“Toddle Waddle” by Julia Donaldson & Nick Sharratt

This is a bit of an odd choice for a book to do an activity on, as I actually hate it. However, it’s Bean’s favourite book, she fetches it from the bookshelf every night (or at least on all of those nights that I haven’t “accidentally” misplaced it).

I don’t really know why I hate it, I should by all rights love it, I love both Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt, but I prefer books with a story, whereas this is sounds, no story in words to follow, just pictures and sound effects. Which is probably what makes it a great story that toddlers love, it has repetition, simple, excellent pictures, it’s just that I find it boring, but since I’m not its target audience, that’s fine.

As this book is not necessarily that well known, I’ll explain the set up, in case you are having trouble visualising, but really, you need to get a copy. The structure of the book is that it begins with a toddler and a duck walking, with the text “Toddle waddle” Then on the next page it shows the same, but with a woman wearing flip flops, with the text “Flip flop, toddle waddle.” It continues adding more animals in the line behind them, and the sound effects they make.

Anyway, this was the perfect book for working on listening and making sounds. Often when we talk about sensory play, we get caught up in messy play and forget our other senses (or at least, I do). So I wanted to ensure I covered the other senses too.

The activity

The idea was to find items from around the house to make the different sounds represented in the book. I thought that actually choosing the sounds would be a fun activity for Jumbles, but didn’t think Bean would be able to, so I waited for Bean’s nap. I did think that Jumbles would need a bit of help, so I collected up a lot of the musical toys and things that I thought might be useful and brought them into the living room. I purposefully didn’t bring enough to do all of the sounds, so that once we’d done a few Jumbles could start to try Looking further afield. I didn’t want to limit his creativity.toddlewaddle 001

He got really into this part of the activity and loved selecting different sounds. We worked through the pages, so we started with one sound, then on the next page added a new sound and then repeated the first, building up until we had reached the midpoint of the book where they stop, and watch a beach, with lots of new noises.

Initially, we just put the instruments down around us after we had played the sound, but Jumbles kept forgetting which order to play them, so I laid them out in straight lines, this worked much better.

We then, had to create 12 new sounds for the next part of the book, this is where his interest started to wane, it was also where Bean woke up, so I decided not to do sounds for the dancing and playing bit right at the end. Instead I wanted to reread the book with him from the beginning using his sound effects.

Bean really enjoyed listening to me read, while Jumbles playetoddlewaddle 010d instruments, and she joined in making noises on the drum etc. I want this blog to be honest and realistic, so instead of glossing over and saying everything continued beautifully, I will tell you that at this point, Jumbles got fed up and started shoving the instruments around and rolling around on the space hopper. I think I structured it a bit too much, so my advice if you’re doing this with the same ages, is, don’t worry too much about sticking to the story with the noises, just get them enjoying making the sound effects how they want. Try to avoid controlling too much as I think I took some of the fun out of it. Or it could just be that it took too long. I do plan on doing it again with Bean though, when Jumbles is at preschool, as she was really enjoying hearing the noises.

If you want inspiration for what to use for different sound effects, and find it hard to tell in the pictures, this is what we used (remember, a 3 year old picked some of them, if you’re thinking they’re odd choices):

Toddle waddle – Drumtoddlewaddle 024

Flip Flop – baby shoes

Hurry Scurry – egg shaker

Clip Clop – Stacking cups (banged on floor, or against each other)

Ting-a-ling – Bike bell

Leap creep – Slide whistle

Buzz buzz – kazoo

Flitter flutter- fanned paper

Boing Boing – bouncy ball, later changed to space hopper

Splish Splash – rice shaker

Puff Puff – Balloon pump

roly poly – bottle

Crunch Munch – biting a breadstick (typically we had run out of apples)

Slurp slurp – Drink with a straw

Chitter chatter – shaker

Helter Skelter – ball drop toy

See Saw – The scratchy instrument shaped like a frog (sorry, don’t know name!)

Snip Snap – The jaws from a toy digger

Ping Pong – a plastic plate

Choo Choo – a harmonica

So, in conclusion, use this as an activity for sound effects, but perhaps don’t structure as much, talk about what sounds they can hear, can they mimic those sounds using items in the room. Can they tap out the rhythm of the words with the drum?

I promise, my next book will not be Julia Donaldson, or Nick Sharratt, I do realise that’s all I’ve done so far! Honestly, I do love other authors too.

External Links:
Buy Toddle Waddle
Borrow from your local library
Toddle Waddle activity sheet