up and moving. And here’s an awesome handout, called Storytimes that Sizzle, from the Upper Hudson Library System that lists a million song options to try. The ideas are endless! My next goal is to begin using the parachute in storytimes; stay tuned for a post about that!

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