Flannel Friday: Color Zoo

Today’s original flannelboard is a very special one to my heart. It’s based on Lois Ehlert’s Color Zoo:


“Color Zoo” is the first book I remember being read to me in my kindergarten school library. I was enthralled with this book and was so thankful that Mr. J read it to us! It’s a perfect memory — I remember that carpeted sunken reading area so well. I can even tell you where the Pinkerton books are if you happen to have a time-turner.

For the template, I made photocopies of the book and used that as my patterns. There is a LOT of measuring if you choose to make it this way, which mirrors the book. You can always do it as a build-your-own like Lisa from Libraryland did.

I used this flannelboard in a shapes theme for a partnership storytime (Play to Learn with the DuPage Children’s Museum) this fall and for a boxes theme for my family storytimes. Both groups really enjoyed it, in particular my family storytime group!

Emily is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Families: Colors

For more information on how I plan and prepare my family storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan. Some activities go unstarred because I only do this program once a week.

The Plan



Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek*
Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Little Green Peas by Keith Baker*
Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

Early Literacy Tip

Storytimes are your child’s first classroom setting. By coming regularly and participating together, you are preparing your child for school.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Bari Koral Family Rock Band’s “Rock and Roll Garden”*

Featured Track: #6 Colors*

Flannelboard: “Maisy Mouse”*

Flannelboard: “Brown Bear”

Prop: “Scat the Cat”*

Song: “Driving Round In My Red Car” (Tune: “Bumpin’ Up and Down In My Little Red Wagon”)*
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom
(Go through red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
Credit: Childhood

Song & Scarves: “These Are the Colors” (Tune: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)*
Red and yellow, green and blue
These are the colors over you
Red as a flower, green as a tree
Yellow as the sun, blue as the sea
Red and yellow, green and blue
These are the colors over you
Credit: Read Sing Play

Repeating Extension Activities

I had four back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I rarely used them, but here they are:

  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Thumbkin

How It Went

I took over family storytime this fall and was absolutely thrilled to see so many friends from this summer’s “Shake Shimmy, & Dance” programs. I had a pair of sisters being so kind with one another during our scarf songs, I saw a new toddler and his mom snap a selfie, and had some of my favorite kiddos being wonderful at participation. My new introduction and warm-up activity was a huge help! And as always, Scat the Cat and Maisy are magic.

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The Plan



Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beamont
Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein
Dinosaur Vs. School by Bob Shea
Here Comes Destructosaurus by Jeremy Tankard
Shape By Shape by Suse MacDonald

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Ten Little Dinos”

Action Rhyme: “Dinosaur, Dinosaur”
Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur, wink one eye
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees
Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please
Credit: Childhood/Modified “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

Action Rhyme: “Dinosaurs”
Spread your arms, way out wide
Fly like Pteranodon, soar and glide
Bend to the floor, head down low
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago
Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Apatosaurus eating on a tree
Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl
Credit: Nancy Klein on The Childrens Museum of New Hampshire’s website

How It Went

Site Information
At this location, I do two classrooms. One is a two-year-old classroom and the other is a combined three-year-olds to six-year-olds classroom (basically three classrooms pile into one classroom). I was always directed to the two-year-old room first.

This storytime should have been an absolutely perfect fit for this age group. Instead, the teachers asked if I would do this storytime outside since it was a gorgeous day. I agreed, provided I had an area. The only area that was fenced in was the playground equipment. You can bet what the toddlers wanted to do instead of listening to Miss Katie. So, I did a very quick storytime where we only read two books “Dini Dinosaur” and “Dino Shapes” and called it a win!

Three-Year-Olds — Six-Year-Olds
This group did much better with everything because a) they’re older and b) we were inside. They had a great time roaring with Bob Shea’s Dinosaur and smashing things with Destructosaurus. I had a great time pretending to be dinosaurs with them. I did wind up using “Shape by Shape” with them, but I should have saved it for just the two-year-olds. I was met with a chorus of “IT’S A DINOSAUR” from the very beginning of opening the book.

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Toddlers: Winter

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan



Cleo In the Snow by Caroline Mockford**
Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee*
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kushin**

Early Literacy Tip

Scientific studies of the brain suggest that a child’s natural approach to learning is through play. Songs about weather can be followed by games.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: H.U.M. by Carole Stephens

Featured Track: #3 I Can Make a Snowman**

Flannelboard: “Five Little Snowflakes”**

Flannelboard: “Matching Mittens”*

Prop: “Snowflake Circles”**

Puppets: There’s Something In the Snow***
There’s something in the snow, now what can it be?
There’s something in the snow that I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound…HOWL HOWL HOWL
A wolf is what I found! HOWL HOWL HOWL
(CAW CAW CAW, A cardinal is what I found! / GRR GRR GRR, A bear is what I found! / WADDLE WADDLE WADDLE, A penguin is what I found!)
Credit: Modified from “There’s Something In My Garden” originally found at SurLaLune Storytime

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Dance Your Fingers**
  • Elevator Song*
  • Roly Poly**
  • These Are My Glasses***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***

How It Went

Tuesday morning
They absolutely loved “Something In the Garden” today; it made a great guessing game. I had a few screamers today, which parents and caregivers took out of the room. But something about screamers just sets the tone of the room to anxiety, so we listened to “The Mitten Song” off Miss Carole’s CD too. For “Snowflakes Circles”, I passed out white tulle circles for the kids to toss up and down like snowflakes.

Thursday morning (9:30)
My younger kiddos loved the puppets! While I read “Under My Hood I Have a Hat”, I asked parents/caregivers to touch each part of their child’s body. This was a great tip that really kept my youngest group involved enough for a second group! Bravo, kids! One of my girls held my hand during “Tickle the Clouds” and another latched herself onto my legs during bubbles for a long hug…aww!

Thursday morning (10:30)
I specifically picked my “Matching Mittens” flannelboard for this group since they did so awesome with the Stoplight Sorting last week. I did have a young kiddo who tried to come to the 9:30 and cried, and then tried the 10:30 with more crying. Poor kiddo just wasn’t ready for stories. I had big hugs from two of my kids on the way. And! And! My new storytime arrangement (where I removed some tempting items on low shelves) made a huge improvement this whole week!

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Storytime Essentials: Five Most Beloved Purchased Puppets/Sets

Photo booth style!

1. Folkmanis Grizzly Bear Cub
They don’t make my bear cub anymore, but they do have another bear available. (I think mine looks more friendly in the face.) This is a perennial favorite for the “Sleepy Bear” rhyme, singing “Grr Grr Went the Big Brown Bear”, hidden behind the flannelboard to eat strawberries and to chase the kids on a bear hunt.

2. Merry Makers Scaredy Squirrel
Scaredy Squirrel has a big place in my heart. “Scaredy Squirrel” the book was the very first book I read to kids in a library and the first puppet that made me go, “OH MY GOSH, I MUST HAVE HIM.” Scaredy has helped me on fall school visits by showing kids the library is nothing be scared of.

3. Manhattan Toy Old MacDonald
I think every librarian needs a good farm set. My set isn’t sold through Manhattan Toy; you need to catch it on a re-sale website. Obviously good for “Old MacDonald”, but also for “Over in the Barnyard” and “Ah-Choo!”

4. Manhattan Toy FlipFlaps Butterfly
I cannot find this one sold anywhere and I am terribly sorry about that. I love this puppet. It’s so easy to manipulate and move around with. I wish there were more FlipFlaps made. I use this all the time with “Flutter, Flutter Butterfly”.

5. Folkmanis Golden Retriever
Where would I be without Applesauce, the storytime mascot from my last library? Applesauce came with me to my new library because he was mine and the library finally purchased their own golden retriever puppet to maintain the tradition I started. He’s been a superhero, eaten strawberries off the flannelboards, led a game of “Applesauce Says”, and been mended countless times when I use this Band-Aids flannelboards.

So whether or not puppets are your style, I hope at least the pictures amused you since I had fun taking them on my dinner break! And if puppets are your thing, maybe you’ve found a new way to use one of your favorites or have found a new friend to purchase.

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Flannel Friday: All The Little Germs

This flannelboard was inspired by LibraryQuine!


All the little germs, dirty and mean,
Hiding on your palms, (point to where they’re hiding)
Where they cannot be seen.
Wash them, (rub hands together)
Scrub them, (rub knuckles together)
Rinse them away. (whisk hands across each other)
Then we’ll have clean hands, (hold hands out palm up)
Hip, hip, hooray! (jazz hands!)

(More verses: Hiding between your fingers, Hiding behind your hands, Hiding on your thumbs, Hiding under nails, Hiding on your wrists)

I used this in Manners storytime when I talked to the kids about keeping our hands clean to be polite to our friends. I also used this in a recent “I’m Sick/Ouches” storytime. The kids loved pretend scrubbing their own hands and parents/caregivers love the reminder that hand washing is necessary and healthy!

Kathryn is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Family Storytimes


Our family storytimes are held in our very large meeting room. They are drop-in and typically average 40-50 people in the room. While we have a wide variety of ages, I am mostly seeing ages 3-5 as the main participants with a few toddler or baby siblings.

I modified Lindsey’s AMAZING toddler planning sheet for family storytimes. I changed it around a bit, but it is the single most useful planning tool I’ve ever found for a storytime!


I took this idea from Audrey, who shared it with us at Guerrilla Storytime! (PS – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!)

Hi everyone! My name is Miss Katie and I’ll be leading family storytime this session; this is week __ of seven. It’s time for everyone to warm-up. Let’s start with our elbows. (Everyone rubs their elbows.) A couple of quick pieces of information about the library: restrooms are located right outside the meeting room and on either side of the storytime room. Feel free to use them as you or your child needs to.

Switch elbows! It’s all right if you child gets up and moves during storytime. Just be sure to keep them clear of the front of the room as I’ll be walking back and forth throughout the storytime. If they do enter that space, please just re-direct them, although they do not have to sit back down.

Switch to your knees! If your child becomes uncomfortable at any time, please take them out of the room to settle them down. You are welcome to rejoin us once your child has calmed down. If you need to leave, please try to come back next week. Sometimes it takes children more time than adults to be comfortable in a space or program.

Switch to your head! You are your child’s best model for storytime behavior. Please participate in the singing, rhymes, and activities that we are doing. Your child will look to you for how to behave. And with that, I think we’re warmed up. Let’s start storytime!

Opening Song
Our hello song has four words in ASL, which is American Sign Language. The first word we need to learn is “hello”; make a salute from your head. The next word is “friend”; we take one finger and then another finger and our fingers give each other a hug. Then we need to learn how to say “time”; we point to where we might wear a watch. Last, we need to learn the word “say”; we put our finger on our chin and imagine our words coming out of our finger as we move like this.

Okay, now we’re ready to sing:

“Hello Friends”
Hello friends, hello friends
Hello friends, it’s time to say hello

(Insider tip: watch Jbrary sing it here!)


Here’s where everything changes week-to-week. I always have four books, several flannelboards and puppets and props, a featured music CD, and fingerplays/movement activities planned. I’ll talk about those in each write-up.


Closing Rhyme
I used Melissa‘s “This Is Big, Big, Big” as the beginning of my closing routine. You can try and pry this rhyme out of my repertoire, but I will shout “NEVER!” and cling to it like a first edition signed Harry Potter book.

Closing Song
For our closing song, I just sing “Goodbye Friends” which is also available in the video above!

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Shake, Shimmy, & Dance: 7/15

For the first time in our library’s history, we ran our own summer reading program — Make Some Noise! What better opportunity to do a bi-weekly music and movement dance party? This program was advertised for ages 0-7 and their families.


The Plan

Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Two sets of frogs: one who wants to jump and the other who wants to dance. Eventually, they come together. It’s a perfect book for a music and movement program. The kids had a really great time jumping around and it definitely got us off to a rocking start for this day’s Shake Shimmy.

Activity Scarves!

The Playlist

Hello & How Are You? — Old Town School of Folk Music
Get Ready to Wiggle — The Wiggles
Rocketship Run — Laurie Berkner Band
I Like to Dance — Yo Gabba Gabba
If All of the Raindrops — Old Town School of Folk Music
Dancing Scarf Blues — Carole Peterson
Under the Sea — Georgiana Stewart
Shake Hands With Friends — Ella Jenkins

How It Went

This program is really serving as a great way for me to get to know a lot of my new families and for them to get comfortable with me. I had another set of siblings really get into dancing today. For the past few sessions, they’ve stayed close to Mom and hung out on the edges. Today, they all walked up and danced right next to me! I think everyone’s favorite activity today was swimming with the scarves during “Under the Sea”.

(For an example of the Powerpoint and handouts that I made for each Shake, Shimmy please visit the original post.)

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Toddlers: Cars

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan



Moo! by David LaRochelle
My Car by Byron Barton*
Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia***
Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers**

Early Literacy Tip

When you read a book to your child, running your finger under the printed words helps him/her know that it is the text you are reading, not the pictures.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing — The Wiggles

Featured Track: “I Drive the Big Red Car”**

Flannelboard: “Lots of Cars”***

Prop: Stoplight Sorting***

Prop Sticks: “Green Says Go”***

Repeating Extension Activities

  • A Wiggle Wiggle Here*
  • Slowly, Slowly*
  • These Are My Glasses***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • Thumbkin**
  • Wake Up Toes*

How It Went

Tuesday morning
I gave an extra tip this morning while reading “Who Is Driving?” — the kids were getting restless so we only read parts. Parents/caregivers: remember to close a book if the experience is turning out to be more frustrating than fun! The Wiggles CD completely malfunctioned today; track would not play even though it did when I tested it prior to storytime. Stoplight activities were so fun!

Thursday morning (9:30)
Today’s class featured a ton of grandmas and grandpas which is so wonderful! I heard a lot of my toddlers repeating such great words and sounds during “Toot Toot Beep Beep”. Stoplight Sorting did not go as intended. I wound up modifying by asking the toddlers to touch their clothespin to the color and then give it to me. That worked much better.

Thursday morning (10:30)
This group absolutely NAILED Stoplight Sorting. I have two young ladies in this class who are absolute joys — they continually participate and one of them comes to hug me after every storytime before I bring bubbles out. The group’s favorite activity today was “Lots of Cars”. They really got into acting out the rhyme!

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Discovery!: Yoga


Yep. I did yoga with PRESCHOOLERS.

[Small background: I taught yoga in college for a semester and have taken yoga on and off again since high school. I do not have a certification, but I talked with my supervisor about whether or not this program would be covered under liability. It was decided that we ask patrons to follow movements in all programs (lifts, bounces, games, etc.) and would therefore be covered under the library’s general insurance policy. Please check with your administration before attempting this program.]

I broke up the day into Intro, Animal Poses, Shape Poses, and Cool-Down.

For your understanding of what I’m talking about, I’ve linked each pose to a picture from Namaste Kid. They are a wonderful resource for teaching yoga to children. I watched both “Once Upon a Mat” and “Yoga Motion” to help prepare for specifically teaching to children. [“Yoga Motion” is available to rent on Amazon Prime; another library in my system has “Once Upon a Mat” which I ILLed.]


I began class by telling the kids that we were going to do some yoga, which is a form of movement. I asked parents and caregivers to participate as best they could. I also said that the kids could opt out of any pose that they didn’t want to do. If they wanted to take a rest, they could sit cross-legged while the rest of us were in pose. Then, we practiced taking some deep breaths all the way from our bellies. I had the kids touch their stomachs to feel if their stomach moved. If their stomach was moving, they were breathing deep enough.

Animal Poses

fromheadtotoeBook: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
I started with “From Head to Toe” because it’s a great book about movement and getting kids to think about their bodies standing in for animals. I thought this would be a great way to kick off yoga poses and would also work with the plethora of animal poses available to teach!

Monkey Pose

Butterfly Pose

Giraffe Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Cat & Cow Pose

Lion Pose

Frog Pose

Shape Poses

roundisamooncakeBook: Round Is a Mooncake
I wanted, again, to introduce a concept to the kids that we would then mirror with our bodies. This is one of my favorite shape books ever. While there aren’t as many shape poses, I think the kids really responded to this section because the shapes were easier to see in their friends than the animals.

Star Pose

Triangle Pose

Crescent Moon Pose

Child’s Pose (Oval)

Corpse Pose (Line)


A trillion thanks to Laura for the amazing idea of using Beanie Babies to help the kids practice their deep breathing in a cool-down. I used bean bags since the library does not own Beanie Babies.

Since they did such an amazing job being still and calm, I put on some music and let them end with a dance party. Some kids left right away, others stayed for about fifteen minutes to dance with me!

How It Went

Preschoolers + YOGA. (Yes, it really happened!) Some tips that worked for my kiddos was counting out loud five breaths while we were in poses. I kept my voice low and calm to keep up the relaxation going on. Our meeting room has a dimmer installed on some of the lights, so I did use low-level lighting which also helped. Since the meeting room is carpeted, I did not ask parents/caregivers to bring towels or mats. Before we started, I had each child make sure they were three carpet squares away from their friends so we didn’t have any crash landings! I had so many compliments from caregivers and parents. And one Twitter friend said I should apply for sainthood, haha!

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