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Flannel Friday: Song For You Signing Song

Signing songs are one of my favorite storytime activities.

I am very lucky to work alongside a very special librarian named Clara Scheffer. One of her many amazing skills is that she is conversant (if not fluent?) in ASL. Last summer, I was planning my campfire sing-alongs, and went to her for help putting sign language to songs.

I had scoured our collection looking for songs. Since I only know a tiny bit of ASL, I didn’t really know what to look for. I paid attention to pace, looked for repetition don’t know all that much sign language I wasn’t  and came across 6 I thought might work for signing. I made her a mix, and sent her on her way. The next day she came back with 5 of the 6 ready to go.

They are all excellent, but my favorite one is “Song For You” by Jennifer Gasoi. It’s the last track on her album Songs for You. 

An amazing album start to finish!

An amazing album start to finish!

According to Ms Clara, the most important thing to know about putting sign to song is not signing every single word. Sign the words that get the basic meaning across, and/or the signs that are the most fun to sign. In the case of “Song for You” I only use 7 signs: song, for, you, dad, mom, teddy bears, and sparkles.

I use this one to close my Toddler Times on Wed and Thurs. It works for just about any age because it’s repetitive and simple. Plus the pace is perfect: calm and slow. The kids love it, the parents love it, and it’s a great way to wind down even the wiggliest group. Here is a video I made for my toddler timers so they can practice at home.

FF Founder, Mel is hosting this special 2nd Anniversary Flannel Friday! Thanks Mel!

BTW the lovely Jennifer Gasoi ok’d my posting this video.  She’s awesome, and she has a new album coming out very soon. Check out her website!


Flannel Friday: Feed Cookie Monster!!

So this is not a new concept. I know Lisa of Read, Rhyme and Sing #FF’d this a few weeks ago. I was all excited to make this out of actual felt when I remembered item I purchased in a clearance bin about a year ago:

Sesame Street foam puzzle matts

Sesame Street foam puzzle matts

At $3, I thought they were a great find for our toddler playtime toys. Then one of my co-workers told me that (at the time) these types of foam puzzle mats (EVA foam mats) were being pulled from shelves for containing unsafe levels of formamide. Now some might call Ms Debbie a “safety nut”. I don’t know about you, but I think “safety nuts” are pretty awesome to have as coworkers when you work in a busy children’s department.

I didn’t have the heart to throw them away, and they’ve been sitting on a shelf for a more than a year. Flash forward to earlier in the week when I was opening a case of coffee from costco, and I noticed the box makes a perfect “feed the _____” storytime prop. If you look at the image below, you’ll notice there’s a big window/opening on the side of the box so you can reach in and grab a pod.


The box comes perforated in an almost-perfect mouth shape. I immediately thought of the cookie monster puzzle mat. When I held it up to the box it was a nearly perfect fit. I just had to cut little bit on the bottom to fit his giant smile. So I glued the puzzle pieces together (leaving the mouth to pop in and out, of course). I also wanted to cover the box somehow.  So I grabbed a roll of blue duct tape and went to town.

Since this story prop is a little bulky, I wanted to make it flexible. I used velcro to attach Cookie’s face to the front. This way I can use 1 box for a whole slew of different eat-it-all-up stories/activities: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, The Fat Cat, etc.  **BTW: does anyone know if there is an actual name for this type of story. If not #FFers should develop one, right?** 

I couldn’t find any flannel cookies earlier, so here’s a picture of Cookie Monster eating a popsicle.



But maybe CM will get tired of eating cookies and decide to eat some letters, numbers, colors, shapes, fruit, etc.

Oooo! The letter C! Num num num.

Oooo! The letter C! C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me! Cookie cookie cookie starts with C!


And if you search pinterest for “feed the monster” you get about a zillion results. Now, that may seem a little ho-hum, but what’s amazing about the “feed Cookie Monster” concept is that there are a million ways to expand/alter/reuse the concept to keep it interesting. 

Oh! and I almost forgot. I stopped by Michaels for some glue, and as I was running through the impulse-buying section, I spotted these amazing little monster zipper pouches.



These are perfect for some sort of storytime activity involving monsters eating stuff. I don’t have a specific idea for how to use them yet, but for a $1 each I had to snap them up. I bought 4 of them, and can’t wait to think put them to work!

The monsters are hungry!

Happy FF! Sharon is hosting a very special #FFRU this week in many FFers are waxing philosophical  this 2yo blogging tradition: What Does Flannel Friday Mean To Me? 



Flannel Friday: Soup for One

Happy Flannel Friday!

If you haven’t read this adorable counting book, go find it, and read it! It’s adorable.


I’m planning to use this new book at Toddler Time this week. I’m going to try following the book with a repeat/extention. It’s an age-old story: Fly meets soup, fly gets, fly loses soup… One little fly thinks he is getting a big bowl of hot soup all to himself, but one after another unwelcome pals (1, 2, 3…10) try to swoop (or rather, slurp) in on his date. Finally the whole gang is chased away by a great big lizard who swallows down the soup in one big gulp. The bugs all skitter off before he gets a hankering for dessert (the 6-legged kind, if you know what  I mean).

I found a bowl and stuffed it with a bunch of red felt, slapped together some clip art, and voila!

Can you guess which one is the hero of this story? Find the crankiest face...

Can you guess which one is the hero of this story? Hint: find the crankiest face…

We also have this awesome chameleon puppet. So I’m going to try some sleight of hand to have him slurp up the soup.



I have a story extention… Here’s a pdf of this flannelized version of Soup For One. I suppose one could also use it as a craft or take-home activity, if one was so inclined…

Annie is hosting this week at sotommorow. And don’t forget to get yourself on the #FF map!



Flannel Friday Round Up: 12-7-2012

First, a bit of business: Flannel Friday needs needs volunteers to host the roundups January 25 through March 15. If your blog has participated in Flannel Friday three or more times, you’re qualified!

If you’re interested, please read over what you’ll need to do, then email our current Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother Mollie at mollieklancaster {at} gmail {dot} com (or send me a Facebook message) with your preference for dates. And now for the FFRU:

Nothing wrong with having a little junk in the trunk, and this week we have 2 tales of tails.  Linda M. of Notes from the Storytime Room: It’s Not a Worm, It’s a Tail! and Sandy of Storytime Sparks offers this little ditty about Buffalo’s Tail

Sort Some Socks with Miss Mary Liberry. That reminds me, I need to get my laundry out of the dryer!

ok, that’s done…thanks for the reminder Miss Mary!

Oh cool! Check out these awesome Felt Library cards from Abby the Librarian!

Library Quine of Loons and Quines offers a couple of snowman flannel boards, including a very dapper snowgent (Think Don Draper, but with a carrot nose).

Seth of The Voices Inside My Headphones offers this existential flannel board about a rooster to breaking the monotony of farm life: 10 Sleepy Chickens! Love it!

Meghan of Busy Crafting Mommy to make her own delectable version of a Flannel Friday classic: 5 Little Apples.

Can’t…type…must…go…on…phew! that was rough. I got weak from acute cuteness exposure… Get ready to melt when you see world’s most adorable dragons. Bridget of What’s Bridget Reading offers 5 Little Dragons.

Pretty intense, eh?

There’s a Fat Cat on the loose In The Children’s Room. Lucy has captured the madness of this Scandanavian folk icon with a larger-than-life, wild-eyed, hot pink feline.

Lisa of Libraryland offers The Runaway Cookie Parade from a classic storytime resource. The Complete Books of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances by Pam Schiller is a must-read for storytime presenters.

Andrea of Librarian Vs. Storytime…You’re a genius! Just when you think the world has reached the final twist on There Was an Old Lady Who… some wonderfully brilliant goofball finds a way to make the old hilariously new again! I love this one: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Candle Spoiler alert: “Oh, what a scandal!”

Jeanie of Totally Toddler A Good Name For A Teddy Bear. I never would have thought of making this into a flannelboard, Jeanie. I am definitely going to make this for my next Teddy Bear Sleepover.

Annie of So Tomorrow made a shadow puppet version of a book I one my all-time favorite books from childhood Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick.

Tracey of 1234 More Storytime asks her storytimers to decide which animals are cuddly in this Yes Day by Amy Kraus Rosenthal.

Oh, and I almost forgot here’s my version of Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I never would have attempted this one if @nikarella of . (and while this requires a ton of cutting and magnetizing, I’m posting a pdf of the this  magnet board, because it actually works great in storytime.

Finally, I’d like to follow up on my Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Giveaway. Since I didn’t announced a deadline in the original post, everyone who commented on the original post is eligible (that means you Meagan!) In fact, I’ll leave the drawing open all weekend. Enter to win my (long-ago-promised) demo version of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, by commenting on the original post from back in October before the Bears kick off (at noon CST). I will announce the winner at half-time. (Hopefully this game will be less devastating than last week’s game because I’m on the brink of a serious football-season meltdown. Bear down!)


Flannel Friday: Stuck!

Hi Folks! Long time no blog!

In October, my YS dept presented our second annual Latest and Greatest in Children’s Books teacher workshop. All the material covered has to newly published (released between October 2011-September 2012, so the challenge is picking flannelizable material from a small selection of books.

Earlier this year @nikarella of Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime made the impossible possible. She made a flannelized (actually magnetized version of Stuck! by Oliver Jeffers. I read this book when it first came out, and I love this book…it’s almost flannelizable, except for the fact that flannelizing it would be TOTALLY INSANE! It’s such an absurdly madcap story, with so many pieces, only a maniac would flannelize this story! Leave it to one of original #FF bloggers, to be that maniac! I never would have considered doing this if you hadn’t done it first! Thanks lady.

Here’s my version:

Help! I forgot my tree!

Help! I forgot my tree!

Still, I wan’t quite ready to make it happen, until, well, I had to. There are a lot of pieces, but now that it’s done, I am so glad I put in the time because it’s a huge hit in storytime.

Oh, as you can see in the picture, I don’t have an actual tree to stick to the flannelboard. I actually made one, but about 5 minutes before opening the doors for  the program, I left it at home. I was frantic, until I realized, duh, the white board is magnetized, and even the most drawing impaired person can draw a tree on the spot. Plus, my tree was a little clunky, and prone to crinkling, falling and other flannelizing disasters anyway, so I’m sticking with the drawn version in the future.

And just to make flannelizing Stuck easier for the teachers, and now you, dear readers, here’s the pdf I gave to all the teachers who attending the Latest and Greatest 2012.

Just download, print, laminate, cut, magnetize…and (finally!) you’re ready to go:


Cheers dears! And I’m hosting the round up this week, so check back later tonight for the some more flannelized wackiness!


Flannel Friday: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons… Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Flannel Friday!

I’ve been in a storytime/program tornado this fall. I keep promising to get back in the swing of blogging, but then I’ve seriously been so busy, that I just run out of time and brain power (seriously, I just typed brian power, and could not figure out what was wrong with itIn preparation for our annual teacher workshop on the Latest and Greatest in Children’s Books, I made 3 flannelboards (compete with patterns) so I have 3 #FF posts ready to go!

Anyway this week is that lovable, easy-going feline Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

I borrowed the pattern from But I wanted to make the shirt open(-able),

Pete is such a dapper dude!

and  (well, and I really I wanted to give Pete a bellybutton)  so I made a few changes.

Pillsbury Meow-boy! Hee Hee!

It’s a little more work, but this one is going to log a lot of  miles, so it’s worth the effort. Anyway click on the link above for MLF version and/or this one: Pete The Cat 4 Groovy Buttons for the pdf pattern I made for the teacher workshop handout.

It occurs to me that I had to do a little trial & error to assemble this little dude. So I will make a copy, so I can take pictures of the  how I put it together. Then I’ll do a special #FF giveaway.

Leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win the demo version of this flannelboard, and you won’t even need the “some assembly required” follow-up post. Cheers!


Step 1: Lay "head" on a flat surface.

Step 1: Lay “head” on a flat surface.




Flannel Friday: Who Gathered Eggs From The Chicken Coop?

Man I can’t keep my dang promises! I’ve keep saying I’ll get back into a regular blogging schedule. I promised to write a love letter to my precious BookScan Station. I promised I’d write more about Bibliobop. But things have been shifting around, and i’ve been feeling a bit half-baked in the brain department.

We had a Busytown Community Helper event. We set up a bunch of stations where the kids met a nurse, a police officer, a newpaper reporter, and a yoga teacher. We had a few other community helpers slated to participate, but they backed out, so we had to put together a few extra activities the week of the event. The fabulous Ms Arianne Carey made a very cool farm station where the kids made a felt farm, collected vegetables according to a recipe, and gathered eggs from a chicken coop. She used butcher paper to make the nests, and arranged them on a bookshelf so it looked like a little chicken coop. Then she placed several egg shakers in each nest, and put our hen puppet for that added bit of authenticity. When the kids came in they grabbed an egg carton, and gathered eggs from the nests.  Isn’t she brilliant?

Anyway, the following Tue, I was planning a farm storytime, and realized it would make an awesome activity. I set it up in a cabinet, closed the doors. Halfway through the storytime, I told the kids about the storytime farm. When I opened the cabinet, the kids gasped in wonder.

I didn’t want the kids to pillage the nests, so when I passed out the egg cartons, I asked the parents to accompany their toddlers to the front. Then I made this little rhyme:

Who gathered eggs from the chicken coop?
Antoni picked 2 eggs from the chicken coop!
pick two!
one, two!
Good for you!



Anyway, it was super fun.

Happy Flannel Friday! Sharon is hosting at Rain Makes Applesauce! 


Flannel Friday: Three Eggs in a Basket

Happy Flannel Friday!

I tried this one last week, and the kids loved it. Three Eggs in A Basket is another brilliant story from Judy Sierra’s Mother Goose’s Playhouse.

It begins with 3 eggs in a basket

Ta da!

we discuss the various eggs. One looks just like the eggs you buy at the grocery store. The second egg is very large. And the third egg is perfectly round and a wee bit soft. Suddenly, the first egg begins to wiggle. And with a crick crack, out pops a baby chick. Then the large egg begins to wiggle. And with a crick crack, out pops a baby duck. Then the round, soft egg begins to wiggle. And with a crick, crack, out pops a baby turtle. (BTW: when I paused after “out pops,” I got some pretty awesome ad libs…e.g. a banana, a present, COOKIES!!! you get the idea…)

turtle, duck and chick!

Finally, the mamas come looking for their hatchlings, and the babies jump up on their backs for a piggy ride! (this last detail got a lot of cheers from the kids, and thanks-a-lots from the moms. oh well.


Erin is hosting the FFRU at Falling Flannelboards.


Flannel Friday: DIY Felt Apron (Punx not dead!)

Take a deep, cleansing breath with me librarians… aaahhhhhhhhh… Summer Reading is winding down.

This summer my library went with the iRead theme, Reading Is Soooooo Delicious.  It’s been a great summer, but it’s nice to have a little time/room to breath.

Anyway, in support of this theme, my brilliant co-worker Ms Arianne Carey, decided we should all wear chef’s coats or aprons. I went with an apron.

Just a plain white apron…

The other day as I was folding it up and packing it away, I remembered I’ve been meaning to buy a felt story apron for a while now. So I decided to repurpose it with some felt that we have on hand. I chose a light neutral gray. I knew I needed to use 2 pieces of felt because we didn’t have a single piece large enough to cover the entire apron.

I rolled out the butcher paper, and laid out the apron to make a pattern.  I traced and cut the pattern. Then I cut the pattern into 2 pieces: the skirt and the chest piece using the apron strings a guiding line.  The I cut the 2 pieces of felt using the pattern. I glued the felt to the apron, let it dry, and then sewed the 2 pieces of felt using whip stitch.

Call me Camera Face!

Call me Camera Face!


I used it at my storytimes this week, and it worked awesome! WARNING: an apron works best for stories; as anything that encourages participation (guessing games, discussion flannel activities, etc.) will inevitably lead to boob-grabbing.  But for telling conventional flannel stories, having the story unfold on your belly, encourages storytimers to focus their shifty little eyeballs on you.

Liz is our lovely host this week, so check out putting smiles on faces…Thanks Liz.



Flannel Friday: Tip Tip Dig Dig (the musical!)

If you haven’t tried Sharon’s version of Too Much Noise using musical instruments to represent the various sounds, you should add it to your next storytime. I tried it about a month ago in my campfire sing-along program. It was awesome.

I’ve been racking my brain ever since to find other stories that would work in this style so that I didn’t just repeat the same story in the 2nd sing-along (scheduled for this morning). Finally, yesterday at 4:45 I was struck by the perfect picture book:

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia

This is one of my all time favorite storytime books. Garcia’s concept and execution is flawless. In the past I’ve always made big motions to signify the tipping, digging, mixing, etc. And it’s always been a big hit. However, the instruments really brought the story to life.

First I scanned, printed and laminated the adorable machine dudes from Garcia’s illustrations so that I could give each group a visual reminder of which instrument went with each machine.

Get to Work!

I split my storytimers into 6 groups of 4-6 kids. Then gave each group a set of instruments (and the laminated picture of course) as follows:

  • Digger: sandpaper blocks
  • Crane: jingle bells
  • Cement mixer: shaky eggs
  • Dump truck: rhythm sticks
  • Bulldozer: mini groaners
  • Road Roller: These rolling shaker things (I don’t know what they’re called)

Anyway, it got really loud… kinda like a construction site. And by the last page, we were all so wound up that when we got to the end, and I revealed that the result of all that work was an “adventure playground” the whole group went wild and we spent several minutes discussing all the things we would do in there in the sandbox, on the see-saw…

So thanks Sharon the brilliant prop story idea!

Check out the FFRU! This weeks host is by Amanda at Toddler Tales. Learn more about Flannel Friday visit our blog.