Friday, February 24, 2012

Flannel Friday: Colors are Fun ~ Dr Seuss-style!!

(Learn how to win a Dr. Seuss book at the end of this post.)

I am so excited about Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America! Both are celebrated nationwide on or around March 2nd each year. The celebration is an exciting way to bring families together for fun and learning based on the popular classic children's books written by Dr Seuss over the years. 

His books have encouraged generations of children to love reading. And by the looks of it, they will continue to encourage many, many more generations, too!

What will you be doing on March 2nd to celebrate reading and learning Seuss-style?

We have celebrated Dr Seuss' birthday for many years at our library but, this year, we are actually doing TWO weeks of Dr Seuss activities!

We are starting with several Dr. Seuss Storytimes and Pajama Parties and then we will end our celebration with a Seuss-tacular Family Game Night

This week for Flannel Friday, I want to share a part of what we will be doing at our Pajama Parties. It is very difficult for me to choose which book I want to share (because there are so many that I love!) but I finally settled on one that is not well-known as a Dr. Seuss book. It was published in 1996 after his death.

Each year, many of my storytime parents are surprised when I introduce this book. A lot of them (in fact, most of them) have either not seen or have not heard of the book before or they did not realize that Dr. Seuss was the author.

The book is:

My Many Colored Days

It is a delightfully simple book that links colors, animals, and emotions. The gorgeously bright and colorful illustrations ~ done by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher ~ perfectly match the rhyming text. Both the words and the illustrations are expressive. They flow together seamlessly and are magical!

Because the illustrations so wonderfully suit the words, I like to the share the book just as it is.

Then I like to follow it up with a re-telling of the story using a magnetic set or, now, a flannel set.  We also play a game called "Which Animal?" (I'll try to remember to explain the game later in my post.)

The pieces of my sets can never compare to the illustrations themselves!

That being said, I do still believe that there is value in making the sets and sharing them with young children. They are useful for sequencing, for color recognition, for learning the names of the animals, and for jumpstarting a discussion on emotions and feelings ~ just to name a few of the uses.

For those of you who have never seen this book, here is a brief outline:

At the beginning, there is an introduction to the idea that each day brings different feelings and emotions. Then the book takes the reader through the "different colored days" by highlighting an animal and color for each day.

There are double-spread pages for each of ten colors/animals/feelings.  I will share a close-up of my flannel of each animal but I will only share a few quotes from the book. 

The creation of the flannel animals were done by using felt and diecuts. Some were made with the Ellison diecut machine and some were cut by hand because I wanted to change the size of the animal. I also created a few of the animals by drawing freehand because I wanted the animal to resemble the illustration more.

"On Bright Red Days how good it feels to be a horse and kick my heels!"
Blue Day
Brown Day

"Wheeeeeeeeeee!" It is a Yellow Day!

Gray Day

"Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal! On my Orange Days that's how I feel."

Green Day
(This is one that I freehanded to make it as much like the illustration as possible.)

Purple Day

Pink Day

"Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud."
(This is my FAVORITE page! We make mad faces and howl and growl as loud as we can!)

Then a "Mixed-Up Day" happens..."But it all turns out all right you see.
And I go back to being...

This has been one of my favorite books since my own four boys were little. When I was a preschool teacher, I shared it with every one of my classes. And now as a children's librarian, I share it at least once a year with each of my storytime groups. It is a book that speaks to me on so many levels. When I read it, I can even hear different types of music in my head that go along with each page, each animal, each emotion...

I hope that you and your little one(s) will find as much learning and enjoyment from My Many Colored Days as my family has. 

Thank you, Dr. Seuss!

For more Dr. Seuss learning activities and book-sharing ideas, please visit my  

Let's Celebrate Books ~ Dr. Seuss Style! post.

***Book Giveaway***

To enter the drawing for a FREE Dr. Seuss book
please recommend this blog to one of your friends 
share your favorite Dr. Seuss book or quote 
in the comments below. 
Comments must be made by Midnight on Thursday, March 1st.


Here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:

This week’s Flannel Friday roundup is hosted by Meghan at  Busy Crafting Mommy. This is her first time to host so be sure to give her lots of love and thanks for taking on this HUGE task!

Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page.

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Craft: Adorable Penguin Hat

I have had a number of requests for the directions and template for the Adorable Penguin Hat that I showed in my recent post, Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! 

I have been working most of this afternoon  on trying to figure out how to post a template that is the original size. No luck! 

The one that has finally worked for me is still printing out smaller than it should. :-{

Same for the flyer that I send home with our take-home crafts. The flyer doesn't really matter though. It still works and looks okay.  (Click  here for the flyer ~ I send it home with the cut-out pieces to make the Adorable Penguin Hat.)

However, the template for the hat will not be the right size. I guess you could copy it at 120% to 125%. It is just so frustrating because I want to be able to click and print the right size.

Anyone have any suggestions? Please help, if you can. :-)

I plan to keep trying new things and I will be back to repost if I figure something out.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy making the hat with your child or your storytime friends. I would love to see picture of your cute little penguins!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Let's Celebrate Books ~ Dr. Seuss Style!

I love Dr. Seuss and all his wackiness so I never miss a chance to have some fun with one or two of his books. And every year we celebrate his birthday and Read Across America at our
library storytimes. As a matter of fact, each year our celebration gets BIGGER and BETTER and LONGER. This year we will celebrate with a two week long Seuss-ational event!

We will be starting with our first ever Dr. Seuss Pajama Party Storytime and end with an evening-long Family Storytime and Game Night.

Over the next few days or even weeks, I will be sharing some of my tried and true ideas, some of my brand-new ideas, and some creative ideas from a few librarian friends. This should be a Seuss-tacular blog! 

But it will be a work in progress for awhile.

I hope you will bookmark it and come back often over the next few weeks...

I think I will try listing activities by the books that they are based on. This should help with the organization of all the  different ideas.

Most of the ideas will be active games that we have shared with our storytime friends at our Family Game Night but there will also be craft ideas, snack ideas and learning activities for homeschool and classroom use..

Everything should be adaptable for one-to-one interaction at home or group fun at parties, at storytimes, and even in classrooms. 

I will be posting a picture or two of each activity, a brief description, and a list of items needed. Included in the list will be a costume for the person in charge of the game (if we had one). Most items are found around the house, library, or classroom or something similiar can easily be re-created.

Put Me in the Zoo:

"Oh! They would put me in the zoo, if they could see what I can do."

Pin the Spot

Leopard likes to play with his spots, so why don't we have some fun with his colorful spots, too?

This game is just like Pin the Tail. It can be played two ways:

1. You can have no spots on the Leopard
 and the children can pin their spot
wherever they want.

2. You can have spots on the Leopard and
the the children have to try to pin their
spot to a spot of the same color.

You will need:
Put Me in the Zoo book
Yellow posterboard to make the Leopard
Black Sharpie marker
Lots of circles:
Zoo Keeper Costume:

Our hat was a very old Keystone Cop hat
to which we added a Zoo Keeper patch
made from yellow fun foam and a black
sharpie. We attached it with a small

Even some of our youngest storytime friends had fun with this game ~ sans blindfold. 

Go, Dog. Go!:

"Look at those dogs go. Go, dogs. Go!
Stop, dogs. Stop! The light is red now.
Go, dogs. Go! The light is green now."

Stop and Go Toss


The dogs need to know when to stop and when to go. Let's help them learn the difference between red and green lights.

This game is just a Bean Bag Toss game. We had the child toss the red bean bag onto the red circle when our helper said, "Stop!" and the green bean bag onto the green circle when he said, "Go!".

You will need:
Go, Do. Go! book
Black or gray posterboard
Red construction paper
Green construction paper
Tacky glue
Black sharpie marker
Dog Costume:

***We do a "live action" presentation of the book, Go, Dog. Go!, so we already had a dog costume. If you don't have one available, it is easy to make dog ears and tail from felt or even construction paper. You can add a nose with face paint or even a washable marker.

The Cat in the Hat:

"I know some good games we can play."

Cookie Stacking

The Cat in the Hat loves to play games and he loves to stack things so we thought Cookie Stacking would be the perfect game for him. He was very mischievious! And the rules seemed to change for each participant ~ but everyone had "lots of good fun that is funny!"

You will need:
The Cat in the Hat book
Cookies for stacking
Cookies for eating
Cat in the Hat costume:
Red and white hat
Black shirt
Black pants
Red bowtie
Cat nose
Cat tail

***As stated before, we do "live action" presentations of books so we already have many costume pieces ~ such as the cat nose and tail. If you don't have them, it is easy to make the tail from felt or even construction paper and you can add a nose and whiskers with face paint or even a washable marker. You can also make a Cat in the Hat hat with construction paper. There are many patterns on the internet for different styles. We made our bowtie from red felt and pinned it on with a safety pin.

All ages had fun stacking cookies!

Look at that concentration!
Even the younger ones were successful ~ sometimes with fewer cookies to stack.

***We found it best to have two different kinds of cookies ~ one kind for stacking and one kind for eating. We usually use the WalMart brand of sandwich cookies that have chocolate and vanilla in the package. We use the vanilla ones for stacking and the chocolate ones for sharing because everyone loves chocolate, right?   ;-)

The Sneetches:

"My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean. And I've heard of your troubles. I've heard you're unhappy. But I can fix that. I'm the Fix-it-Up Chappie."

Fix-it-Up Tattoos

The Plain-Belly Sneetches all wanted stars on their bellies so The Fix-it-Up Chappie, Sylvester McMonkey McBean, came a long with his peculiar machine and gave them "stars upon thars!" Then the Star-Belly Sneetches decided to remove their stars and soon no one knew which Sneetch was which!

This activity is something that all the little ones line up for. We "face-painted" stars ~ but we put them on cheeks, arms, or hands ~ child's choice.

You will need:
The Sneetches book
Face paints
Bowls (if necessary)
Wet wipes or papertowels
Sylvester McMonkey McBean costume:
Green bowler hat
Large green bowtie
Yellow shirt

"That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether they had one,  or not, upon thars."

Check back again soon because I will be back with
more Seuss-tastic ideas!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Not a Flannel" Friday: Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!

It is finally time for some Penguin Fun at my Family Storytime so I thought I would share some of the fun with you, too.

I actually have several penguin activities to share.
Let's start with a playful rhyme that allows you to use ordinal numbers with your little ones, as well as counting up and counting down with a little help from our cute black and white friends.

Five Little Penguins 

Five little penguins,
As happy as could be,
Standing on a rock, 
Looking out at sea.

Crash! Went the waves,
Oh, what a din!
Said the first little penguin,
"Shall we all jump in?"

Said the second little penguin,
"The water's like ice."
Said the third little penguin,
"That's not so nice."

Said the fourth little penguin,
"Let's bask in the sun."
Said the fifth little penguin,
"Hey, that's no fun!"

So the five little penguins
Take a leap and dive 
And splash into the water,
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5.

Three seconds later, 
Out they all pop.
And stand once again
Atop the big rock.
5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1.

Our second activity is a good one to use with a simple penguin puppet. It is easy to make a puppet for each child by photocopying a small penguin, cutting it out, and taping it to a popsicle stick. 

Or if you have a Ellison diecut machine and a penguin diecut, it is even easier to make a puppet for each storytime friend. ;-)

This activity allows you to demonstrate positional words with even the youngest storytime participants ~ just have the adult do the motions with the puppet for their child.

The Penguins

The penguins are here; the penguins are there.
The penguins, the penguins are everywhere.

The penguins are up; the penguins are down.
The penguins, the penguins are all around.

The penguins are in; the penguins are out.
The penguins, the penguins are all about.

The penguins are low; the penguins are high.
The penguins, the penguins all say "goodbye"!

Another activity that I use with my Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere storytime is the flannel set that I shared a few weeks ago: 

There Was a Little Penguin
(Click on the title for a link to my post.)

For our craft, we made Adorable Penguin Hats so that the children could pretend to be penguins and waddle around in our last two activities.

I'm a little penguin
Black and white,
Short and wobbly,
An adorable sight!

I can't fly at all,
But I love to swim.
So I'll waddle to the water 
And dive right in!

For this rhyme, I teach the sign for penguin, black, and white. We also do motions for "short and wobbly", "fly", "swim", "waddle", and "dive". This particular activity gets numerous requests for repeating it. I usually plan to do it 2 to 3 times. The repetition will help the little ones remember the rhyme so that they can continue to "be penguins" at home. I also send home a flyer with the words and I post them on my library's Facebook page for easy accessibility.

Our last rhyme was also fun to do together with lots more waddling and diving.

Penguin Cheer

I like fishies.
Yes, I do!
When I want fishies,
Here's what I do.
One, two, three...

And finally, here is a picture of one of my storytime friends in her Adorable Penguin Hat

She is so precious!

Here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:

This week’s Flannel Friday roundup is hosted by Katie.

Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page. Be sure to checkout my Flannel Friday Comment Challenge on the facebook page. This is the fourth week and I am offering an incentitive!

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flannel Friday: Valentine Race

Wow! Is it Friday again already?

This week has been CrAzY! But I have a feeling next week will be even crazier ~ especially since Tuesday is Valentine's Day and we have 3 storytimes scheduled for that morning! Whew!

Well, let's get down to business. Since it is Friday ~ that means it is time for Flannel Friday!

My contribution this week is a simple version of a very OLD but extremely FUN fingerplay:


Five little Valentines were having a race.

The first Valentine was frilly with lace.

The second Valentine had a silly face.

The third Valentine said, "I love you!"

The fourth Valentine said, "I do, too!"

The fifth Valentine was as sly as a Fox.
'Cause he ran the fastest to your Valentine box!

The Valentines were easily made from felt. In fact, it was such an easy project that I decided to make a second set out of fun foam for the magnetic board...

I am not sure which I like better. I had fun making both sets. Which set do you like best?

Here is a list of supplies and quick directions to make the felt set.

Supplies Needed:

White felt
Purple felt
Red felt
Pink felt
Yellow felt
Orange felt
Black felt
Pink ribbon
Sticker eyes or wiggly eyes
Black Sharpie
Fuschia Sharpie
Tacky Glue
Sharp scissors


1. Cut the lacy heart out of white felt and a regular heart-shape out of purple felt. Glue the purple onto the center of the lacy heart. Make a small bow out of the pink ribbon and glue onto the lacy heart.

2. Cut a regular heart-shape out of pink felt. Add sticker eyes or wiggly eyes using the glue. Draw on the eyebrows, nose and silly mouth with the black Sharpie.

3. Cut a regular heart-shape out of red felt. Cut a small heart-shape out of pink felt. Glue the small heart in the middle of the large heart. Add the letters and punctuation with the black Sharpie.

4. Cut a regular heart-shape out of yellow felt. Add the letters and punctuation using a fushcia Sharpie. I love this heart because it looks like a candy heart to me. :-)

5. Cut a regular heart-shape out of orange felt. Cut the upper part of the heart shape out of black felt and glue to the top of the orange heart. Cut "cheek" shapes from white felt and glue on. Cut eyes and nose out of black felt and glue on.

Now you have five little Valentines ready for a race!
Have fun!

***I just want to mention my inspiration for the fox heart. This week our storytimes have featured Michael Hall's book, My Heart is Like a Zoo. In his book, there is a "crafty" fox. I thought he was adorable and silly ~ just perfect for our race! What do you think? 

The top fox is made from felt and the fox to the right is made from fun foam.

I really love when I can tie our featured book in with our songs, learning activities like fingerplays and creative movement, and our crafts ~ when possible. These tie-ins help young children stay focused a little longer and help make more connections in their brains so that the children will be able to recall more about the storytime later in the day or week. I believe anything I can do that helps to make those connections possible is well worth the effort. :-)

This week, I was delightfully reminded of how these types of tie-ins were important to one particular storytime friend. One of our regular storytime Moms took this picture of her daughter creating her Lion Puppet at home. They proudly shared the picture with family and friends ~ and ME! ~ on Facebook. It was a sweet surprise because I am usually the one sharing storytime pictures with the families. ;-)

I am hoping to see an increase in the circulation of My Heart is Like a Zoo due to this family's enthusiastic sharing.  I am also hoping to see new families attend the library storytime next week. You just never know... I have already been contacted by a Mom asking for craft directions and the words to the song we sang with the puppet. What an awesome result for such a simple take-home craft!


By the way, here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:

Library Quine has the round up at her blog, Loons and Quines @ Librarytime.

Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page. Be sure to checkout my Flannel Friday Comment Challenge on the facebook page. This is the third week and I am offering an incentitive!

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flannel Friday: Magical Rainbow Stew

Rainboware MAGICAL ~ in and of themselves ~ but this activity will have your storytime friends asking, "How did you do that? Is it magic?"

This week's Flannel Friday is my version of:


Items needed:
Flannel or Magnetic board
Cauldron or "pot" of some sort
(for stirring)
Colorful fruits 
(made from felt, fun foam or a set of artificial fruit)
Rainbow pieces
(made from felt or fun foam)

We will get to the song in a few minutes but, first, let me explain how I set the activity up and present it ~ in as magical a way as possible...

Before the storytime starts, I place the rainbopieces inside the "pot".
I start the activity by asking the children to help me name the different fruits
as I add them to the board. 
We then practice our color signs for each fruit.
The children should see only an "empty pot" with a stirring spoon throughout the song.
Now we are ready for the song. Please click on the song title for a copy of the words without the pictures.

(Sung to: "Jimmy Crack Corn")

"Take an apple"

"Put it in the pot."

"Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot."
"Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest red you ever did see!"
(Place red rainbow piece on the board with dramatic flair.)

Continue the song ~ taking one fruit at a time off the board, placing it in the pot, stirring with the spoon, and then placing the appropriate rainbow piece on the board. 

"Take the grapes and put them in the pot. Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot."

"Take it out now. What will it be? The prettiest purple you ever did see!"

By this time, the children are wide-eyed and usually yelling, "It's a rainbow!" So I congratulate them on helping to magically make a beautiful rainbow from our RainboStew recipe. Then we finish up with this rhyme:

Rainbow Colors

Rainbow purple,
Rainbow blue,
Rainbow green,
And yellow, too. 
Rainbow orange,
Rainbow red,
Rainbow smiling overhead.
Come and count the colors with me.
How many colors do you see?
Up to green
Colors are seen.

I also have a magnetic board version of this song. The rainbow pieces are made from Fun Foam.

The foam pieces have several magnets on the back to make it easier to place them together as a rainbow.

The fruit pieces that I use are artificial fruits that can be found at Michael's or Wal-Mart. I prefer to buy them at Michael's with a 40% off coupon. *Wink*

I have yet to find a blueberry so I made my own by painting a small wooden ball. It has worked just fine. (If you look closely, you can see it by the pear and grapes in the picture above.)

As you may have noticed in the picture, I use this activity with the book, Lunch, written by Denise Fleming. I have several learning activities for this book that I will be sharing in the near future. One is a cute mouse puppet or hat ~ depending on how you want to use it. 

I have also used this activity for a storytime on Spring, Weather, Colors, Fruits and Vegetables, or even Leprechauns and St Patrick's Day. Each time I use it, the children have a BLAST!

I also like to change up how we stir so that I can include sizes and following directions as part of my storytime learning. For example, when it is time for the blueberry, I talk about how small it is. I ask, " Do you think we can get any color from something so small?" We try and it doesn't work. Instead of the blue rainbow piece coming out of the pot after stirring, I just take the blueberry out and act sad and curious. "No blue! It's just the berry. How can we get the blue out? Maybe if we stir really fast? Are you ready? Can you stir fast, fast, fast?" I re-sing that verse and stir fast. Then when the blue rainbow piece appears, we all clap! So much fun!

No matter how many times a child has seen this activity, s/he still participates and has fun.

Thank you for stopping by my blog for another Flannel Friday post. I hope you find many opportunities to share a little Rainbow MAGIC with a child in your life!


By the way, here’s Flannel Friday information for this week:

Andrea has the round up at Roving Fiddlehead Kidlit.

Round up archives and host schedule is at So Tomorrow.

Visually scan all the Flannel Friday posts at Pinterest.

Talk about storytime and flannelboards at the Flannel Friday Facebook Page. Be sure to checkout my Flannel Friday Comment Challenge on the facebook page. This is the second week and I am offering an incentitive!

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the #flannelfriday hashtag. (You don’t have to be on Twitter to check this out.)

And, last but not least, if you’re a contributor, there is an awesome blog button from Melissa and you can grab it from the right hand menu at Mel’s Desk!