Saturday, December 29, 2012

Guest Post: Mouse Count!

I have a very special Guest Post to share this week. It is about the first swap item that I received from our recent First Annual Storytime Swap. So fun!

If you would like to learn more about the Storytime Swap, please click here for the original invitation post and here to see other items shared in this swap. 

If a swap is something that you would enjoy participating in, please feel free to contact me at

Planning is underway for another swap. 
It will be soon and is in honor of Flannel Friday's birthday!

This Guest Post features Ann and her props for this fun mouse book by Ellen Stoll Walsh:

I adore Ms. Walsh's mice books
so I was very excited to see what Ann sent me!

Ann teaches preschool and loves to use props to share a book with her classroom friends. Here are the props that she chose to use with this book:

Ann says she found the stuffed mice at Walmart in the pet department. She also purchased  the container and lid at Walmart and the snake at the Dollar Store. The rock was not purchased. It is just a mouse-shaped rock that she found.

The props can be used for telling the story at storytime or at circle time. They can also be used by the children for re-telling purposes.

Ann also included a few other items to use with the book:

These are copies of simple shapes that can be used
as coloring pages for the children or
~ you didn't think I would neglect to find a way to flannelize a book did you? ~
you can use them as patterns for a flannel set.
Watch for a blog post about my flannelized version of Mouse Count!
What a FUN swap for me! I was very excited and happy to see what was in my box. It is so thrilling to get a surprise in the mail that I can share with my storytime friends in the New Year! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what Ann sent! Oh, but wait!

There's more!

Ann also sent:

A cute little mouse and cheese for an extension activity

Here are a few pictures from Ann that explain how to use the mouse and cheese. It looks like lots of hands-on learning is happening here!


Thanks for taking a minute to check out my special Storytime Swap surprise. 

And a very special thanks to Ann
My storytime friends are going to fall in love with the book,  Mouse Count, thanks to you! 

And, as always,


This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Lisa on her blog, Libraryland
Be sure to swing over and check it out. 
It is the first Round-Up of 2013!

Storytime Swap 2012 Blog Hop

So excited for everyone to share their swap items!

Friday, November 30, 2012

First Annual Storytime Swap


Looks like I missed almost the whole month of November! 

We've been busy at our Library with lots and lots of changes ~ which included a new director and then no director again after less than 6 weeks! Looks like many more changes to come for us! Wish us luck.

Also, I was on a two week vacation which was extremely nice and wonderfully relaxing. <3 It was hard to make myself return to work and a "normal" existence this past Monday but ~ here I am! ;-)

I am happy to be back to blogging and to the Round Up ~ I truly missed contributing to the Round Up each Friday. I look forward to getting back in the swing again.

As happy as I am to be back, I am even happier to share a fun and exciting idea with all of you.

How many of you have ever participated in a Cookie Swap during the Holidays?

They are one of my family's favorite events during the month of December.


I thought I would tweak the idea behind Cookie Swapping and offer an opportunity for anyone who might be interested in something new and different. 

Would that be you? I hope so!

How about a chance to participate in our very own...    

Drumroll, please!

I hope lots of you will be as excited as I am about this!

The rules for our First Annual Storytime Swap are very simple.

For our swap, we will be exchanging something other than cookies. BUT! If you would like to include some cookies, I am sure your exchange partner would not mind. I know I wouldn't! :-) 

I thought about this idea for quite awhile and I very much wanted this swap to reflect all the creativity and excitement that I read each week in everyone's blog posts in our Flannel Friday Round Ups.

That's why I decided that it would be awesome if we exchanged:

 Storytime Props!

Your exchange item can be:

  a Flannel Board set,

a Magnetic Board set

a Felt Puppet set 
a Storytime Prop 

or really anything at all that YOU love to use in your storytimes to help your storytime friends feel connected to books and have fun learning.

This is all about sharing YOUR excitement for one of your favorite storytime books, fingerplays, songs, creative movement activities, etc.

The exchange will be set-up like this:

1)  Each person will contact me before December 20th by email at

(Please be sure to email me a second time or tweet me one Twitter using @StorytimeFun or message me on Facebook if you do not receive a confirmation email within 48 hrs. I don't want to miss anyone but we all know that sometimes the cyberspace monsters eat emails or they end up in a SPAM folder somewhere.)

2)  Please include your first and last name, full address ~ including zipcode ~ and the type of item you would like to share with someone else. ALSO ~ please include the answer to this question: Are you willing to be paired with an INTERNATIONAL partner? Our Flannel Friday group is very lucky to be Internationally popular but I know that the cost may be higher to send items out of the country. Please indicate if you are willing to spend that little extra to partner with one of our very creative Internatinal members by answering the above question in your email to me

3) On December 21st, I will place all names in a hat and draw two out at a time. Those two people will be exchange partners. They will send each other the item(s) that they want to share. I chose this way of exchanging so that each pair of partners will be spending about the same amount of money to mail their items to each other.

4) If you would like to participate more than once, please let me know. The number of times you exchange is only limited by your commitment to spend the money necessary to mail out your items. I personally will probably exchange with several people because I really love getting surprises in the mail that are just for me ~ okay, okay, I guess they wouldn't be only for me because my storytime friends will benefit from each exchange I make! How exciting is that?!??!! I know my storytime friends will love it!

5) Once partners' names are drawn, I will contact each person with the name and address of their exchange partner. Contact information will include: name, snail mail address, and email address. Then you are free to visit and learn more about each other so that when you share the storytime item at your storytimes, you can also share a little about the sender.

6) When signing up for the exchange, please be sure that you will be able to mail your item before December 30th. That way, everyone should be receiving their new storytime item before the middle of January.

I hope you are as excited as I am about the chance to have
new storytime props for next year!

This is going to be soooooooo fun!

I hope to hear from many of you very soon!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Not a Flannel Friday: Owl-rific Rhyme and Game


One Little Owl
(Rhyme and Game)

One little owl up where the wind blew,
Wished for a friend and that made two.

Two little owls snuggled high in a tree,
Wished for another friend and that made three.

Three little owls looking down at the forest floor,
Wished for another friend and that made four.

Four little owls sitting side by side,
Wished for another friend and that made five.

Five little owls doing lots of tricks,
Wished for another friend and that made six.

Six little owls hooted, “Whoo, whoo, whoo,”
Then they all flapped their wings and away one flew.

Have the children close their eyes as you say, “whoo, whoo, whoo” and have them flap their arms like wings until you say the word “flew”, Then they can open their eyes and try to guess which owl flew away.

For younger children, you can have them guess by colors. For older children you can have them guess by number or by both.
For an even more difficulty level, you can start with owls all over the place (below) ~ instead of in a numerical line (above) ~ and then the children will have to search a little harder to figure out who is missing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flannel Friday: Giggling Ghost Fun!

It's Friday again!

Time for some 



Giggling Ghosts

Last week I presented some unusual "ghostly props" that were lots of fun with the little ones so... this week, I would like to share another equally fun "ghostly prop" for storytimes that is actually a "ghostly POP" ~ as in lollipop! :o)

 It is a
"Giggling Ghost Pop

Yum! Yum!

I use this prop to help me introduce the idea of Halloween to even my youngest groups of storytime friends. It provides an age-appropriate way to talk about all the scary things we all see around us at this time of year. Remember, no matter how hard a parent might try, their child will encounter "scary" or "spooky" things on television, in the stores, at other people's homes, etc. 

***It is practically impossible to shelter a child completely from Halloween images.*** 

Because of this near impossiblility, I try each year to empower the parents at my storytimes by sharing ways that they can help their child/ren to deal with this time of year.

My Giggling Ghost Pop is made from a large lollipop and other items you will probably find around your home, classroom, or library. Here is a list of supplies for my large Giggling Ghost Pop:

Large lollipop
Two sheets of white paper towels
Thin ribbon (Mine is purple)
Black marker

To make the Giggling Ghost Pop:

1.  First, lay the paper towels on top of each other ~ kind of cattywompus. Then lay the large lollipop in the center.

2. Wrap the paper towels around the large lollipop and tie with the ribbon tightly around the top of the stick. 

3. Last ~ but not least! ~ draw a silly ghost face with the black marker.

Now, the Giggling Ghost Pop is ready for some storytime fun!

I begin the ghostly portion of my storytime by talking about all the scary things that we see around us at this time of year. I ask if the children have ever looked closely at the things that are spooky or scary to them. After a short discussion, I mention that:

"Sometimes ~ when we think something is spooky or scary, it really isn't! 

To see what I mean, let's take a look at a silly ghost. (I bring the ghost pop out from behind my back and yell, "BOO!") 

Was that scary?

Well, this is a silly ghost. He is lots of fun to play with. He likes to fly around as I say this fun rhyme":

The Ghosts Fly In

The ghosts fly in.
The ghosts fly out.
The ghosts are certainly
All about!

The ghosts fly high.
Then dive down low.
They're always spooky 
Wherever they go!

The ghost fly around
All dressed in white.
Did you ever see 
Such a spooky sight?

I fly the ghost pop in and out, up and down, and all around as I recite the poem. If the little ones are laughing then I fly it close to them. If they seem a little hesitant then I fly it close to a couple of adults. At the end, I ask if anyone can guess what is underneath my ghost.

I usually get lots of different answers but, almost without fail, I will have at least one child guess correctly. That is when I take the "ghost costume" off the yummy lollipop and we discuss the idea that if you look closer at the things that scare you, you will often find something silly, friendly, or even yummy underneath.

I have had many, many parents over the years come back after Halloween and thank me for this particular discussion. They are often surprised at how well their child understood the idea behind looking closer at what appears to be scary or spooky. Several have shared anecdotes with me about how their child has repeated parts of our storytime discussion to a sibling, a young friend, or even to a grandparent. And many more have reported that their child has wanted to make ghost lollipops for their friends for Halloween! I love that!

As a treat for the end of our Giggling Ghost programs, I do have ghost lollipops and a copy of the rhyme for each child to take home. Sometimes, we have to search our "haunted library" to find the ghost pops. When I do the search, I usually allow the children to find two ghosts ~ one for each hand. 

The smaller ghosts are made with Dum Dum suckers, yarn, and tissues. A very inexpensive and fun treat! I often don't even add a face to the ghosts because I encourage the families to add the faces at home while talking about feelings. One ghost might have a happy face. Another one might be sad, scared, or surprised! Great opportunity for extending the storytime discussion into each home.

I hope you enjoyed our ghostly discussion today. :o) And that you have a SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEEN next Wednesday! 

And, as always,


For more Flannel Friday Fun please checkout this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up that is being hosted by Lisa on her blog, Libraryland. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not a Flannel Friday: Ghostly Props

It's time for



 I missed out on sharing last week so I am very happy to have something to share this week. :o)

This week is not a flannel set but it is a fun, inexpensive idea to add a little glow-in-the-dark ghostly excitement to your Halloween or pumpkin storytimes.

While shopping for a Halloween Spook-tacular yesterday, I came across some very cute window clings.

Looking at them started me thinking about several books, songs and fingerplays that I could use them with. I loved the idea of something new that took little to no effort ~ just a little money ~ from me. Plus I really LOVED the idea that some of them glow-in-the-dark ~ a perfect addition to my October Pajama Party when we turn out the lights for our short children's movie following storytime.

The first way I used them was based on the book:

Five Spooky Ghosts
written by Salina Yoon

 Here is how it starts:

 "Five spooky ghosts haunt a pumpkin patch."

Out of respect for Ms Yoon, I will only share a few sentences here. I highly recommend that you look for the book at your library. It is a fun one for even the littlest of ghosts!
 "Four spooky ghosts..."

"Three spooky ghosts..."

"Two spooky ghosts are scared by a bat."

"One spooky ghost yells..."

Be sure to check out the book so that you can find out what happens when
everyone hears the ghost yell, "Boo!"

The second activity that I used my glow-in-the-dark window clings for is an oldie but goodie! It is:

Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
(Count pumpkins together.)
The first one said, "Oh, my! It's getting late!"
(Point to each pumpkin as you say the rhyme.)

The second one said, "There are ghosts in the air."
(Add ghosts to board.)
The third one said, "But we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "I'm ready for some fun."
The fifth one said, "Let's run and run and run."

"Oooooh!" went the wind.
And out when the lights!
(Have someone flip off the light.)
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
(Place "Happy Halloween" on the board and remove
pumpkins as you turn the light back on.)

I tried to take a picture of the board with the lights out. It didn't turn out very good but here it is:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flannel Friday: Halloween Extravaganza

Flannel Friday

Halloween Extravaganza!

"It's Halloween night and the moon shines bright. 
We run through the gate and can hardly wait.
We ring the bell and then we yell..."

Sound like an exciting time? 
It is all part of the fun in the book, 

It's Halloween Night!
Written by Jennifer O'Connell
Illustrated by Jennifer Morris

As you will be able to quickly tell, my storytelling pieces are not like the illustrations in the book ~ for the most part. I have had a collection of young "Trick-or-Treaters" that I made many, many years ago and I decided to update them this year. I also added a few new friends, too!

When I first made my original set, they were smaller and they were printed on white paper and then colored with markers. This time around, they are each between 7 and 8 inches tall and made using the cut-paper technique ~ one of my favorite ways to make story pieces.

The pieces I am sharing today are a mix of old and new Trick-or-Treaters. With the help of a special and very talented friend, I was able to make the new ones look very similar to the old ones. Can you guess which ones are the newer friends?

I use them for several activities that I will share at another time but, for now, here are the friends who join me when I share the book, It's Halloween Night!

***Out of respect for the author, I will only share a few of the guessing rhymes.***
But! I think everyone should have this book in their storytime collection for little ones!

"It's Halloween night and I'll be a fright!
With this pointy hat and my spooky cat,
I'm a..."
Then we meet: 
a Ghost!
a Bear!
a Vampire!
and, finally, 

"It's Halloween night. My costume's just right.
With my satin gown and golden crown, 
I'm a..."
What happens next?!??! 

You will have to read the book to find out! ;o) 

But, I will tell you ~ it is Halloween FUN for all!

Now, besides these five cute Trick-or-Treaters, I have more! I use them to tell my Halloween version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Depending on the program, my Halloween version might be entitled, White Ghost, White Ghost or Black Cat Black Cat. Be sure to check back soon for my full Halloween version. It's Spook-tacular! 

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at one of my other Trick-or-Treaters:

a Skeleton!

That's it for now. Be sure to check out the rest of the Flannel Friday Round-Up this week being hosted by Mary at her website, Miss Mary Liberry

It is worth a look because:

And, as always, 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Flannel Friday Guest Posts: Apple Farmer

This week we have a return Guest Poster for the Flannel Friday Round-Up

Lindy is back! 


To learn a little about Lindy, you can visit her first Guest Post here.

And now, here is her contribution for this week:

Apple Farmer
(Sung to "Bingo")

There was a farmer had some trees.
His apples were so tasty.
His apples were so tasty!

Continue singing the next verse and turn over the first apple and clap like when singing "Bingo".

Continue singing, turning over apples and clapping until the last apple is turned.

Then everyone yells, "Yum yum!"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Not a Flannel Friday: Celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day!

AVAST, me hearties!

It be time to celebrate!

If you follow this blog or my Flannel Friday posts at all, then you know how much I adore anything pirate-y. 

If you know about my love for pirate treasures ~ then you have probably guessed that I look forward to Talk Like a Pirate Day each year. And, oooooh, how I DO look forward to it!

If you have never heard of this very special day, you can learn about the celebration here.

For this year, I have been working on adding things for younger children to my pirate stash of things to share when it is time to set sail with the Captain at a storytime for little ones. 

Recently, I came across a delightfully illustrated Board Buddies book entitled,  Pirates!

Illustrations by Viviana Garofoli
The simple and easy-to-follow text presents the exciting antics of a small band of young pirates. Your younger child(ren) will enjoy the brightly colored illustrations, especially the expressive faces of the pirate crew. They remind me a little of the old Peanuts characters ~ especially Charlie Brown! ;o) 

For my Flannel Friday Round-Up contribution this week, I have made a magnetic board set of 5 young pirates. These could be made for use on a flannel board by backing them with a little felt or they could be made into stick puppets so that you could have 5 children actively participate in the rhymes by holding the stick puppets up in front of the group ~ until you take them back as you count-down with the last rhyme.

Each pirate is around 9 to 10 inches tall.

For the first activity, I am sharing a piggy-back song:

One Brave Pirate
(Sung to the tune of "One Little Elephant")

One brave pirate sailed out to sea
Across the blue waters, wild and free
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another brave pirate to come.

Two brave pirates sailed out to sea
Across the blue waters, wild and free
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another brave pirate to come.

Continue counting up to five 
~ adding another pirate with each verse.

Special note: As you can see, I used the illustrations from the book to create my cute little pirates. Out of respect for the illustrator, I am only posting a few pictures here. I will be using these adorable pirates along with the book so that I can give credit where credit is due! I feel that by creating a magnetic set that mimics the illustrations in the book, I am adding some cohesion to my storytimes. The little ones will be able to more easily connect the book with the song and rhyme. It also gives me an opportunity to talk briefly with the adults about the importance of reading well-illustrated books with characters that appeal to younger children. These little guys are perfect for this "teachable moment" discussion.

Five Scurvy Pirates

Five scurvy pirates standing on the shore,
One went on a search and that left four.

Four scurvy pirates sailing out to sea,
One went for a swim and that left three.

Three scurvy pirates out on the ocean blue,
One walked the plank and that left two.

Two scurvy pirates having tons of fun,
One went below the deck and that left one.

One scurvy pirate, tired and alone,
He turned the ship around and sailed for home.

The book actually only had 3 different pirates so we had to play around with them in Photoshop to make 5 pirates for the set. This is the same guy with a few tweaks, like different hair color:

We also made a few changes to this guy ~ a solid-colored bandana and striped:pajama pants to match his shirt!

We all had a blast at our Talk Like a Pirate celebration! We sang and danced like pirates. We counted pirates and fish. And we even "swam in the ocean" with lots of other sea creatures. We topped off storytime with a yummy snack of fish crackers while we made Pirate Spyglasses to take home. We used pirate stickers, jewel stickers and colorful beads to decorate our spyglasses:

I have one more picture to share ~ just for fun. ;o) It is our youngest storytime pirate. She is only 2 months old! So precious!

Enjoy your weekend!
And, as always,