story time

Robot Story Time

First story time of the fall season! We took a three week break between summer reading and the fall to give ourselves a breather.

I conduct a preschool story time and generally get kids ages 2-4. Sometimes older or younger siblings take part but I never mind. The more the merrier! I’m lucky that the older kids I get aren’t too invasive or bullying and the younger ones are closely monitored by parents and caregivers.

Since the library is having a couple of robotics/STEAM programs (more on that later) this week we decided on robot story times to go along with this theme. I don’t think the library has ever done a robot story time before so it was pretty awesome to be a part of this inaugural theme!

Welcome Song
I do this song at the start of every story time. It gives the kids a chance to get some last minute wiggles out and gets them sitting, listening, and focused. It goes like this:

(to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Hands go up and hands go down
I can turn around and round
I can hop upon two shoes
I can listen so can you
I can sit, I’ll show you how
Story time is starting now

Story: Boy and Bot by Amy Dyckman; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino


This is a very cute story about a boy who befriends a bot and hilarity ensues when they each find the other “switched off.” A sweet tale of friendship and taking care of each other when you’re not well. The kids seemed to enjoy it and it gave me a chance to show off my (admittedly rudimentary) robot voice.

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

I do it three times, getting faster each time. They LOVE the last verse when it’s too fast to do anything properly.

Wiggle Rhyme (to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Clap your hands, stomp your feet
Wiggle all around
Throw your hands up in the air and now let’s touch the ground
Touch your head, touch your hips, give yourself a hug
Now sit down upon the floor
But watch out for the bugs!! (stomp out the bugs with your feet)

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider
I do three verses:
Itsy Bitsy Spider (sung normally)
Teeny Weeny Spider (sung in falsetto)
Great Big Hairy Spider (sung deeply)

I change my hand and rain motions to go with the size of the spider so for teeny weeny I make tiny little spider movements and just wiggle my finger tips for rain as opposed to great big hairy spider when I use fists (a la hand jive movement) and wave my hands back and forth to indicate downpour rains. The kids love it. A great take on an old classic. I learned this version from an awesome children’s librarian in a neighboring town where I did my grad school practicum.

Book: Robots Everywhere by Denny Hebson; illustrated by Todd Hoffman


This short, sweet book is perfect for little attention spans. And I love a good rhyming book.

Flannel: Old MacDonald Had a Farm
What kid doesn’t love making animal noises?

I know what you’re thinking. How does this go with a robot theme? My strategy for this “semester” of story times is using classic songs and rhymes so parents and caregivers can easily join in and do the songs at home. I may mix in some themed songs and rhymes from time to time but I’d like to stick with the classics for now and see how it goes. I think people find comfort in the familiar and that includes children.

Egg Shakers

I cannot describe how much the kids love this. We dance to “Shake It!” off the CD Little Red Caboose by Sally’s Music Circle. I know the song is available on Spotify. Look it up, it’s amazing. And you don’t have to “create” movements. They’re right there in the song (shake it on your tummy, toes, elbows, etc.).

Book: Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley; illustrated by John Rocco


A little boy is trying desperately to go to sleep but his robots need one more glass of water, one more story, a bolt tightened … a story many of the grown ups in attendance could relate to.

Song: If You’re a Robot and You Know It (to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)
If you’re a robot and you know it
Clank your coils (clap hands)
Clunk your gears (stomp feet)
Press your buttons (“Beep beep”)

I usually “do all three” at the end but because this was a little more complicated we skipped it. The kids still enjoyed moving around.

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This (to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
We wave goodbye like this.
We wave goodbye like this.
We clap our hands for all our friends.
We wave goodbye like this.

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