Friday, August 31, 2012

Flannel Friday: Happy Birthday to You!

Who doesn't love birthdays? This week we've got a twofer for all your story timing needs.

I set my whole birthday story time up as the birthday party for Little Mouse from the Little Mouse game. 

The first flannel set is a take on the Little Mouse game, only instead of a mouse hiding behind the cake, there's a little green snake. I introduced it as Mouse's friend Snake surprising him for his birthday. Let's just ignore the fact that mice and snakes don't like each other too much in real life.

I also used a different number of candles on each cake, so that the game can be played either by color or by number.

I got the idea for this set from Kelly at Field Acquisitions.

The second flannel set is based on the very best part of birthdays: PRESENTS!

There's something waiting in this big, big box for me,
What can it be?
Let's unwrap the paper in 1...2...3

Another box? Well, there must be something waiting in this medium sized box for me,
What can it be?
Let's unwrap the paper in 1...2...3

Another box? I bet there's something waiting in this small box for me,
What can it be?
Let's unwrap the paper in 1...2...3

I opened all of my boxes and what did I see?
Love from my family and friends, just waiting there for me!

Okay, it's kinda corny, but you know, that might be okay in story time.

In between each box I ask the kids what would fit in a big box, a medium box and a small box. The kids were kind of unresponsive, but at one point a 4 year old told me his baby sister was probably in the smallest box.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Linda at Notes From the Story Room, to explore everything else that Flannel Friday has to offer, visit the official website

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Theme Thursday: Back to School

It's that time of the year again. And with a lot of my story time kids starting pre-school or daycare for the first time, a story time to ease them into the transition seemed in order.

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth

Flannel: Alphabet Soup- SCHOOL

Flannel: 5 Yellow Ducks

Action Rhyme: Big, Big, Big

Baby Bounce: Criss Cross, Line, Line

Book: Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

Song: Knees Up Mother Brown from Raffi: The Singable Songs Collection

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Book: School Bus by Donald Crews

Flannel: The Bus for Us

Song: Turn Around from Getting to Know Myself

Make and Take Craft: The Bus for Us

-construction paper
-construction paper school bus cut-outs
-construction paper black circles (wheels)
-glue sticks

Process: Before story time I cut out the school bus shapes and the wheels. After story time I distributed the glue, crayons and cut outs and let the kids go crazy.

Time: Prep took 25 minutes, the craft took 45.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sidewalk Chalk Explosion (and Ice Cream Sandwhiches)

I'm pretty lucky to work in a big system with awesome other librarians, some of whom are my friends in real life as well. A few weeks ago I was having brunch with another children's librarian and she mentioned having an ice cream sandwich party. Genius! It's sweet and delicious, but easy to control portion size and not that messy if eaten right away. You can get the snack part of the program out of the way early and not have to worry about anyone hoarding or getting more than their fair share. 

So I tacked idea that onto the sidewalk chalk explosion I kept scheduling and rescheduling all summer and we had a great End of the Summer party.

It attracted a younger crowd than I expected, but the toddlers and pre-schoolers had a great time dripping sidewalk paint everywhere and a few parents even got in on the action.

True confession? I hate chalk. I hate the texture and the way it feels on my fingers. I hate writing with it and that weird vibrate-y feeling when you color on concrete. Yesuch.
Which is why I left the actual chalk to the people who enjoy that sort of stuff and kept myself busy making and painting with sidewalk paint.

Oh, you don't know about sidewalk paint? Well, it is super easy. All you need is a cup of full of water, some cornstarch and a few drops of food coloring.

In a separate cup mix approximately equal amounts of cornstarch and water (you can always add more of what you need as you begin to stir and find it too watery or too thick) and a few drops on your desired color. 

Stir it up and volia! Water soluble paint for all your concrete decorating needs.
A few of my kids are the type that always want to know how things work and why- it's like watching scientists blossom before your eyes- so I let them help me. We had some spills but that's really not a big deal. We just added some horns and eyes and we had blob monsters.

Everyone got so into the painting and drawing that the ice cream sandwiches, which I thought was going to be the big draw, were all but forgotten!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flannel Friday: The Bus for Us?

I really love Suzanne Bloom's The Bus for Us and was heartbroken when I couldn't find it on the shelf for my Back to School story time. But instead of giving up and moving on I decided to see if I could make a decent flannel game based on Tess and Gus' morning adventure. Sometimes I'm stubborn.

Luckily I already had a school bus and a fire engine as part of my Things That Go set, so I whipped up a mail truck and a tow truck, spent a couple minutes trying to figure out what rhymes with "us" and came up with this:

I'll pick up your car,
If it's broken down or covered in rust,
Then I'll take it to the garage for repairs.

Is this the bus for us?

No! It's a tow truck!

With a wieoo-wieoo-wieoo-wieoo,
I race to the scene without any fuss,
I help the firemen do their job.

Is this the bus for us?

No! It's a fire engine!

Rain or shine, sleet or snow,
There's just not much to discuss,
I get the mail where it needs to go.

Is this the bus for us?

No! It's a mail truck!

Every morning the kids hop on,
Getting to school on time is a must,
At the end of the day I'll see them again.

Is this the bus for us?

Yes! It's a school bus!

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Lisa at Libraryland. Visit the official Flannel Friday website to learn more about this awesome initiative and browse past round-ups.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Theme Thursday: Yum, yum, yummy food

Man, I love food. And so do my story time kids. It was a good day to go to the market.

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth

Flannel: Alphabet Soup- FOOD

Flannel: Monster Lunch

Song: Wheels on the Bus

Book: Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell

Finger Play: 10 Little Fingers

Song: Grand Old Duke of York

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Book: Pizza at Sally's by Monica Wellington

Flannel: The Pizza that Sally Made

Book: Market Day by Lois Elhert

Song: Turn Around from Getting to Know Myself

Make and Take Craft: Personal Pizza Pies

-brown construction paper circles
-red construction paper circles (slightly smaller)
-construction paper vegetable shapes (green peppers, black olives, mushrooms, pineapples) and cheese
-glue sticks

Process: Before story time I cut out all the shapes, including short, white strips for cheese. After story time I gave one brown circle and one red circle to each kid and let them grab from the center of the table for the toppings. They got way more into it than I anticipated and we had some truly beautiful creations. Then I went and got actual pizza for lunch. I was inspired.

Time: Prep took 35 minutes  and the craft took 45.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Since You Left Me, Alan Zadoff


The Teaser: Never say "horrible" when making up an accident as an excuse. That's the first lesson that Sanskrit Aaron Zuckerman learns at the beginning of his second semester, junior year. An "accident" could be a fender bender or a narrowly avoided squirrel in the road and is easily played off later. A "horrible accident" involves medical care and probably dismemberment and requires a lot of work, sister-bribing and parent manipulation to maintain. But when Sanskrit's mother forgets a mandatory parent-teacher conference, he panics and soon finds this lie getting bigger and bigger as he struggles to reconnect his family, including his obnoxious sister, space cadet mom, her new creepy Indian guru boyfriend (although, really, Sanskrit would be perfectly fine if he would go away forever), absent father, supremely religious former best friend, and the absolute true love of his life- who hasn't spoken to him since second grade.

What Stood Out: Zadoff has proved again and again that he writes sad sack protagonists really well. You just want to give poor Sanskrit a hug and tell him that everything will be okay. As a kid who made up a little lie that just keeps snowballing farther and farther out of control, Sanskrit is someone that you find yourself rooting for. I was always trying to guess three steps ahead to see how he'd get himself out of a particular jam, and I was almost always wrong.

What Didn't Work: There's a bit of clutter around the denouement and everything feels a bit rushed at the end, but I think that frantic pace is intentional and was used to relatively successful effect. Overall this is a really enjoyable, escapist romp, which when you consider the serious topics it purports to tackle, can come off a little insincere.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Not Quite Flannel Friday: HELP! (The Color Match Game)

So I had this idea. And it was really only half an idea, but I figured I'd run with it and the rest would come to me as I was working on it. 

First I stuck some velcro stickers on the back of a shoebox lid, and glued the lid to a slightly larger piece of poster board.

Then I glued paint chip pieces around the edge of the poster board.

I glued corresponding paint chip pieces to clothes pins.

And I got this. A thingambob that sticks to the flannelboard and juts out enough for tiny hands to attach the color match.

There are a few kinks to work out. The two blue colors are too similar and confused my beta tester (the cutest almost 2 year old in the entire world), the Lily Lavender up in the top left corner fades into the background and that's to say nothing of the fact that I don't have any red up there. For the most part, though, I really like this new match game and the hand eye coordination skills that it will help build. I'm thinking of eventually expanding into different shapes and for a real challenge colors on the same paint chip/color gradient, but for now there's a small problem...

...So here's my problem and where I turn to you guys, oh great collective brain of Flannel Friday. I don't have a delivery system. No song or rhyme or anything other than "Here ya go, find your match" once I pass out the clothespins. I need something catchy, something they'll remember, something to draw them in and make it an actual game.

What'dya say? Got any ideas for me?

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime and as always you can find more information about Flannel Friday and browse past round-ups at the official website

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Theme Thursday: Robots!

Did you know that my one of my favorite albums of all time just got turned into a stage musical? In honor of the Flaming Lips and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (which, incidentally, is my number one pump up song of all time) we had a very robotic story time last week.

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth

Flannel: Alphabet Soup- ROBOT

Finger Play: 10 Little Fingers

Book: Hello, Robots by Bob Staake

Flannel: Robot Shapes

Song: Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Song: Open, Shut Them

Book: Robots Everywhere by Dennis Hebson

Song: Shake Your Sillies Out

Song: One Finger, One Thumb, Keep Moving

Flannel: Let's Go Out on a Summer Night

Action Rhyme: Big, Big, Big

Song: Turn Around from Getting to Know Myself

Make and Take Craft: Build Your Own Robot

-paper cups
-tin foil
-googly eyes or eye stickers
-pipe cleaners (cut in half)
-glitter glue

Process: Before story time I covered each paper cup in tin foil (if my kids were a little older I would have had them do it themselves), after story time I passed out the cups, stickers, pipe cleaners and eye stickers and let the kids go crazy. Adults helped poke pipe cleaners through the cups and everything else was pretty easy for the kids to handle on their own. The sheer variety of end results from the same starting point was wonderful to see.

Time: Prep took 25 minutes and the craft took 45.