Blogger Katie Salo

Scarves in Storytime

If you don’t use scarves in storytime, I’m going to (hopefully) change your mind with this blog post. But first! Read Abby Johnson’s 2016 ALSC blog post Scarves in Storytime to get a scarves primer down.

Welcome back! (You did go read Abby’s post, right?)

Abby did an amazing job covering the basics of using scarves in storytime, answering questions like: “How do you hand scarves out?”, “What do you do with them?”, and “How do you put scarves?”. But what about questions regarding Using Scarves in Storytime 201?

    1. How do you keep scarves clean?

A time-honored, important question to ask. After every storytime, our scarves are washed in a washing machine. Here at the library, our washing machine is a top-loader, so I do use a delicates bag to protect the delicate fabric of our scarves. After a wash, they’re line-dried on a clothesrack. If your library doesn’t have a washing machine, you could take scarves home to wash (which I used to do, as evidenced by the picture) or buy a fabric disinfectant spray.

Scarves in a washing machine. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Scarves in a washing machine. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
    1. How do you store scarves?

I’ve stored scarves a myriad of different ways at my libraries over the years. Our current storage method is folding them up and storing them in a fabric bin. But I’ve also kept them in a zippered freezer bag (this is especially good for outreach visits), a plastic storage container, and a file folder.

    1. Have your scarves held up over the years?

Our scarves at my current library have been going strong since I purchased them in 2014. We’ve only lost two to our storytime crowds.

Abby gives great suggestions for where to find scarf rhymes and songs, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what works for me:

Peek-a-Boo Games

One of the easiest way to use scarves during baby storytime is by playing peek-a-boo. Our scarves from Lakeshore Learning are transparent enough that most babies are not frightened by losing sight of their caregiver. My favorite songs include…

“Peek-a-Boo” Tune: Frere Jacques
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
I see you, I see you!
I see your button nose and your tiny toes
Peek-a-boo! I see you!

“Colors Over You” Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle
Red and yellow, green and blue, these are the colors over you
Red as a flower, green as a tree
Yellow as the sun, and blue as the sea
Red and yellow, green and blue, these are the colors over you
(Can be done with scarves OR a parachute)

Thanks to Kendra at Read Sing Play for both of these rhymes!

Me, demonstrating how a scarf turns into a butterfly. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Me, demonstrating how a scarf turns into a butterfly. [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Scarves as…

I love to encourage kids to use their imaginations to make scarves in storytime become other things! By pinching the scarf in its middle, it can become a butterfly. Tucking it around our shoulders makes it a superhero cape.

In the air, a scarf can become a writing utensil to draw shapes. Or throwing it can make it look like popcorn or fireworks. And if you have a shoo fly around, swat that fly away with your flyswatter!

I also like to encourage scarves as a social-emotional development tool. I’ll play a song on the CD player and call out “Switch!” and see if my friends can find someone to switch scarves with.

Scarves are so versatile in what they can become…the possibilities are endless. Could they be falling snow or leaves? Carpet scarves to show kids where to sit? Up to you!

Recorded Music

Some of my favorite songs to use with scarves:

All My Colors – Ralph Covert
Mixing Up Colors – Yo Gabba Gabba
De Colores – José Luis Orozco or Lucky Diaz

There’s a Little Wheel a’Turnin’ in My Heart – Laurie Berkner
Twist and Shout – Songs for Wiggleworms or Fresh Beat Band
Wave Your Ribbons in the Air – The Wiggles

Butterfly – Laura Doherty or Bari Koral
Roller Coaster – Bari Koral (waving our scarves as we go up and down)
Popcorn – Mr. Jon & Friends or Joanie Leeds
Seabreeze – Milkshake (turning our scarves into the ocean waves)

Children in storytime with scarves. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Children in storytime with scarves. [Photo courtesy of the author.]

Songs from Jbrary

And where would I be without mentioning the scarf songs I’ve learned from Jbrary?

My favorites:

Have I convinced you? Or do you have tips to share with others regarding scarves in storytime? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to check back next month when I dive into the wonderful world of egg shakers in storytime.

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competency: III. Programming Skills.


  1. Abby Johnson

    I love this!! Scarves forever!!!!

    1. Katie Salo Post author

      Thanks, Abby! Scarves are the best!

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