Friday, August 31, 2012

Flannel Friday-Story Time Cape

This week for Flannel Friday I am going to show off one of my non-flannel creations.  Once upon a time, my coworker and I were at a conference and got a little slap happy as the afternoon went on.  We started joking about what we could make each other to use in story time-she was going to make me a hat and I was going to make her a cape.  Well, what started off as a joke ended up as a cool product.

I started off with a basic cape.  With Halloween approaching, you can buy one at a lot of Halloween stores (look for Little Red Riding Hood capes).  In my case, I had my mom make one because she sews and I do not.  Then came the creative part.  Since it was a story time cape, it needed stories on it (or at least characters that the kids would recognize).  For patterns, I found the various characters on the Internet, then would shrink them down or blow them up so they were all approximately the same size.  I used something called fat quarters, which can be found in the quilting section at JoAnn's or Michaels.  (If you watch your sales, you can get 4 for $1.)  I used the patterns to cut the various colors out of the fat quarter fabric, then used something called Pellon or fusible interfacing to iron the parts onto the cape.  To seal the edges, I outlined the characters in puffy paint.

Finished cape

I was impressed at how well the cape turned out.  I do ask Kara if she is going to wear the story time cape to her story times, but it doesn't happen often.  I also have not seen my story time hat.
Linda at Notes from the Story Room is hosting today's Flannel Friday round-up.  For more great flannelboards, check out the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Visiting other libraries

I am one of those people who when they go on vacation, find various public libraries to visit.  So I was very excited when our library director decided that for our staff in-service this year that we were going to visit local libraries to see how they do things.  After all, some of the best ideas come from other libraries and librarians.

If you are ever in Metro Detroit, definitely take a trip to the Southfield Public Library.  They have a gorgeous building that you can spend all day wandering around in.  Their children's room is fun, yet educational, from the stacks of giant books surrounding the picture book area to the benches by the computers with words on them (they look like giant wooden puzzles).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Flannel Friday-Hickory Dickory Dock

I will admit-I wasn't the least bit creative this week.  I am working on a fall program all about nursery rhymes and found this awesome book called Full-Color Literacy Centers & Activities for Nursery Rhymes, Volume 1 by Teacher Created Resources.  It has stick puppets, folder stories, mini-books, and much more that you can copy, laminate, assemble, and use almost immediately.

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck 1
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock
My toddlers really like manipulative rhymes like this because they can do the actions and tell the rhyme themselves.  If you add a little extra book tape to make it sturdy, it will last a long time.
If you like this rhyme, check out volume 2 of the same title-it is just as great!
I am hosting the Flannel Friday round-up this week.  For more Flannel Friday, check out the Flannel Friday Pinterest page.  There is a new This Week board that will highlight this week's round-up.

Flannel Friday Round-Up

I always enjoy hosting the Flannel Friday round-up as I get to see all of the neat things that my colleagues have come up with.  I end up with quite a few in the TBD (to be done) pile!  There are a alot of great contributions this week.

Loons and Quines brings us Piggy Wig and shows us the book that it came out of.  I love the illustrations of books from the 1800s and am always impressed when we can still use them today.

Sarah at Read Rabbit Read brings us Baa Baa Shape Sheep.  It is a great remake of Baa Baa Black Sheep that emphasizes circles, squares, and more.

Linda at Notes from the Story Room brings us an adaptation of the folktale The Fox and the Hedgehog.  It is something the the kids will love as it is quite funny.

Sharon at The Reading Chick brings us What Will It Rain by Jane Moncure.  This one can be pulled out for many fun story time topics, including animals, food, or rain.

It's time for the Campfire Pokey at Six Cranberries.  I love the ice cream!

The possibilities are endless with Katie's Harold's Other Crayons at Story Time Secrets.  Not only does she give us a great new song and flannel pieces, she tells us how to adapt it to other stories and themes.

Just in time for the first day of school, Lucy at In the Children's Room retells A Bus for Us.  This would also work great for any transportation story time theme.

Katie at Storytime Katie brings us Five Red Strawberries.  She also tells us about her puppet who pulls the pieces off the board (which the kids love)!

I bring you Hickory Dickory Dock to add to your nursery rhyme collections.  It is a great folder prop!

Senor Rattlesnake Learns to Fly at What Happens in Storytime.  Mollie brings us Miss Kelly's flannelboard rendition.  Thanks for joining in, Kelly!

Surprise!  Kay shows us her apple puppet with surprise inside at Storytime ABC's.  Can you guess what it is?  Rhymes and pattern will follow.

What a great week!  Visit the Flannel Friday Pinterest page to see all kinds of great flannel ideas, both past and present.  While you are there, check out the This Week board which will highlight all of the new posts.  For all things Flannel Friday, check out the offical Flannel Friday Blog.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Flannel Friday-Let's Hear You Roar!

I saw this rhyme once upon a time and knew it would be perfect for story time.  It works well with animal or noisy-themed story times, or works as a good cool down activity to get kids ready to listen.

Let's hear you roar like a lion!
Let's see you jump like a frog.
Let's see you snap your jaws like a crocodile.
Let's hear you woof like a dog.
Pretend you're an elephant with a big, long trunk.
Pretend you're a monkey; let's see you jump, jump, jump.
And now you're a mouse.  Just let me see
How very, very quiet you can be.

The animals are all Microsoft clip art, cut and laminated.  I then used magnet tape (best invention ever!) so I could use them with our magnetboard.  As we do the rhyme, we have the kids act out the phrases.  2 year olds make great animal noises!
Mollie is hosting Flannel Friday this week at What Happens in Storytime.  For more great ideas, check out Flannel Friday on Pinterest or browse past round-ups at

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Flannel Friday-Halloween Hilda

Every so often I like to browse through our state's interloan system for flannelboard/programming/early literacy books and recently I found an older one called Super Storytelling by Carol Catron from 1986 (ISBN 0513017933).  It contained a lot of great counting rhymes and patterns that ended up on my TBD (to be done) pile.  One such rhyme is Halloween Hilda.  I like this rhyme because I could make Hilda the witch on a foam core board and make her giant-sized

To make your own Hilda, I copied the pattern 150% bigger to help me gauge how to get her onto the board.  She is drawn and colored with Sharpie markers to make her bright.  To make the pocket for the rhyme, I cut the top (the zipper part) off of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and glued it over her apron.  I like that it is clear so it isn't obvious it is there.

While you will have to get the book (or email me directly) to get the whole story/rhyme, Hilda eats the following:
1 spider
2 bats

3 frogs

4 pumpkins

and 5 scary monsters

Now I can't wait until Halloween so I can pull out Hilda!

This week's round-up is hosted by Erin at Falling Flannelboards

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Toddler Crafts

I love to do Toddler Craft programs for 2-3 year olds.  Many of the people who attend really appreciate the program and I get a lot of "I didn't know that this is something that my child can do."  We register 25 kids for a Toddler Craft program, which allows me to circulate and assist all of the kids if need be.  To fit with the 2012 summer reading program theme Dream Big Read!, both of our crafts were star-themed.

If at all possible, have everything that they will need at each child's place.  It allows the parent to focus on working with the child, rather than searching the tables for more supplies.  We share our program area with our public meeting room, so depending on the previous day's set-up, I will either use the meeting room tables or do the crafts on the floor.  Either way, I will cover the area with butcher paper.  (As long as the paper isn't covered in anything wet or sticky, we roll it up when we are done and reuse it.)  All of the parts for our crafts are put in foam cups (also reusable!) so we can sort the parts ahead of time.

Today's set-up

Craft 1-Decorate a star wand
Every child received 1 star wand that was already put together.  To make the star wands, we cut star shapes with our AccuCut Star #2 die out of fun foam.  Using a glue dot, we attached 1 star shape to a craft stick.  Each child had a strip of star stickers and 4 foam star stickers in their cup that they could stick to their wand.

Star Wand

Craft 2-Star necklace
Every child received a string of yarn with tipped ends and 17 star-shaped beads in their foam cup.  The thing to watch with a beading project is that you don't give the kids too many beads.  Beading is work for this age group and you want them to be able to finish on their own.

Note-You have to know your group if you want to do beading with this age group, because beads can be choking hazards.

Star Necklace

Final Thoughts
The kids loved these crafts and all of them finished.  It was also easy to insert little educational ideas into conversation, such as "Wow, you are doing such a good job beading.  This is exercise for your hands so you will be able to write when you go to school."  While we all recognize it as fine-motor coordination, it helps if you explain what that actually is or why it is a good thing and how it relates to libraries.  For example, "Writing and reading go hand-in-hand."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Library Olympics

Library Olympics events are great fun to run during Olympics years.  This is our second time running a summer Library Olympics.  We try to make it a mix between crafts and events (as not all kids are crafty or athletic).  Due to our space, we registered 31 kids for this event and all 31 showed up.

Craft 1: Design Your Own Flag
This is a great way to raise some spirit and add an educational component-you can make country flags, team flags, Olympic flags, flags with your names on, etc.  You can pull out your flag books to show different examples of flags.  We used design your own flags from Oriental Trading and colored them with Sharpie markers.

Craft 2:Design Your Own Olympic Medal
We encourage every participant in our programs so they all get an Olympic medal.  We purchased magic scratch medals from Oriental Trading (no longer available) and the kids designed their own.

Note-if you purchase magic scratch kits from Oriental Trading, keep as many of the pencils that they give you.  You will use them again!

Craft 3: Design Your Own Frisbee
We found these a couple of years ago and have reused them in multiple programs because they are a great craft.  Oriental Trading sells design your own flying disks and they are about 7 inches wide.  They are the perfect mini frisbee for the kids to design and not too big of a project that they can't complete it.  We used Sharpie markers to color our designs.

My frisbee and Olympic flag

If you don't have a large number of staff to run the program or a large space (like us), you can run all 3 events in one place.  I started off by running a giant line of masking tape along the floor.  On the tape, I measured and marked off the feet and inches so it would look like a giant ruler (you will want at least 15 feet).  You will also need a starting line perpendicular to your masking tape ruler.  As the kids finish their crafts we have them come over and do their events.  There are 3 events at this station-the cotton ball shotput, the paper plate discus, and the drinking straw javelin.  It helps if you have more than 1 set so the next person in line can throw as you are picking up the previous person's pieces.  We also make up a chart to keep track of each person's throws.  While we don't award prizes, we do post the medalists on our Events board and on our social media sites.

Discus, javelins, and shotputs
Extra Info:
Here is some final information that we have learned through our 3 Olympics events (2 summer and 1 winter).  Olympics events are timely, especially if you run them during the actual Olympics.  You will have a full house for attendance and if you send out a press release, chances are good that you will have media coverage.  The kids love these events and will spend their time chattering about the events that they have been watching and events that they like.  They will also scrutinize your ruler for the events and are willing to calculate attendees' throws (you will have lots of little helpers).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Flannel Friday-5 Fast Rockets

This week's flannel friday rhyme and pattern came out of Finger Folk by Marilyn Lohnes.  I really like the patterns in this book because they work really well with small flannelboards or gloves.

To make 5 Fast Rockets, I used the pattern with white fun foam.  The details on the rockets are made from glitter glue.

Five Fast Rockets

1 (2, 3, 4) fast rocket(s)
Blasting off to space.
Here comes another one.
Now they can race!

Closing verse
5 fast rockets
Let the race begin!
They'll circle the moon,
Then home they'll zoom.
Which do you think will win?

(From Finger Folk by Marilyn Lohnes)

With this rhyme I used my small lapboard.  I added a 1-inch wide piece of elastic to the back so I could put my hand through it.  The elastic will also hold my printed rhyme so it looks like I have the rhyme memorized.

For those who haven't seen a storytelling glove before, my rockets are attached to one below.  Younger children really like the glove to the point where they seem mesmerized by it.  I have a feeling it is the dark blue color that holds their attention.

This week's round-up is hosted by Liz at Putting Smiles on Faces.
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