I’m finally back with some more content in my storytime and child development series. Hooray! I’ve loved thinking more deeply about how my practices in storytime not only build on early literacy, but the development of the whole child, too. Thinking about stages in more specific terms has made me realize that there are all kinds of ways that I can adapt any storytime to be more beneficial to the ages present.
Today I’m leaving the 4-8 months stage and moving into 8-12 months and I’m starting with one of the major, easily recognizable developments: walking with support.
By eight months, most children will be sitting up independently and beginning to walk around by pulling themselves up on higher surfaces like chairs and tables or a pair of helpful hands.
It takes a lot of confidence to walk totally independently and practicing with support is sort of like riding a bicycle with training wheels. Working in a time to walk during storytime can be a fun way to work out wiggles that even babies can get AND help build that confidence.
In my storytimes, I often pause between my two books or after my second book to do…A BABY PARADE. What is that? Well, basically I give all the families a scarf and I start bopping around the room to music. Adults with children who can walk might walk with their kids or stand and dance together. Where children need support, parents might help them stand and walk by holding their hands. With littler ones, adults can bounce them in their laps or standing with them on a hip and singing.
When I first introduced this element of baby storytime, I explained for awhile that a baby parade had a few purposes:
- To encourage connection to music and rhythm which are very beneficial as early math concepts and even in fostering a sense of community and empathy.
- To introduce new vocabulary through singing and listening to the words.
- To build those motor skills and confidence with the movements.
- For little ones who love to dance, it supports creativity.
For this age, I like to pick music that parents will like instead of picking music intended just for children. I think it’s a great way to show adults that everything is an opportunity to help their baby grow and they can enjoy it at the same time.
Here’s my list of favorite songs:
- Three Little Birds- Bob Marley
- Day O- Raffi
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough- Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
- All You Need Is Love- The Beatles
- Dancing in the Moonlight- King Harvest
- 1234- Feist
All of these have a strong bouncing or swaying rhythm and most are really recognizable to the adults, so they like to sing them.
This is a really cute, fun part of my baby storytimes and adults love using it as a time to connect to each other, too. Give it a try!