let readers grow!


Flannel Friday: Crowdsourcing Experiment?

The other night my husband and I went on a late-night snack hunt. As impulse buys are the name of the game in a snack hunt, when I saw these babies I had to have them:

Story on my feet

Story on my feet

I just know there’s a storytime activity in there somewhere. I think my storytimers would crack up if took off my shoes and used my feet to tell a story. The only problem is, I don’t what that activity (song, rhyme, story, joke…?) is at the moment. So, this is an #FF crowdsourcing request:

Do you know of a story, song, rhyme, etc.? It could be an original story, or a picture book in  which 3 friends:  a critical thinker, a worrier, and a happy-go-lucky type go on a search for something important to all three of them. It can be anything! No ideas are bad ideas. It doesn’t even have to be a fully formed idea… It could just be a little germ of an idea. Perhaps together, we #FFers could write a story! Or many stories.  write storytime activity whatever else you see when you look at these beautifully beady little eyes)

Please share it in a comment. I will take one entry per comment. And in 1 month July 1st I will put all the entries a hat (really an online randomizer). The winner will receive the MATCHING PAIR! One lucky contributor will have an #FF Original to keep.

Sarah of Miss Sarah’s Storytime is our lovely hostess this week. Happy June!

Happy Flannel Friday


Flannel Friday: Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do

Update: Here is the pdf so you can make this flannelboard: Clothesline Clues To The Jobs People Do

This week’s #FF is based on one of my favorite picture books from 2012:

Clothesline Clues to the Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook

I made this magnet board last fall for our teacher workshop, and forgot to post it for flannel friday. Anyway, I love this book for a million reasons, but here’s a few: 1) it’s beautiful, 2) brilliant concept + perfect execution; 3) it’s silly; 4) it captures how kids think of grownups doing their jobs in a whimsical way. Anyway, it’s pretty simple.

Name that job!

Name that job!

I’ve only used it a couple of times, but the kids loved it. I hung yarn, and used some handy dandy magnetized mini clothespins to hold up the clothes. Then I read the story, and we discussed what the clothes on the line said about the people who hung them. The group was too big to let the kids take turns dressing the dolls peacefully during the story.

Artist & Astronaut in their gear.

Artist & Astronaut in their gear.

Instead I  I left the pieces up during playtime. They had a ball putting on the Ms Cate’s Storytime Show, and the moms and I had a ball being the audience.

Katie is hosting the #FFRU this week at her delightful blog, storytime katie… Thanks Katie! She’s using this inlinkz so adding your post is super simple!

Oh shoot! I have a pdf of these images. I had to (sort of) draw these images based on an assortment of dress up dolls I found on the internet. I thought I had it saved on dropbox, but that was a figment of my imagination. I will update this post when I #sundaylibrarian.


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!