BKLYN Kids Presents: StoryWalks® And Rhyme & Play On Your Way

Rachel Payne Hasina Islam Kathy Gerber

StoryWalks® are coming! StoryWalks® are coming!

StoryWalks® are picture books installed at outdoor locations. You can walk and read and enjoy them together as a family. They will be installed very soon, or you may find one at one of the many BPL Outdoor Events that are sprouting up around the borough with giant bubbles, family entertainment, and of course, storytimes!

We are also displaying Song & Rhyme panels at some outdoor events, where you can “Rhyme and Play on Your Way!” Rhyming and singing are important early literacy skills and these reminders will help you learn some new favorites to sing with your child.


Song & Rhyme panels let you sing fun songs with your child while strolling along in the beautiful spring and summer weather! 

Some of the first books we have turned into StoryWalks® were written by famous Brooklyn authors and illustrators and are included below with tips on ways to make them interactive and extend the fun of reading with creative activities. 

Coming soon we will have video interviews with many of the authors and illustrators that we'll share on our BPL Family Facebook page and Brooklyn Public Library website, along with the locations of the StoryWalks®!  While you wait, check out some of these picture books from the library and try some fun activities based on the books!

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

  • Talking with parents and caregivers is how children develop extensive vocabulary and background knowledge that will help them become good readers and writers. But sometimes we all need conversation starters. Ask your child to help you create a fantasy sandwich with your favorite foods: Mango, banana, peanut butter, grilled cheese, anyone? 
  • Create a tall tall like the one in this book. The characters in tall tales have larger than life personalities and can perform outrageous feats of strength (kind of like superheroes). Try modeling your characters on neighborhood animals and birds or invent magical creatures and set your story at a favorite playground or park.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López 

  • As you read the story, notice how many times the ruler appears. If you have a ruler at home, you can incorporate Science, Tech, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills into your next outing. Bring the ruler or measuring tape with you on your next walk and let your child measure objects that you see along your route. Talk about things that grow and carefully measure a flower. Remind your child that they are growing, too and if you haven't done so yet, mark their height on a surface at home and see how it changes. 
  • Everyone has a story: talk about yourself and something that makes you feel good -- maybe you are learning how to do something new. Share your experiences with how you grew stronger and developed a new skill or trait.

  • Collect items that you find on your neighborhood walk and create a self portrait using them. Try using a paper plate as a face. Attach a popsicle stick and use your creation as a puppet. Can you give them a name and imagine activities they would enjoy?  

  • Create a friendship bracelet and give it to someone you have recently met. Tell them something about yourself that they might not know. 

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison. Illustrated by Frank Morrison 

  • After reading this bouncy rhyming book, encourage your family to use their bodies to make sounds: clapping hands, snapping fingers and drumming on your legs with your hands. See if they can repeat a rhythm that you create, then let them create a rhythm for you to echo. 
  • Tap out the syllables of your names on your lap using your hands. Try doing it slowly, then faster. 
  • Sing a song and clap along with the syllables and the beat.  
  • Play a rhyming game and see how many words you can rhyme with a word from the book.  
  • Using empty tissue boxes, oatmeal containers, coffee cans or other materials create your own musical instruments. Try to play a favorite tune using the instrument -- can you drum along to wheels on the bus?

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats 

  • Take a dog walk -- walk around your neighborhood and count how many dogs you see.
  • Draw a picture of a dog using sidewalk chalk. The next day, see if the drawing is still there! Or, when you get home, use crayons and paper to draw one of the dogs you saw on your walk. 
  • Bring your dog on a walk and read to them under a tree or sitting on a bench. Don't forget to bring some water in case you both get thirsty. 
  • Can you whistle? Whistle a tune and see if your child can repeat it. If they can't whistle, encourage them to sing "la la la" to the tune instead. 

Need song & rhyme inspiration? Check out BPL's Youtube playlist "Songs and Rhymes for Anytime." 

Learn a new rhyme today from BPL Children's Librarian Diane Chiofolo as she sings a great bouncing rhyme for babies To Market, To Market!


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


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