Thursday, April 4, 2013

Storytime Scarf Love

I love using scarves in storytime; they are definitely in my top three favorite ST props. I would say I probably incorporate them into storytime once or twice a month on average.

Photo Credit: FaP ;-) via Compfight cc
I'm sure to bring them out for any dancing or music themed storytime, but what I really love about them is their capacity for imaginative movement and play. I'm not too fussy about tying them to a theme (no surprise there). I've used them for:

--Butterfly theme (Flying! Changing them from 'long' skinny caterpillars into hidden fist-cocoons and transforming them to flowing butterflies).
--'Get Well storytime' and 'bathtime' theme where we pretend to wash and talk about body parts.
--I LOVE using them for a work-machine themed storytime. We read "I am a Backhoe" by Hines and "Tip Tip Dig Dig" by Garcia. Then we used the scarves to act out the motions of the different vehicles. My favorite is the dump truck, where we hold the scarf behind our heads while bending at the waist then stand up and, "Tip, tip--Let it go!" and drop the scarf down our backs behind us.

I'm usually working with a group of 50 people, so one thing I try to make sure of is that if I take all the time to pass out the scarves, that we play with them long enough to make it worthwhile! 

This is my standard "playlist" for using the scarves:
--We Sail song (listen here). The MacPhail Center for Music is local, so I love using their music for ST
--Two Little Black Birds action activity (below)
--Popcorn song (below)
--any thematic tie-in that I want to make, or just directed actions, eg: "Throw your scarves up in the air and let them fall to the ground--there they go! Can you try and catch it? Ok, make your scarf disappear into your hands. Now let's throw them one, two, THREE!"

Using scarves in storytime is pretty much limited only by your imagination!

Have you written about using scarves in storytime? Leave me a comment and I'll link to your post!

Two Little Blackbirds sitting on a hill. (Wave scarves)
One named Jack, and one named Jill
Fly away Jack (hide one behind back)
Fly away Jill (hide both)
Come back Jack, Come back Jill

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud
One was quiet, and the other was loud
fly away quiet, fly away loud
come back quiet, come back loud

...sitting on my hat
one was round (wave scarf in circle)
the other was flat (pull scarf taut)

...sitting on my toe
high, low (wave high, wave low)

...sitting on a stick
slow, quick (you get the idea)

Popcorn Song (tune of Frere Jacques, so sing each line twice)

Popcorn Kernels (wave scarves overhead)
In the pot (I pause and tell the kids to make their scarves 'disappear' by bunching them up in their fists)
Shake them shake them shake them (shake)
'til they POP (Toss scarves up into the air)


  1. I use scarves in every baby story time I do. We play peek a boo, sing This Is the Way We Wash..., and then at least one more song where we wave them or toss them in the air, like Shoo Fly or Pop Goes the Weasel or Zoom to the Moon.

    I love your Blackbirds version. I haven't tried that with scarves - how fun! I have a slightly different verse too, sitting in the snow for fast/slow.

  2. I just bought some scarves from Lakeshore Learning. I'm anxious to use them but haven't quite figured out how yet so these are fabulous tips.

  3. Hi Anna,
    A great post about scarves- I have shorter scarves that we use for movement games in my kindergarten. These are good fingerplays that I hadn't thought of to use with the scarves. Thanks for the ideas.
    Warmest regards from Alberta Canada,
    quiltmom Anna

  4. They work well with any kind of "freeze" song (Greg and Steve have one, maybe Jim Gill also). We just dance around waving scarves until the song says to freeze. Repeat til song ends :-)

  5. I would love to hear The Sail song the link did not work to listen to the music. Thank you for your ideas.

    1. Looks like they took it down, but you can ILL the album:


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