Interactive Animals

Storytime: Interactive Animals

(September 2014)

Topics: Animals. I’ve done storytimes on ocean animals, farm animals, zoo animals, pets, and more, so I wanted to change things up a bit. By focusing on interactivity, I got to use some of my favorite books and combine animal themes in a new way that felt more engaging and less restrictive.

Place: Fayetteville Free Library




Simms Taback’s Safari Animals by Simms Taback – This book contains large animal “foldouts.” Toddlers loved guessing what the animal was based on clues as square pages unfolded to show the full picture.

Noisy Barn: with Four Farm Sounds! by Roger Priddy – Babies and toddlers alike were surprised and delighted by the animal sounds that emanated from this board book. It was  HUGE hit and we easily spent 10 minutes on it so that each child had multiple chances to push the buttons.

Animal Babies Around the House by Vicky Weber (Read-along) We have twelve copies of this book, so each parent and child gets their own book to hold and turn the pages as we read along with the group.


I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs – This book is a fun guessing game that encourages children to make connections between colors, animal sounds, and letters. For example, “I spy something white that starts with ‘L’ that goes, ‘baa, baa”.” Most kids want to say “sheep” and then we can talk about what letter sheep starts with, versus the “L” in lamb.

Simms Taback’s Safari Animals by Simms Taback

Animal Babies Around the House by Vicky Weber (Read-along)


I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs

Who’s in the Tree: and Other Lift-the-Flap Surprises by Craig Shuttlewood – This book is silly and the illustrations are cartoonish, but it’s actually a perfect title to introduce STEM concepts by talking about animal habitats. The book has lift-the-flaps that show animals in places they don’t belong (a penguin in a tree, an octopus in the jungle, etc). This was the perfect opportunity to ask the children about where these animals live (the arctic, the ocean, etc).

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins – This book features beautiful illustrations of animals (or parts of animals) to scale; they are the actual size of the paw, face, tooth, foot, etc. This was a more challenging concept for the Preschoolers to understand, but they loved placing their hand on the huge gorrilla’s hand, for example, and comparing the size. Another great opportunity to introduce STEM concepts (scale) in storytime!

The Plan: 

Sing: Hello Song

Rhyme: Five Little Kittens

Five little kittens standing in a Row (hold up left hand, extend fingers, count)
They nod their hands to the children so (bend fingers forward)
They run to the left, they run to the right (wiggle fingers to the left, then to the right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight (stretch fingers up slowly)
Along comes a dog, who’s looking for some fun (move right  slowly towards stretching fingers)
M-e-ow, see those kittens run (run and hide left fingers behind your back)

Read: Safari Animals/ I Spy on the Farm / I Spy on the Farm

Sing: The Itsy Bitsy Monkey (Tune: Itsy Bitsy Spider)

The itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the coconut tree,
Down came the coconut and bumped him on the knee
Along came his mama and she kissed the pain away
And the itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the tree again

Rhyme: Dogs in the Dirt

Ten little doggies went out one day (10 fingers up)
To dig in the dirt and play, play, play. (Pretend to dig)
Five were spotted, and five were not, (Show one hand at a tim.e)
All at dinner time they ate a lot! (Pretend to eat)

Read: Noisy Barn/ Safari Animals/ Who’s in the Tree?

Rhyme: Big A, little a

Big A, little a, Bouncing b
The Cat’s in the cupboard
So he can’t see.  Peek-a-boo.

Rhyme: This Little Piggy Went to Market

This little piggy went to market (tug on thumb)
This little piggy stayed home (continue with each finger)
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none, and grabbing the little finger say,
And this little piggy went “wee, wee, wee!” all the way home.

Play Activity: Animal Movement Cards

I purchased these Animal Movement Cards for a dollar on Teachers Pay Teachers, printed and laminated them. The toddlers and Preschoolers LOVED choosing their own card and identifying the animal they got. Then I would read the card and movement aloud, and we’d all flap, or hop, or gallop. This activity was perfect for getting some energy out in a positive, learning oriented way.


Sing: Old MacDonald

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O,
And on that farm he had a [animal name], E-I-E-I-O,
With a [animal noise twice] here and a [animal noise twice] there
Here a [animal noise], there a [animal noise], everywhere a [animal noise twice]
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.

Read: Animal Babies Around the House/ Animal Babies Around the House/ Actual Size  

Play Activity: Puzzles! 

For our play activity I used several puzzles that the library owns. I dumped them out and encouraged parents to help their children idenfy the different animals (and make the animal sounds together) as they put the pieces back in. Any animal puzzles will work, but these Melissa & Doug puzzles that make sounds as you put the pieces back in are especially fun.


Sing: Goodbye Song