Using Scarves for Storytime Fun


One of the gifts we gave my nephew for his first birthday this week was a pack of juggling scarves.  These are well loved around here for a variety of fun activities, most of all throwing them up in the air while screaming.  (Let’s be real.) Of the more constructive activities we use them for, we have a few songs we enjoy singing while waving the scarves to practice colors, provide action in the song, and just plain ol make singing more fun by dancing and twirling. Jbrary has a fabulous collection of songs to sing with scarves on their youTube channel.

(L) Color Catch & Release (top) Color Pop Up with wipes (bottom)Scarf Sorting

(L) Color Catch & Release (top) Color Pop Up with wipes (bottom)Scarf Sorting

We also love to play Color Catch & Release: we thread the scarves into a ball, then toss the ball back and forth and I call out a color for him to find and tug out each round.  (Good fine motor skill practice as well.) Color Pop Up with an empty wipes container provides minutes of entertainment, and the large dimensions of the scarves provide a nice platform for sorting household objects by color (you could also do this activity with construction paper).

But, being the Librarian in the House, I got to wondering, how could we use these scarves in conjunction with our reading time? Here are my ideas!

The books listed can be found at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate links provided. 

First, I gathered a few books we had lying around that deal with either colors or counting. The scarves serve to add a layer of kinesthetic learning (using action & movement).

A few of our favorite color books

A few of our favorite color books

1. Make Matches! Toddler Bookworm LOVES to make “matches” in the world around him, often bringing out his construction vehicles when we read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, for example.  Any book that has colors in it that match the scarves you have on hand can be a vessel for this matching activity.  We used Donald Crews’ Freight Train to match each color segment of the train with his scarves.  In another book, this could be as simple as putting the green scarf at the bottom next to the grass and a blue scarf at the top next to the sky. Be sure to name the colors as you match.

Making matches with Freight Train by Donald Crews, 1979 Caldecott Honor book

Making matches with Freight Train by Donald Crews, 1979 Caldecott Honor book

2. Act It Out! We used scarves with Sandra Boynton’s Blue Hat, Green Hat to act out the story. Level One: place a scarf at the appropriate area of the body for each section of the story (pretend the scarf is a hat, shoe, shirt, etc). Level Two: match the color scarf AND the article of clothing/body part (e.g. a blue hat= blue scarf draped over your head).  You could use this as a Level One activity for any book that features parts of the body: Karen Katz’s Where is Baby’s Belly Button, Annie Kubler’s Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

Acting out Boynton's Blue Hat, Green Hat

Acting out Boynton’s Blue Hat, Green Hat

3. Make It Count! Practice one-to-one correspondence by having your bookworm wave their scarf to represent the number of objects you see on a page, the number of words, or follow along in a counting book.  Level One example (pictured below in Eric Carle’s 1,2,3 to the Zoo) wave your scarf two times for the two animals. Level Two example: find your red scarf to match the red number 2 and wave it two times. This activity would work with any counting book you enjoy.

Practice one-to-one correspondence with Eric Carle's 1,2,3 to the Zoo

Practice one-to-one correspondence with Eric Carle’s 1,2,3 to the Zoo

4. Sing it Out! In any book that features a tune, use the scaves to ham it up! Wave those scarves around and enjoy an interactive story time! In Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes we sing out, “I love my white shoes” while waving our white scarves.

Now if only I knew how to juggle! 😉

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