Flannel Friday: Five Snowmen

This is the very first flannel that I made (and yes, back then I did use flannel).  The lady I was hired to replace left me with a classic rhyme (I have seen many different versions, so I am not quite sure who to credit here).  My version goes like this:
Five snowmen fat.
Each with a black top hat.
Out came the sun and melted one,
Down, down, down.
Four snowmen fat!

Then you repeat until all the snowmen are melted and there are no snowmen fat.  The most important part of this rhyme comes when you say the word 'fat.'  You have to puff out your cheeks and smush them in with your hands so that you get a nice 'Ppppffffttttt' sound :)  The kids go bananas.

Anyway, I heard this rhyme and decided that I wanted a flannel to go with it, so I rigged up a melting snowman flannel.  It is really rather easy.  There is no template, sorry, but I have made several and it is not hard at all.

Simply make 5 flannel snowmen (you have to use flannel, or at least fabric here for the melting effect - fur might be cool?) and make a background.  I found a great dark blue sparkly sky and added some snow to the ground.

Next, you need to attach a string to the back of each snowman's head.  I took a small piece of flannel and hot glued yarn between that and the back of the head.

Then, you hot glue the bottom of the snowman (the outer edges of half of the largest ball) to the background.  Make sure to keep the yarn out of the way.  Once they are dried fold them down and poke a hole in the background as low as you can reach behind the snowman.  (You could poke the hole before gluing the snowman on.)  Then, poke the string through the hole and you are done!  I did add a small piece of velcro to the back of the snowmen heads to help hold them up (the sparkly felt is not very 'clingy').  I also added some velcro to the back of the board to keep the strings hidden.  Originally they just came out the bottom, but that ended with all the kids wanting to pull it.

This is a really popular flannel board at our library.  It is one of the ways that I have managed to start a toddler mosh pit :)  Also, be prepared to let the kids play with it after story time. 

I have also used this method to make squirrels climb trees and butterflies pop out of cocoons (I'll post those too someday! )

If you want to see past Flannel Friday posts you can look for this week's Round Up at Rain Makes Applesauce, find a list of past Round Ups at So Tomorrow, or search for them on Pinterest.

Hootin' Good Story Time

This week our story time theme was owls.  Our letter of the day was O for owl and our featured picture book was Papa, please get the moon for me.  I was surprised that there were very few kids with a name starting with O.  I guess all the Owens and Olivias weren't here this week.

The first book that we read was Martin Waddell's Owl babies.  I love this story about three little owls who wake to find their mother is gone!  My favorite part is the one little owl who keeps repeating 'I want my mommy!' over and over.  It is fun for me to start off making him sound a little sad and get whinier as the story goes.  I think toddlers can really relate to that :)  Although, after saying 'I want my mommy' several times, they wouldn't say it when I prompted them to. (Although several parents chimed in!)

Our second book was the feature book from the 100 picturebooks everyone should know list.  We read Papa, please get the moon for me by Eric Carle.  Not quite an owl book, but it gave us a chance to talk about how owls come out at night and then the kids told me other things that are our at night.  Bats was the most popular answer.  But this is a great story about a little girl who wants her papa to get the moon so she can play with it.  It has fold out pages for Papa's very long ladder to reach the moon and a really big foldout of the moon.  Most kids this age seem to have a fascination with the moon, so this book is great for the 2's and 3's.

The final story we read was Tim Hopgood's Wow! said the owl.  I read this story and really liked it.  I love the owl's excitement over everything she sees when she stays up during the daytime.  It is also a great book for colors.  However, I felt like I lost the kids some during this book.  Even when I was prompting them to tell me what colors the owl saw most of them were off in la la land.  Hopefully it was just that this was the last book and we ran a little long this week.

We also did an owl flannel story called Five Hoot Owls that I found at the Sunflower Storytime Blog.  I made my own owls out of craft foam.  I realized as I was setting up that I should have made a tree branch for them to sit on.  The rhyme goes like this:
Five hoot owls sitting in a tree,
One flew away, how many do you see.

I like having the kids count with me as we put the owls up and after each one flies away.  We still count all of them slowly, even when the older kids shout out the answer.  I like to give the younger kids a chance to see how many there are for themselves.

Songs about owls are not very abundant, but I found quite a few about birds.  We sang If I was a Bird from the Wiggleworms Love You album.  There are several animals that the kids pretend to be in this song, so it is fun to do the different motions and make the appropriate animal noises.

Flitter Flutter by Johnette Downing is about birds, butterflies, and bugs flying around.  We used scarves with this song to add to the 'fluttery-ness.' 

Dr. Jean has a song called Mother Gooney Bird.  This is a fun song along the lines of Father Abraham.  You start with one motion and keep going until until you a doing several things.  But, the motions are simple enough that the 2 and 3 year olds can do them.  You flap each arm, march your feet, and nod your head.

We finished with a paperbag owl craft.  I saw one here and modified it a little.  I gave the kids Ellison dye cuts of a hand for the wings and on the belly we sprinkled dry oatmeal to make the owl look a little feathery.


Foamie Friday: Five Red Apples

This week I am (finally) hopping on the Flannel Friday bandwagon, though I am calling mine Foamie Friday because I like to use craft foam instead of flannel.  I find that the colors are brighter, it cuts and glues easier, and you can add details simply with a sharpie marker and they show up well.  I put a little piece of velcro on the back so they stick a little better.  (My flannels would also fall down a lot.)
Our theme this week was Apples so I used Pat Hutchin's Ten Red Apples.  Ten was quite a few apples for a 2-3 year old story time, so I modified it to five.  My tree has apples that can be removed, thanks to velcro!  I picked four animals - a horse, pig, goat, and cow, and I also have the farmer and his wife.  The tree flips around for the end of the story and has another 5 non-removable apples.

This is a great story for counting and for animal sounds.  I have the kids help me with that part.  The text goes along the lines of:

5 red apples up in the tree.
Yippee and fiddle-dee-dee.
Cow comes to take one,
Chomp, chomp, chomp.
Moo, moo and fiddle-dee-dee.
Cow! says the farmer, save one for me.

Then of course when there is 1 left the farmer says: yippee there's one left for me!  At which point his wife shows up and is sad that:
No red apples, my oh my.
No apples to back in a pie.
Boo, hoo, and fiddle dee dee.
Wait! cried the farmer,
Another apple tree!
This might vary a bit from the text of the book, but that is how I memorized it.  (Though I do keep a cheat sheet on my cart just in case I need it!)

Apple starts with A

This week it is back to the normal routine with the start of Fall Story times.  Not much has changed other that the books!  Oh, I do have a 'friend' helping me with story times this session.  He is a dragon named Sparky.  I tried for several days to come up with a good voice for Sparky, but I found that I really didn't like any, plus I was rather awful at moving his mouth while making him talk.  So, Sparky is the quiet library dragon, which works well if I need to remind kids to be quiet I can tell them to be like Sparky.  He is also my collector of name tags.  He likes to eat them, so at the end of the class the kids all feed their name tag to Sparky.  Most thought that was fun, especially when he spit them out.  They were also fascinated if the played peek-a-boo with them. 

This session we are using books from the New York Public Library's list of 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know.  There are some great books on this list for story time, many I have used in the past.  Each week I will read 1 book from that list.  I used those books to plan my themes this fall.  

Anyway, for Week 1 we read about Apples.  That meant our letter for the day was A.  A is a pretty popular letter.  Many kids have names that either start or end with A, so that was a crowd pleaser in itself.  They also came up with Apples fairly quickly when I asked for a word that started with A.

The first book that we read was from the NYPL list and it was Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Kids love this book, it's no wonder that it is on the list.  I like to have kids help me with this book.  They have to tell me what the caterpillar is eating.  They were really good at shouting out the food as I pointed to it.  There is only one apple in this story, but I didn't hear any complaints.

Our second book was Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington.  This is a nice, simple story all about Annie and her apple farm.  I like that it lists the different things apples can be used for, like cider, muffins, pies, etc. and also shows how they can be sold at the farmer's market.  We have several farmer's markets around here, so I like that kids can see the produce they get at the market comes right from a farm.  This book also has recipes for using apples.  And the text is fairly short, great for the 2 and 3 crowd.

The last story we did was a flannel board that I made for Pat Hutchin's Ten Red Apples.  Since ten apples are a lot to get through, I changed it to five.  I like this story because the kids can help me count the apples as they get eaten by the various animals.  We also do all of the animal sounds as they come to eat the apples, so that is fun for the kids, they were very enthusiastic with their animal sounds this week.

One rhyme that we did was Way Up High in the Apple Tree.  I've seen this many places, and our Rock-A-Bye Tales group (age 6 - 24 months) uses it weekly, so many of the kids were thrilled to hear something they knew so well.  It goes:
Way up high in the apple tree,
Two red apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could,
Down came the apples,
Mmmmm were they good!

I also found a song by Dr. Jean on her Happy Everything album called Apple Tree.  The song goes much like the rhyme but starts with 1 apple and counts up to 5 limes.  It was a good song since they were familiar with the rhyme and the repetitiveness helped them do the movements.

We also sang Raffi's Shake My Silles Out.  This is a story time staple that I use quite a bit with the shaker eggs.  It is a good song to get the kids up and moving.  The shaker eggs are not really required, but I like to do something like shakers or scarves each week.

Our last song was another Raffi, Bumping Up and Down.  It's about bumping along in the wagon, so it is a great bouncing song.  You also get to do some hammering and pliers work when the wagon breaks.  It wasn't really along the theme, but I figured you need a wagon to haul your apples around, right?

The craft this week also featured the letter A.  I came across this craft featuring a lowercase 'a', but I thought it needed a little more.  Using an uppercase 'A' we also made an apple tree.  The As were made using our Ellison dye cuts and the apples on the tree are just red dot stickers.  It was a fairly simple craft, always good to go simple the first week especially.  All the kids needed to do was glue the pieces on, add the stickers, then color as desired.  Then, of course, they had to show Sparky their craft so he could reward them with a sticker!