By Children’s Librarian Shelley Harris
Songs are powerful! When we plan our storytime classes, we organize them to build energy and then calm kids down before we send them back on their way.
When we want to build energy, we do a lot of movement songs and silly songs, and then choose quieter songs to calm them down. Most of my storytimes end with “Twinkle Twinkle” because there are few songs more calming than that!
Music can help you set a mood for your child’s next activity. Use the videos and resources below to set a tone—for play, before bed or a nap, or when everyone needs a bit of a mental/emotional break.
Watch these videos
Little Miss Ann’s Clap for Love is a great movement song to wake kids up and get them moving. Very helpful especially to do after video learning. And because each verse is built the same, you can add your own. Roll a snowball for love!
Once I did this Hot Chocolate breathing (in the video below) in the middle of a storytime and the energy was sluggish the entire rest of class. Families were too quiet, too calm, and too relaxed! Now I do that second to last. It’s excellent for helping kids wind down before nap or bed, or after a lot of fun outside. Give it a sing-song rhythm to make it even calmer.
- Classical music has so much variety, and it’s easy to use it to calm or energize. As a bonus, kids can practice acting out the emotions the music makes them feel, or tell stories based on the music. Find some albums on Hoopla »
- Raffi (of Baby Beluga and Bananaphone fame) wrote a song designed to help kids breathe and self-regulate. Practice listening to it when everyone is doing well so kids can remember and follow it when they are upset.
- PBS has seven musical activities you can use to practice self-regulation, as well.
- Kindermusik has fun examples, too!
- Sing the Winter Hokey Pokey with the Kiboomers and get outside and play!
Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.