Friday, March 29, 2013

Sammy the Seal's Balancing Act - A Flannel Friday

Salutations everyone! This Flannel Friday posting is brought to you by an It's A Circus! storytime that I did last month (an outline of that is in the works). This is a really simple flannel activity to do, which something that I love and do very often because it is always fun and just works on the children's fine motor skills. 

To make my little Sammy the Seal I found a printable online and enlarged it (he's approximately 8 inches across). For the collar I simply created a half circle with squiggly edges and I added squiggly stripes for some flair. As for his different colored balancing balls, I used a die cut that my library has on hand. 

During the storytime, I placed the first ball on Sammy's nose as the example. Then the children (both Toddlers and Preschoolers) took turns placing the balls on top of each other. One thing you have to remember, especially if you have a lot of children in your program, to place Sammy at the bottom of your flannel board (I have an easel type, by the way) so that you have enough room for a very tall column of balls! The children loved this simple flannel activity that tied into the uber fun theme for the day!  

Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone!

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Mollie on her blog What Happens in Storytime.... To learn more about Flannel Friday and ways to get involved, please visit the official Flannel Friday blog!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Old Bear's Seasons - A Flannel Friday

Long time, no Flannel Friday post! I'm finally getting back into blogging again. Whew! Thought I'd share my Old Bear's Season flannel board that I did for my I Heart Kevin Henkes storytime I did last last year. The activity started out as a joint project between me and one of our Library Assistants, Korey. For a Library Science class she needed to plan a storytime. We decided that she would help me plan out my Kevin Henkes program since it just so happened one book option was Old Bear. Needing a flannel board, I told her that ideally we should have something with lots of pieces so that the little ones can play with it. So what you see is what we came up with!

She made one version for her to keep and I made a copy for the library. I used a lot of die cuts to create the pieces. The bear you see here is an exact copy that Korey created by hand! Wow!

For Toddler Storytime the children played with the pieces after I read the story. For Preschool Storytime, as I read the story, the children had to put appropriate season on the board.

Thank you, Korey, for being my co-creator for this flannel board!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Melissa on her blog Mel's Desk. To learn more about Flannel Friday and ways to get involved, please visit the official Flannel Friday blog!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Funky Patterns - A Storytime Outline

The first storytime of my Spring season was about patterns. It is said that National Argyle Day is January 8, and my storytime was the day before, so obviously I had to do funky patterns! The families enjoyed the program

Dog's Colorful Day: A Messy Story About Colors and Counting written and illus. by Emma Dodd (T)
The toddlers loved this story. One little boy continuously said "very messy" whenever Dog got a new spot.

The House in the Night written by Susan Marie Swanson and illus. Beth Krommes (T)
I read this Caldecott Medal winning book because I loved the illustrations. The texture and patterns of the black and white lines and the selective yellow was a lot of fun. The toddlers were not into it as much as I would have liked them to be.

Elmer written and illus. by David McKee (P)
I had to read Elmer because, well, he's a patchwork elephant! The children got the story, which was awesome!

Stripe written and illus. by Joanne Partis (P)
The children enjoyed this book, and many thought that little Stripe was very cute. Other were excited because my library system's big tiger puppet had been resting on my storytime table that morning.

Open, Shut Them (T, P) 
follow actions
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap
Creep them, creep them up to your chin
Open your mouth wide, but don't put your fingers in!
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a big clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap.

I Can See A Circle (T, P)
I can see a circle shape, circle shape, circle shape
I can see a circle shape, how about you?
(continue with square, triangle, rectangle, diamond)
Source: The Story Place via Storytime Katie

Touch Your Nose (T, P) 
follow actions
Touch your nose
Touch your chin
That's the way this game begins
Touch your eyes
Touch your knees
Now pretend you're going to sneeze!
Touch your hair
Touch one ear
Touch your two red lips right here
Touch your elbow where it bends
And that's the way this touch game ends.

Egg Shakers (T)
Need I say more?

Pattern Identification (T, P)
For each program I had printed out examples of different patterns: chevrons, polka dots, stripes, floral, argyle, and etc. for the children to see. I had the preschools try to guess what type of pattern they were seeing.

I Can See A Circle (T, P)
To go along with the song I simply used my die cutter to create felt shapes. While we sang the song, the children took turns putting the current shape on the board.

Elmer's Patchwork Flannel Board (P)
This flannel board was super simple. I created the Elmer body by finding a coloring page online to use as my template. I had to enlarge it a little so that Elmer was big enough for lots of patchwork pieces. After gray Elmer was completed, I cut out lots and lots of different color squares. During the program the children had to put on the patchwork pieces. I had them do it by color so that there was some organization to the chaotic-flannel-board-acticity-excitement that happens.

Pattern Shapes (T) 
Almost an exact repeat of our I Can See A Circle flannel board activity, the toddlers got to create their own pattern to take home. Using the same die cuts I created different color shapes that the little ones had to glue onto a sheet of construction paper.

Kaleidoscopes (P)
I must say that this was on the coolest crafts that I have ever done! Inspired by other blog posts, such as one made by Little Birdie Secrets, about kaleidoscopes, which helped in figuring out what to place inside of the toilet paper tube. What I used was scraps of leftover laminate that I kept after laminating posters and fliers. I cut the plastic into rectangles and folded them into long triangles. What the preschoolers had to do was (1) tape a black circle to one end of the toilet paper tube (this circle had a hole punched in the middle, which served as the eye piece), (2) insert the laminate triangle, (3) cover the other end of the tube with a square piece of wax paper and tape or rubber band it down, (4) cover the wax paper with glue stick glue, and finally, (5) dip the scope into a bin of tissue paper confetti to create their custom pattern. The children :: LOVED :: their kaleidoscopes!

Elmer Flannel Board, Toddler and Preschool Storytime,
created by Dorothy, WP-CC 2013

Pattern Shapes, Toddler Storytim Craft,
created by Dorothy, WP-CC 2013

Kaleidoscope, Preschool Storytime Craft,
created by Dorothy, WP-CC 2013

Kaleidoscope, Preschool Storytime Craft,
created by Dorothy, WP-CC 2013

Inside of the Kaleidoscope, Preschool Storytime Craft,
created by Dorothy, WP-CC 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Legend of the Ghost Dog

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. 2012. The Legend of the Ghost Dog. NY: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 97806545391276.

When she follows her father and little brother Jack to Nome, Alaska for two weeks as part of her Spring Break, Tee was hoping for some quiet time to read and hike through the wilderness. However while on a hike with her beagle Henry they both see the glimpses and wisps of a shadowy thing that both sends creepy feelings through both of them. With new friend Quinn at her side, the girls try meet the legendary ghost dog Shadow and solve the mystery of why he is still in the woods by an abandon cabin. There is just enough details of each of the characters for young readers to understand who they are and their background. Some readers will also related to Tee being a the responsible older sibling when both parents are busy workers (dad is a writer doing research for his new book and mom is in Japan on a business trip). A wonderful feature of the story is the use of double voice. The main story is Tee's, but sprinkled in between the chapters there are chapters from the point of view of Dodie, an old woman with a story about her family, their dogs, and the mysterious disappearance of her little sister over fifty-years ago. Additionally, Alaska's history of Balto and the other dog sled teams that brought medicine to Nome during the Diptheria epidemic and the Iditatrod plays a keep part in both stories. Through Kimmel's great writing story has all the qualities needed: adventure, mystery, tension, goosebump producing moments, history, and family and friends, which makes this book a must addition to library and school's juvenile collections.


  • Find Nome, Alaska on the map and any other visual connection to the town.
  • Explore this history of the Iditarod.
  • Pair with the ghost stories of Mary Downing Hahn.