Here's the program as it unfolded:
Opening song: Hello, how are you?
The Fathers are Coming Home by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Stephen Savage (2007)
A sweet and simple story about dads coming home to their babies of various species. The illustrations are bold and eye-catching, and the theme of fathers returning to their children after time away is comforting and reassuring. A lot of the kids were drawn to the pig page, in particular, and they snorted and oinked when I read that the father pig grunted.
Flannel Board Song: Daddy's Ties
This was a lot of fun. I had just enough three-year-olds who felt confident in their colors to shout out the names from the audience, and to make it last a little longer, we sang about each tie twice. I even saw one dad take the opportunity to talk to his son about his own ties. Lovely!
Song: Taba Naba
Book: W is for Wombat by Bronwyn Bancroft (2005)
This is almost an alphabet book, except there's no letter X. Each page depicts a different Australian animal or object in funky, bright, and textured illustrations. I especially love the flies for F, and the koala for K.
Song: Cuddly Koalas (to the tune of Frere Jacques)
I found at least two versions of this, and adapted the motions to what I thought would work for this group. It was great! We sang it three times, and by the end, everybody was doing the motions - even the babies were making attempts!
Cuddly koalas, cuddly koalas (make rocking motion with arms)
Possums, too, possums too (make circles around eyes with fingers and thumbs)
Wallabies and wombats, wallabies and wombats (tap knees in rhythm)
Kangaroos, kangaroos (hold up two hands and hop like a kangaroo)
Book: Market Day by Lois Ehlert (2000)
I swore I wasn't going to do a third book, but then I realized how short I was running in the first session, and threw it in there. I liked the rhyming text and the repetition of the journey out and back to the market, but I lost most of the adults by this point in the two busier sessions (1 and 3) and probably should have stuck to just the two books. Next week, I'll try again.
Song: Chickadee by Lisa Monet (from My Best Friend)
This is a new favorite for me - we count down the birds and flap our arms for the chorus. I enjoy flapping more than anyone else, I think!
I mixed and matched songs like crazy toward the end of each session, mainly because I couldn't stand doing the same thing three times in a row. I even managed to skip Wheels on the Bus once, but only after making sure the kids who cry when I don't do it weren't present. (I've had some suggestions for Wheels on the Bus replacements, but the problem isn't finding new songs. It's getting my audience to accept anything but what they're used to. They won't let me have a bus-free week!)
Song: Wheels on the Bus (sessions 1 and 2)
Song: Monkeys on the Bed (session 1)
Song: One, Two, I Love You (Numbers Are Our Friends) (session 2)
Song: There's a Little Wheel a-Turnin' in My Heart (session 3)
Song: Where is Thumbkin? (session 3)
Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink
Song Between Sessions: We All Sing with the Same Voice by Lisa Monet (from My Best Friend)