Ask a Storytime Ninja: Summer Storytimes

The latest installment of Ask a Storytime Ninja is here! And just in time for Summer.

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How to plan for summer storytimes which will be at the same time my preschool during the year times are, but may include preschoolers and older siblings or school aged kids for the summer. Can I still include songs? But not the flannelboard? I’m new to this and could use any advice!

Answers from our Featured Ninjas:

Meagan: If it is still being advertised as a preschool storytime than I might leave it mostly how it was, just have back up longer books if your crowd tends to be older.  If it is just an all ages storytime that happens to land in the same time that your preschool one did previously then you might want to tweak your plans to suit the older kids a bit more.  Maybe have longer books, use the flannelboard for more stories and less “5 whatsits” type of rhymes.  I would definitely keep songs in, especially ones that get the group up and moving and dancing.  All ages storytimes are tough because you never really know what age groups will come that particular day.  Make sure you have a variety of book options to choose from in case you have a younger crowd or an older crowd and extra songs or rhymes if it doesn’t seem like your books are working.  Really, I think you might just have to play it by ear the first couple weeks to see who is coming and what they respond to the best.  I don’t think there is any right answer!  Good luck 🙂


What a great question—I think this happens a lot during the summer! Yes, I would definitely include songs. I find that many older kids respond really well to dancing and using musical instruments, especially if you get really enthusiastic and into it.   Flannelboards could definitely still work as well, especially if you use them to tell longer stories.

When I’m doing a storytime with lots of different ages, I try to ask lots of varying levels of questions (reminding the older children to let the little ones answer too, as necessary).  Other things that have worked well at my library include shadow puppets and letting the older children be your special helpers. Having them be helpers works especially well if you don’t have very many older ones in a particular storytime.

Something that will also work really well this summer, especially if you’re doing the Fizz, Boom, Read program, is doing experiments during storytime.  All ages can be fascinated by your homemade volcano and you can give the older kids some great science information too!

Do any of you have more to add? How do you prepare for those older kids in storytime? Feel free to share in the comments!

Don’t forget to check Flannel Friday for some ideas for longer flannel stories.


About Kendra

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

Posted on May 20, 2014, in Ask a Storytime Ninja and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I used to do a Family Storytime once a month and found that classic books like Go Away, Big Green Monster and Goodnight Moon are still a big hit with the older kids. They really seem to enjoy knowing the book. I’ve also had success with some singalong books like Over in the Meadow.

    For music, quirky songs like Peanut Butter (the Barney song), Bananas Unite (, and The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner have worked well.

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