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Baby Animals

  • May 10, 2011
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

Favorite spring themes for young children’s literature include the weather, planting and growing, and baby animals.  This spring we have highlighted specific Music in a Box  musical storytelling lesson plans that you can use during Library Story Times.  This week we will highlight the “baby animal” theme by going down to the farm.

Music In a Box

Book Title:  Barnyard Dance

Author/Illustrator:  Sandra Boynton

Appropriate Audience:  Early Childhood

Literacy Goals: 

  • Phonological awareness: rhythm and rhyme of the story, vocal play of the animal characters
  • Print motivation: puppets, colorful illustrations
  • Vocabulary: labeling animal characters with pictures and sounds
  • Print awareness: repetition of animal words and sounds, language patterns in text
  • Letter knowledge: vocal play highlights letter sounds
  • Narrative: sequencing of the animals in the dance occurs

Activities/Extension with Music:

Begin Library Story Time with a Greeting Song and introduce this story using farm animal puppets, other toys or animal pictures to encourage singing along to the song “Old Mac Donald Had a Farm.”  You may also include a Spanish farm song, “La Granja,” using a song chart and farm animal puppet, toys or pictures. 

The words to “La Granja” are:

Vengan a ver mi granja vengan todos,
(Come to see my farm, come everybody)

Vengan a ver mi granja vengan todos.
(Come to see my farm, come everybody)

Si, el perro hace así “Ruf, ruf!”
(Yes, the dog he goes like this: “ruf, ruf”)

Si, el perro hace así “Ruf, ruf!”
(Yes, the dog he goes like this:  ruf, ruf)

Lalalala, Lalala, Lalalalala

Lalala, lalala, Lalalalalala!

Other animals:  Cow (La Vaca), Horse (El Caballo), Pig (El Cerdo), Chicken (La Gallina), Cat (El Gato), Sheep (La Oveja).

How to Read the Story, Barnyard Dance: 

Read this story to a steady beat and encourage the listening audience to also “stomp their feet and clap their hands” with you. Keeping a steady beat while reading this story out loud encourages the musicality inherent in the story text.

This story can be enhanced with vocal play. Encourage the listening audience to quack, oink and moo along with the animal characters in the story. Don’t forget to be the Square Dance Caller and shout, “Yee-HAA” during the story to add an element of surprise.

Creative Movement/Dance:  Using egg shakers, ribbon wands or scarves, dance to Aaron Copeland’s “Hoe Down” or John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy!”

Play a Classic Children’s Game:  Sing and play “The Farmer in the Dell” or sing together classic nursery rhymes like “Hey, Diddle, Diddle” “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”.  You might like to add socio dramatic during your nursery rhyme time.


  • Farm animal puppets, toys or pictures (Dog, Cow, Sheep, Horse, Pig, Rooster, Chicken, Cat)
  • CD Player for listening/dancing selections
  • Ribbon Wands, Scarves, Egg Shakers
  • Your library should have a plethora of children’s literature that is Baby Animal or Family Animal themed. Have these books available for reading or checking out for the parents/caregivers.

Parent Education Tips:

Encourage parents to sing at home daily incorporating opportunities for nursery rhymes and vocal play. Children can create their own farm animal puppets at home using simple brown paper bags and decorating the bottom of the bags with scraps of material or coloring in faces for their animal characters.

©MacPhail Center for Music, 2011


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