Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Story Time Starter: Squirrels

One of my most popular blog posts is my Flannel Friday contribution from 2011 about squirrels. Today, I've expanded upon the ideas in that post to provide a full outline of possible books and activities for a squirrel-themed story time session.


Miss Katie's Recommended Books 

  • A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
    While the squirrel is not the central focus of the story, she is one of four main characters, and Henkes's illustration of her sad face upon losing her nut is perfect for helping kids feel empathy for her disappointment. This is a great one for introducing the squirrel theme, and also just a really positive note on which to start a story time.  
  • The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
    This book's repetitive text tells the story of a squirrel who is too busy to play because he must gather food for the winter. The big, bold illustrations are exceptionally good for large story time groups, and the kids can easily engage with the book by calling out the names of the animals in the story and the sounds they make. 
  • Ol' Mama Squirrel by David Ezra Stein
    Ol' Mama Squirrel is a force to be reckoned with as she scolds any creature  who threatens her babies with a "Chook chook chook!" This story is fun to read aloud, and funny for the listeners - and Mama Squirrel's plan for outsmarting a bear will especially please preschoolers.


Other Possible Books



  • Gray Squirrel
    I first learned this song when I worked in a nursery school in college. I like to sing a few verses, mentioning squirrels of different colors. It's fun to name colors of real squirrels (gray, brown, and black here in the DC area) and then throw in some silly ones and ask the kids whether squirrels can be purple, orange, blue, etc. 
  • The Squirrel Up in the Tree 
    This song can be sung with stick puppets or you can make up easy motions for the kids to perform. Preschoolers especially enjoy practicing winking. 
  • Frisky Squirrel
    This  song, sung to the tune of the Grand Old Duke of York helps kids learn how hard squirrels work to gather food for the winter, and gives them a chance to get their wiggles out at the same time.


Poems & Rhymes

  • Down Around the Corner by the Big Oak Tree
    This is a flannel board rhyme I wrote, but which was inspired by a post at Mel's Desk. Count down from five acorns to zero as one by one squirrels carry them off.  
  • Two Little Squirrels (based on Two Little Blackbirds)
    This is a modified version of the Two Little Blackbirds nursery rhyme, which I found on Storytime Katie's blog. It's easy to do with just your fingers, but would also work with finger puppets or stick puppets. 
  • The Squirrel
    This anonymous poem appears in a number of children's poetry anthologies. It makes perfect use of onomatopoeia to describe precisely how a squirrel moves. Since only the title mentions that the animal is a squirrel, this can be a great opening for story time, inviting the kids to guess the day's theme. 
  • Squirrel, Squirrel
    This rhyme is very similar to Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, but with a squirrel twist. No one will be able to resist shaking their squirrel tails! (This is also a nice alternative to Gray Squirrel for those who don't like to sing.)
The squirrel clipart in the pinnable image above is from AnimalClipArt.net.


  1. Great theme. Kids love squirrels. You can update your great list with The Secret Life of Squirrels and Merry Christmas, Squirrels, both by Nancy Rose

  2. I love "Aw, Nuts!" by Rob McClurkan too!


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