This is a hugely popular storytime game: I first saw it done at a Prop-a-Palooza meeting of Lapsit Leaders. Here’s a photo of the version I made:
All you need to play this game are simple sleight of hand tricks. Stack up the houses and slip the mouse behind one of them, then hang them all up and have the kids “use your words, not your fingers,” to choose a color. Then call out “little mouse! little mouse! are you inside the (appropriate color here) house?” If the mouse isn’t home, say no one’s home and try again. If the mouse is there, the kids giggle and clap and we start all over!
I used this as our Fall session ‘weekly wiggle,’ meaning that we did this at every Toddler Time right before our closing songs. The 2 year olds absolutely love this game; I honestly think I could do ten minutes of this and ten minutes of Zoom Zoom Zoom and have the happiest toddlers ever! I like how you can expand vocabulary by including challenging colors like white, orange, and purple. I haven’t made these yet, but silver, gold, brown, gray, black, or multicolored patterns would be good vocabulary builders too.