Guest Blogger

Emergency Kit for… The Wiggles!

Whether you have done storytime for twenty years or two, every good storyteller knows about “the wiggles”.  Whether ‘tis the age or ‘tis the season, those wiggles can come out when you least expect them.  The key is DON’T panic, always be prepared, and…remember to just have fun!  Carry a sense of humor–getting the wiggles out is silly and enjoyable!

1. Magic Storytime Wand

Magic Storytime WandThe storytime wand really is magic when you see the wiggles disappear the first time you use it!   Your wand can be made very inexpensively by using cardstock or if you want to go all out, it can be purchased for about $2-10–not a bad price when you see its effectiveness.   As an addition I have put jingle bells on my wand for extra attention getting!  It is amazing how the kids respond.

I also made up a simple rhyme to go along with the magic wand.  This can be used as a transition between stories or just as a fun “get the wiggles out” activity.

I brought my magic wand to the library today.
And, when I wave it, you must do as I say!

My magic wand says to…

2. Storytime Dust

Storytime DustStorytime dust can come in many different forms.  Often times my storytime dust is invisible (and free!) and can be kept in my pocket or on the storytime table.  Any time I need to grab attention the storytime dust can magically appear for me to sprinkle over the kids, much to their delight.  I simply reach out and “sprinkle” the pretend dust while at the same time giving a soft “Shhhhh…..” and a quiet settles over the room.

Storytime SpraySomething a bit more concrete to try is a Storytime Spray.  Decorate any empty ordinary bottle and “spray” over the room.  A librarian friend of mine actually put lavender and vanilla water in her spray which I think is a wonderful idea!  Just be careful of allergies.

3. Kazoo

KazooA kazoo will cost you about $1 at your local play store and doesn’t require training to use!  Buzz away and watch the kids’ ears perk up.  You can sound your kazoo to signal it is time to read, do a song or another activity.

4. Using Your Mascot

Using Your MascotMy mascot is Mr. Mouse who is the quietest mouse you will ever meet.  In fact, you have to listen very closely to hear what he says (he whispers everything in my ear and I have to pass that information to the kids)!  Mr. Mouse is silly and will dress up in all sorts of outfits that help introduce our storytime that day.  Mr. Mouse helps to settle the kids into beginning a story after we have done our opening song.  We have a routine of saying “Come out, come out, come out, Mr. Mouse, it’s storytime!.  Caution: every child will want to “greet” your mascot.  If you want to minimize the distractions, have your mascot come out only when it is storytime, and when storytime is over, your mascot goes away. Having a mascot or visitor like Mr. Mouse is also a great way to ease into using puppets in storytime.

5. Wiggle Songs

Wiggle Songs(2)Thankfully the children’s music industry has provided many useful songs for those silly wigglers in your group.  They are essentially “take and bake” songs–plug in that CD player or turn on your IPOD and watch those wiggles go!

My favorite songs (I am sure you will be able to tell how much I love Jim Gill!):

  • “Shake My Sillies Out”  Raffi: More Singable Songs
  • “Arms Up”  William Janiak: Arms Up, Keep Moving
  • “Silly Dance Contest”  Jim Gill:  The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes
  • “Hands are for Clapping” Jim Gill:  The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes
  • “List of Dances” Jim Gill: Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho
  • “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” Hap Palmer: Early Childhood Classics
  • “Yo Gabba Gabba: The Freeze Game” Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Is Awesome…vol 2

6. Rhymes that work at all times!

Rhymes that work at all timesIt is always a good idea to keep rhymes on hand that will transition you back to a story or get attention when needed.  Here are a few I keep on hand at all times!

Storytime is Starting

Arms up, arms down
Do  a little turn around.
Shake it to the left
Shake it to the right.
Hug yourself nice and tight!
Cross your legs
Put your hands down…
A new story is starting now!   Shhhhhh….

If You Want to Read a Book
Sing to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

If you want to read a book, take a seat.
If you want to read a book, take a seat.
Make your hands all nice and neat
Please take a seat.
If you want to read a book, take a seat.

I have no idea where this next rhyme came from, feels like I have just always known it! If anyone knows the exact source, please let me know.

Clap Your Hands
I sing this one to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Clap, clap, clap your hands
Clap them just like me
Clap, clap, clap your hands
Clap them just like me.
-also try-
Tap, tap, tap your knees…
Roll, roll, roll your shoulders…
-make up other verses-

7. Quiet Sticks…Shhhhh….

Quiet sticks are wonderful tools for the wiggles as they are free and the kids actually always have their quiet sticks with them!  Have the kids put their “quiet stick”, otherwise known as their pointer finger, up to their mouths and suddenly the noise stops.  FYI, for groups that have extra wiggles and words, “double quiet sticks” may be needed!

8. Suggested Reading List for the Wiggles

I always carry a few books in my storytime box in case things are extra wiggly!  These books will get the kids up and moving. My favorite wiggler books are:

  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  • Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
  • Bounce by Doreen CroninWiggle by Doreen Cronin
  • The Hokey Pokey by Larry LaPrise
  • Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
  • Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas
  • If You’re Happy And You Know It by James Warhola
  • The Kids’ Yoga Deck by Annie Buckley
    This is not a book, but would be a good resource if you wanted to teach the kids yoga poses, would help get the wiggles out and teach concentration!

9. Sense of Humor

Maintain a sense of humor even in the worst of situations.  It will all be ok!  Crack a joke or watch a sitcom, do something to get that smile back on your face.  If you can laugh things off, others will laugh with you.


Katie LawsonOur guest blogger today is Kathleen (Katie) Lawson. Katie has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Literacy Education and is a Youth Services Librarian at the Shanklin Branch Library, of the Lincoln County Public Library in Denver, NC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


  1. Jeanette W. Stickel

    Thanks for those fabulous ideas! I can think of several story-tellers who will want to put them to use.

    1. Katie

      Great! Happy to hear it will help other storytellers!

  2. Natalie

    Great suggestions- love the rhyme with the wand!

    1. Katie

      The wand comes in handy!

  3. Shelley Black Holley

    What a great article. Those are great ideas. I love the magic wand idea and the book suggestions. I have my books in a treasure chest and the kids love to see what I have brought for each session. I sometimes find the parents can be more of an issue that the kids.

    1. Katie

      A treasure chest–what a great idea! I will need to try doing that for a pirates theme!

  4. Nathan

    Awesome ideas! I imagine some of these remedies should even work for cases of “adult onset” wiggles!

  5. Sharon McClintock

    Katie, thank you so much for sharing these charming ideas! I must try out the wand, the dust and the quiet sticks! And I agree, Jim Gill can’t be beat for getting wiggles and giggles out! Someone else you might like is Kathy Reid-Naiman — lots of fun songs for moving.

  6. Marge Loch-Wouters

    Thanks for lots of fun but practical ideas. My mascot is Jessice G. Raffe and I love her because I get to add a touch of science – giraffes don’t make sounds despite their long necks. So once we put on our giraffe throats by simply rubbing our necks, doing that gesture during a story quiets the kids down.

  7. SHaron

    Miss Mouse wants to know if Mr. Mouse is related. I told her probably.

    Great ideas, Katie.

  8. Lisa Mulvenna

    What fun ideas! I am always looking for something new.

  9. Melissa ZD

    Yahoo! Lots of ideas here! Thank you, Katie!

  10. Kevin

    Katie, Thank you so much for sharing your “Emergency Kit for… The Wiggles!” Very creative!

  11. Donna Holmen

    Excellent ideas, Katie!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. Kristine

    These are great. Your quiet sticks idea reminded me of one of my favorites. My outreach crowds all know it well. When I was a child, I had a teacher who led classes through the halls by reminding us of the smart, grey fox. He always listens with his ears open and his mouth closed. Gesture: Pointer and Pinky fingers stay up. Two middle fingers meet the thumb. See how that looks like a fox’s snout and ears?

  13. Debby

    The jingle bell magic wand is my favorite… young children will be captivated by the look and sound of it, while understanding that it signals the need for a special kind of behavior. Lots of great suggestions in your post!

  14. Jane Breen

    Great ideas Katie! I love the wand and the kazoo.

  15. Michelle M.

    These are great! I’m saving this list and using it at a later date. Thanks Katie!

  16. Amanda M.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas. I love the rhyme with your magic wand and the Storytime Dust (I can see how you could make sprinkling the dust very dramatic and fun). All of your ideas are great, really. I especially appreciate your positive tone and upbeat energy throughout the article 🙂 I am going to print this to keep for handy reference and to share with others. Great job Katie!

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