Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alligators and Crocodiles Preschool Story Time

There's just so many awesome alligator and crocodile books.  I actually haven't done this theme before, ever, and it just kind of came to me.  We haven't done an animal theme yet this session, and kids loooooove animals, so I thought I'd go with a fun, slightly dangerous one.  Without further ado, here's our 10/10/13 Alligator and Crocodile Preschool Story Time!

Opening Song:  Open Them Shut Them (From now on I'll just link to this, instead of opening it.  Feel free to click if you want to see my version of this popular story time song!)

Opening Nursery Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock and Humpty Dumpty

Now that we've learned Hickory Dickory Dock and Humpty Dumpty with movement, I'll start doing them pretty frequently.  The preschoolers get better and better at them as the weeks go on, and we'll start scaffolding more skills on top of them (I'll explain that as I do it!).  At some point I'll film myself doing Humpty Dumpty with the movements I use.

Opening Discussion: What's the difference between alligators and crocodiles?

I will show the kids a picture of an alligator and a picture of a crocodile, and we'll talk about the differences between them and how to tell them apart.  Throughout the story time we'll revisit the pictures, and I'll ask the kids to remind me which is which.  Also, as we're reading books, I'll ask kids whether the character in the book is an alligator or a crocodile, and why they think that.  Here are the pictures I'm using! Can YOU tell the difference? 


--Only live in freshwater

--Rounded snouts like the letter U

--Top teeth stick out when their mouth closed

--Dark skin

--Take care of their babies for a year


--Can live in salt or fresh water

--Long pointy snouts

--Bottom and top teeth stick out

--Lighter skin (green/gray/brown)

--Mom carries babies to water and lets them go

Book #1: Snip Snap!  What's That? by Mara Bergman
Repeating refrain, text that moves through the illustrations as if they're a part of them -- this book was made for story time! 

Finger Play: Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree (Thanks Mr. Mike!)

Five little monkeys swinging in a tree!
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, "YOU CAN'T CATCH ME!"
Along comes Mr. Crocodile,
Quiet as can be!
And SNAPPED that monkey right out of that tree!
Four little monkeys...

Book #2: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

 I absolutely love it when authors write books SPECIFICALLY with story time in mind.  This is a story time perfect book.  There are dialogic reading/participation questions BUILT into the STORY!  IT IS AMAZING!  OK, so there's only one page with crocodiles on it.  It's worth bending it to the fit the theme.  Will we actually get to count some monkeys?  Stay tuned to find out :)

Action Rhyme/Rhyming Game: Alligator Pie (thanks again, KCLS!)

Alligator, Alligator, Alligator Pie!
If I don't get some I think I'm gonna cry.
You can take away the green grass
Take away the sky
But PLEASE don't take my alligator pie!

I think I'm going to try repeating this and having the kids think of other types of "alligator" foods, and thinking of ways to make the poem rhyme.  For example, we could do "Alligator Cheese!" and replace "cry" with "sneeze!" 

Book #3: A Girl and Her Gator by Sean Bryan

A girl has a gator on her head! What is she to do?  Can one go about one's normal life with a gator on one's head?  We're about to find out.

Closing Rhyme: Tickle the Clouds

Tickle the clouds
Tickle your toes
Turn around
Tickle your nose!
Reach for the ground
Reach up high!
Story time is over,
Wave goodbye!

I got this rhyme from this awesome Jbrary video: Jbrary Goodbye Songs



  1. No Lyle Lyle? I am sad. Next alligator/crocodile story time can include that and Swamplandia!

  2. Lyle is the best! But he is sadly a little too long for preschool story time. I did put him on display for people to check out! I think preschoolers would really appreciate the nuances of Swamplandia :-D --Sara