Month: May 2011

Flannel Friday: Pretty Ladybugs

This is one that Mollie at Miss Mollie’s Storytime Fun did during one of the first weeks of Flannel Friday. I immediately bookmarked it because I’ve got a counting storytime coming up this summer, where this will be perfect!

For the ladybug, I just blew up Mollie’s picture and used that as a straight template. And for the numbers, I used our Ellison die-cut machine for the first time with felt! It worked pretty good as far as I’m concerned. The only number I had to correct out of the machine was the six. (Also, our Ellison is pretty old — it’s the LetterMachine XL. I don’t know how cutting felt would work on any other Ellison so I wanted to make sure you knew which one I had.)

Here’s the rhyme from Mollie:

“Pretty Ladybug” (Sung to: “The Muffin Man”)
Ladybug has 1 black spot,
1 black spot, 1 black spot;
Ladybug has 1 black spot,
Pretty ladybug!
Continue until there are 6 spots.
— Which she got from

See you guys next week for another #flannelfriday!

Spring Animals!

I was originally supposed to be reading “spring” stories this storytime, but at the last minute, I decided I didn’t want to read any of the books I had pulled. Our craft was flexible enough that it let me change to “spring animals.” I quickly pulled new books (mostly from our in-house collection), and found rhymes in less than an hour.

I am so glad I changed the theme — this was a WONDERFUL storytime where everyone behaved like angels, and it was a great day for participation, too.

I started off storytime with “Mouse’s First Spring” by Lauren Thompson.

While this is a great book for spring, I like it even better for spring animals! Mouse and Momma go on a walk, with Momma answering Mouse’s questions about animals they meet. My kids really liked the guessing game aspect of this book, and were very happy to shout answers to clues.

I had this prepped for bug storytime, and it definitely worked for this theme too:

Action Rhyme: “Bumblebee, Bumblebee”
Bumblebee, bumblebee
Landing on my nose
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Now he’s on my toes
On my arms, on my legs,
On my elbows!
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
He lands and then he goes!
Credit: Mrs. Jones – Insects

Then it was time for another animal who likes to hide — I read “Where is Tippy Toes?” by Betsy Lewin.

My group was so caught up in this story, and they loved the cut-aways in the page pieces. I was very proud when one of the kids guessed a bed at the end of the book.

Next up, I sang-read “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” by Jane Cabrera.

I love that this book gives the opportunity for parents to join in with me. Nearly everyone sang, and it really encouraged the kids to go ahead and sing, too. Also, the cute little twist of a baby at the end of the song always gets a good crowd laugh.

After, I launched into “Baa Baa Black Sheep” with my popsicle stick props, and everyone kept singing with me! YAY.

And then it was time for a fingerplay to introduce the next animal we were going to read about. I’ve used this three different times this spring:

Fingerplay: “Here Is a Bunny”
Here is a bunny with ears so funny
And here is his home in the ground
When a noise he hears, he pricks up his ears
And he jumps to his home in the ground

And then, I read “Wee Little Bunny” by Lauren Thompson.

Thompson’s books are perfect for storytime, all of them. I normally don’t use an author twice in storytime, but I cannot help but be in love with all of Lauren Thompson’s books. You’re lucky that I didn’t use “Little Quack” too.

Instead of reading “Little Quack” for ducks, I did the classic “Five Little Ducks” song, with flannelboard pieces I made about a year ago now. A lot of my kids caught on, and my parents too, and wound up singing along with me.

Next up, I brought out “Charlie Chick” by Nick Denchfield.

Do you want a surefire way to have every kid laughing their head off at the end of storytime? Bring out “Charlie Chick.” Sarah brought this book to my attention a long time ago, and I immediately ordered a used copy from Amazon. This is a GREAT pop-up book, and I cannot wait to use this book again. And I’m sure that my kids will be thrilled to see it again as well.

Our craft was from an Oriental Trading kit, and was a huge success.

Such a positive storytime, I’m so glad I switched my theme!


Let me just say for the record that purple is the HARDEST color to find books about! There’s tons of food that’s purple (plums, jelly, jam) but no books for preschoolers about that food. Someone please write a book about jelly and grapes, please!

With that being said, I did manage to find some books for this storytime, and I have to say that the books were received with great joy and happiness on behalf of my preschoolers. Previous color storytimes can be found here: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

First up, this is a book I found in my library’s collection, “Lunchtime for a Purple Snake” by Harriet Ziefert.

This book is very similar to Tomie dePaola’s “The Art Lesson,” which is one of my favorite books from being a child. A young girl paints with her grandfather. Her purple streak across the page turns into a snake, and they decorate the page with objects for their snake. The kids were really involved in this story!

Next up, I read “Gladys Goes Out to Lunch” by Derek Anderson.

At library school, someone used this during our storytime week and for whatever reason the book stuck with me. When I was trying to think of purple books, I remembered that Gladys was a purple gorilla, and grabbed the book off of the shelves. The kids were pretty horrified that a gorilla had escaped from the zoo. They kept saying, “She shouldn’t be out, Miss Katie!” during the reading. But when it was revealed that she was looking for bananas, lots of giggles ensued. And then everyone got a chance to be a monkey!

Action Rhyme: “Little Monkeys Swinging In the Tree”
Little monkeys swinging in the tree
All hold hands and swing with me
Swing up high and swing down low
Swing in the tree, now don’t let go!
Swing, swing like I do
Swing like the monkeys in the zoo
Credit: Step By Step — Rainforest Theme

Next up, a super short book, “Too Purpley” by Jean Reidy.

This book is about a little girl who doesn’t want to wear most of what’s in her closet. Every outfit she tries on has something wrong with it. This got a lot of laughs, especially during the polka-dot page. Afterwards, the kids and I did this song:

Action Song: “I’m Going to Take a Sweater” (Tune: Jolly Good Fellow)
I’m going to take a sweater, a sweater, a sweater
I’m going to take a sweater, when I go out today
When I go out today, when I go out today
I’m going to take a sweater, a sweater, a sweater
I’m going to take a sweater, when I go out today
(Additional Refrains: Umbrella, hat, raincoat, etc.)
Credit: Best Kids Book Site

I changed the words a bit from what’s originally on the BKBS, but I went with what felt natural singing to me. (Sometimes I find that there are too many syllables in the songs, and I get tripped up as a singer.) I acted out putting on the clothes we were singing about, and so did the kids.

And then I brought out my flannelboard of “Harold and the Purple Crayon.”

I was really shocked when one of the little boys said that he knew this story! Hooray!

The next book was “Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem” by Ruth Ohi.

This book didn’t work out nearly as well as I had hoped. My kids were confused about the fact that chicken, pig, and cow are all clay animals that the girl made — so the whole book they kept reminding me that cows were not purple. I think this book is definitely a kindergarten and up book, and will save it for them.

However, singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” with my Manhattan Toy puppets made everything better because my cow puppet is black and white, so that fixed their world.

And then it was on to the last book of the day, “Purple” by Sarah L. Schuette.

This is technically a non-fiction book, but it works for storytime because it’s told in rhymes and has bright pictures. I just skipped over the little information boxed and everything was fine. I choose it because I needed a book about grapes and jelly, and I’m glad it worked so well!

Then, a favorite song of mine from childhood:

Song: “Peanut Butter and Jelly”
First you take the peanuts and you crunch ‘em, you crunch ‘em
First you take the peanuts and you crunch ‘em, you crunch ‘em
For your peanut, peanut butter and jelly
Peanut, peanut butter and jelly
(Grapes/Squish ‘em; Bread/Spread it; Sandwich/Eat it)
Credit: Childhood

And then our craft!

I made up this craft, basically. I have a circle scrapbook punch, punched out some purple circles and we made grape bunches. Super simple, and the kids were so much more creative than me, as always!

Flannel Friday Round-Up (5/20)

Welcome to Flannel Friday!

Hooray, we had a new participant this week! We had TWO new, amazing participants in Flannel Friday this week!

Andrea from Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit posted her first Flannel Friday: Five Little Rabbits. And I have to say, if those rabbits don’t melt your heart and inspire you to try sewing on your flannels, I don’t know what will!

And Anna from Future Librarian Superhero posted her first Flannel Friday: Hello, Robots. I am in love with all of the robots in this set, but pay special attention to Anna’s mop piece — to die for!

On to the rest of the participants:

Flannel: Five Little Rabbits
from Andrea at Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit

Flannel: Hello, Robots
from Anna at Future Librarian Superhero

Flannel: 5 Little Fire Trucks
from Anne at So Tomorrow

Flannel: Questions and Observations
from Bridget at What Is Bridget Reading?

Flannel: The Green Grew All Around
from Mary at Miss Mary Liberry

Flannel: 5 Strawberries
from Melissa at Mel’s Desk

Flannel: What Will I Wear?
from Mollie at Miss Mollie’s Storytime Fun

Flannel: I Took My Frog to the Library
from Nicole at Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime

Flannel: Where’s Spot?
From Sarah at Read Rabbit Read

Flannel: 10 Little Hot Dogs
from Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce

Flannel: 2 Red Apples
from Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes

And I posted my version of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” here.

Thanks for participating! Past Round Ups are here! If I missed you, please feel free to link to your post in the comments, and I will make sure to edit the post on my blog to include you. Next week, Sharon is hosting, so make sure to catch the round-up on Rain Makes Applesauce.

Flannel Friday: Harold and the Purple Crayon

[I am hosting Flannel Friday this week, so check back later today for the round-up post!]

Do you know how hard it is to plan a storytime around the color purple? It’s ridiculous! And to boot, my favorite book about purple — “Harold and the Purple Crayon” naturally — was a wee bit smaller than I remembered it. Of course, I was also smaller back then!

So I set to working on making it into a flannelboard.

I decided that the best way to do this was by trying to simulate the lines that Harold draws and to kind of kid-up the pieces so that they looked like they could be drawn with a crayon. (Also, it meant I didn’t have to be perfect since Harold was the one drawing!)

I started by taping down the clip art, painting around piece, waiting for the paint to dry, and cutting the piece out while making sure to leave a border of purple paint.

You can see just how gloppy I put on the paint in this picture:

A picture of one of the pieces of felt. I think I used about four sheets of white felt. I should have kept better track of that!

And my very messy hand after painting!

And finally….the finished set!

When I was planning for this flannel, I had a co-worker purchase felt by the yard at Joann’s so that I had a piece of white felt to cover the board. It made the story much more authentic than our normal red background.

I also took some liberties with the book. Harold’s hot air balloon become a regular balloon. I skipped having a cityscape and just told that part of the story. I cut his nine types of pie down to four, etc.

This was the best part of purple storytime (post coming Monday, I swear!), and I cannot wait to use it again!

If you want to try and make Harold, here’s my clip art file: Harold Clip Art. And if you don’t have access to the book, I can email you my sheet, so that I’m not breaking copyright on the blog. 😀


Week five in my daycare storytime color themes — blue! (Previous themes: Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green.)

I opened up storytime with one of my absolute favorites: “Grumpy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard.

The kids were very quick to point out that Grumpy Bird is a crank! I love doing voices for this book. I use a light voice for all of the animals except for Grumpy Bird. For Grumpy, I put a hand on my hip and huff a sigh before saying his lines in a deep, cranky voice. My kids were very happy when Grumpy Bird mellowed out and “got happy” at the end of the book.

An easily modified fingerplay for our theme:

Fingerplay: “Two Little Bluebirds”
Two little bluebirds sat on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Fly away, Jack; fly away, Jill,
Come back, Jack; come back, Jill.
Credit: Childhood

And then it was on to “Hooray for Fish” by Lucy Cousin.

Of course, we talked about the ocean being blue, but my kids let me know when other blue fish popped up in the book. This is such a successful storytime book.

Then, I got to use my “I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean” flannelboard for the first time since making it! Some of the kids were familiar with this book, and I’m always really happen when they get to experience a familiar story in a new way.

Then, I led the kids in an action rhyme to introduce our next blue object — a bunny!

Action Rhyme: “Little Bunny”
I saw a little bunny go hop, hop, hop
I told that little bunny to stop, stop, stop
He wiggled his ears and crinkled his nose
And wiggled, wiggled, wiggled right down to his toes.
Credit: Modified from Preschool Education Music & Songs

And then, I read “What’s the Matter, Bunny Blue?” by Nicola Smee.

The rhymes in this book make it a great read-aloud. I especially liked using this book for blue storytime because the rhymes are all based off the word “blue.” A great emphasis for the theme! Then, we did a fingerplay:

Fingerplay: “Here is a Bunny”
Here is a bunny with ears so funny (hold up two fingers for ears)
And here is his hole in the ground (make a circle with the other hand)
At the first sound he hears, he pricks up his ears (extend two fingers)
And hops in the hole in the ground (fingers jump into the hole)
Credit: Early Literature

And then it was on to “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle.

When my library had started its in-house storytime collection, we purchased this title and I am sad to say that it sat on the shelf for a full year before I grabbed it for blue storytime. This is a wonderful book with trucks, animals, and a good lesson for preschoolers. I’m so glad that I re-discovered it on our shelf.

Then, I used some prop sticks to sing this song:

Fingerplay: “Where Are Trucks?” (Thumbkin)
Where is pick-up truck? Where is pick-up truck?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today, sir? Very well, I thank you.
Drive away. Drive away.
(Tow truck, dump truck, moving truck, firetruck)

This kids really loved this activity! Never underestimate the allure of a familiar tune with new words!

Our last book for this week was “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by Charles G. Shaw.

The refrain of this book was easily picked up by my kids, and as I turned the pages on our big book they eagerly guessed what shape the cloud was. And when we finished the book with the reveal that it had been a cloud the whole time, the kids and I talked about different cloud shapes.

We played our flannelboard, “Can We Find?” with blue objects hidden under the houses, and then I sang one last song to tie into our craft project for the day:

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five”
One, two, three, four, five, (hold up fingers one by one)
Once I caught a fish alive. (put hands together and wiggle like a fish)
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, (hold up fingers one by one)
Then I threw it back again. (make throwing motion)
Why did you let it go? (hold hands out asking why)
Because it bit my finger so. (shake hand, as if hurt)
Which finger did it bite? (hold hands out asking why)
This little finger on my right. (wiggle pinky finger)
Credit: Childhood

For craft this week, each child received a blue fish and was able to paste on different colored scales to their fish. A great hit!


Two weeks ago, I did my afternoon storytime for 3-7 year olds. I really love this storytime, but in particular this week was amazing. The amazing theme of bugs was a gigantic thumbs-up across the board.

Started off storytime with “Little Bea” by Daniel Roode.

As promised, I used this one again for bugs storytime. This one was a great way to open up storytime and my favorite part this time was the knock-knock joke page because my 1st graders cracked up. After the story was done, I brought out our bee puppet to do this rhyme:

Puppet Rhyme: “Bumble Bee”
Bumblebee, bumblebee, landing on my nose.
Bumblebee, bumblebee, now he’s on my toes.
On my arms, on my legs, on my elbows.
Bumblebee, bumblebee he lands and then he goes.
Credit: Mrs. Jones – Insects

I did the rhyme with the bee, and I asked the kids to pretend they had bees too. Bee buzzed away after the rhyme and then, I picked up “I Love Bugs!” by Emma Dodd.

Dodd’s book are just perfect storytime gems. And I love reading them! This is the second time I’ve been able to read “I Love Bugs!” this year, and it just gets better each time I use it.

Time for my favorite bug though — butterflies!

I started off with my “Very Hungry Caterpillar” flannelboard. This is the third time I’ve used the flannel since making it last April and every time it is a HUGE hit with parents and kids. Kids who know the story love seeing it come to life on my “magic” board. (One of my little boys calls it the magic board. I love that.)

Then it was on to a song:

Song & Puppet: “Flutter, Flutter”
Flutter, flutter butterfly, floating in the spring sky
Floating by for all to see, floating by so merrily
Flutter, flutter butterfly, floating in the spring sky
Credit: Best Kids Book Site

I used the song and puppet in my Orange Storytime this spring, and have this memorized as one of my go-to activities if I have more wiggling than listening. It was an easy fit into this theme!

Next, I read “Butterfly, Butterfly” by Petr Horacek.

This was such a great book. It had great cut-outs and a lovely pop-up spread at the end of the book, and doesn’t just focus on butterflies. Since it’s not as well-known as some other books I love sharing it with a new audience if only for the delighted gasps when Lucy finally finds her butterfly again.

But it was time to get up and move! So, I did “The Ants Go Marching.”

Song: “The Ants Go Marching”
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down, to the ground, to get out of the rain.
(two, tie his shoe; three, climb a tree; four, shut the door; five, take a dive)
Credit: Childhood

While I know all the verses to ten, I only went to five so that no one got bored with the song. Three of my little boys stopped marching in place and started marching in a circle on the rug. It was absolutely precious.

My next book was a choice recommended by Sarah and Kelly, “Can You Make a Scary Face?” by Jan Thomas.

Talk about an instant hit! This book had every single person in the room laughing and playing along. I’m so glad that I added it to the storytime this week! It was on to a quick song to settle the crowd back down:

Song: “Insects All Around”
Lady bugs and butterflies
Buzzing bees up in the sky
Teeny, tiny little ants
Crawling up and down the plants
Many insects can be found
In the sky and on the ground
Credit: Preschool Rainbow

And then onto a book that I distinctly remember reading in 1st grade as a unit week, “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle.

It was very hard choosing just one Eric Carle bug book, but since this one was the one from my childhood, I really wanted to share it with my storytime kids. And it has the bonus of having animal noises in it, which we all know is a clear storytime winner.

And what bug storytime would be complete without “Itsy Bitsy Spider?”

Once we were done sharing stories, the kids went on to the table to make our craft from Oriental Trading.

The best part of this craft was that it came with glowsticks for the kids to put inside their firefly jars to make them glow. Another great storytime day!

ALSC: Olivia Storytime!


Wondering how to do a special storytime program around a favorite character? I posted over at the ALSC blog about doing just that for Olivia! Click on over to see the post.

Flannel Friday: Olivia

To read more about my Olivia program, head over to the ALSC blog where I’m posting today!

Anyway, I did this Olivia program for my 3-8 year olds this past month and I found up making a flannelboard to do with the program!

I got the templates for this one from Nick Jr. here. I didn’t really have a script for the flannel, but I read on Wikipedia about a short clip that they did on the television shoe where Olivia’s baby brother won’t stop crying and everyone brings him toys to calm him down. Naturally, all that William wants is the family’s cat and Olivia brings it to him to save the day.

It’s a quick flannelboard in terms of story, and I made little baby toys to go with it but didn’t have them pictured. Oh well, I think I made a rattle, blanket, duck, teddy bear, bottle, and ball.

The hardest part with this one is painting all the pig mouths!

Play and Pretend!

Last Thursday was my regular weekly storytime — and I had choosen to do my theme with play and pretend, choosing all different kinds of books.

First up, I read “Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I adore Mo Willems. Like practically worship at his feet. His most recent release “Amanda and Her Alligator” has made me reconsider my “no reptiles/alligator/crocodile storytimes EVER” stance. (I’m terrified of snakes and thus, don’t like the idea of devoting a storytime to them!)

Anyway, “Knuffle Bunny” was my first Willems book and will always remain my favorite. And it doesn’t hurt that the kids adored that title, too. After we had a brief talk about our favorite toys, I read “Joey and Jet” by James Yang.

This book was another book I found while shelf-reading our collection. It’s a great book about a dog who chases a ball, with lots of prepositions. The kids were very involved in this storytime, and I had one little boy who kept repeating what I read after me, quietly to himself. Such a great literacy moment!

Then, I told the kids my favorite outside toys was kites — perfect segue into the flannel:

Flannelboard: “Five Little Kites”
One little kite in the sky so blue,
Along came another, then there were two.
Two little kites flying high above me,
Along came another, then there were three.
Three little kits, just watch them soar,
Along came another, then there were four.
Four little kites, so high and alive,
Along came another, then there were five.
Five little kits dancing across the sky,
What a sight to see, way up so high!
Credit: Step By Step — Kite Theme

Afterwards, we discussed the kite colors, practiced counting in English and in Spanish, and waved goodbye to each kite before I pulled out “Not a Stick” by Antoinette Portis.

This is another author and series that I adore. I love that this is basically a build-in guessing game, and that the kids and I talked throughout the book about what the stick was going to be. I also love the “not a stick!” refrain that my kids naturally started shouting with me.

After this book, I had an epiphany to just let them pretend and bounce around in storytime. I called out different actions from the book, and the kids galloped around the room, etc. Then, we did a favorite of mine from library school:

Action Rhyme/Bounce: “The Noble Duke of York”
The noble Duke of York, he had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill, and marched them down again.
And when you’re up, you’re up. And when you’re down, you’re down.
And when you’re only halfway up, you’re neither up nor down.

I always do this one several times, the last time super fast. This exhausts the kids and they are ready to sit back down for another book, which for this storytime was, “Higher, Higher” by Leslie Patricelli.

This is such a simple concept book: girl on swing, father pushes her, she keeps calling out “higher, higher.” The kids eagerly “read” this one out loud with me. It was really funny when she met her space alien friend who is also on a swing; the parents and kids were giggling pretty hard then. Then, I led the group in our session stretcher:

Fingerplay: “Itsy Bitsy Spider”

And on to the last book of the day, “Playground Day” by Jennifer J. Merz.

I’ve used this book before and it was a hit. This time, I had a cranky little boy call out that animals were stupid (Mom quickly took him out of the room) but that broke the spell for all the kids. No one wanted to guess the animals after that. Luckily, I skipped ahead a few pages and ended storytime by singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I’m just glad the song went over well.

For our kite, we revisited the kites from earlier and made this kit from Oriental Trading:

Ta-da! (I really loved this craft.)