Ask a Ninja: One Year Old Storytime

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I used to do a storytime for one’s and two’s. Felt like the littler ones were getting short shrift, so I created two sessions. And now I am struggling to engage the younger crowd – they’re all approximately 18 mos. I have great parents who participate, but I’m finding the kids are wandering, touching each other etc. None of them are lap sitters. I’m using lots of props – shaker eggs, scarves etc. in addition to rhymes, songs, fingerplays etc. but I feel like I’m just pinging around and can’t get into a groove. Anyone have a good routine that works well with a group of walkers? Thanks in advance!


Brooke says:
Here is what I do with my babies:
The first few weeks are always chaotic. If you continue to do things in a routine they usually begin to adapt to it though. Plus, even if the little ones are wandering it doesn’t mean they aren’t absorbing what you’re doing. I always tell my parent to read to their kids even if they’re not sitting on their lap and focused. They’re still hearing all of those words and will benefit from it!

Brooke is the Beyonce of the baby world, shaky egg queen, and coffee addict. She is currently an Early Literacy Librarian in La Crosse, WI. You can read all about her adventures on and on twitter @berasche

Rick says:

Here are my thoughts: I feel it is more important to create a space where 18 month old kiddos can explore and still be contained by their caregivers.  At that age, many kids are simply not going to sit still and be engaged in the way you might expect from a younger or older child.  I’m not sure the flow of the storytime is as much an issue.  Either they’re ready to be engaged or they aren’t.  It sounds like you’re already doing a great job including lots of stuff to interest kids (rhymes, songs, shakers, scarves).  I wouldn’t change anything.

18 month old kids need the opportunity to explore and touch things (and each other) in a warm and safe environment.  They’re still figuring out how the world works and the storytime environment contains so many interesting diversions (both social and physical).

I hope that made sense and helped a little.

Rick is Youth Services Librarian for the Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Hillsboro, Oregon. His regular duties include supporting library staff and conducting youth-based outreach to at-risk and underserved populations. He wishes the world was one big summer camp. He (rarely) twitters at @iceskates and (regularly) blogs fingerplay videos and early literacy tips at

Abby says:

We do Mother Goose on the Loose for 0-2 and here’s a program outline!

Abby is the Children’s Services Manager at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in New Albany, IN. You can find her on the web at and @abbylibrarian.


About Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

Posted on October 22, 2013, in Ask a Storytime Ninja. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. What a great question! I feel like I’ve gotten into a really good groove with my 1-year-old storytimes. Will there still be kids wandering around? Yes. But I tend to corral them into a circle so they tend to stay within the confines. Also, the storytime is 15 minutes + 15 minutes play time. I found that this is a perfect amount of time for all short attention spans. My structure goes like this:

    -Opening Song (always the same)
    -Clapping rhyme
    -very very short book/pop-up book/ or big book
    -Song with instrument (song is usually 1-1.25 minutes)
    -Weekly rhyme (always the same)
    -Self rhyme (touching the body)
    -Action rhyme
    -Action rhyme
    -Closing rhyme or song (always the same)
    -Play time

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