Flannel Friday: Ready-for-Spring Flowers

I’m sure we’re all ready for spring emotionally, but if your storytime plans still need a boost of floral/sunny/rainy/fresh ideas, try this easy song I found at Sunflower Storytime. I made a foam board prop to look at as we sang each week. As I sang the counting verse, I pointed at each number; on the second verse, we made arm motions for Rain, Sunshine, and Grow Up Tall.

One little, two little, three little flowers,
Four little, five little, six little flowers,
Seven little, eight little, nine little flowers,
Ten little flowers in the spring!

Give them rain and lots of sunshine, Give them rain and lots of sunshine, Give them rain and lots of sunshine, So they grow up tall!

(tune of: Ten Little Soldiers, aka Ten Little Indians)

IMG_2840I made this out of foam board, construction paper, tissue paper, and numerals printed out from a word processor.  I used spray adhesive to attach the blue sky and green grass, then added my free-cut flowers and stems with a glue stick. For the 3d tissue paper flowers, I cut out the flower shapes on a thick stack of tissue, then stapled them at the center and glued them down – then glued the yellow center to cover the staple. None of the steps are difficult, but the end result makes it look like they are. This photo was taken after use in 16 sessions and a few weeks of flat storage, so with a little care, this prop can last quite a long time. If you make it:

  • Consider using velcro to make the numbers or entire flowers movable
  • Make it as big as your storage allows
  • Add the lyrics to the back of the board

This week’s roundup is hosted by Ms. Kelly. Learn more about Flannel Friday here.


Flannel Friday: Where is (animal) hiding?

Today I’m excited to be featured – in very good company – on Jbrary’s winter links post. Lucky me!

This game is played the exact same way as Little Mouse, but I made household furniture for the animals to hide behind. Each week, I made a new animal to hide that matched my theme. How many can you spot?

Kids love this game and are easily tricked even by my basic sleight-of-hand skills. When I was asking them where the animal hid, I emphasized the color of each item. I like this because it introduced the vocabulary words Plant, Couch, Dresser, and Bed, as well as the names and colors of each animal.


Some of the animals are made from a die cut; some are freehand. All of the furniture was done freehand. Everything is laminated construction paper with a magnet strip and accents in sharpie. If I were making this over again, I would plan the bed better so that it was big enough to hide some of the larger animals and so that the pillow was a different shade of blue – I worried that calling it “the blue bed” was confusing since it actually has three colors.

Flannel Friday: Little Mouse

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:

photo 2

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.

Flannel Friday: Five Giant Pumpkins

My version of this rhyme is adapted from the clever two-sided version at Read Rabbit Read. I rewrote a few of the lines and made the prop in a different style: I had a large pumpkin covering up a smaller image of what that pumpkin became, then took down the big pumpkin as I read each line. I used construction paper, the die cut machine, and the laminating machine, along with some yarn and sharpies.
5 pumpkins

pieFive giant pumpkins, sitting on the floor; one became a pumpkin pie, then there were four.




jack o lanternFour giant pumpkins, orange as can be; one became a jack-o-lantern, then there were three.




carriageThree giant pumpkins, bibiddy-bobiddy boo! One became a carriage, then there were two.






prize winner

Two giant pumpkins, underneath the sun; one got first prize, then there was one.





under the pumpkinsOne giant pumpkin, sitting all alone; I picked it up and carried it home!


On the last line, I didn’t have anything hiding behind the big pumpkin: I just mimed carrying it and put it away at “home” (behind the easel).

Prop Story: I Broke My Trunk!

I broke My trunk

The cumulative nature of this Mo Willems gem makes it perfect as a prop story. I made my animals by photocopying illustrations from the book, cutting them out, and using those as stencils on construction paper. Once I had the construction paper animals cut out, I added details with a fine point Sharpie and a white colored pencil, then laminated them and added sticky velcro to the back.

They debuted at iTots Storytime and it went well; I read the book out loud like normal, and paused at the appropriate times to stack up my velcro props. I could probably tell it without the book, but I’m not confident enough with that title to do it unsupported – yet.

The kids responded really well to this story, and my coworkers were impressed with it too: I think it will get used outside of my programs, which is great!

Five Little Monkeys at iTots Storytime

I’m always looking for ways to expand my repertoire, and this idea is one that I had discounted and revisited several times. A digital felt board story is a natural fit for a digital storytime, and I was interested in using the Felt Board iPad app to do it, but I disliked the inexact controls and the difficulty of placing new items on the screen – I thought it would be distracting for the kids and difficult for me. Luckily, when I thought of doing Five Little Monkeys Swingin’ From a Tree, the whole thing came together!

flannel photo

As I sang 5 Little Monkeys, I would move Mr. Crocodile along the ground and mime a big swinging action with my upper body. I kept the iPad turned toward me the whole time, but the kids saw the action up on the projector screen. Since all the pieces are there at the beginning of the song, all I had to do was tap the trash icon (all your pieces will start to gently wiggle) and then tap a monkey to make it disappear. Then I tapped the trash icon again (to turn off the delete feature) so I could manipulate Mr. Crocodile during the next verse without making him disappear, too.

Where I used it: iTots storytime, for an audience age 2-6. August and December 2014.

What I like: The children were absorbed and listening intently, which is the whole point! Also, I can make the background, tree, and other details look different every time, so the song won’t feel as stale as it does with my regular monkey magnets and Mr. Croc hand puppet.

What I don’t like: It requires practice runs – if you tap wildly and make the wrong thing disappear (the leaves on the tree, for example) it derails the song quite a bit. If you know how to handle that, it shouldn’t be a problem.