Flannel Pizza Friday

Friday seems to be a rather popular pizza day, so I feel that it is appropriate to share the flannel pizzas that I used in story time this past week for Flannel (Pizza) Friday.  You can read about the books and songs we used for pizza week here, below are the flanneled parts.
Whilen looking for a flannel story or activity for our pizza theme I came across this fun song posted by Jen in the Library.  It is a pizza song much like Bingo and goes:
There is a treat that's fun to eat 
And Pizza is it's name-o.
P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A
And Pizza is it's name-o.

Then, because it looks so yummy, we ate one.  The kids LOVED this.  I held out the flannel slice and we all happily pretend chewed it up.  We went back to the song and replaced the P with a clap and then ate another slice and so on until we had eaten all of the pizza.

When I sang the song with my toddler group we kept saying Pizza, even if the letters said IZZA or ZA etc.  I could not remember how the Bingo song goes (this is what happens when you start to get older and accumulate too many children's songs in your head - just wait until you forget the tune to Twinkle little star!).  I think I have heard Bingo sung both ways, so we just kept going with the full word.  And, if you just go with it like your way is right everyone will follow along and figure maybe they had it wrong :) (Until a 3 year old informs you of your error, I had one in tears over Little Bunny Foo-Foo once and I sang that one 'correctly'.)

The pizza slices are made of flannel and decorated with various toppings.  I made each one with different toppings just for fun.  I did color the white flannel with yellow and brown sharpies to get a better looking 'cheese' layer.  The letters are paper that was laminated with a velcro piece on the back.  I figured this way I could take them off if I ever needed pizza slices for another story.

For play time after story time I wanted to incorporate the pizza theme so I made up some flannel pizzas.  There is crust, sauce, cheese (cut yarn), and various toppings.  I saved a few pizza boxes over the weekend and lined them with some cardstock and let the kids use those to serve and deliver their pizza creations.  They had a great time with it.

You can find the rest of this week's Flannel Friday submissions over at storytime katie and for the best ever collection of flannel ideas check out the Pinterest boards.



Who does not love pizza?  I am sure that there is some crazy people out there who do not prefer gooey cheese and tomato sauce on bread (I assume this is due to food allergies?) but in a room full of toddlers you do not find those people.  When I revealed today's theme one child shouted 'I love pizza!' and many others followed suit adding in what kinds of toppings they enjoy.  I think that given the theme we could have done almost anything pizza related and they would have loved it.
The letter of the day was P which many of them got quickly (though we have a few over 3 year olds who know their letters).  And we had a few pictures of P words such as a Penny, Penguins, a Peacock, and a Pumpkin.

The first pizza book we read was Ding dong gorilla by Michelle Robinson.  This book is a little deceiving in that it doesn't look very pizza themed.  A little boy opens the door expecting to find the pizza man but instead discovers a gorilla!  The gorilla invites himself in and proceeds to wreck the house (of course it was the gorilla who dumped out all of the toys).  Throughout the story the little boy keeps explaining that there is bad news, but it is not that the gorilla broke things, made messes, scared away the real pizza boy, or disappeared.  Can you guess what the bad news is?  I was worried this might be a little long for the 2's and 3's, but they sat and listened really well.

After reading Ding dong gorilla we got up and moving with Angela Russ' Work your body.  This song is a toddler exercise song.  The kids stretch their arms, do some squats, and kick (very carefully!) their legs.  It is simple enough for the smaller ones and really helps get the wiggles out.

Our second book was Pete's a pizza by William Steig.  This is a classic pizza story.  When a little boy is grumpy that he can't go outside and play his dad decides to turn him into a pizza.  He kneads the dough, adds some ingredients, and pops him into the oven (or onto the couch).  This is a fun way to talk about how pizza is made, although in this story the pizza runs away and is a bit ticklish.

We followed Pete's a pizza with Carole Peterson's song Snowflake snowflake.  I like using scarves for this one.  We wave them in the air to the soothing music then when directed put them on our noses and toes.  The kids love when we make them into a ball and toss them up into the air and watch them float down (I do this when there is a long stretch of music with no instructions).

The flannel board this week was a song, so I put it before one last book.  I saw the idea here at Jen in the Library.  The song was simple, you take the Bingo song and replace it with pizza so you sing:
There is a treat that's fun to eat
And pizza is it's name-o
P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A,
And pizza is it's name-o.

Then, I pulled off a flannel pizza and we 'ate" it.  They all really loved this part as they got to pretend to eat the flannel pizza.  There we lots of giggles as they ran up and pretended to bite.  Then we replaced the letters we ate with claps in the song until we had eaten all the pizza.

I made the letters separate from the pizza so that I can pull them off and use just the pizza if need be.  The letters are printed out on cardstock and laminated and have a half velcro dot on the back.

The last book we read was everyone's favorite Hi, pizza man! by Virginia Walter.  A hungry little girl is getting impatient waiting for a pizza to arrive.  To pass the time her mother asks what she will say when the pizza man comes.  But, what if it is a pizza woman, or a pizza kitten?  What would she say to them?  Things get a bit crazy when they start to imagine pizza snakes and dinosaurs.  Finally, the doorbell rings, who will it be?  The kids really loved this one.

Our craft for the day was making a pizza out of a paper plate.  They were given some markers to color with, paint stampers for sauce, pom poms for meatballs, red stickers for pepperoni, and yellow paper they could cut or tear for cheese.  They also could have some model magic to use as dough and many of them enjoyed kneading and stretching it just like pizza dough.

For play time I made up a few play pizzas out of felt.  I cut some sauce and a few toppings that they could add and used yarn as cheese.  I saved a few pizza boxes and put those out for the kids to put their fake pizzas in.  (Since they were used I lined the bottom with cardstock to cover up the grease spots.  I had meant to see if the pizza shop would donate or sell a few and of course I forgot to do that.)

I also brought in this really cute Melissa and Doug pizza set that I have at home.  My own kids still really enjoy playing with it.  It is made of wood and the toppings stick on with velcro.
I managed to find a few pizza activity sheets to put out.  One lets the kids trace the word PIZZA and color a picture.  The other they can color and count the number of various toppings.  I put the sheets on the table so the kids can do them there, but many take them home which I think is great as they help them extend the books at home as well as work on math and literacy skills with their parents or caregiver.


Hats on for Story Time

This week's theme for story time was Hats.  Talking about hats was appropriate this week as it is rather cold out and everyone wore at hat to story time today.  We began with our usual letter of the day -H- along with some 'H' words like horse, hand, heart, and helicopter.  Then we talked about hats and why we might have worn one today.

The first book that we read was A hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke.  This book fit right in with the weather today as it was snowing and in the story Minerva loves snowy mornings but all the other hens stay inside with their heads buried under their wings.  Minerva decides to go out and explore, but she needs to stay warm in the snow.  She looks for warm clothing and sees a scarf (a garden hose), shoes (gloves), and begins to search for a hat.  She tries on a flower pot and a boot before deciding of a mitten and discovers that now she has two hats - one for her bottom!  The kids enjoyed this and were able to tell me what the 'hats' really were.

We followed A hat for Minerva Louise with the song Hat, jacket, pants, and boots by Carole Peterson.  This is a version of head, shoulders, knees, and toes but you sub in the words for clothing.  I like this version as it begins rather slow, but is then repeated 4 times getting faster with each repetition.  The kids were able to keep up at the end too, which is always a plus with toddlers and preschoolers.

The second book that we read was Brian Won's Hooray for hat!  Elephant wakes up grumpy but is cheered up when he finds a box that contains several hats.  He set off to show his friends who are all also grumpy but cheer up when Elephant shares a hat with each of them.  However, Giraffe is not feeling well and they have run out of hats!  The solution - everyone puts their hat into a box and they present it to Giraffe.  this is a great book that has lots of repetition and shows how friends can cheer you up.

After reading Hooray for hat we sang another Carole Peterson song, this one called I like my hat.  In this song she sings 'I like my hat so I put it on my __' and names a variety of body parts that are not the head.  This resulted in lots of giggles today (especially when we put the hat on our bottoms).  In the past I have used this song with scarves (once I folded paper hats) but we have a small collection of doll sized straw hats, so I passed those out to the kids.  It was very amusing before the song to watch them all put the small hats on their heads and then tell me that the hats didn't fit them!

Our last book was Which hat is that? by Anna Grossnickle Hines.  In this story a small mouse talks about what she is going to do and describes the hat that she will wear.  Then, the kids can guess the type of hat and we lift a flap to see if they got it right.  They enjoyed getting to shout out the answers on this one.

We ended with the flannelboard game Little Cat.  I have seen many versions of this, some with a mouse in a house, some with a bug in a rug, etc.  The rhyme goes;
Little cat, little cat,
Are you in the ___ hat?

You could do this with colors, but we had more occupational type hats.  The kids really enjoyed this game.  I can see why many librarians use it weekly.  I let them pick which hat we would look under.  We found the cat about half way through, but as a surprise I also hid a grumpy cat, so we looked for him too.

I also made up a career hat match game where they could match a hat to a mode of transportation.  I put it out as a game during playtime, but we also talked about it before ending story time.

As always we ended with Carole Peterson's B-bananas.  I am always surprised when they get so excited for this song (the parents too).  Although, as a result it is impossible for me to eat a banana and not sing this song.

Our craft was a very simple color/decorated a hat.  I gave them the outline of the hat, markers, tissue paper, feathers, and pompoms and let them decorate as they wanted.

During playtime we put out all of the costume hats that I could round up in the library.  Many of them enjoyed playing with these.

We also has some snow sensory bins.  The most exciting one was the snow 'goo.'  It was made by combining equal parts of glue and water and slowly mixing in the same amount of liquid starch.  For fun I also added glitter, sequins, and other sparkly things.  You can read more about the goo here.  I did realize that the original post calls for clear glue, I did not have that but it turned out fine with white glue.  I just made sure to use colored glitter and sequins so they would show up.  The kids had fun digging out whatever they could find hidden in the goo (some of the parents enjoyed it as well).

Finally, as an extra activity or take home, we put out some hat coloring sheet that my co-worker found.  They had to read (or be told) the color and then color the hat accordingly.


Birds flying around Story Time

We resumed story times this week and once again January has been off to a very cold start.  According to the Weather Channel this morning it felt like 2 degrees about the time we were starting story time.  So, I am hoping the lower numbers are due to that.  Or, they all stayed up late to watch the Buckeyes beat the ducks (doubtful, but you never know).
Our books were about Birds today and featured the letter B.  When I was making my B sign with pictures of things that start with B last week I was convinced that story time was on Monday, before the OSU football game and made a scarlet and grey B and added a picture of Brutus the Buckeye.  I printed everything off and realized that it was for Tuesday story time, the day after the game.  So, I just hoped for a win (we got it - have you figured out that I live in Ohio yet?)

The first book that we read was Owl babies by Martin Waddel.  This is a great story for kids from 2 - 6 years old.  In this story 3 baby owls are waiting for mommy to come back.  But, as they wait they begin to worry causing the one owl to repeatedly cry 'I want my mommy!' (They all love that part, especially if you really play it up.)  I think the kids enjoy this one as many can relate to the worry about where mommy is when she is away.

We followed Owl babies with Carole Peterson's Penguin Song.  This is a cumulative movement song where the kids move one body part at a time until they are moving arms, legs, and nodding their head.  It is not too hard and the premise is that the kids are penguins, so it fit well.

The second book we read was Lucy Cousins' book Peck, peck, peck.  In this story a father woodpecker is teaching his little guy how to peck.  Excited with his new skill little woodpecker heads off to see what he can ind to peck.  After pecking a hole in a door the little guy finds himself in a house with a whole LOT of things to peck.  Cousins' illustrations are bight and colorful and include actual holes in each item the bird pecks so as you turn the page you can see how many holes little woodpecker has made.  The kids really seemed to enjoy this one as well.

After reading Peck, peck, peck we got out the shaker eggs for Laurie Berkner's I know a chicken.  This is a good egg shaker song where the kids get to shake the eggs fast and slow - they really get into the fast shaking.  I cut the song short, it is a little long for the 2's and 3's, but if you keep going with older kids they can shake the eggs in circle, up and down, and around and around.

Our final story was the flannel board Pippa's penguins written by Susan M. Daily.  Before the story we talked about the penguins at the zoo.  Our city has a great zoo with a penguin exhibit that you see as soon as you enter the zoo.  Most of the kids were able to tell me what a penguin looked like, so that was a good starter for the story.  Pipp goes with her grandma to the zoo and loves the penguins so much that she wants to draw one when they get home.  Grandma tries, but just can't quite get it right.  She makes a green penguin, a red penguin, a purple polka dotted penguin, a blue striped penguin, a penguin in a bathing suit, a penguin in a fancy suit and finally a black and white penguin.  You can read more about the story with pictures of the flannel board here.

We finished as always with Carole Peterson's B-Bananas.

The craft featured owls like in the story Owl babies.  I found it on Pinterest, you can see the original post here, below are some of the owls our kids came up with.
For playtime I turned our plastic wading pool into a bird's nest.  My co-worker added some birds and big eggs.  She also had the brilliant idea to use it during her story time and put kids in it for the rhyme 5 in the nest (like the song 10 in the bed but they roll out of the nest instead).  The kids played with it a little bit, but not as much as I had hoped.

I also put our some bird activity sheets that I found on worksheetfun.com.  This site has a lot of great printable activity sheets for free.  For the toddlers I try to look for sheets that have tracing, shapes, or letters and numbers that aren't too small.  We had a tracing owl and counting birds!


Eric Carle Story Time

This week we did an entire story time featuring Eric Carle books.  I probably could have planned several weeks of Eric Carle books with no repeats as so many of them are great for a story time setting.

We featured the letter C since to find most of Eric Carle's books you need to look in the C's under Carle.  Sadly, none of the kids could recognize the letter C!  So, we talked about it a little longer and the sound that the letter C makes.
Our first book was From head to toe.  I originally was not going to start with this one, but we had a few wiggly kids, so I was hoping this might help get the wiggles out.  I love this story as it gets the kids up and moving as you read.  I have used it with a variety of themes, but since they get to participate it never gets old.  (Plus, I work with toddlers who love to repeat the same thing over.)
We followed our story up with Singing in the rain by Carole Peterson.  This is a good dancing song.  It is a  lot like Dr. Jean's Tooty-ta if you have ever heard that one.

The second book we read was the 40th anniversary pop-up edition of The Very hungry caterpillar.  This book is mesmerizing (though I should admit I have an affinity for pop-ups).  It worked very well in story time, which is not true of many pop-ups.  And, it is different, so even if they had heard the story before this is an alternate way to present it.  (They all claimed to have never heard it before, but one of the kids in this group was MINE, so I know that not all of them were telling the truth!)

After our second story we did another song by Carole Peterson as we danced to the Shaker Hop.  This song goes to the tune of the bunny hop, but the kids each have a shaker that they put in, out, and hop with.  There is a spot where music plays with no directions and while sometimes it is fun to free dance I have found that many kids will just stand there unless I tell them what to do.  So, we make our shakers go high, low, on our head etc. whatever I feel like having them do.

For this week's flannel I made a version of The Mixed up chameleon.  I threw this one together a little last minute (never be afraid of making a flannel, once you have done a few you can pull off one with lots of pieces like this in under 2 hours!)  The story itself may be a little long (by toddler standards) but with the different colors and items being added they could participate by calling out what color the chameleon had turned.
We ended with a quick reading of the Artist who painted a blue horse.  Normally I would just have moved on to a song, but we had a great crowd of kids who were sitting very nicely so we read the book and I introduced the craft where they were going to free paint.  We talked about how in art you can make something look however you want.

We have been ending every week with the Banana song (B-Bananas, again by Carole Peterson).  This is a camp type chant where the kids will 'be' a banana, 'peel' bananas, 'eat' bananas, and 'go' bananas.  It has become a favorite with all my groups.  Several preschoolers ask for it as soon as they see me.

Storytime ends with playtime where the kids can play with age appropriate toys as well as do crafts and activities that I put out.  Many will do the crafts, though on paint days I have noticed many will just play.  We did provide t-shirts for the kids to put over their clothes.

As part of play time I decided to put out a few literacy activities that I have from other programs.  There is a sheet my co-worker found where the kids fill in the missing alphabet letters.  I had found road letters on Pinterest and printed them out for a different program, so I put a few out with some cars to give parents ideas of things that they can do at home to build literacy skills.


Story Time Fox

Ever since I heard the song The Fox (what does the fox say?) by Ylvis I knew it would make for good fun in story time.  Kids love animal sounds and that song has a lot of them.  Then, the picture book came out and I knew it was time.  So, a few weeks ago we did a Fox themed story time.

I will say, it was hard to find lots of books with nice foxes.  There were a few, but most were too long for my toddlers.  I decided not to worry about how the fox was portrayed, just like in real life not everyone is nice.

Our first story was Fox tale soup by Tony Bonning.  This is a re-telling of the classic tale Stone soup featuring a travelling fox who stops by a barnyard looking for something to eat.  When none of the animals offer up food he asks for some water and finds a stone to make stone soup.  Soon, the curious animals are rushing off to find things to add to the soup until the fox has a nice vegetable soup brewing.  I think the overall point of this story was a little lost on my toddler crowd, but the text was simple enough that it was not too long, so they probably thought it was a nice story about soup!

After reading Fox tale soup we did Sue Schnitzer's song All the fish.  This song has lots of animal movements with a fun 'Splash!' at the end of each verse.

The next book we read was Richard Waring's Hungry hen.  The fox in this book has his eye on a hen who lives at the farm on the hill below him.  But, each day as he watches the hen eats he decides he should wait a little longer for the hen to get bigger.  As the hen grows bigger the fox grows slimmer and weaker.  When he finally decides to make his move, the poor fox is so weak that he is in for a surprise!

We followed Hungry hen with Johnette Downing's song Scarves up, down, and around.  The kids had fun waving the scarves as well as throwing them into the air and trying to catch them.

Our last story was a flannel version of the book The fox with cold feet by Bill Singer.  I found an adaptation on the Storytiming blog and you can see that version here.  In this story fox is looking for some boots to warm his cold feet.  Unfortunately for fox, he has never seen a pair of boots before.  So, other animals dupe him into doing tasks for him in exchange for 'boots.'  Soon, fox is wearing a nest, a pail, earmuffs, and a scarf on his feet.  It doesn't take him long to determine that boots hurt!  Kicking them off fox decides boots aren't for him after all.

Of course, we could not end story time without doing something with the song The Fox (what does the fox say?).  I made a quick flannel using clip art of all the animals mentioned in the first verse of the song.  As I put them up, I would say 'dog says____' and the kids would shout out the sound that the animals made.  They loved this and got louder and more animated as we went.  Once all the animals were up I looked at the kids and said 'but what does the fox say?'  I was met with blank stares and silence.  It was fairly amusing.  Finally, one kid (mine) shout out 'AAAARRRROOOOO.'  Like one part of the song.
After that flannel board I played the Kidz Bop version of The Fox (what does the fox say?) and they all danced around while I pulled out the parachute.  We ended story time with some parachute play, which the kids loved.  I put some scarves in to bounce around.  I had planned on using stuffed animals from the song, but they seemed too heavy.  I thought about using the flannel board, but since it was cardstock I was worried a child might end up with a paper cut.  Really, they did not care about bouncing things out, they just wanted the adults to make it a 'tent' over their heads.
Our craft was a tissue paper and torn paper fox that I found via Pinterest.  We gave the kids watered down paint and a straw to make the tree and they decorated a fox head and body cut out that they then glued to the paper.