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BHM: All That Jazz

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Let's get jazzed up for storytime! To celebrate Black History Month, Ms. Michaela and I chose books about jazz, a musical genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana. We will learn about the music, some of the genre's most famous performers, and musical instruments through a series of books, songs, activities, and crafts.

These Books Be-Boppin'


This Jazz Man (Karen Ehrhardt)

This book flows to the rhythm of the classic nursery rhyme "This Old Man." It introduces 10 different jazz men and the instruments they play in the band. Each of the men represents a famous musician, who can read more about in the back. I had children mimic playing the different instruments for each page.

A-Tisket A-Tasket (Ella Fitzgerald)

This quick story introduces us to Ella Fitzgerald's famous version of the classic nursery rhyme "A-Tisket A-Tasket." A boy has lost his yellow basket and looks all around for it, thinking that a girl he saw must have taken it. We accompanied this book with Ella Fitzgerald's song and a felt board game (see below).

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Chris Raschka)

This is such an interesting book. We are introduced to Charlie Parker and his alto saxophone and we are told to never leave our cat alone. The rest of the book consists of a series of random words which are strung together to make rhythms. We gave each child a shaker egg and had them tap out the different rhythms with us!

More recommended books:

1. Bebop Express (H.L. Panahi)

2. Jazz Baby (Carole Boston Weatherford)

3. Rap a Tap Tap (Leo & Diane Dillon)

The Jazziest Jams & Activities


A-Tisket A-Tasket Song & Movement Activity

After reading the book, we put Ella Fitzgerald's version of "A-Tisket A-Tasket" and let the children dance around with ribbons or eggs.

A-Tisket A-Tasket Felt Board Game

This one was so much fun because the kids kept guessing the wrong girls! (I know, I am terrible). I made three different girls with different colored bows and three different colored baskets. I hid one basket randomly behind each girl and explained to the kids that we have to figure out which of the girls stole our yellow basket. It was so funny to see their reactions when I'd slowly pull the girl off the board and reveal a blue or brown basket!

"I'm So Glad" Song & Dance

Ms. Michaela remembered the music video for this song by Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town from watching it on Nick Jr. I am so glad she did because it is now one of my FAVORITE kids songs! We had kids touch or gesture to each of the body parts they sing about and do some other motions that fit with the lyrics. So much fun!

Musical Instrument Felt Board Activity

Ms. Michaela put five felt instruments (trumpet, saxophone, drum, piano, guitar) on the felt board one by one and had the kids identify them. Then, they pretended to play the instrument. For added fun, you can incorporate sound effects!

Crafts for Budding Musicians


Pre-School Craft: Mini Rainsticks

This craft is simple (with parent supervision) and the kids will leave with their own little noisemaker! They can personalize theirs by coloring their coffee filters. You can also change the sounds by trying out different fillings.


Toilet paper or paper towel rolls

Coffee Filters (2 per child, or 4 if you'd like to double layer)

Rubber bands or tape

Filling (we used popcorn kernels, but you can use rice, beans, etc.)

Crayons or markers to customize!

Toddler Craft: Rhythm Sticks

These flowy batons can be used to swirl and keep the beat, like a conductor's baton or the ribbons we used during storytime. They are also very simple to make!


Jumbo craft sticks

Streamers (cut into strips)

Rubber bands

Crayons or markers to customize!


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