Pimp My Storytime

Welcome to


How to Play:
Look over this storytime outline and share HOW you would do it differently and WHY. Be brutal y’all. You can comment, or if you’d like to quickly work up a whole new outline to share, email us at storytimeunderground at gmail and we’ll post your new and improved outline (with you explaining why you did what you did) this week.  On Friday I will post a new outline including as many suggested changes as possible. Do you have a storytime you’d like pimped? Email us!

About the Storytime:
This storytime outline is one of mine from 2007 when I had been doing storytime for less than 2 years and had NO formal storytime training. There are SO many things I would change about this storytime but I will share those later this week. First, I want to hear from you!

Ages: Family (if memory serves there were usually about 7-10 kids between 2 and 7, with the occasional baby)

Theme: Monsters

The Outline (I stuck to this without wavering, by the way):                                       

Open Shut Them

Little Monster, Little Monster (instead of Little Mouse)

Read No Such Thing

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Going on a Monster Hunt
Going on a Monster Hunt (slap knees)
And I’m not afraid (point to yourself)
-There’s a tall mountain up ahead (look around with hand over eyes like visor)
Can’t go under it (move hand down)
Can’t go around it (move hand around pretend mountain)
Guess I’ll go over it (reach hands up like climbing)
-There’s a River up ahead (look around)
Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Guess I’ll swim across it (move arms like swimming)
-There’s some tall grass ahead
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Guess I’ll go through it (make swooshing noises and slaps hands up and down in front)
-There’s a monster cave!!!
Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Guess I’ll go in it (shake as if scared)
It’s dark and spooky in here (shiver with arms wrapped around you)
I feel something furry (pretend to rub something)
I feel some big teeth!! (pretend to touch something)
It’s a monster!!!!!! (scream)
Run out of the cave (slap thighs)
Go through the grass (Swish through grass)
Swim across the river (air swim)
Climb the mountain (climb)
Run home (slap thighs)
Open the door
Jump into bed (cover head with arms like hiding in bed)
I went on a monster hunt and I wasn’t afraid!

Read There’s a Nightmare in My Closet

Five Little Monsters Felt board
Five little monsters by the light of the moon
Stirring pudding with a wooden pudding spoon
The first one said it shouldn’t be too runny
The second one said that would make it taste funny
The third one said it mustn’t be lumpy
The fourth one said that would make me grumpy
The fifth one smiled, hummed a little tune
And licked all the drippings from the wooden pudding spoon

Horns and Fangs
Horns and fangs,
knees and claws,
knees and claws.
Horns and fangs,
knees and claws.
Eyes and ears and tail and paws.

Read Under the Bed

Wave Goodbye by Rob Reid

Coloring Page

What would YOU do differently?


About Kendra

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

Posted on November 18, 2013, in Hack My Storytime. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Well, I really like your opener? I kid, but here are some changes I might make. For a mixed age group I wouldn’t plan to read 4 books “without wavering.” That isn’t usually very fun for you or your audience if/when you lose them.
    I’d have several book choices available including some singable or interactive things to appeal to the younger set, perhaps If You’re a Monster and You Know It, Can You Make a Scary Face? or Go Away, Big Green Monster. Granted these titles weren’t all available in 2007 but you get the idea. I love a good little mouse flannel but would probably hold off on it until after one or two books, instead adding another routine or seasonal wiggle that ends seated.
    Here’s one I used to use with success:
    Eyes open
    Eyes closed
    Wiggle your fingers
    Wiggle your nose
    Thumbs up
    Thumbs down
    Make a smile
    Make a frown
    Wiggle, clap
    Wiggle, snap
    Let your hands fly right to your lap. (Snapping makes the school age kids feel pretty suave.)
    In place of another flannel and a long activity like monster hunt, I would probably insert some additional rhymes or wiggles we’d been working on over time. Itsy Bisty Spider is a nice familiar addition to a creepy storytime. Here’s a great one when you need to tire out a crazy group:
    -Ten Little Froggies-
    One little froggie goes hop
    Along comes another and they just can’t stop so…
    Two little froggies go hop, hop
    Along comes another and they just can’t stop
    (Repeat to 10. As the storyteller who doesn’t want to appear winded, I stop hopping after they get the gist and simply bounce.)

    As for an activity, I like something more open ended, like providing a variety of paper shapes and stickers and asking kids to create their own monster. You could even throw out paper and have kiddos tear or cut their own shapes. Not too many more supplies than a coloring sheet. This was fun!

  2. I find mixed-age storytimes to be the most challenging, but also very, very fun. I typically go in with a cornucopia of books to fit a variety of audiences and an arsenal of activities solely designed for fun.

    So mostly, I would exchange some of the books for more interactive ones such as the ones mentioned above and then also stick to activities that are purely fun and energetic. The interactive books appeal to many ages and fun, of course, translates to all ages. I would also include at least a couple wiggling and dancing songs and find that I can’t go wrong with Laurie Berkner for mass appeal. Then, I would plan for at least one baby/toddler-friendly book and fingerplay, just in case. I guess I don’t have lofty goals when it comes to my family storytimes, though. I think I just want everyone involved to have at least a few minutes of playing and laughing together.

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