ImagineIF Libraries

Storytime: Herpetology

March 12, 2024, By in Early Literacy.

Page header reading "Storytime" with the ImagineIF Libraries logo, surrounded by cute cartoon animals.

The Youth Services team at ImagineIF Libraries plans and implements early literacy programs for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in Kalispell, Bigfork, and Columbia Falls. Our goal in every Storytime is to connect with young children and their caregivers through books, songs, and interactive activities that foster early literacy and social emotional skills.

Explore the Storytime Schedule

A turtle puppet named Fred took over storytime operations this week and taught us a new word: HER-PET-OL-O-GY. It’s from the Greek, meaning “creeping animals,” and refers to reptiles, lizards, amphibians . . . y’know, all those cool critters that kiddos love!
(Early literacy tip: Breaking words down into syllables and clapping for each one is called “chunking”, and can help young children hear and notice the distinct sounds in language.)

Books Read:

Book cover of One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom Book cover of The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long Book cover of I'm a Frog! by Mo Willems

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree
by Daniel Bernstrom
ISBN: 9780062354853

This book has fabulous rhythm, rich language, and is a joy to read aloud.

The Croaky Pokey!
by Ethan Long
ISBN: 9780823422913

Best read with everyone standing and dancing along!

I’m a Frog!
by Mo Willems
ISBN: 9781423183051

This book teaches the meaning of playing pretend, which is important for developing language and communication skills.

Songs & Interactives:

Flannelboard: Five Little Turtles
We practiced the ASL sign for “turtle” while counting down these felt friends.
One little turtle with nothing to do,
Called for her friend, then there were two.
Two little turtles strolling by a tree,
Saw their buddy, then there were three.
Three little turtles, a log for their floor,
Made room for a pal, then there were four.
Four little turtles warming in the sun,
Saw a fifth friend, and said, “What fun!”

Song: “Five Speckled Frogs” by Raffi

Song: “Five Little Monkeys” variation
We learned the ASL sign for “crocodile” and then played three rounds of this fun game! The kids are the monkeys, and the adult leader is the snappy alligator.
Lots of Little Monkeys, swinging in a tree (swing little monkeys!)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me!” (Go ahead and tease me, get ready to dash away)
Along comes Mr. Alligator, as quiet as can be… (here I come, with my snappy jaws!)
And SNAPS those monkeys right out of the tree! (gently snap several little monkeys)

Action Rhyme: “Crocodile, Crocodile”
Crocodile, Crocodile turn around
Crocodile, Crocodile touch the ground
Crocodile, Crocodile big huge jaws
Crocodile, Crocodile show your claws
Crocodile, Crocodile big round eyes
Crocodile, Crocodile big surprise
Crocodile, Crocodile ready for lunch
Crocodile, Crocodile munch munch munch!


Photo of a clear tub filled with dry coffee ground and plastic turtles; someone's hands reach into view, digging into the coffee. Photo of two young children playing at a tiered wooden stand with plastic snakes and a weighing scale.

Sensory Play: Digging Turtles
Dry coffee grounds and small plastic turtles.

Dramatic Play: Vet Clinic
Our market stall transformed into a vet clinic for lizards, snakes, turtles, and frogs, complete with plastic food and medical tools like scales, stethoscopes, x-rays, hot water bottles, and bandages.

Fine Motor Skills: Paper Chain Snakes
Strips of paper, tape dispensers, googly eyes, and tiny red paper strips (for tongues).
Children as young as two years old can make paper chains with the right degree of support! We had several 2- and 3-year-olds successfully make multiple-loop snakes with minimal help — amazing perseverance practice.

Gross Motor Skills: Move Like A…
Can you hop like a frog? Slither like a snake? Chalk lines and direction cards prompted kids to move like different critters around the children’s stacks.

Photo of laminated cards with images of different reptiles, turtles, and amphibians accompanied by action prompts (e.g. Can you slither like a snake?) Photo of a laminated card with an image of a frog and the words: Can you hop like a frog?. The card is on a carpeted floor with a chalk-drawn arrow line pointing away from it and meeting up with another laminated card further away (unreadable).

Our job is to provide free and open access to books and information. With hands-on activities and experiences for all ages, we work to transform vision, dreams and desires into reality.

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