Happy Birthday To–Me!

This week we have had a birthday theme because today is my birthday!  I have to say that it is the happiest birthday I have had in a long time.  I am doing work that I love in a community I love, and I feel so grateful for that!  I really believe that access to books is so important for children.  Please consider buying a book for a kid today, and, if possible, read it to them.  And by “kid” I mean anyone–baby, toddler, preschooler, tween, teen–there are books for all ages and tastes!  Or, if you aren’t already aware, you can adopt a book at the public library for our whole community to enjoy!  Just ask us how!

With that, on to our storytimes!  I was thrilled to do my first preschool storytime at the library yesterday, and we had an awesome turnout!  I did more or less the same program for them that I did for pre-k today, so here goes!


The first thing we did was play “Where is Little Balloon?”  I got this idea from Mel’s Desk’s Where is Little Cloud?  The kids enjoyed it so much I might make it a weekly thing, with an object from that week’s storytime theme taking the place of the balloon.  Anyway, I hid the balloon behind one of the shapes and went to the others first.  Like, “What’s this shape?  Right!  A rectangle!  What color is the rectangle?  Green!  Little balloon, little balloon–where are you?  Are you under the green rectangle?”  And I take the green rectangle off to reveal no balloon.  This goes on until I get to the last one, where the balloon is hidden.  Thanks for the idea, Mel’s Desk!




Benny Bakes a Cake, Story and Pictures by Eve Rice.  It’s Benny’s birthday, and he helps his mom bake and decorate a beautiful birthday cake.  But where is his dog, Ralph?  This book is a simple story, but it really got everyone’s attention!  I was worried that Benny’s sadness over Ralph’s knocking the cake over and eating it might be too much, but they seemed to be okay.  They understood why Benny was so sad and rejoiced with him when his Dad brought home a new, bigger cake!  I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions to this one.

Since this story ends with singing happy birthday to Benny, it was a perfect transition to singing “Happy Birthday” with sign language.  I learned from this You Tube video.



If You Give a Pig a Party, by Laura Numeroff, Illustrated by Felicia Bond.  If you’re like most people, you have read at least one in this series.  It is a cumulative story–if you give a pig a party, she’ll want balloons.  If you give her balloons, she’ll want to decorate the house–and so on.  The kids were mostly familiar with these books, and some knew this one in particular.  My favorite illustration is where they are having a pillow fight!  So cute!  Since this book was about a pig and balloons, the next activity was a balloon song with my pig puppet! (see top picture)





I thought I found this song on YouTube, but now I can’t find it.  I think it’s called “Balloon Song.”  I made large balloons out of felt in 10 different colors–red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, black, and brown.  I kept them in a pile on my lap, making sure to put the red one on first (it’ll come into play later).  I introduced my puppet, Penelope Pig, and told them that she loves to blow up balloons until they POP!  I instructed them to clap their hands during the part of the song that says “oops!  too late, she popped it!”





Piggy had a red balloon (hold up red balloon in pig puppet’s hands)

She blew and blew and blew (hold out arms to indicate balloon getting bigger and bigger)

Her mother said “You’d better stop” (put balloon on flannelboard at some point)

Oops!  Too late, she popped it!

Go on to do all 10 colors, placing each on the flannelboard.

Pop! Went Another Balloon!  By Keith Faulkner, Illustrated by Rory Tyger.  This is the sleeper hit of storytime.  I’m telling you, this book has everything!  Toby Turtle is bringing 10 colorful balloons to his friend Tina, but he doesn’t notice a flock of birds following him.  This book features die-cut pages that take away one balloon each time one of those pesky birds pops one.  The text is nicely repetitive–“I had 10 balloons, and now I only have 9!” Toby laments each time, before exclaiming, “Those pesky birds!”  You can also be really dramatic with each time the bird swoops down (I swooped my hand down and clapped it on my lap).  The kids really loved this, and it went so well with the flannelboard.  Since I (fortunately) had 10 balloons, I left them up there and took one down each time a bird popped one in the story.  I left the red balloon for last, since that’s the one Toby ultimately gives to Tina.


The last thing I did was to do a fingerplay with my custom-made cake glove!  I just made the cake, plate, and candles from felt.  I assembled it with tacky glue, and the embellishments on the candles and cake are fabric paint.  The birthday candle rhymes I found were too complicated for my poor brain to remember, so I just made one up:

Five birthday candles, glowing still and bright

We sang Happy Birthday, then blew out the light! (blow and put one finger down)

Four birthday candles….Three birthday candles….etc.

No birthday candles, now our rhyme is through

We blew out all the candles, and now your wish comes true!

This was such a fun storytime.  I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday! 🙂


22 thoughts on “Happy Birthday To–Me!

  1. Thanks Erin, 3 flannels for the price of one, and all of them winners!
    You’ll find this and other great Flannel Board ideas on the Flannel Friday roundup at loonsandquines.blogspot.com.

    1. Thanks so much Library Quine! I am in the learning process, and I get most of my inspiration from generous bloggers like you, Anne and Falling Flannelboards who take the time to share their experiences and ideas.

  2. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had an awesome day. 🙂

    I love everything about your storytime. ❤ It has a nice flow with books and activities. Congratulations on your first Flannel Friday contribution! I look forward to reading more!

  3. Ooooo you have several goodies in here that I’ll be “stealing!” I love the link to the youtube video so I can learn how to do the happy birthay song in sign language – how cool is that!? I’m going to take a look at that last book that you posted – I often do a birthday theme on the week of my birthday too – I rarely take that day off work any more! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Erica! I’ve found that YouTube is an invaluable resource for previewing readaloud books and songs/rhymes I’ve never heard before. And it was definitely a hit with the kids–they love learning anything in sign language! You will not be disappointed by Pop! Went another balloon! Especially in conjunction with the balloon flannelboard–the kids just loved it! I think we should count ourselves lucky that we are in a profession where we can throw ourselves a birthday party and call it a theme! 😉

  4. I’m a flannel friday stalker – as a preschool teacher this has been such a valuable resource! Thanks so much for these great ideas. I’m going to make the glove and the balloons for birthdays to do in class as each birthday comes along. My class will love these – thanks again for the fun post!

    1. Haha–thanks, Lissa! Glad to know I’m not the only one! It is so nice to be part of a profession where others are so nice and generous with sharing their ideas! I hope y’all enjoy the balloons as much as we did! 🙂

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