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7 Tips for Successful Storytime With All Ages At Home


One of the best parts of our homeschool day is storytime! (I’d rank our Homeschool Morning Gathering as #1 but my boys love storytime!)

Now, in case you don’t know, I have 5 boys ages 1-12. And we all participate in storytime. Let me share with you just how we do storytime with all ages at home-with success!

I have always read to my boys-even in utero! Coach thought I was a bit nuts but I just knew that our babies heard me.

Books have been an important part of my life. A good book is like a best friend. Add a cup of tea (or coffee or wine!) and it’s ultimate relaxation for me.

I knew that I wanted to instill the love of reading in my boys. Part of it could be selfish-I mean, I just love sitting down with a good book!

As the years have gone by and we have been blessed with more boys-plus homeschooling-time has gotten more crunched. To help me out, my older boys often read to my younger ones (yes, I know how lucky I am!) but I wanted a special reading time with them too!

We were frequent library storytime participants but, again, with various nap times and more school responsibilities…just less able to attend the scheduled library times and days.

Now, we are blessed because we have inherited a mountain of amazing educational resources from my mom who just retired as a kindergarten teacher. Let’s just say that when the teaching store saw my mom coming, they said cha-ching! When I mom taught, she was the most dedicated teacher I have ever known. She literally would have given the shirt off of her back to any student, parent, or administrator. She was very generous in her classroom and used her own money to buy outstanding educational resources.

Our homeschool storytime has been just been so blessed with these materials! Puppets, books, CDs, charts, manipulatives-so many awesome ways to enhance storytime!

I know not everyone has the gift we have been given nor the resources to purchase. And that’s why I’m so excited to make this announcement!

Every Wednesday at 1:15 pm EST, Busy Boys Brigade will be hosting a #StorytimeWednesday for All Ages on Periscope!  Our Storytime for All Ages will include stories, songs, fingerplays plus craft and snacks ideas associated with selected reading. Stories will be geared towards toddler, preK, and early elementary ages.

I will give a preview each week on my blog of what we will be scoping about (and if you haven’t heard of Periscope yet-c’mon over and find out what all the buzz is about!). In each preview, I will include a list of materials for the craft and snack ideas. Also, I will include free printables that correspond to the selected story to use with your homeschool!

But, what I think you may most enjoy and appreciate, are the tips and ideas that I will give on how to incorporate all your kids (tweens and teens too!). I strive to create a homeschool storytime that enhances family relationships building that naturally (I hope!) occurs in homeschooling.

Who is Storytime With All Ages for?

  • families with kids age 0-99 who are looking for a fun reading time
  • families who have a hard time getting to their local library’s scheduled storytime
  • those who live a distance from their library
  • homeschool families looking for an extra special time for their little-and big!-ones
  • parents who want to help their children of multiple ages learn to share, help one another, and build a strong sibling relationship
  • moms or dads (any caregiver!) that need a break in their day and are seeking a bit of help from a fellow busy parent
  • any family that wants to have a great time with stories, songs, fingerplays, and more-in 15 minutes or less!
  • families who want some ideas and tips on pairing stories with songs, fingerplays, and more!

Okay, so now that I gave my little Periscope cheerleader speech (which is so funny because I’m about the farthest thing from a cheerleader!), let’s get to the nitty gritty of Storytime for All Ages!

 Here are those 7 Tips I promised:

1. Plan:  This is the biggest tip that I can give you. Sure, you can just pick out some random book and wing it. And there are times that I do that. But, if you want to make the most of this special time, plan it out. Do you want a theme? Alphabetical order?

2. Put some thought into story selection:  What do your kids like? Are you preparing for a special time of year (season, holiday, birthday, religious)? Do you have specific goals for your homeschool that Storytime for All Ages could help?

3. Find songs, fingerplays, materials:  Think about kids’ songs that go with story. Any fingerplays that can be used? What materials do you have on hand (i.e. puppets, stuffed animals, manipulatives) to use?

Pinterest is an amazing resource for songs, fingerplays, and storytime materials. (Keep reading for easy access to Busy Boys Brigade Storytime and Toddler Time boards!)  A Google search will also bring up a gazillion results.

storytime corner
Storytime Corner

4. Create a special area:  Choose one spot in your home that will be your Storytime With All Ages area. You can do this even if you have a small living area. It doesn’t have to be a separate room!

Our Storytime area is in a corner of our “blue couch room” (nicest room in the house!). I use a coffee-table like piece of furniture (see that white picket fence-like apparatus back there!) that we picked up at a sale for $5 several years ago. I keep as many storytime materials in this area that I  safely can (Xman is notorious for getting into stashes and destroying in seconds so I only keep indestructible items there now.)

5. Set rules:  I am typically flexible with our homeschool. But, for anything to get accomplished, I have to set and enforce certain rules. Storytime With All Ages Rules for Busy Boys Brigade are: (and I would say not very demanding!){

  • lips zipped, ears open, eyes on me
  • all body parts to self (I have learned to hard way over the years that just saying keep your hands to yourself doesn’t work!)
  • stay on your space (more on this-keep reading!)

6. Engage your older kids as helpers:  Pull your older kids aside prior to first storytime. Talk to them about your idea for starting a {homeschool} storytime-for all! Tell them about the benefits-break from school work, helping their younger siblings learn, permission to act like a kid. Then, go over with them how they can help you by gently redirecting the little ones (“Remember, we need to stay in our own area. Keep those stinky feet off your brother!” and the like)  Demonstrate and have the older kids repeat back to you.

7. Relax!:  Have fun with it! #1 goal for Storytime With All Ages is fun! Sure, it’s a great time to help our little ones learn and provide an opportunity to nurture a positive relationship between siblings. But, instead of focusing on facts learned or concepts covered, look more at the process and the experiences you are giving your kids. The more you let go and just go with it, the more your kids will too!

Bonus Tip!  Okay, so how do I get my boys to stay in their own area and keep hands to self? Super simple trick! Find a material that you have on hand and assign each child to it.

I have used both towels and blankets. With towels, I used 5 colors-one for each boy. For blankets, I had each boy pick either one of many baby blankets we have or a regular blanket we use when relaxing. Just fold them up into squares and voila! instant personal space!

I tried pillows before but that idea flopped-literally! The boys would “accidently” fall off their pillows into one another and a wrestling match would quickly ensue. No thanks!

I will introducing a totally new “personal area” manipulative to the mix during one of our Storytime scopes! It should be interesting to see if this material works or not…make sure to log on and follow me on Periscope to see if it’s a flop or a success! (bit of a hint: this is something that I never would have thought of to use and has the potential to be a great, glorious discovery-or could completely backfire in my face!)

Hope these 7 Tips for Successful Storytime With All Ages help your family!  2 important reminders:

  1. Sign Up Now! for Busy Boys Brigade email list to get access to all our free printables, planners, and updates (you won’t miss Storytime Scopes ideas!)
  2. Follow me on Periscope! @AmyMilcic (and if you haven’t joined, get on over there and come see where the party is at!)

Pinterest lovers unite! Follow Busy Boys Brigade on Pinterest! Here are those 2 boards I wrote of earlier (but don’t be afraid to follow them all!):
Follow busyboysbrigade's board Storytime on Pinterest. Follow busyboysbrigade's board Toddler Time on Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by-and make sure to come back and let me know how your Storytime With All Ages goes!







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