I had huge crowds this summer but I figured when school began and fall activities started up that my numbers would be more manageable.
They were not more manageable.
I had 94 people at this session! I think that’s more than I had at any summer session. If/When we do another six-week session, we’re going to take registration. Even if I have to do two sessions, I’d rather do two with 45 people than one with 90+!
It was so loud it was hard to hear the song instructions. It was chaotic so the kids were mostly just running around, not necessarily listening to the music or dancing. I tried to get them involved but it was tough. A lot of the parents were chatting or on their phones. *sigh* (Next week I might add a slide with a gentle reminder to have conversations outside of the room and put the phones down.)
But several parents came up to me afterwards and said their kids had a blast. So even when you think a program is chaos, our littlest patrons were still having fun and that’s all that matters, right?
I tried to change up the format a bit. It didn’t work well this week with such a giant crowd but I’ll try again next week if we have smaller numbers to see how it goes.
Book: Ooh La La Polka-Dot Boots by Ellen Olson-Brown; illustrated by Christiana Engel
Adorable little book showing children in all sort of situations with bare feet. Then you flip the little flap in the book and their polka-dot boots appear. I thought the kids would really like it but only a few were paying attention. With such a big crowd it was a poor choice. The books is small in size so only the kids right up front saw the cute flaps and everyone was talking so even though I raised my voice, I don’t think anyone past 10 feet heard me at all. This book would be great for a baby story time.
Welcome Song: Good Morning by Old Town School of Folk Music
Song: Clap Your Hands by Old Town School of Folk Music
Song: Come Dancing With Me by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael
I laid out a big container of instruments: cymbals, drums, shakers, etc.
Song: Sunny Day, Rainy Day, Anytime Band by Ralph’s World
As I had the kids return the instruments I used a little song I learned at the local kid gym:
(to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)
Please put the instruments in the bin, in the bin, in the bin,
Please put the instruments in the bin,
Thank you for your help!
We were lucky we had enough instruments for everyone. But it was very close!
Song: Five Little Monkeys by Old Town School of Folk Music
Song: Dance Around by Ralph’s World
Song: The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner
This song was a hit! For some reason everyone was quiet and actually listened to the instructions! Yay! I might make this a weekly staple.
Song: Row Row Row Your Boat
I do three verses of this classic:
Row row row your boat (the traditional way) //
Rock rock rock your boat, sway from side to side
Merrily merrily merrily merrily what a bumpy ride (bump hands on lap) //
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream
If you see a crocodile (crocodile snap with arms)
Don’t forget to scream (*AH*)
On our last verse where we see a crocodile and scream we lifted the parachute over our heads and screamed underneath of it.
Song: The Grand Old Duke of York
First we did the song with the kids sitting on the ground using the parachute. Then I had everyone stand up and we did it again.
Song: Colors (to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)
Pink, orange, green and blue, green and blue,
Pink, orange, green and blue, green and blue,
Oh, I see colors, how about you?
Pink, orange, green and blue, green and blue.
We shook the parachute and sang slowly at first. Then we sang it twice more getting faster and faster each time. They looooooooooove shaking the parachute really hard so they enjoyed this one.
Song: Go Round and Round the Circle (to the tune of In and Out the Window)
Go round and round the circle, (all hold parachute; move around in a circle)
Go round and round the circle,
Go round and round the circle,
As we have done before.
Go in and out the window (in and out with hands) //
Climb up and down the staircase (up and down with parachute) //
Shake hands with the parachute (shake parachute)
Source: Momstown Brampton
The circle didn’t work because there were far too many kids but the rest of it went pretty well.
Finally I had the kids run under the parachute (which they were dying to do) and the adults and I moved the parachute up and down over their heads and shook it while we sang this song:
Song: Come Under My Umbrella (to the tune of The More We Get Together)
Come under my umbrella, umbrella, umbrella,
Come under my umbrella, it’s starting to storm!
There’s thunder and lightning and wind and rain,
Come under my umbrella it’s starting to storm!
Source: Read Sing Play
After we were done with our last song, the adults and I counted to three, I had them all let go and I gathered up the parachute.
Oh the parachute. We had way too many kids so there wasn’t enough space around the parachute for everyone to hold on. I sang all of the parachute songs myself, nothing came from the overhead speakers, so it was hard to hear but, of course, the kids had fun. I had to regulate a few times to get them out from under the parachute or not to walk on it but all in all it went all right for such a big crowd.
Then we had another book and one more song before bubbles.
Book: Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler; illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
In hindsight I should have skipped the book and just moved on to the next song. But this was the new format I wanted to try so I went for it. The book was long and I questioned it but I thought it was so silly they would like it. I had a few kids sitting on the floor and paying attention but the overall noise level in the room made it tough to read and understand. I’m not even sure the kids sitting closest to me heard it.
I might try this two book format in the winter or something whenever we take registrations. It might work better with a more regulated crowd. I chose this book because it went great with our next song which I was really looking forward to trying with the kids.
Song: Sticky Bubble Gum by Miss Carole
I thought the kids would love this and it could become a regular weekly song. The start of the song was too soft and we couldn’t hear it over the crowd noise. Luckily I remembered it so I was able to lead the few kids that were paying attention. Again, I think I might try this as a repeat song in the winter when we take registration. It needs a quieter crowd who is paying more attention.
Song: Floatin’ Bubble Song by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
I think I might have to give up the bubbles. At least with a group this size. The kids just can’t handle them. They get so excited they nearly tackle each other to get closer to the bubble machine. They dip their hands in (after being specifically told not to), they come right up to the table (again, after being told to keep their distance) … I think I’ll put them to bed until the next session.
Goodbye Song: Goodbye by Old Town School of Folk Music
And there it is. Whew! I know there are some toddler dance parties that put on music and let the kids dance and that’s it. That’s not what I wanted to accomplish with this particular program. I wanted to talk about instruments and have the kids listen and dance with me together.
However, I think if the numbers are going to be this high in the coming weeks, we’ll go with the toddler dance party format, forego the second book, and have it be what it is. You can’t fight city hall, right? Then when we do a registered group in the winter, I’ll try the format I have in my head.
I’m so excited that this program is so popular. It’s overwhelming and chaotic but it’s so much fun!