Tag Archives: chickens

How Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm Storytime


Oh, the farm. You and your animals have been so good to me over the years – and you have provided endless entertainment for the kids in my storytimes. Let’s never break up.

To the Farm

Horses, donkeys, cows that moo,
Chickens, kittens, piglets too,
Fish that swim down in the pond,
Ducklings quacking all day long.
All these animals you can see
If you go to the farm with me.


I Spy on the Farm (Gibbs)


Who doesn’t love a good game of I Spy?! This book has everything I love – great illustrations, clever word play, a guessing game, and an alternate purpose — all of the animal noises are included so the kids can practice. We get glimpses of the animals through a hole in the center of the book. The clues are straightforward enough to engage the Toddler crowd and easy enough for the Preschoolers to feel like the big kids they are when they guess it correctly.

Read about Gibb’s title I Spy Under the Sea in a previous post.

Horseplay (Wilson)


Why are the horses so tired during the day? Farmer decides to find out just what they are up to at night and boy is he surprised! I read this rhyming book to Preschoolers because of the length – and School Agers enjoy the silly pictures of horses playing cards and engaging in Leap Frog.

For a long time, picture books featuring horses were few and far between. This is a fun addition for our little horse aficionados out there.

Big Fat Hen (Baker)


One, two, buckle my shoe! What a fun way to read the traditional rhyme with little chicks and bugs helping out along the way. My favorite part are the illustrations – never have I seen such beautiful chickens. I love reading this book for Toddlers and Preschoolers alike and they all enjoy the big reveal from eggs to chicks at the very end. Confession: I usually show them the pages back and forth a couple of times and we revel in it with each replay.

Good for Counting, Birds, Eggs, and Chickens.

Duck on a Bike (Shannon)


Do you know me at all? Have we ever met? If yes, you probably know that this is my favorite picture book of all time because I can’t seem to stop telling people.

When presented with the opportunity, the cutest, bravest, cleverest duck ever decides that he can ride a bike. And guess what? He can!! He rides around the barnyard saying hello to all the animals and they each have their own thoughts on the subject. When more opportunities present themselves…the animals surprise even themselves.

The key to this read aloud is to leave all inhibition behind and voice each animal with their own animal-noise voice. It’s hard to spell out how a goat would speak but I say it something like this: “Iiiii’d like to eeeeeeeat that biiiiiiike” with a nasal “maaaaa”-twang.

I read this to Toddlers, Preschoolers, School Agers, parents, coworkers, strangers – anyone within earshot. I read it for Farms, Ducks, Transportation, and Favorites … basically I will use any excuse. Please read it and love it. And don’t forget to share the very last picture of the duck and “the end.” The kids will laugh!

Big Red Barn (Brown)


A lovely, quiet, classic about the animals’ day on the farm. I usually read the big book version to Toddlers and we talk about all of the activity. It’s a good chance to practice animals sounds, too.

This is the Farmer (Tafuri)


A simple cause and effect story about the actions of the farm animals. The pictures are beautifully detailed and the text is easy. I read this to Toddlers for the length and the  simplicity. Tafuri usually pays off well for Toddlers and this is a great example

Life-Size Farm (Komiya)


I find this book hilarious – not just because of the size…which is…life size (duh. 🙂 ) but also because it is full of strange little facts about the animals mixed in with the regular everyday stuff. And, as a bonus, there are unique farm animals included: alpaca, ferret, turkey – fun stuff. Everyone gets a kick out of seeing these animals in their real size (some of whom don’t even fit on the page!) and part of the beauty is that you can pick and choose what you show and what you share.

Komiya gives us Life-Size Zoo and Aquarium, too. Check them out!

Plus so many more titles on my storytime list on bibliocommons.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Folder Story

Old MacDonald’s Truck

Thanks to a Folder Story post by 1234morestorytimes, I discovered this wonderful trick to mix it up during storytime. You need a manila folder with a truck shape cut out of one side, wheels drawn on the front, and an assortment of colored construction paper. As you “show” each truck, pull the paper out of the folder and put it behind you.

The story goes something like this (written by 1234morestorytimes with a few additional colors of my own):

Farmer McDonald goes to buy a new truck and takes Mrs. McDonald with him.  Each time the truck sales person offers a different color truck, it is never right. First he shows them a red truck and Farmer McDonald says:
“Oh no, that won’t do, please bring me a truck that is blue,” show blue truck
“No no, you are being mean, please bring me a truck that is green,” show green truck
“No no said Old McDonald with a gurgle, please bring me a truck that is purple,” show purple truck
“No, no, I think….- I’d like to see a truck that is pink.” show pink truck
“I can’t drive that bright truck around town! Please show me a truck that is brown.” show brown truck
“No, that’s just not the truck I have pictured in my head. Let’s try a truck that is red.” show red truck
“Yes, yes! That one wins the race! Why didn’t you show me that in the first place?!” and The McDonalds drive back to the farm in their new truck.

Be sure to have 2 sheets of red paper to pull off the little joke, one at the front and one at the end  – trying to fit the paper back into the folder during the story is a pain. I glued the entire story to the back of the folder so I know what comes next.

Old MacDonalds truck  Old MacDonalds truck 2

Flannel Play

Good Morning Mrs Hen

Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck,
“Good morning Mrs Hen.”
How many chickens have you got?
“Madam I’ve got ten”
“Four of them are yellow, and four of them are brown.
And two of them are speckled red,
The nicest in the town!”

I do this flannel with my hen puppet on my lap and often pull out an egg (plastic!) before putting her away.

10 chicks

Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean

Sing it to “Five Green and Speckled Frogs”

Five pigs so squeaky clean
Cleanest you’ve ever seen
Wanted to go outside and play
Oink! Oink!
One jumped into the mud
Landed with a big thud
Then there were four clean squeaky pigs.

I first saw this flannel on Storytime Katie’s Flannel Friday post and then followed the breadcrumbs to MissMaryLiberry version! So easy to make and so fun to use. You can Google pig clipart and get a clean pig for one side and make it dirty for the other side. Don’t forget to put velcro on both sides so you can flip it over.  The counting gets interesting with a little subtraction action going on, “Now we have only 2 clean pigs! How many dirty pigs do we have?”

clean pigs


Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Old MacDonald had a farm,

And on his farm he had a pig,

With an oink, oink here,
And an oink, oink there,
Here an oink, there an oink,
Everywhere an oink, oink,

Old MacDonald had a farm,

horse – neigh
sheep – baaa
rooster – cock-a-doodle-doo

Of course you can add any animals to this rotation. I often do this song with a bag full of puppets and pull them out as a reveal to the kids. Sometimes we just sing it without props or pictures of any kind and I have the kids call out animals. However I do it, I try to keep the rooster until the end because it is the hardest to repeat and we all end up laughing. It’s always good to end on laughter.

Old MacDonald had a farm


A Woolly Sheep

I freehanded a sheep profile on some white paper and actually had a teen volunteer cut these out one day. I could have left the cutting to the kids but that had the potential to take awhile. 🙂 As it was, they had a great time gluing the sheep to the construction paper, picking out cotton balls to put on their sheep, and figuring out that it is MUCH easier to put the glue on the paper and then put the cotton on the glue rather then trying to put glue directly on cotton. Sticky fingers all around!

I did tear the cotton balls/craft puffs in half since they were quite puffy. It made them easier to handle and doubled my supply. Winning!

This craft works the fine motor skills with the glue sticks and cotton balls plus it introduces a new texture. You can encourage coloring the sheep to get even more practice in.

cotton ball sheep

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Duck on a Bike (Shannon)
ABCs song
Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean flannel
This is the Farmer (Tafuri)
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Hello Mrs. Hen flannel
Big Red Hen (Baker)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Duck on a Bike (Shannon)
Old MacDonald’s Truck folder story
Horseplay (Wilson)
Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean flannel
Old MacDonald Had a Farm song
Big Red Hen (Baker)
Life-Size Farm (Komiya)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear