Category Archives: Fun with felt

Fall storytime


I was so excited to do a fall storytime for my preschool, pre-k, and Headstart groups!  I referred back to my trusty Trees and Leaves storytime from last year–I will never get tired of Fall is Not Easy as a flannel story, and “[Yellow] leaves are falling down” is a great, simple song that the kids feel comfortable joining in on.  I even read “Stuck” a few times, just because I (heart) Oliver Jeffers that much.  But I did add some new things to this “fall” storytime, most notably:

tap the magic treeTap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson.  (E APPLES MATH)  This beautiful book is as interactive and fun as Press Here by Herve Tullet, one of my faves.  It actually looks like magic to the kids when we read it and the images seem to be responding to our movements.  Books like these are of course amazing one-on-one reads, but don’t discount them for group readalouds.  Trust me that it doesn’t bother the kids one bit that they can’t do the pressing/patting/whathaveyou–there are plenty of other opportunities for interacting with the book (wiggle fingers, blow a kiss).  This one works very will with a conversation about the four seasons, because you can see the tree as it goes through them.  There is also a tie-in with apples, so this would also work well for an apple storytime.






leaf blew inWhen the Leaf Blew In, by Steve Metzger and Kellie Lewis. (E FARM ANIMALS METZ).  I used my cow puppet and a leaf to introduce this book.  First, I showed a leaf and said that I noticed something was happening outside (getting cooler, leaves changing colors).  We talked about fall and how the leaves “fall” off the trees after they change color, then the wind blows them around.  I pretended like my leaf flew near Camilla and she sneezed a really big sneeze!  This is a really cute book with a progressive story line and clear illustrations that allow kids to predict what will happen next.






leavesLeaves, by David Ezra Stein.  (E FALL STEI).  This is another good story for the seasons.  Bear is having a great time–until all of the leaves start falling down.  Bear tries to catch them and stick them back on, but it’s just not the same.  Then, Bear gets sleepy–when he wakes up, he is in for a wonderful surprise!  Beautiful illustrations and a short and sweet, soothing story.








For my preschool storytimes, I pulled out some felt leaves in brown, orange, yellow, and red and we played with them during the storytime.  When we sang the “Leaves are falling” song, we looked for the different colored leaves.


We Love Clifford!


Clifford and houseThe Oakland Library got a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog on Monday!  We had a great time!  We did a storytime first, then we called for Clifford and he came out for a visit and photos!









Opening rhyme:  This is Big, Big, Big (Mel’s Desk)

photoFlannelboard:  Clifford, Clifford, where is your bone?  Clifford LOVES dog bones, but his is missing!  We looked behind each dog house to see if we could find it.  “Clifford, Clifford, where is your bone?  Did someone put it in your [green] home?”  Behind the green doghouse was a plant.  Can Clifford eat that?  No!  It’s yucky, and it might hurt him!  Finally we found the bone behind the white doghouse!







Book: Clifford the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell

007Flannelboard Song: BINGO








Book:  Clifford Goes to Dog School, by Norman Bridwell

Game:  Obedience School/Clifford Says.  We played this like Simon Says, but acting like dogs–Clifford said to bark and wag our tails!

Since Clifford has been to obedience school before, he came right away when we called him!  He loved posing with the doghouse that we made for him!  (see picture above).  We took turns visiting with Clifford and making our craft:

Clifford craft







Clifford maskThis Clifford mask is a paper plate with the middle cut out.  My wonderful teen volunteer helped me by cutting the middles out of paper plates, as well as cutting out ears and noses ahead of time.  This was a huge timesaver, which was great because this event was very well attended!  The kids were invited to choose a color for their paper plate and glue on the ears and nose.  I got the idea for using a paper plate here.





Preschool storytime–Money!


Since April is Financial Literacy month, I decided to do a money-themed storytime last week for my preschool storytime groups.

Opening song:  We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme: Open them, shut them

Opening game:  Discussion–what do we use money for?  (For my first group, I wrote down a list of what we use money for.  For the second group, we just talked about it.  Neither group was very talkative, so I prompted them–we buy things we want/need, we save, and we give to others).

010I used this opportunity to show this flannelboard (adapted from a worksheet) and we sang a song.

(To the tune of Ten Little Indians)

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters

Put them in that order.




007Book: Benny’s Pennies, by Pat Brisson, Illustrated by Bob Barner.  This book is perfect for introducing the concept of money to very young children.  Benny has 5 shiny new pennies.  What shall he buy with them?  Luckily, his friends and family have plenty of suggestions.

011I used this flannel board as I was reading the book.  I think that it really helped the kids keep track of Benny’s spending.  After each purchase, we would review–Benny has one sweet smelling flower, one yummy cookie, and how many pennies?





009 Song:  Down around the corner at the bakery shop.  I got this idea and the nickel pieces from Mel’s Desk.  I asked for 5 volunteers and gave each of them a coin.  Then, as I sang the song, I would call on each of them to bring their coin up and get a cookie.  I usually do this song with a puppet of some kind, but I think that the kids really enjoyed doing it this way, and it gave them the experience of “spending money.”





008Bunny Money, by Rosemary Wells.  I love me some Max and Ruby!  However, this book didn’t seem to go over very well with my first group.  It would probably be more successful with older kids (say, 4-5 years) or with younger kids on a one-on-one basis.  It was a little on the long side and maybe too hard to keep track of the spending.  For that reason, with the second group I used a different book:






006Sheep in a Shop, by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple.  These books are so cute!  I love them for phonological awareness since they have lots of rhyming words!  The sheep are shopping for a birthday present, but uh-oh!  Their piggy bank doesn’t have quite enough money in it to cover their purchases!  What will they do?  Trade their wool, of course!






Craft: Crayola play money coloring page.  We talked briefly about what color real money is, and that we DO NOT color on real money.  (There were definitely some relieved giggles from the parents and caregivers when I said that!)

Preschool storytimes and playgroups meet on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library and Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  Preschool storytimes will go through the week of April 29, then break until the fall.  Rubber Ducky Club, summer reading for ages 0-5, will begin on Monday, June 3.


Preschool storytime–Snow


Hello and happy new year!  We had our first preschool storytime of the year at the Leesburg Library today!

snow 007It snowed in the storytime room!  I left these cotton balls for the kids to find as they came in.  They definitely enjoyed exploring them during our stories!





snow 006Also new for the new year–BUBBLES!  This bubble machine was such a huge hit at the NOON Year’s Eve party that I decided to follow Kendra at Read Sing Play and use them during storytimes.  Check out Kendra’s Hello Bubbles and Goodbye Bubbles here.  Incidentally, I LOVE this bubble machine.  It produces a good amount of bubbles and has held up very well so far.  They are available at Toys R Us and Amazon.




Opening song:  We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme:  Open them, shut them

snow 005Opening game:  Alphabet soup–our word today was SNOW!







snow 001The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats.  I adore this book!  The pictures are absolutely magnificent, and the simple story describes the sometimes quiet, sometimes exuberant wonder of a snow day.  To make the most of the gorgeous illustrations, I use my daughter’s edition, which is an oversized board book that I got on sale Books A Million.




snow 003

Flannelboard song: If you’re playing in the snow.  This is a take on Mel’s Desk’s “If You’re Going to the Moon.”  It’s sung to the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it”.

If you’re playing in the snow, wear your boots (stomp feet)….

If you’re playing in the snow, wear your mittens (clap hands)…

If you’re playing in the snow, wear your hat (pat head)…Then do all three!

Fingerplay:  Snowflakes, Snowflakes

(to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Snowflakes, snowflakes

Snowflakes, snowflakes

All around, all around

Whirling twirling snowflakes, whirling twirling snowflakes

Hit the ground, hit the ground.

snow 002All You Need for a Snowman, by Alice Schertle and Barbara Lavallee.







snow 009Activity:  Indoor snowballs.  I first saw the idea for indoor snowballs at Piper Loves the Library.  I loved the idea, but didn’t really have the sewing skills to make it happen (Jane is my hero!).  I saw somewhere else (can’t remember where now–please tell me if you do!) where it was suggested to just wad up the tulle and stick a needle and thread through it several times.  That, my friends, I could do.  So I did.  I handed these out and we did a little rhyme I found over at Sunflower Storytime:

Snowflake, snowflake dance around (hold snowball up)

Snowflake, snowflake touch the ground (hold snowball down on floor)

Snowflake, snowflake soft and white (hold snowball up to face or pet gently with hands)

Snowflake, snowflake–SNOWBALL FIGHT!  (throw snowball!)

Closing game:  Rhyme cube

Closing Rhyme:  This is Big (from Mel’s Desk)

Closing song:  My hands say thank you

Goodbye Bubbles!






Pre-K Storytime–Pumpkins!


I thought that it would be interesting to start off my pumpkin storytime with a book that discussed how pumpkins are grown.  I chose It’s pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall and Shari Halpern (available through PINES) because it had straightforward text, good vocabulary, and vivid pictures.  A word of warning: it does mention Halloween and trick or treating specifically, but only at the beginning and end of the book, so it’s easy to skip over if you need/want to.

This is NOT a Pumpkin, by Bob Staake.  (Available through PINES).  This book is so funny, and reading it to a group of kids is even funnier!  For some reason the upside down pumpkin sent them into hysterical laughter.  Not to mention the insistent “Yes, it IS!” exclamations I kept hearing.  There is a cute “surprise” ending to this book, and I thought it was a fun, participatory addition to the storytime.

Poem with props: Jack O’ Happy.  I’ve seen this poem other places too, but the idea for the puppets came from Narrating Tales of Preschool Storytime.  In fact, mine look so similar to hers that I won’t even post them here.  I will tell you that the kids loved this poem, even more than I thought they would.  I asked them to make the same faces along with me, and they were thrilled at the ending (I changed this a tiny bit, just to make sure they understood the joke.  I said “I am Jack O’ Pumpkin Pie the YUMMIEST Jack of all!  and I rubbed my stomach while saying it).

Flannel story: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd.  Boy, do I LOVE to tell this story.  Almost all of the kids seemed to have heard it before, so I’m glad I decided to tell it as a flannel story, just for a little variety.  (I used some of the color pieces from  I’m still working on my storytelling, but this is one that I feel pretty comfortable with because of its simple structure (and the fact that my daughter made me repeat it constantly after we read it for the first time last fall!)

Pumpkin Trouble, by Jan Thomas.  Is it embarrassing to admit that I sat at my desk and actually laughed out loud the first time I read this book?  If it is, then I don’t care!  I think Jan Thomas’ other books are hilarious (What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies) and Pumpkin Trouble is no exception.  While excitedly carving his pumpkin, Duck accidentally falls inside!   As he searches for his friends Mouse and Pig, he is mistaken for a Pumpkin Monster!  While it can be challenging to read aloud (especially to groups), I think that a book like this is great for encouraging kids to examine pictures closely to derive meaning from them in conjunction with the story.  For example, when Mouse and Pig are running from the “Pumpkin Monster”, one of them says “Hide behind the barn!”  The next page shows Duck, still trapped inside the pumpkin, saying “What barn?”  We talked about the fact that Duck couldn’t see the barn, then we predicted what was going to happen next.  This kind of discussion is good for developing reading comprehension and narrative skills.

Before I left, I had to bring out my duck (really, my nondescript multipurpose bird) for a quick hello.  He noticed a pumpkin…then promptly fell in.  “Did that pumpkin just quack?”


Pre-K storytime–I Spy


I started this storytime by introducing my tiger puppet, Augustus.  He looked sad, so we asked him what was the matter.  He said he lost his smile!  He even used a magnifying glass (good job, pre-k, for knowing what it is and what it does!) and *still* couldn’t find it!






Augustus and his Smile, by Catherine Rayner. (FL J 823 RAYN).  [Since this book is in Arabic and English, it can be located in the Foreign Language section at the Leesburg Library.]  The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous.  I also love the story.  Augustus has lost his smile, so he looks everywhere to find it.  This beautiful story worked really well at the beginning of the storytime, when listening ears are at their best.  I also encouraged them to look in the illustrations for the small things that Augustus finds instead of his smile (beetle, birds, fish, shadow).







I Spy with My Little Eye, by Edward Gibbs.  (E ANIMALS GIBB).  Gold.  Storytime gold, is what this book is.  All five pre-k groups loved shouting out the colors and guessing what animal hid behind the die-cut circle.  I was so impressed at how frequently they guessed correctly–some of these animals were hard to guess!









Flannelboard game: I spy shapes.  We first went through and named all of the objects on the board (block, paints, pizza, sign, ball).  Then, I said “I spy with my little eye an object that is a _____________ shape.”  When they guessed correctly, I turned it over and revealed the shape with the shape name on it.










Duck!  Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  (E ANIMALS ROSE).  I was hesitant to share this at storytime, but I shouldn’t have been.  All I had to do was give a brief explanation at the beginning when I showed them the cover.  It went something like this: “The title of this book is Duck!  Rabbit!  That’s because there are two speakers in this book.  One of them thinks that the shape on the cover is a duck, and that this is his mouth.  Raise your hand if you think that this is a duck.  The other speaker thinks that this shape is a rabbit, and that these are his ears.  Raise your hand if you think that it’s a rabbit.  Let’s see if we can find out.”  There are some great opportunities for participation in this book.  I had the kids make duck noises when the book mentioned duck noises, then rabbit noises–uh, what noise does a rabbit make?  We decided to just wiggle our noses, and a few kids made hopping sounds.  We also pretended to put our binoculars up to our eyes when the book mentioned binoculars.  After we finished, we took a final vote–duck or rabbit?  Guess we’ll never know…

Pre-K storytime–Pockets!


The Pocket Dogs, by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Stephen Michael King.  (E DOGS WILD)  Have you ever carried a dog in your pocket?  Well, Mr. Pockets has two very tiny dogs, Biff and Buff, who ride in his pockets.  One day, Mr. Pockets’ pocket got a hole in it and Biff fell through!  Biff is lost!  Will he ever be able to find Buff and Mr. Pockets again?









Flannelboard game:  What’s in my pocket?  This idea came from So Tomorrow, where you can find the cute rhyme that goes with it.  For some reason a majority of the kids got all of them except the clock!  Maybe because we use cell phones instead of clocks and watches these days?






Max Cleans Up, by Rosemary Wells.  (E RABBITS WELL)  It’s no secret around here that I LOVE Max and Ruby and that I LOVE this particular book.  I used it earlier this year along with a prop for a clean/dirty storytime.  I did it without the prop this time because I had so many other props going on, and i do so love Rosemary Wells’ illustrations.






Mini puppet show based on Boing by Nick Bruel.  (book available through PINES).  My little girl has a huge stuffed kangaroo that we refer to affectionately in my family as Kangaroo Jack.  My husband makes up cute stories about Kangaroo Jack and his antics, and my little girl loves it.  And she LOVES Kangaroo Jack.  I wasn’t too sure that she would let me borrow him, but she did!  I took a page from Recipe for Reading and decided to fill his pocket with real objects.  I didn’t have a grasshopper puppet, so I just skipped that part.  I also didn’t have a koala bear, so I randomly chose to replace him with a monkey (I’m so sorry, Mr. Bruel!)  Even though I took some major liberties with the story, the kids really enjoyed it.

For those who don’t know, the story goes like this.  Little kangaroo can’t jump.  Frog comes up and says “jumping is easy, watch me!”  Kangaroo still can’t jump.  Rabbit comes up and says “jumping is easy, watch me!”  Kangaroo STILL can’t jump.  Kangaroo gets discouraged.  Koala (monkey) comes up and asks what’s wrong.  Kangaroo says he can’t jump.  Koala (monkey) asks what is in his pocket, and Kangaroo reveals a bunch of random stuff.  Once he takes all of it out, he tries again and he can JUMP!

I just filled Kanagroo Jack’s pocket with stuff I had in my office.  Some sunglasses, a piece of candy, a glue stick, a pencil, a leaf, and a purple crayon.  (I did have a few astute observers who asked “What’s in his pocket?” way too early in the story!)  After he takes everything out, I got the kids to chant with me “Try again!  Try again!  Try again!”  Then we count to three and he jumps!  It was so sweet how happy they were for poor old Kangaroo Jack!








Preschool Storytime–Stop and Go!


The idea for this theme, as well as the stoplight necklace, came from Storytime Katie.  Thanks, Katie!

Early Literacy Skill:  Print Awareness.  To start off this storytime, I held up a stop sign and asked the kids if any of them knew what it said.  They identified it as a stop sign, so I told the parents that recognition of words on street signs, as well as signs on restaurants and shops, is one of the early steps to reading!

Opening Song:  We hit our knees together (from Mother Goose on the Loose)





Flannelboard: traffic light.  We talked about what traffic lights do, and what the different colors mean.










We All Go Traveling By, by Sheena Roberts, Illustrated by Siobhan Bell. (E SCHOOLS ROBE).  This book is meant to be sung, so I was a little nervous about it, but I think it turned out okay.  It’s a fun book about different modes of transportation–bus, plane, bicycle, train, etc.  This book is especially suited for storytime because you get to replicate the sounds of each.  My favorite is the plane–“neeeeeeeeee-oww”!








Activity:  Stop Game (from Mother Goose on the Loose).  I had a tambourine and we marched around in a circle.  “We walk and we walk and we walk and we STOP!  We walk and we walk and we walk and we STOP!  We walk and we walk and we walk and we STOP!  And we turn around!”  We did the same with tiptoeing and running.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus

Song:  I’m Driving in My Car (from Mother Goose on the Loose).  Before we started this song, I told the kids that we were going to drive our own cars now.  I asked each of them what color their car was.  I hadn’t planned to do this ahead of time, but I’m glad the inspiration struck.  In the next book we read, they were looking for “their” cars!

Red Light, Green Light, by Anastasia Suen, Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max.  (Available through PINES).  Thanks again to Storytime Katie for suggesting this title!  It is PERFECT for a stop and go/transportation theme!  It has rhyming text and fun, colorful illustrations.  The illustrations gave us several opportunities for new vocabulary–there was a tunnel in one picture, and we also discussed toll booths and choppers (helicopters).








Action Rhyme:  Green Says Go

Rhyme Cube:  “I’m a Little Teapot”

This is Big, Big, Big (Mel’s Desk)

My Hands Say Thank You

Activity:  We made Storytime Katie’s stoplight necklaces.  Since print awareness was our early literacy skill for the day, I decided to go ahead and add the words to it.

I also put mapped out roads on our storytime mat squares with some masking tape (this idea is all over Pinterest, so you can search there if you want to see pictures–those are much better than mine was anyway!) and put out a bucket of cars, trucks, and trains for the kids to play with.  We even pulled out the scarves to use as racing flags!  At the end, the kids loved helping me peel the masking tape off of our mat!







Storytime Lite will meet at 10:00 a.m. next Tuesday, October 16, at the Leesburg Library.  Storytime Lite is a six-week series of storytimes for children ages 2-5, ending on November 6, 2012.  Sponsored by the Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.


Pre-K storytime–cookies!


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Illustrated by Felicia Bond. (E MICE NUME).  I know, I know.  Everybody already knows this book.  But just in case some of the kids have never heard it before, I like to mix in old favorites with more unfamiliar titles.









Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?  I did this one just like I did with the preschool storytime, except the cow had the cookie instead of the dinosaur.







The Cow Loves Cookies, by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Marcellus Hall.  (E FARM ANIMALS WILS).  I love the rhyming text and repetition in this book.  Most of the kids said that they had heard it before, but they definitely enjoyed hearing it again!








Five Little Cookies.  This time, I used my cow puppet and the nickels that Melissa generously provided at Mel’s Desk.  As I went through the rhyme, I replaced each cookie with a nickel.  I think using the nickels really illustrated the point that cow was buying the cookies and removing them from the store.  What a great way to introduce early math concepts!  (Incidentally, my daughter is in one of the pre-k classes that I read to, and she said that this was her favorite part!)  Just for fun, I asked what they thought cow did with all the cookies.  They all said “she ate them!”, so I had her eat them, Cookie Monster-style.  Some of them flew out across the room.  It was awesome.





The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems.  (E WILLEMS).  The last time I read a Pigeon book, I was afraid that the kids didn’t really “get” why it was funny.  Not so with this one!  Each group I read this book to thought that it was hilarious!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–Mo Willems can do no wrong in my book, and Pigeon books in particular are SO fun to read aloud.







Preschool Storytime–Cookies!


NOTE:  There are links missing from this post because WordPress is misbehaving.  I will add the links as soon as possible. [10/4/12 UPDATE: Links have been added.]

Theme:  Cookies

Early Literacy Skill:  Letter Knowledge–knowing that letters are different from one another and recognizing them makes it easier for kids to read later on!

Opening Song:  We hit our knees together (from Mother Goose on the Loose)

Opening Rhyme:  Alphabet Soup (spelled out “cookie”).  [This fantastic idea came from In the Children’s Room.]

Flannelboard Game: Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?  All of the pieces here are clip art, printed onto cardstock.  I cut them out, laminated them using clear contact paper, and put a sticky velcro dot on the back.  (Note: I didn’t use the cow for this session–only the cat, pig, turtle, and dinosaur.  I used the cow instead of the dinosaur at Pre-K, which I’ll blog about tomorrow).  I put the cookie behind the dinosaur before starting.  Then we sang “Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?  Cat took the cookie from the cookie jar!  Who, me?  Yes, you!  Couldn’t be! (take cat off of board)  Then who?”  We went through like this until we got to the dinosaur, then I showed them the cookie with the bite taken out of it.





How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies? by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Mark Teague. (BB E YOLE).









Flannelboard: I scanned in the images from the book to make a flannelboard of the different kinds of cookies we saw.  I also printed out pieces with the words on them to encourage print awareness.  We clapped out the syllables for the cookie names.

Flannelboard:  Five Little Cookies.  I’ll post a picture of the flannelboard tomorrow.  They are five flannel cookies with glitter sprinkled on top.  I used my dinosaur puppet to take the cookies away.  We counted the cookies after each time one was taken away.  See Mel’s Desk for the rhyme/song.

Rhyme:  Pat a cake (with scarves)





Mr. Cookie Baker, by Monica Wellington.  (BB E WELL).

Rhyme Cube:  Itsy Bitsy Spider

Closing Rhyme:  This is Big, Big, Big (from Mel’s Desk)

Closing song:  My hands say thank you





Activity:  Play-Doh and alphabet “cookie” cutters.

I used a cookie theme for my Pre-K storytime, too, but we read different books and I used the flannelboards differently.  I’ll be back tomorrow to share that storytime with you.  Now, go have a cookie!