Thankfully, it seems that the toddlers in this area were looking for something to do, we had 12 kids the first week and 22 by the third!
Our first week of toddler time featured Mud to go along with the summer reading program Dig into Reading.
We read Stuck in the mud by Jane Clarke. This is a cute story about a chick who is 'stuck' in some mud. Mother hen tries to pull him out to no avail. Despite the icky mud other animals around the farm jump in to help and they all end up getting stuck as well. This is a fun rhyming story with a surprise ending. You could use this with an older group and have then act out some of the parts as the animals are repeatedly pushing and pulling.
Mud by Wendy Cheyette Lewison. This book is technically a reader, so it is a smaller size than I prefer to use, but the illustrations are big so they were not hard for the kids to see. What I really enjoyed about this book is that in the story there is mud on various parts of the kid in the story so the kids could point to themselves to show where mud was. One phrase 'mud everywhere' was repeated a few times, so when we got to that point we waved our arms around in the air.
Our last story was a flannel version of Emma Dodd's Dog's colorful day. As dog goes through his day he gets various spots of color on him until he is so dirty that he needs a bath. This is a good book for both color recognition and counting. I like to have the kids call out the color as I put it on dog. Then before his bath we count all of the spots.
Because you can't have mud without a little bit of rain first we sang Carole Peterson's Singing in the rain. This is a fun song with added motions at each verse. In between the motions you 'sing in the rain' so we put our hands up and dance.
I found a great idea for a song about mud puddles with Tara of Storytime with Miss Tara and friends. She gave all the kids yarn to make a mud puddle to dance in as they sang Mud puddle jump by Kindermusik. This was a lot of fun, though some of the younger 2 year olds just kind of watched the rest of us. They were really excited when they found out that they got to take the brown yarn circles (aka mud puddles) home with them.
Because I like to use shakers or scarves with every program we sang The Learning Groove's Hip hop body rock. It really had nothing to do with mud, but has the kids shaking a shaker by various body parts. It tied in well with the book mud and is great for working on body parts as well as following direction.
Our craft was 'mud painting' where the kids get to finger paint with chocolate pudding. They LOVED this. I am not sure the parents were so keen on it (most of the crafts were left behind) but I think this is one of those activities where the experience is more fun than the end result. Some of the kids were happy to just sit and smear the pudding around. One little guy kept at it for 30 minutes and was covered up to his elbows. Luckily we have a sink just off of the program room, so washing up was really easy.