Friday, January 13, 2012

Not a Flannel Friday: My Heart Is Like a Zoo

Wow! Another FIRST for me this week!

Here is my very first Flannel Friday contribution! But... it is really NOT a flannel. It is a magnetic board activity. :-}

My contribution this week was inspired by Michael Hall's bold and colorful book, My Heart is Like a Zoo.

"Michael Hall's menagerie invites you and your children to talk about feelings and emotions, explore color and shapes, count the hearts, and meet the animals." ~ from the cover

As you can see from the picture, this book is filled with zoo animals ~ all made from hearts

The animals are so adorable that I couldn't resist making my own. I started with the lion because, as you can see, Mr. Hall provided step-by-step illustrations for making the lion's face. (I used this to create a lion puppet as our craft. For instructions on making the craft, click here.) I added the body to the lion and then went on to make 8 more heart animals.

I made:

A brave lion (tan)
A snappy crab (red)
A cozy clam (orange)
A busy bee (yellow and black)
A jumpy frog (green)
A frightened rabbit (blue)
A thoughtful owl (purple)
A silly seal (gray)
An angry bear (brown)

They were all made from construction paper heart shapes and then laminated. After trimming the extra lamination, I added a strip of magnetic tape to the back and they were ready for several storytime activities.

I had originally thought about making each animal in the book and retelling the story with them. (I might still make all of them for several different reasons that I will share in a future post. I have several ideas for a number of educational activities ~ too much for now but definitely worth a second or third or even fourth post!)

I decided to make only a few heart animals and I chose them for their colors and for the emotions they were associated with. 

Here are two learning activities that I used the heart animals for:

If You're a _____ and  You Know It
(Sung to the tune of: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

If you're a brave lion and you know it, give a roar.
If you're a brave lion and you know it, give a roar.
If you're a lion and you know it, then your face will surely show it.
If you're a brave lion and you know it, give a roar.

Additional verses:
A snappy crab ~ give a snap 
(make snapping movements with your hands)
A cozy clam ~ give a hug
(wrap arms around yourself)
A busy bee ~ give a buzz
A jumpy frog ~ give a leap
A frightened rabbit ~ give a wiggle
(either wiggle nose or wiggle hands above head for ears)
A thoughtful owl ~ give a whooo
A silly seal ~ give a clap
An angry bear ~ give a growl

As you add the animals to the board, you can talk about the animal or about the emotion it is being used to convey. I also like to make the ASL sign for the animal and the emotion. This seems to help the children stay focused on the activity and the parents love the idea that their child is learning a few signs! 

Sometimes, I pass out the animals and have the children bring their animal up to the board when we sing about it. (This is another little "trick" to help the children stay focused on our activity.)

Here is the second activity for the heart animals. If you read my post entitled, "It is Snowing All Around", then you know that I like adapting the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin. Well... here is another adaptation, Brave Lion, Brave Lion or Tan Lion, Tan Lion. It actually can be done in two different ways. You can focus on the emotions or on the color of the animals. I chose to focus on colors for this particular post. If you would like the words to Brave Lion, Brave Lion just email me at but they are simple enough to do yourself. :-)

Tan Lion, Tan Lion, What Do You See?

Tan Lion, Tan Lion, what do you see?
I see a Red Crab looking at me.

Red Crab, Red Crab, what do you see?
I see an Orange Clam looking at me.

Orange ClamOrange Clamwhat do you see?
I see a Yellow Bee looking at me.

Yellow BeeYellow Beewhat do you see?
I see a Green Frog looking at me.

Green FrogGreen Frogwhat do you see?
I see a Blue Bunny looking at me.

Blue BunnyBlue Bunnywhat do you see?
I see a Purple Owl looking at me.

Purple OwlPurple Owlwhat do you see?
I see a Gray Seal looking at me.

Gray SealGray Sealwhat do you see?
I see a Brown Bear looking at me.

Brown Bear, Brown Bearwhat do you see?
I see lots of children looking at me.

Children, Children, what do you see?
We see:
Tan Lion
Red Crab
an Orange Clam
Yellow Bee
Green Frog
Blue Bunny
Purple Owl
Gray Seal
Brown Bear

Looking at us! Yay!

My apologies for the quality of the pictures. I am home sick today so...
I will take better pictures next week to replace these.

The children enjoy helping to finish the story! When it is time for them to help, I encourage them by saying, "It is your turn now. Can you remember all the animals in the same order that we first saw them?"

Then I point to each animal going from left to right (pre-reading skill). At the end, I always compliment the children on their storytelling abilities. "You were awesome! Did you know that you were such a good storyteller?"

The new storytime friends are always surprised that I called them "storytellers". LOL! It is such a joy to see the surprised look on their faces!

Well, that is my first Flannel Friday contribution. Hope you will be able to enjoy these ideas with your children!

Be sure to check out the other Flannel Friday posts. This week’s Valentine Extravaganza round-up is being hosted by  Anna over at Future Librarian Superhero.

And, keep an eye out here because I will be posting a complete outline of my Wild about Hearts Storytime. I'll link it so you can see the other activitiesbooks, and craft that I shared along with my snack ideas, too.



  1. LOVE this post - so helpful, and I really appreciated that you pointed out that putting them up left to right is a pre-reading skill - these are little things that we can easily do at storytime that help kids be ready for school. And if we point it out in passing to the caregivers, then they can do it too!

    1. EricaS, thank you for stopping by my blog and taking a minute to comment. I love sharing early literacy skills with the parents at my storytimes. Some things are so simple and easy to do yet their affects can be felt years later as a child starts their formal education. I would love to hear any little tips you share with your storytime families. :-)

  2. I love all the extension activities you have for this title. Great ideas :)

    1. Thank you, busycraftingmommy! For stopping by and for leaving a comment! I hope you will be able to use the extension ideas with your child(ren). Have fun!

  3. I love doing magnet board activities too. The kids love and use them to retell stories to their friends. Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. Thank you, Kelly & Ashley! I appreciate you taking the time to look around my blog and make a comment. It is always nice to know that others like your ideas. Do you have a blog? I would love to visit it if you do.

  4. doing a zoo unit next week....want to include this book!