There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

I’ve seen on Pinterest various props for “There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly.” My favourite is the garbage can dressed up as an old lady, but if space and storage is an issue – then it’s not a practical prop to make. Here’s something I came across and did my own take on it. They used a Kleenex box, but we decided to use a baby wipe container instead for durability.

Cost of project: $2.80 + coloured printing

You can also use a recycled baby wipe container if you know of a parent or caregiver that uses them too!

I used Publisher to find clipart for the song and found the old lady template somewhere in cyber space! I’d love to track down who made it so that I can give them credit!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly


  1. Print the old lady template on cardstock for durability. Laminate if you have access. If not, just use packing tape. Cut out shapes.
  2. Print the animal template. Laminate if you have access. If not, use packing tape. Cut out shapes.
  3. Rip off flap for the baby wipe container. You may need to cut some of the inside silicone for a deeper mouth.
  4. Use a hot glue gun to adhere the old lady to the container.
  5. Optional: use construction paper to decorate the outside of the container.

When you’re performing, just throw the animal into the mouth of the old lady!

Lyrics to the Song

My coworkers and I were discussing the lyrics to “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and consensus is that it’s a little grim to sing perhaps she’ll die. I’ve been in a storytime where the programmer has used that lyric, and I thought it wasn’t such a good idea. We decided that perhaps she’ll cry sounds much better!

Programmers, what do you use?

Free Printable: Back to School Bookmarks

Anyone else tired on the first day of school? I am! Here’s something new I tried out this year to help with the lineups at the desk for back to school reading materials.

I inserted these bookmarks into my favourite books in YA and JUV fiction. Just ask the kids or parents to browse the recommended reads. Simple, but effective!

Click here for free PDF download for bookmarks

Play Date With a Book

Summer Reading Club PLAY

Hooray! Summer Reading Club is finally here. I love, love, love the theme for this year. PLAY!

In February, I did the famous “Blind Date With A Book” for the adults, and the kids did feel left out. So, this summer, I decided to run the program “Play Date With a Book” and it went off with a hit!

How to Play

1. Each bag has 1 book hidden inside with descriptors on the outside

2. Kids choose a bag that they’d like to read.

3. Inside, I tucked in a survey and when they returned the survey to the desk, they got an extra ballot for the weekly prize.

Materials Needed

As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of low budget programming. Even though my¬†current library has a healthy children’s programming budget, I still try to find fun projects that we can run on a low budget.

– Paper bags (40 bags for $1.25 at Dollar Tree)

– Markers

– Stickers (optional)

– Books

– Mailing labels (240 labels for $1.25 at Dollar Tree)

Bottom line, this program is cheap to run at your library!

How did it go?

I checked the books out onto my program card so I could track the stats. The circulation staff was instructed to override the checkout. If you’re running with SirsiDynix Symphony, this is easy to do. Otherwise, you can count them when you’re done.

We had them labeled them into three categories:

1. Preschool-Grade 2

2. Grades 3-4

3. Grades 5+

We made about 80 bags, and they all flew off the shelve. Later today, we’ll be making another batch of 80.

I highly recommend this program, it’s CHEAP and it will boost your circulation.

Much thanks to my Library Assistant Lori who took the time to write some of the cutest messages on the bags!


Play Date With a Book

Low budget display for Summer Reading Club

Play Date With a Book

Low budget display for Summer Reading Club


I put in this survey to get some feedback.