Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flannel Friday: Princess and the Pea

Not truly a flannel contriubtion today, but I feel like it does fit the overall spirit of Flannel Friday!  Here's a fun way to tell the story of the Princess and the Pea.  I'm sure the idea is not original, but I did not base my particular idea on anyone else.

Start saving your cereal boxes! (And oatmeal, and envelopes, and Lean Cuisine!) Behind each piece of fabric is any random box, as seen here.  I considered making them all match size-wise, but really thought the mismatched pattern was more fun.  Because the boxes are different depths, this mattress stack ends up being a bit tall - typically taller than your average storytime guest while seated on their bottom.  I think that height makes the story more enchanting - truly "bigger than life" to them.

As you tell the story, you'll place your pea under the first box.  It's never tipped over on me, but just practice to make sure you get it balanced.  My little pea is made of play-doh and left to dry (sorry, the picture isn't great.)  Once dry, it was painted with fabric paint (no reason...just what I had) to give it a better green color.  The princess on top is a random (old) princess doll that we happen to have at our Library. I am sure you have one, too. You could also use a Barbie, if you had one of those sitting around somewhere.

If anyone would like the text that I use when telling the story, I would be happy to send it to you (just leave me a comment).  It is a very simple text that emphasizes the Prince's search for a real Princess.  In the pouring down rain, a girl comes to the door claiming to be a princess, and the mother of the prince (skeptical) goes to hide the pea beneath all the mattresses -the best mattresses, covered in her finest fabrics.  You can have the kids help you make rain and thunder for the storm, knock on the castle door, and feel the soft fabrics of the mattress. 

This story has been a huge hit whenever I use it.  It is very appealing to young gradeschool class visits, as well as storytimes for the preschool age.  It is a good reminder of how powerful storytelling can book, just the power of a great story. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Flannel Friday: Hidden in the green grass

I planned this to go along with a green storytime theme.

Made up this little song / rhyme:

Behind the green grass
You just never know
What you might see
Or what might grow.

The kids and I sang this together, and they guessed what we might find in the grass. You could also name the object (perhaps hiding it in the room) and choose a child to go find it.  I had too many kids to do that successfully, but this was still fun.  I got a few guesses that I didn't have (mouse, rabbit, leaf), but I just suggested a close alternative or looked in my grass and said "Nope! They're not in here!"

In my grass was a ladybug, baseball, snake, caterpillar, ant, butterfly, frog, turtle, bee, flower and rock. There is definitely room for other creatures or items...I think the surprising ones are particularly fun (like the baseball).

Now, I got super lucky on this because a coworker has the little grass arrangement you see in the photo.  I've seen these around, but I've never thought about using it for storytime.  I used bamboo skewers (like for veggie kebabs) and they easily poke through the grass.  If you don't have a coworker with a box of fake grass, you can easily make one with a small box.  Not quite as darling, I agree, but it would still work (if you forgot all about the awesome fake grass!)

Let's go GREEN!

I like doing storytimes that focus on a single color because it allows you to bring in many variations on a theme and you get some unexpected combinations. For Saint Patrick's Day, this is particularly fun and helpful because I'm not a huge fan of any St. Patrick's Day books. (I'm sure there are some gems out there that I'm completely missing.)

Books for green storytime:
Where is the green sheep by Mem Fox
Green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss

Flannel Story:
Rattlin bog. I had a version of this, but I gave it up for Melissa's one here, because it was better!

Green eggs and ham game, (again) thanks to Melissa of Mel's Desk. This was so fun and such a good extension of the book. Ours very quickly turned into a chant and the kids loved coming up when their color was called. (I made 25+ so each child had a turn.)

Songs / Rymes:
5 Green and Speckled frogs (of course!)

Interactive Rhyme:
Hidden in the Green grass.  This will be my Flannel Friday contribution for this week, and we really had fun with it!  If you don't have time to make one, you can probably pull from various animals, bugs, items that you already have flannel-ized, and even just use grass on your flannel board.

Behind the green grass
You just never know
What you might see
Or what might grow

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Flannel Friday: House storytime

I love houses! (real kind & flannel kind)

Here's a cute little rhyme from Finger Tales by Joan Phelps where you build a house with shapes:

Some Houses are wood,
And some are stone.
But let's build one
With shapes alone.
Start with a square
But we won't stop.
Add a triangle
up on the top.
Then a rectangle
for the door.
Now square windows
1, 2, 3, 4!
A little circle
just for fun.
Now our shape house
Is all done!

Though I like the rhyme, I sort of threw it out the window and had the kids help me build the house. We talked about which shapes were which and where they would go. It was so adorable because one little girl put a window on the roof (you know, an attic window!) and another little girl had a fit over that idea - "no, no! we need four windows on the bottom!"

This little flannel is for matching the animal to its home.  I had the homes on the board and then the kids guessed what animals lived inside.  Bee & hive, rabbit & his hole in the grass, turtle and its shell, horse and barn, dog and his dog house, and a bird and her nest. (Not pictured: an owl and a tree).  I made up a little song to introduce the houses:

Oh I have a house, a very fine house
And this house is called a ______ (hive)
Who, who lives in a hive?
Who, who lives in a hive?

I repeated the last lines until a child was chosen and they picked out the correct animal.  Though the song was made up (and not very good!) many kids caught on and were singing with me by the 2nd or 3rd animal.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Mitten

My favorite version of The Mitten is by Jim Aylesworth.  I love the context of the grandmother and grandson and the knitted mittens; the details of Barbara McClintock's illustrations are stunning (like the knitted mitten exploding onto the snow into a million yarn pieces).  The story is a classic and so adaptable to many types of tellings. In one of my very first storytimes, I got a giant piece of flannel or fleece fabric and cut out a mitten the size of a small child. I then used our storytime puppets to go inside the mitten and I can still (to this day!) remember seeing those kids respond to the animals being tossed out of my giant, hot-glued mitten.

This version is smaller but still cute. We have this Folkmanis Puppet that comes with an array of forest animal finger puppets. I made a felt mitten and embroidered the edge of both mitten halves for some extra detail. I then hot-glued all of it but one side, and, on that side, I glued velcro tabs so that it can "burst open" and the animals can fall out. Honestly, I love making things like this, but this book can easily stand on its own with no help from me.  Still, it is fun to try it different ways and see if it alters the response of the audience.

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