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Wave, Shake, and Wiggle With Storytime Props

If you’ve been to a storytime program, you’ve probably seen us pass out scarves, shakers, or other props. They certainly add a fun element, but their value goes well beyond that. You may also have found yourself holding one of those props, if there were enough to go around. That’s because children love to imitate adults. When they see you shaking along, they are more likely to join in, too.

What are the wonderful things about scarves (and rhythm sticks, parachutes, etc.)? Each has its own uses, but they all help to liven up storytime while developing motor skills. Believe it or not, waving a scarf will help your child hold a pencil later. It’s great practice for gripping and manipulating something small (fine motor skill). The waving motion also helps with big movements (gross motor skill).

Props also help kids to learn how to take turns and to regulate their own emotions. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” In other words, when you want yellow, but get blue, you don’t make a fuss. All of these skills are key to school readiness.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular props and their other benefits.


Scarves and ribbons

Great for promoting imagination! It can be a flag, a butterfly, a washcloth, a hat. If you want to play with scarves at home, you can cut up some old clothes that don’t fit anymore, or use any other cloth you have around.

Rhythm sticks and shakers

Rhythm sticks

Rhythm is an important pre-reading skill. Tapping out the syllables in your child’s name, tapping along with a song, it all helps them to hear the smaller parts in words (phonological awareness). If you don’t have rhythm sticks, you can use your hands, too!


Moving the parachute together takes cooperation. It’s especially fun to place a ball on the parachute and challenge kids to bounce it without letting it fall off. This is a guaranteed way to get them laughing and squealing with joy. After all, storytime isn’t just educational; it’s also really fun!

Come and join us for storytime to have more good times with these and other props.

Megan is a Children’s Library Assistant at CLP – East Liberty. When she isn’t reading fantasy, magical realism and/or pretty much any children’s book, she enjoys gaming, watching movies, and writing fiction and poetry, some of which has been published.

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