Blogger Emily Mroczek-Bayci

Shake Up Storytime

Storytime is a very rewarding part of the job but like anything it can get repetitive. Let’s take a look at how to shake up storytime!

My coworker and I have the luxury of being able to do a storytime together (The Emily and Ellie Show- cue the music!). This has given us an opportunity to add different aspects to our story time, and do things we are not comfortable doing: for example, adding more apps and technology, using the parachute, and trying to read tandem books.

Here are five ideas for how to switch up your storytime and something you can do to experiment.

  •  Use unique props

Have you ever made a song cube? You can roll a dice to see what song you’ll sing next? Or how about finding real-life items from home that you can show and tell during storytime (we’re never too old for show and tell) Could you use scarves, or shakers, kid instruments and have a parade?

What’s the most unique prop you’ve ever used! Let us know in the comments!

  • Tell stories in an unusual way

I like telling a story again after reading the story the first time. For example, I’ll have kids tell the story of Goldilocks back to me- this time with props, or use a Go Away Big Green Monster Puppet after reading it. It could be awesome to dress up as a character like Pigeon and truly be the narrator. Ellie and I did our first Draw and Tell story a few weeks ago, and the kids and adults really loved it!

What are your ideas for telling a favorite story in a unique way?

  • Switch up your themes

It is easy to get bogged down in traditional themes. Sometimes, I try to center my themes around current events- like the baseball world series, or I do loose themes around a a concept like “ADVENTURE” or “GROOVY.” Glow in the dark storytime, cultural storytime, or storytime in another destination (like Australia) are other themes I’d like to try. I’ve heard of people doing author studies too where they focus on one author or illustrator.

Do you have any ridiculous and fun themes you’ve done? Or ideas you would like to do one day?

  • Add physical components

At the end of a superhero storytime, I had kids crawl through an obstacle course. I’ve also heard of kids holding watering cans and “watering” into a tub. Or taking a hula hoop to “lasso” a puppet during cowboy storytime.

What physical component could spice up your program this week?

  • Play a game

I am always looking for new games to use during programs. I like having big traffic signs and doing red light green light, or holding up different posters of emotions and having the audience make faces. I’ll sometimes do “quizzes” that go with a theme: like is this food healthy or not healthy or does this animal live in the Arctic?

Are there any games that have been a hit for you?

My partner and I are very open to trying new ideas, especially when we have each other as backup. Please let us know any of your ideas in the comments and then we can let you know what worked and what could be improved!  No challenge is too great or too small, we want to try everything out!


  1. Carol Lacock

    We did a story time on Bats and played and Echolocation Game. The “bat” wore a crazy baseball cap down low over eyes and held a pool noodle. The other kids were the insects. When the bat said “Beep, beep, beep” the insects responded with “buzz, buzz”. The bat swings around the noodle to follow the sound and if he/she bumps into an insect, the insect hides under a table (the bat cave). The last person tagged becomes the new bat. The story, Hello Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde, is a great one for an introduction on echo location. Balloon Blast Game: Each child also used empty paper towel rolls to “bat” a balloon around the room to Baby Einstein CD Flight of the Bumblebee.

    1. Emily Bayci

      ooo that sounds super fun! Could be especially cool in October!

  2. Alivia G.

    What sort of apps/technology are you utilizing in your story times?

    1. Emily Bayci

      Hi Alicia!
      We have tried using the Pigeon app and telling the pigeon story, Toca robot/ monster apps, Tumbebooks videos and Weston Woods videos…. We also try using scenes in the background during storytime and playing videos by Jim Gill or Laurie Berkner that model parent/ child interactions. Feel free to e-mail me at if you want more specific examples!

  3. Leslie Guhl

    FYI – if you do a glow in the dark storytime: Dr Seuss’ What Was I Scared Of has pants that glow under UV light. Also vitamin B crushed up in water is flourescent.

    1. Emily Bayci

      Oooo love it, thanks Leslie!

  4. Jennifer Ogrodowski

    I read the Apple Pie Tree to children, then hand out cards with different pictures of items in the book. Then, I read the book again and ask the children to come up to our flannel board when I get to the part that has their picture. This way, they help tell the story and learn a bit of sequencing of the natural world at the same time.

    For games — I sometimes do a guessing game where I say: “My friend likes something red and round, crisp and sweet. It grows on a tree. What does my friend like?” I then have the kids try to guess what it is from the clues. Depending on the audience, I may put the pictures up on a flannel board ahead of time so the children can just point to the object or I may hide the object behind a flap and, when they guess the object, lift the flap to show them they are correct.

    1. Emily Bayci

      Great Fall ideas! I need to make some flaps now!!

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