Flannel Friday: A Vegetable Lunch

 This week's Flannel Friday is a version of Denise Fleming's Lunch that I made to go along with a vegetable themed story time.  Basically, Mouse is hungry so he eats a large variety of food and then heads off to take a nap until dinnertime.  It is a cute story, great for the littlest story time friends with a few words on a page and bright, bold illustrations.  The book also notes the color of each food, so for my flannel/foamie version I made vegetables in a variety of colors so the kids could help by naming the color and food.
 In my version, Mouse gets out his pink napkin, and his blue fork (because I wanted more colors and it was really hard to find pink and blue vegetables).  Then he feasts on some white cauliflower, purple eggplant, green peas, brown potato, orange carrot, red tomato (I know, I know, not technically a vegetable), and some yellow corn.  Then, he heads off for his nap!

You can find the rest of this week's round up with Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes, view past round ups with Anne at So Tomorrow, or click the Flannel Friday button to the right to view the page on Pinterest.

Friendly Monster Madness

 This week we had our pre-Halloween story time.  Even though Halloween is next Monday, we did all of our dressing up this week.  I figured that by next week everyone would be tired of it.  I always go back and forth about if we should do a 'Halloween' theme.  I still have the kids dress up because it is fun and parents like to get more mileage out of the costumes.  In the past I have done a birthday theme, and pretend / dress up.  This year I went the Friendly Monster route.  Our letter of the day was M for Monsters and our feature book was Go Away Big Green Monster.

The first book that we read was Goodnight, little monster by Helen Ketteman.  This is a nice bedtime story about little monster getting ready for bed.  The text rhymes and the pictures are soft colors and not at all scary.  It is a little longer for the littler ones in my group, but I read it first and they did pretty well with it.

Our second book was Ed Emberley's Go away, big green monster, our feature book from the NPYL list.  This is another favorite and this kids tend to respond well to it.  I have them all shout 'Go Away' to the parts of the monster to get them to disappear. 

The last story was a flannel rhyme called Five crazy monsters.  I found the idea from Cate on her blog Storytiming.  Cate's monsters were so cute I couldn't resist making some similar ones.  In Cate's version the rhyme is Five creepy monsters, but I thought they were so cute I changed them to Crazy monsters!  The rhyme goes:
5 crazy monsters jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head,
mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
'No more monsters jumping on the bed!'

Repeat with 4, 3, 2,  a,d 1, monsters  then...

No more monsters jumping on the bed,
'let's go outside and howl,' they said!

-I really wanted to say 'Mama called Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein said...' but I figured that it is such a classic rhyme they would be chanting along with me (which they were) and I didn't want to confuse them too much.

We also sang the song 'If You're a Monster and You Know It.'  My version goes like this (to the tune of If you're happy and you know it):
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws and show your claws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws.

Repeat with:
Jump up and down ... and all around
Give a growl ... and give a howl

We also had a few others songs.  Laurie Berkner's Monster Boogie is a great one for this theme.  It is also nice and short so I could do that with the If you're a monster and you know it song between books.

Laurie Berkner also sings We are the dinosaurs which we used this week.  Not monster related, but dressing up is pretend so we could pretend to be dinosaurs.  Plus, the song ends with a roar, which we had been doing a lot of this week.

We ended story time with the Monster Mash from Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls.  I gave all of the kids scarves to wave around as we danced to the music.  I think that the parents really liked this one.  Many of them were 'mashing' along with us.  I did cut the song a little short, but no one seemed to mind.

Our craft this week was a monster mask.  I found a dye cut for a cat mask and just let the kids add some feathers and shiny stickers.  I also put out some paint stampers and crayons to add to the fun.

I did something a little different for Family Story time this week.  Usually I do the same plan that I have for the 2's and 3's because it tends to work out well that way.  However, I had advertised a Spooktacular Family Storytime, so I added the book Laura Numeroff's 10 step guide to living with your monster.  This is a fun book about how to select and care for a pet monster.  It has some humor, and great pictures of a silly monster pet and his antics.  We also added a few crafts to make the night more special.  They got to make a spider visor and a Frankenstein puppet in addition to the mask.  We ended up with 60 people, double my usual Tuesday crowd, and the only advertising I did was place a few signs around the Children's Room.  Makes me wonder what would happen if I advertise the theme each week...I think I will see how many return this coming week and then see if ads increase the size the next week!


Flannel Friday: Five Butterflies

Since in this week's story time I used the flannel story There's a Bug on the Teacher that Miss Mary Liberry had previously posted to Flannel Friday, I am going to show you my 'magical butterflies.'  This flannel works kind of the opposite of the melting snowmen that I posted a few weeks ago.  In this, the butterflies 'pop' out of cocoons to flutter around.  Here is the rhyme that I made to go with it:

5 butterflies spun cocoons, Spin your hands like 'the wheels on the bus'
Hoping Spring would be here soon. Cross your fingers
With a little bit of magic, Wiggle fingers in the air
And some warm sunshine, Arms over head for the sun
Clap, clap, clap for a butterfly!  I make the kids really clap to get the butterfly to pop out
 This one wasn't too hard to make.  You need to get some cardboard and cover it with whatever background that you want.  Then, make 5 pockets for your cocoons.  Glue some caterpillars onto the cocoons and then glue them onto the board.

Next, make some butterflies.  I cut mine out of felt and wrapped pipe cleaners around the middle leaving the tops curled like antenna.

Glue 2 pieces of yarn onto the butterfly (I cover the yarn with another small felt scrap).  Make sure that you place the yarn at the top of the wings.

Then poke holes at the top of the board and push the yarn through.  This is the trickiest part because you want the two pieces of yarn to be spaced apart so that when you pull the butterfly up the wings open.  The best way to do this is lay the butterfly so that the middle of its body is in the middle of the cocoon and stretch the yarn up to see where it goes.  Some of the yarns may cross, so make sure that you pull the butterfly with the top yarn first.

When the yarn is pushed through the holes tie the two together so that you can easily pull them at the same time.  Then I covered the holes with some fiber fill to cover them up.


Shoo Fly!

I never thought that a story time about Flies could be quite so much fun!  The inspiration for this theme was the NYPL list book Old Black Fly.  I really am not a fan of flies (not sure that anyone is) but it turns out that in books they can be (almost) endearing.  For the fly theme, our letter of the week was F.  This was another tough one for the kids.  None of them had names with the letter F, but we did come up with the word frog - and you know what frogs like to eat!

The first book we read was Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth.  This book was great for story time.  I had all of the kids (and adults) chant 'shoo fly, shoo fly, shoo' with me when it appeared in the story.  This really helped to keep the kids involved and avoided the adult side conversations.  I think the end of the story is funny (there is a swat - here you can clap or slap your leg for a nice sound effect - and then the fly is 'done buzzin around) and you can either assume the fly is dead or got away :)  (For the 2's and 3's I tell them he flew away scared.)

Our second little book was Michael Rosen's The Tiny Little Fly.  This is a great new book.  I love the large illustrations that are great for story time sharing.  I also like the repetitive text and the story itself is just the right length for the 2 year old crowd.  You could have the kids repeat 'I'm gonna catch that fly' but I had already done that with the first book. 

For the last story I went with a flannel board this week since the kids have seemed to be getting wiggly by the end of our sessions.  I found the rhyme There's a Bug on the Teacher by Kalli Dakos on Miss Mary Liberry's blog.  So, I made my own version and changed the poem to say fly instead of bug.  (I made 'foamie' me!)  This is a short poem and the fly works his way from the teacher's foot to her nose where she sneezes him away.  I had all of the kids pretend that their pointer finger was a fly and they did the rhyme along with me.  You can find the text on Miss Mary's blog by clicking on the link above.

Since flies and bugs go hand in hand, we sang Hap Palmer's Itsy Bitsy Spider.  This song is always a favorite of mine because I love the part where the spider climbs on the kids.  It is good for learning body awareness of just good old tickle fun with whoever brought them.

Of course we couldn't do a fly theme without singing Shoo Fly, and Greg and Steve have a good version on their album On the Move.  This version has the kids acting like other animals in between each round of the Shoo Fly verse.  Thankfully my coworker knew this one, because the version I had did not have as much action and I try to keep my songs really active.

We ended story time by dancing with scarves to Johnette Downing's Shake Your Scarves.  This is a good scarf song where the kids move them up and down and in and out etc.

Our craft was simply a fly on a stick and a paper person.  They each got a black fly (an Ellison bumble bee that I modified by cutting off the antenna and stinger) and a piece of paper with the outline of a person.  They decorated each with crayons and stickers and then had a fly that could land on the person's head, toes, tummy, nose, etc.


In a Vegetable Garden

So, last week our theme was Cookies and this week we featured Vegetables - talk about a let down.  When trying to introduce the theme I asked the kids what they thought the opposite of cookies is.  Responses were things like cake, cereal, and milk...hmmmm...maybe we need to do a story time about opposites?  Our letter of the day was V (here many replied A, which is understandable) and they had some trouble coming up with words for V.  Luckily, Sparky helped them out with the words Van (because most of them probably arrived in one) and Vegetables.

The first book that we read was Mystery vine : a pumpkin surprise  by Cathryn Falwell.  This is a good vegetable book.  It shows a family that plants a vegetable garden in this spring and as they are taking care of it they discover a mystery vine.  As they care for the other vegetable plants they watch the vine wondering what it will be.  Then, in the fall, surprise!  The vine has pumpkins.  I thought this was great for a vegetable theme and then I visited the pumpkin farm and discovered that pumpkins are really a fruit.  (Make sense, who wants vegetables in a dessert pie?)  So, we all go to learn something new at story time.

Our second book was from the NYPL list and was Ruth Krauss's The carrot seed.  This is a nice short story for the 2 and 3s about a little boy who plants a carrot seed.  Everyone tells him that nothing will happen with the seed, but he takes care of it anyway by pulling weeds and watering it.  We even had the big book format, so that made Crockett Johnson's simple illustrations easy to see.
My flannel characters
The last story we did was a flannel board of Vladimir Vagin's The Enormous Carrot.  In my telling a bunny is trying to get a carrot out of the ground but it just won't come out.  He asks friends to help him pull it out and even with several of them it won't come out.  Then a mouse wants to help and the other animals tell him that he is too small.  But, the little mouse wants to try anyway and guess what happens?  My co-worker did this story a week ago and had the kids pretend to pull, that went over very well with my groups.  I found a version of the story here, but I varied it some.
I did find some more vegetable songs this time around.  We sang Laurie Berkner's Valley of the vegetables.  I passed out bells to ring as we sang and I printed off pictures of the different vegetables that we 'eat' in the song.  I'm not sure how much they really liked the song, but they did enjoy ringing the bells.

We also sang In our garden by Peter and Ellen Allard.  This is a slower song, but you can do the actions of digging, planting, watering, picking, and eating.  I have seen songs like this that are done acapella but I liked that this one gave us some background music. 

Our final song was another Laurie Berkner, this time we sang I feel so crazy I jump in the soup.  I mentioned that soup is often made with vegetables and then we jumped, swam, galloped, splashed, and sat in our soup.  This is a fun song and it is short, which is good for the little kids. 

I had planned for a vegetable craft so we made pumpkins with tissue paper.  Then I learned that pumpkins are a fruit, but oh well, they are still fun to make and seasonally appropriate!

Flannel Friday: The Pigs' Picnic

This week's foamie story is The Pigs' Picnic by Keiko Kasza.  This is the story of Mr. Pig who is off to enjoy a lovely day by taking Miss Pig on a picnic.  Along they way to Miss Pig's house, Mr. Pig encounters several well meaning friends who want to help him impress Miss Pig.  A lion lends him his mane, a zebra his stripes, and a foxy his tail (to look more foxy of course!).  Thus, Mr. Pig shows up at Miss Pig's home looking not much like a pig, but much more like a monster!  A frightened Miss Pig screams and slams the door in his face.  Mr. Pig then turns around to return the tail, stripes, and mane to his friends before returning to Miss Pig's looking much more like himself.  Miss Pig is very relieved to see Mr. Pig and spends much of the picnic telling him all about the horrible monster that arrived earlier on her doorstep.
 So, as you can see I have a foamie Mr. Pig, a tail, some stripes, and a mane.  He also has a red flower that he picks along they way for Miss Pig, but I forgot to include that in the photo.  The tail I made by gluing yarn to some card stock.  The mane is made of pipecleaners with yarn tied around them.  Both the mane and the tail have velcro to hold them to the board (but if you make them from felt they should stick).  The stripes are made from a piece of overhead transparency to which I glued craft foam stripes.  Those get a piece of tape before the story and then they will stick nicely to Mr. Pig.    

I think this is a fun story.  If you like doing voices you can do a different one for each character.  And I always like having Miss Pig scream really loudly when the 'monster' arrives at her door.  (For some reason she tends to have a southern accent and shouts Oh my stars!)  You might be able to do this story as a draw and tell if you have a dry erase board where you can erase what you add.

Look for the rest of this week's round up at rovingfiddlehead kidlit, visit Anne at so tomorrow for links to past Flannel Fridays, or click on the Flannel Friday button at the right to view all the Flannel posts at Pinterest.


Flannel Friday: Baking Cookies

This week my story time theme was cookies, so we made cookies of our own!  You can read all about my story time plan here, along with the inspiration behind my baking idea.  Anyway, the idea was that we were going to 'bake' cookies while reading our last book.  So, I made ingredients out of craft foam and I passed them out to the kids.  Then, I asked for different items and they brought them to me (or they just all brought them at once and I named what they were putting in the bowl - I expected that would be the case).  I mixed it all up with a spatula and then put real cookie dough into a hidden Easybake Oven.  (I kept it out of sight behind my cart and on a plastic chair so that no one would touch it.)  Then we started smelling cookies as we read Who ate all the cookie dough by Karen Beaumont.  After the book, I pulled out the cookies so they could see what they made.  Then we ate cookies!
 So, my flannel this week is simply cookie making ingredients.  I made extras of each so that I would have enough for the 25 kids we tend to get in story time, but I only took a picture of each different item. 

I did most of these free hand.  I think that I found a clip art image of a liquid and dry measuring cup.  I added a little dimension by making the salt and sugar sparkly, the baking soda is the soft side of velcro, and the flour is flannel.  I also put clear tape over the brown part on the vanilla to make it look wet (I am suddenly wondering why I did not do that with the water, oh well).  I labeled all of them thinking the parents could help send them up when I asked for specific items, but they all just brought them anyway :)

It was hard to tell if the kids got the idea that we were supposed to have made the cookies, but all of the parents seemed to like the idea.

Visit Miss Anna at her blog Future Librarian Superhero for the full round up this week.

Me Want Cookie!

This week story time was all about COOKIES!  The Cookie Monster in me was really happy this week, so were all of my story time friends who I got to share cookies with.  So, of course, our letter of the day was C and our NYPL booklist book was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

I do have to say, I feel badly for my Monday group.  I do 3 story times each week and the poor Monday kids are always my test subjects.  Usually, I don't change much, only things that really don't go over well and even then I may not change it if they are a really young group.  This week though, I changed a whole book and the order of all the books because they were just so wiggly.

I had built this story time around an idea that a professor of mine, Dr. Brodie, presented in one of my library school classes.  She talked about reading the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins while having cookies bake in an Easybake Oven.  She said that the smell got the kids attention as she was reading.  Well, recently someone passed along an Easybake Oven to my daughter and I figured why not use it in story time?  So, I practiced with the oven (I found that it cooks refrigerated cookie dough rather nicely) and prepared an elaborate production.  Instead of a flannel story this week, I made 'ingredients' out of craft foam and passed them out to the kids.  Then I asked for different things and they brought them to my bowl (or they all bombarded me whether I asked for what they had or not).  We mixed them a little and then Sparky 'put them in the oven.'  I had the Easybake hidden behind my cart so I quickly slid the dough into the oven and read the last story.  This was the last book and I think The Doorbell Rang was just a little too long for my group.  So, for the other groups I switched to the book Who Ate All the Cookie Dough, which is shorter and worked much better!  Then, we pulled the cookies out of the oven and Sparky gave them all some cookies to eat!  (I should remind you here to turn your oven off - I remembered that the first two times I did this, but the third time I slid the cookies back in because they didn't look done and then forgot!  Luckily one mother noticed and we got it turned off, but I had some charcoal cookies and the entire library smelled like burned cookies.  Thankfully no smoke alarms went off!)  Anyway, here are the other things we did (in the order that worked better):

The first book we read was If you give a mouse a cookie by Laura Numeroff.  This was the book from the 100 picturebooks everyone should know list and of course it is a classic.  I was a little surprised that not more of the kids seemed to know this story, but I guess that it is good I got to share it with them.  I just love how the little mouse in this story is just like a toddler in that each little activity leads to another and they all lead him back to cookies!

Our second book I added after changing things around.  I don't know how I missed it initially, but The cow loves cookies by Karma Wilson is perfect for a cookie story time.  It talks about what all the other animals on the farm eat, but the cow loves cookies!  I had them help me with this one.  The word 'cookies' pops up several times, so when we got to that word I held up a spatula and everyone shouted 'cookies!'  It added some fun to the book and helped keep the kids (and parents) involved.

The third book we read was Karen Beaumont's Who are all the cookie dough?  This is a cute rhyming story about a kangaroo who is trying to bake cookies but all the dough has disappeared.  (Very appropriate to read after having 'made' our own cookie dough.)  This is a shorter one, but it has great repetition for the younger kids.  I even heard some parents and kids reading along with me.

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins was originally part of my list, but, as mentioned above, the Monday crowd did not go for it.  It is a classic story and has the repetition that the kids usually go for, they just did not care for this one.  I think that maybe with an older crowd it would do better.  I also think that it could make a good flannel story and you could keep redistributing the cookies (in the story mama passes out some cookies, but the doorbell keeps ringing and as other kids come in they have to reallocate cookies so that everyone can have some).

Our songs were not cookie, or even food related, but they were good movement songs.  We did Clap your hands from the album Wiggleworms Love You.  This song has the kid clapping, stomping, brushing their teeth, and touching their nose.

We also sang Tommy Thumb is up by Carole Peterson.  This is a great fingerplay song that I use quite a bit.  It is along the lines of Where is Thumbkin but the kids use their thumb, index finger, pinkie finger, and all of the fingers together.  I think leaving the two middle ones out is good for the little kids as they can't really get those ones up anyway.

I had planned for the song Peanut butter from the Where is Thumbkin album, but we did not have time for it this week.  It is the song about making peanut butter and jelly.  This was the most upbeat version I could find.

Our craft for the week was my proven crowd pleaser - food!  I gave each kid a bag with a chocolate chip cookie and a sugar cookie.  Then they had a dollop of icing and a craft stick to spread it onto the cookie with.  I also gave them a cookie monster coloring page to take home.