Friday, November 16, 2012

There was an old lady who...swallowed a pie

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's my favorite story to tell: I know an old lady who swallowed a pie by Alison Jackson.

No surprise and I'm sure some of you talented people have flannelized it.  I enjoy telling this with my old lady puppet.  My pieces are laminated paper and they slide (pretty) easily into her belly.  The kids get a MAJOR kick out of seeing the 10 layer cake, especially, go all the way down.  (The words to the story, by the way, are written on the backs of all these pieces.  Shhhhhh!)

There are some fun storytelling techniques you can do with this story.  The kids always repeat the final refrain "that Thanksgiving pie that was MUCH TOO DRY!"  As the story progresses and you are adding more and more items, I also like to sway from side to side as I'm telling it and the kids join in on this.  It is also fun to do a low and grumbly voice for the cider "that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her."

Older preschool children enjoy this and I've found it to be absolutely perfect for kindergarten and first grade.

Flannel Friday is today!  The Flannel Friday website is a great place for information.  Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes is the lovely hostess for today.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flannel Friday: Pizza Chant!

Pizza Chant

8 pieces of pizza
tasty as can be,
______ can eat a slice
but leave some for me!

Yum, yum, that was fun!
We love a pizza party.

Today is Flannel Friday! Check that link for more info.  Miss Mollie is the hostess for today and all contributors will be pinned on our Pinterest page - yay!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flannel Friday: 5 Little Turtles

These are dollar store turtles sunning themselves on "rocks" by the "lake".  They're having a GREAT day until, uh oh!, who is that sneaking out from the grass?'s Mr. Snake!  "Agh! said the turtle and he jumped in the lake!"

How many turtles are left?  Let's count them.

I didn't use a specific rhyme for this - instead, we just talked through our turtles sitting in the sun on the rocks until Mr. Snake comes by to cause trouble!  Then we recounted turtles and so on.  I did this for all three age groups & it was successful - the pre-k got into it the most & that was great.  This was a bit of a last minute effort that turned out, for the most part, pretty well! The group I visited today doesn't do well with longer puppet shows, so my standby option of the Tortoise and the Hare was out.

If you are curious about the prop itself - that's just a box covered with paper and gray felt rocks.

I am happy to be hosting Flannel Friday today; a dream come true!  Check out the FF page for all the details and the Pinterest page is beyond fab!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flannel Friday Roundup: 10-12-12

What an honor to be hosting Flannel Friday today - dream come true! So many wonderful treasures for all of us to be inspired by.

There's cute sheep to count over at Miss Mary Liberry. The activity was inspired by a book but turned into a color AND number recognition game. She even shares her super cute pattern!

Miss Courtney has a match game for community helpers and the tools they might use. She uses community helper puppets as flannel pieces and handmade tools to visually describe their work. She's also got a good song to use for this theme (we may need more info on the "firefighter pokey"!)

Lisa at Libraryland presents some marvelous storytime props inspired by Future Librarian Superhero. She's got a house with windows, a barn, and a black one for stick puppets. Isn't Flannel Friday so amazing for inspiration?

Amanda at Trails and Tales has great ideas for birds and extended ideas helping the children interact with their environment. She includes a link to a chickadee pattern that is oh so lovely and includes an adorable bird's nest being built on her head!

Miss Mollie has a flannel version of Way up High in the Apple Tree - a storytime favorite for sure!

Dorothy of the Wielded Pen has an ever changing chameleon to share with everyone.  She brings up something very important, too: don't forget about animal print flannel pieces...they're a resource!

Lucy at In the Children's Room brings you an easy, colorful idea for presenting dots and art in storytime.  What a great reminder that art can be found in so many places, even for the little guy who can only draw a squiggly line.

Sarah at Read it Again has a timely flannel (at least in my state where the Fair opened this weekend!) She was inspired by Ram Sam Storytime to create fair food on a stick and sing about it to a catchy tune. She also reminds us that craft foam is a lovely alternative to flannel, in case anyone wants to branch out (check out her pizza made of craft foam...YUM!)

Katie at Story Time Secrets says G is for Gumball.  She was inspired by a jump rope rhyme you might remember, too, and she has a great idea that works on many levels. And all kids like gumballs, right?

Carolyn at Risking Failure brings us just a lovely idea for bears (non fiction) and uses (what looks to be) cookie sheets as magnetic backdrops so the kids can move things around and match facts as they see fit.  A very lovely job indeed!

Everybody's favorite cat is back! That's Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons brought to us by Cate of Storytiming. We all love you, Pete!

I'm Sarah, your happy hostess, and my Flannel Friday contribution for this week is a little prop I used successfully for 5 Little Turtles.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ten Timid Ghosts: Flannel Friday Halloween!

I bought Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connel for my son at a grocery store checkout line (ha!) and I tell ya, he loooves it.  I've wanted to "make" it for over a year and I finally did it!  In the story, a witch moves into a haunted house that 10 ghosts live in.  She gets the ghosts out by scaring them with her spooky props (or dressing up as something spooky - like a vampire).  It was a pinch labor intensive, but I think I'll get some wear out of it.  Though I love the book and intended the house to be FOR the book, I have found it cumbersome to actually use.  I've updated this post below and added a ghost rhyme a co-worker found online for me, and it seems to work a lot better.


The haunted house itself is made of a box lid.  The ghosts in the haunted house are made of cardstock with a small magnet on the bottom. I needed a way to get them in and out pretty easily, and magnets just seemed to be a good idea. The back of the house is below.  The ghosts extend past the curtains by a bit so they are easy to take off as they get scared away.

Here is a cute ghost rhyme found on that turns out to be super cute for this house.  Obviously, you'll change it to Ten Little Ghosts and adjust accordingly.  I added my felt faces to sticks so they can pop out, scare the ghost, and then be put back.  All in all, this rhyme works better than the original idea I had - one of those cases where the book works better on its own!

Five Little Ghosts
Five little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
Along came a funny skeleton and chased one ghost away.
Four little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
Along came a giant monster and chased one ghost away.
Three little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
Along came a tiny spider and chased one ghost away.
Two little ghosts in a haunted house at play,
Along came an ugly witch and chased one ghost away.
One little ghost in a haunted house at play,
Along came a big fat cat and chased the ghost away.
Can you find the ghosts and say:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ghosts come back and play!

Flannel Friday is having a Halloween Extravaganza today; Miss Mary is hosting the Boo Bash! You can get overloaded with Flannel Friday fun over at Pinterest.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2012

12 Little Donuts

I found this idea on Inner Child Fun and it is basically cute overload.  These donuts {please do not fall out of your chairs!} are made of socks from the dollar store. You cut the toe off, roll them, and decorate - check out the Inner Child Fun link for the details.

I adapted the familiar rhyme so many of us use already:

12 little donuts in the donut shop
Yummy and warm with sprinkles on top
____ came along with a quarter to pay
She took one home and ate it right away...Yum! Yum!

Don't eat too many donuts!

Flannel Friday is what today is about and you can read about it on Flannel Friday's own website!  Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce is today's round-up hostess, and Pinterst is THE place for Flannel Friday overload!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Not Flannel Friday: Dear Zoo in 3D

I thought it might be fun to do a 3D version of the classic Dear Zoo, using some of the finger puppets I have on hand.  I tried really hard to find a small finger puppet snake, but I had to settle for a rubber one instead.  I found this cute box at the Dollar Tree and shoved my little animals in there (verrry tight squeeze!)  I'm going to have my eye out for a bigger box.

In telling the story, I just repeated the refrain from the book using the animals I chose.  It's a flexible way to tell it, and you can use any animals you have on hand.

I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet
and they sent me ____________!
He was too _______ , so I sent him back.

(you end with a dog - who is "perfect!" and you keep him!)

Flannel Friday is the fun we are having today - you can read about it here

Loons and Quines is our host for the day.

And Pinterest, of course, is the place for the best Flannel Friday eye candy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Lots of slithery, snakey fun with this rhyme:

ONE little snake looking for something to do
He finds another and that makes TWO.
Two little snakes wrapped around a tree,
Another slithers up and that makes THREE.
Three little snakes by the garden door,
They see another and that makes FOUR.
Four little snakes notice one more arrive,
Basking in the sun, the snakes make FIVE.
(rhyme credit: Storytime Magic)

And here's a good song to use, which you could also use various flannel pieces for:

The snake in the grass went ssss, ssss, ssss, the snake in the grass went ssss, all day long.
The turtle on the rock goes snap, snap, snap . . .
The frog in the pond goes ribbit, ribbit, ribbit . . .
The bee in the tree goes buzz, buzz, buzz . . .
The rabbit in the hole goes hop, hop, hop. . .

Today's flannel friday is hosted by Notes from the Story Room, and the Flannel Friday website is always a great place for details!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pete the Cat

No new ideas here, but I still wanted to share my version of ol' Pete the Cat!  I used the "stiff" felt from Hobby Lobby - they sell it in the most perfect shade of blue for cool Pete.  Can't wait to use it this fall!

Check out Flannel Friday's website for more information on Flannel Friday; Mollie is this week's host!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Manners Storytime

Manners is a fun storytime option, but it kept my wheels turning for a while, particularly on a flannel option.  I decided upon Bears on Chairs, a darling book and good for a range of ages.  My flannel version reminds me of a question I ask myself a lot "does this extend or enhance the book itself?" You know, some books really are best as books!  I don't ever want to make a flannel for the sake of making it - I like to make it if it extends the chance of interaction with the kids, extendes their chance of interacting with the story, or if it might enhance the process (visual or otherwise) of telling it to a large group.

What ended up working for me was to just interact with the bears and their chairs, without using the (great!) rhyming text from the book.  When I tried it with the text, it seemed forced because I was trying to move bears and chairs a bit too much.  The older toddlers responded the best to the bears, counting chairs and then ultimately having them share.  It is an easy and cute story to just talk through, ask open ended questions, and let your kids watch the final resolution and cheer for bears who share.

I brought out my 3 mice friends to sing this adorable song:

3 Nice Mice
3 Nice Mice
See how nice they are
See how nice they are

They're always polite when they nibble their cheese
They never forget to say thank-you or please
They cover their noses whenever they sneeze
ahchoo! ahchoo! ahchoo!
3 Nice Mice
3 Nice Mice

Funny mouse stories: the baby group seemed a bit frightened of the mice - something that never crossed my mind!  If the mouse in the middle looks more loved than the others, the middle mouse is a a most-important member of my own family, while the other two are "library mice."

Line-up of great book options:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flannel Friday: Ocean ideas

This story, Mitch the fish, is from the lovely Storytiming blog.  I made the story prop bigger to suit my audience a bit better.  Mitch the Fish is a fish who changes colors with the swish of his tail.  He has a cute song he sings and he turns the colors of other things he sees in the ocean.  The full story is on the Storytiming blog.  The fish scene is made out of a box lid covered in paper.  The string you see went around my neck, so I could have both of my hands free to change Mitch's color and be more interactive with the kids.  This was a really fun story to tell, and the kids really enjoyed the fish changing colors. A lot! Sweet preschoolers think of you as a magician when you pull your storytime tricks out.

Another popular rhyme was the 5 Little Jellyfish rhyme from Nikarella.  These were so fun to make!  Definitely use wrapping paper ribbon (twirling ribbon) because it gives the jellyfish some great movement.

Five Little Jellyfish
5 little jellyfish swimming by the shore, the yellow one got lost and that left 4.
4 little jellyfish swimming in the sea, the bright blue one swam far away and that left 3.
4 little jellyfish in the ocean bule, the purple one took a seahorse ride and that left 2.
2 little jellyfish swimming in the sun, the oragne one took a dive and that left 1.
1 little jellyfish swimming all alone, it was time for him to go home and that left none!

I had a giant sea shell that I brought out for this song.  I held it to my ear and pretended it was telling me about the creatures in the ocean.  The idea was to pass out the ocean animals and when I called a particular animal, those children would hold them up and show me their animal's "movement."  Well, since the audience is a large daycare, this didn't work out as great as it might in an audience with more parental help.  Sooo, in the subsequent tellings, I kept the props with me and after singing the sea shell's song, I held up the ocean creature and we all did the movement together.

Sea shell, sea shell, sing a song for me
Tell me about the ocean
Tell me about the sea.
In my ocean, there's _______.

In my ocean - there's a seahorse (bob up and down), a whale (make a big "thwack!" with your hands for a tail), a fish (fish face), an octopus (octopus arms), a starfish (arms like a starfish), and a shark (chomp, chomp!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fried ham, fried ham

This book is full of fun songs for sing alongs and the fried ham song, in particular, made me want to share and have fun with school age groups.   If you aren't familiar with this song, you sing it in different ways to make it terribly silly.  It goes "next verse same as the first, Texas accent makes it worse (or, underwater makes it worse; or, opera voice makes it worse.)" I gathered images of the items (some Microsoft Word images, some Google images) and turned it into a poster via Microsoft Publisher.  I've done it with a field trip and a class visit and success!  The best part of sharing this silly poster was the kids easily started volunteering their own ideas for singing it - including pirate accent and with dentures.  HA!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flannel Friday: 5 Ferocious Lions

I made these not-so-ferocious lions to go with a rhyme from Finger Tales by Joan Hilyer Phelps.

Deep in the jungle
What did I hear?
Five ferocious lions
roaring loud and clear.
"ROAR!" said the lions
"SCAT!" said I.
And one ferocious lion
ran away...Good bye!

This lion craft is also from the book above.  These required some prep work for my daycare group, but they really enjoyed them and I think they're cute, cute!  The kids' versions, of course, were colored and WAY better than mine.

Books used for lion storytime:

Roar! A noisy counting book by Pamela Edwards.  A lion tries to find friends, but his roar scares them away before he finds a friend.  I jumbled laminated numbers 1-10 at the bottom of my magnet board.  After each grouping of animals, one child came up, found the number and we put our numbers in order 1 to 10 on the board.  This was a fun way to extend the story and get some number practice in.

Sitting down to eat by Bill Harley. This features a lion and way too many other guests coming over for a party.

We're going on a lion Hunt by Margery Cuyler.  We didn't read this one, but acted it out instead. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flannel Friday: Monday the Bullfrog

 Here's a cute little story that I originally got from this cute frog book that my son received when he was a tiny baby: Monday the Bullfrog by Matthew Van Fleet.

In short, Monday is a very hungry bullfrog, and he eats something different on each day of the week. The story gives you clues like "crunchy and red" (a crab) or "furry and white" (mouse). I cheated a teensy bit with the caterpillar and bee - changed those from the book, but for the life of me, I could NOT make a firefly out of flannel on the day I made this set! I think it's fun to have the animal-food-items poking out of their paper pockets, just a bit, so the kids get a small clue of what they'll be. I tell this story with a frog puppet, but you could also use just a flannel frog. The big surprise at the end is that on Saturday, Monday the bullfrog wants something sweet to eat . . . so he eats "you!" In the back of the book itself there is a mirror; I use a little dollar store variety. (Mine is a bit big, but it is easier for the kids to get the idea, I think).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Three Little Pigs

I did a Pig Storytime this week and we had a good time with the Three Little Pigs.  I have some fabric houses that I use for a variety of things, but they were originally made for this story and these finger puppets.  The fabrics are representational, ah hem, of bricks, sticks and straw.

Doing a finger puppet show for a group of kids is not the best medium, but I did it on purpose. I did it to model for them what they could do with their craft for the day.  I think that's important.  Yes, we do a lot of really neat things in storytime and we have kinds of neat props and puppets.  I told them "those finger puppets are really silly, aren't they?  But they're so fun! And YOU can do this yourself at home!"

My group is a daycare, so the teachers took their "stick puppets" to pass out later in the day.  Oh my, these kids were sooo excited over them, and I had little voices ringing out all over asking "where's my pigwolf??"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flannel Friday: Trashy Town

Trashy Town is one of my favorite books - I love the rhythm and the option for motions and movements.  For trash storytime, I made signs for each of the stops Mr. Gilly makes in the book, and I placed some "trash" near the location.  I place these all around our program room.  As we read the story, we stop, look for the given place (the doctor's office, the pizza parlor, etc) and selected kids get up and pick up the trash for me.  I have a big dump truck that the kids put the trash in (sorta like a garbage truck!) and then we do the refrain together, making appropriate motions as we go:

"Dump it in! Smash it down! Drive around the trashy town!"

I've done this storytime several times and the kids really get into picking up the trash and doing the refrain of the book.  

I'm afraid I don't have a source for this cute rhyme; I've had it in my rhyme box for a while. It has some great action elements to it that the kids really got into when I did it in storytime. The trucks were drawn, but the "look" of them is clearly based off of Mr. Gilly's trash truck.

Five little Garbage trucks painted green
Picking up trash to keep the town clean
They work and they work until they fill up
Now one of the garbage trucks drives to the dump!
Back up!
Beep! Beep! Beep!

Here's another rhyme; it's from Awesome Storytime. This is a great action rhyme that the kids just loved.  I borrowed a cute trash can from a coworker and gave each child a colored piece of trash.  I then called up each color, the kids put the trash in the trash can, and we acted out this rhyme.

Pick up garbage and throw it in the bin!
Push it down, and stomp it in!
Carry the cans to the street
for the garbage trucks to eat.
When the truck comes roaring by,
workers lift the can up high.
Garbage falls in to the back.
Crush it, mash it, smash it flat!
Set the cans down with a thump.
Now drive that garbage to the dump!

Super cute craft idea that I cannot take credit for!  It came from Awesome Storytime, too.

And the lovely books we used:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caterpillars & Butterflies

I tend to take on ideas in the 11th hour.  Bad news for getting things like statistics done but good news for my storytime audiences! This idea, orignially from Read it Again is GENIUS, and even though it was not my original plan, it was too darling to pass up.  I had already been inspired by Miss Mary Liberry's butterfly design.

I got 5 booktape boxes and covered them in black construction paper.  I put velcro dots on the front and back.  The caterpillars start out on the front of the boxes, and we use the rhyme "5 little caterpillars and not one more, spun a cocoon and then there were 4." {Rhyme from the book Storytime Magic.} Replace each caterpillar with a cocoon as you go, placing the caterpillar in your box.

To finish, you can use "then one cocoon opened up in the sun / a butterfly came out and that makes one..."  But, I really liked the idea of clapping for the butterfly while it came out & that is what I did today, just letting the rhyme drop after the cocoon line and having the kids clap so the butterfly will emerge.  Each of the butterflies has fishing line taped to its back, so you just grab the line from the back of your board and give it a tug.  Since the butterflies are flannel, they lightly stick to the board and the string doesn't have to be held taut.  The part I love the most about this idea is how visual and symbolic it is for the actual caterpillar/cocoon process - I feel like it is a great way to help kids visualize it and the surprise of a butterfly is truly surprising and delightful.

This set for the Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of the first things I made when I started at the library - it is showing its age, but it was a labor of love at the time.  When I tell this story, I keep the pieces in my lap, hold them up at their time, and have the caterpillar munch through them.  When done, I just set them on the floor or a chair beside me.  I think the size of my pieces are the main appeal, as well as cute Mr. Caterpillar. 

I have a piece of brown suede fabric that I use for the cocoon, just wrapping it around him and mentioning that he fell asleep for two weeks.  Then the warm sun comes out and little caterpillar begins munching his way out of the cocoon and, surprise, butterfly wings!  Anyone who reads this story loves it, of course, but it is a tribute to the story itself that it is so flexible.  It can be done from young gradeschool down - even babies - you just limit the details and even edit out some of the food if needed.  But the story stands on its own, to be sure, and is a delight.

And here's a classic bee rhyme, just for fun:

Here is a beehive
But where are the bees?
Hidden inside where nobody can see.
Let's count the bees as they come out of the hive -
1, 2, 3, 4, 5!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Flannel Friday: Rain, Clouds & Rainbows

I had so many ideas for this storytime that I actually FORGOT to do the one I was most excited about! Too many fun things (pretty sure it is the distracts me!)

Interactive Rhyme.  I did an interactive version of 10 Little Raindrops and 10 Little Umbrellas.  I had 10 kids be umbrellas (sitting on the floor) and 10 kids be raindrops (standing above them) and we went through our rhyme.  I also counted down, so that the raindrops went away - the sun came out and then we counted down our umbrellas and put them "away."

The raindrops were made with kebab skewers and fishing line.  The number of raindrops on the line reflected what number it was (#1 had one raindrop, #2 had two, etc., all the way up to 10.)  The raindrops were really fun to look at and shake - they had a great rain effect.  {Be warned: they are prone to twisting & tangling!}

Here's the scoop on this kind of activity.  Honestly, a bit of an overreach for my audience, which is a daycare.  They don't have the immediate parental support of a mom nudging them and saying "it's okay!"  And some of them are younger and not the best age for this activity - which is probaby best for older 3's and even better for 4's.  Super fun to do and they did like it, but I could see it was pushing them and possibly would be better in an audience with more parent support and fewer tiny ones.

Rainbow Stew is the adorable activity I forgot (and had been so excited about).  I first saw it here.  Just too cute! Put all those pieces in a pot & use this rhyme (also from Roving Fiddlehead Kitlit).

Take an apple
Put it in the pot
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out. What will it be?
The prettiest red you ever did see.

Puppet Activity.   Today the kids helped Woolly find the most appropriate shoes to wear in the rain.  I used some flannel pockets and put the shoes in the pocket.  Selected children got to pull the shoe out and tell us if it was a good rain shoe or not.  In the end, Woolly was SUPER excited because the rain boots we found for him matched an umbrella he already has - way to coordinate, Woolly!

The craft was such a huge hit!  Oh my - I saw this in a catalog of all things a few years back (like, just a decoration in a staged children's bedroom.)  I used wrapping paper tissue for the rainbow streamers, but you could also use crepe paper / streamers.

Books we read are below - both really fun with great language and rhythm.  It was definitely a full storytime!

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