Friday, May 25, 2012

Flannel Friday: Oh, Lovely Mud!


Whew! Here we are again! Where did the week go? 

I'm always a little surprised when Friday gets here so soon. :o}

For the past few weeks, we have been reading books about Farm animals at all of my storytimes. It is a very popular theme with the 3 and under groups, the visiting preschool groups, and my weekly Family Storytime group. Even the grown-ups seem to enjoy it. Which is always a plus! ;o)

I decided that for this week's Flannel Friday contribution, I would share one of our most popular Farm books. (I will be sharing it again next week because I had an encore request from several little ones. I LOVE that! It makes me feel like I am actually accomplishing something when my storytime families ask to hear a book again.)

 The book is: 

It is a delightful little book with simple illustrations that the children love! It is often used in Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms because it is easy enough for beginning readers to read on their own.

While re-reading the book and trying to come up with an appropriate Storytime Craft for my youngest friends, I decided that I wanted to make my storytelling pieces reversible.Such a cool idea! (More on the reversiblity in a minute...)

For those of you who don't know the book, it has four characters ~ Mrs. Wishy Washy, Cow, Pig, and Duck.

This is an illustration from the book.
Now, Cow, Pig, and Duck are fun-loving animals and they decide to play in a mud puddle ~ "Oh, lovely mud!"

Mrs. Wishy Washy, who is less fun-loving and more no-nonsense, decides they are too dirty and need a bath. She pulls out her tub and ~ "Wishy-washy, wishy-washy."

The animals all get scrubbed and cleaned BUT ~ wait! What happens when Mrs. Wishy Washy turns her back!?!!??

Shhh! I'm not telling! You'll have to read the book to find out! ;o)

So, now that you know the basics of the story, I'm sure you can guess where I am going with the reversible pieces idea.

*Special Note: I'm positive that the idea of reversing the pieces came to my mind because of a recent Flannel Friday post. But try as I might, I can't completely recall what post it was or who posted it right at this moment (I'm sorry!) However, I do remember that the blogger in turn linked back to Mel's Desk for her Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean flannel. Since Melissa is our host for this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up, I hope you will visit her blog to see her pigs and also take a look at this week's contributions on Flannel Friday's new website here.

Back to Mrs. Wishy Washy and pals:

Once I started thinking about how to portray Mrs Wishy Washy and her dirty crew through props,  I suddenly got smart (Ummm, excuse me! It sometimes takes me awhile but I do have my moments ~ every so often.)

I thought, "Hmmmmm... Why re-invent the wheel? I wonder if someone else has already made this craft."

I made a quick google search and sure enough! I found some ideas. I didn't find exactly what I wanted but I did find some patterns that I could tweak for my own purposes. I love not having to do everything from scratch! I highly recommend doing a web search before creating any storytime props or crafts ~ unless you just enjoy the process of creating your very own from beginning to end. If f you do enjoy the process  then by all means create away! :o)

My search gave me way more than I had time to look at and definitely more than I have time to share here. But I'll share the one site that I used in making my props and my storytime craft that I am giving each child next week.

The site is Making Learning Fun. It has a ton of ideas and printables to be used with the Mrs. Wishy Washy books. (Oh, did I mention that there are several books about Mrs. Wishy Washy and her dirty crew?!??! And each one is just as fun as the original.)

I decided to use this picture to make my Mrs. Wishy Washy. I found it at Making Learning Fun.

I created my Mrs. Wishy Washy and friends using the cut-paper technique that I used before when I made the Story Folder for I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs

It took me awhile to finish Mrs. Wishy Washy because I kept getting ideas for more things to add ~ I even debated about whether or not she should have doll hair! LOL I against it though since I needed to laminate her.

I also gave her hair scarf some special attention.

It had to be perfect! Even if she is only washing the farm animals, Mrs. Wishy Washy is very particular about her hair and her looks ~ she actually reminds me of my own lovely Grandma in that respect. :o)

Taaa-daaaa! Here she is!

Next, I made the tub. But, again, it needed to be just right for Mrs. Wishy Washy! I made it by taking this picture from the Making Learning Fun site:
And tweaking it:

I enlarged the tub, drew a back piece to fit the front, and copied both onto grey construction paper. I added lots of bubbles using white construction paper to both pieces and laminated them:

Once they were laminated, I trimmed off the extra lamination and they were glued together with a thin line of Tacky glue along the sides and bottom ~ to form a pocket for the animals to be slipped into.

Now for the best part! Reversible animals! AND "lovely mud!"

I like to tie my storytimes together in any way that I can so I decided to use the Cow and Pig from my Big Red Barn story prop.

They came from a sheet of stickers that I have had for years and years. It has lots of farm animals on the sticker sheet so I took my Duck from there, too. I scanned all the animals and then a friend of mine helped me put them in Photoshop and make them black and white. Now I have them all in color and in black and white and I can re-size them for any project that I want to use them for.

**Special Note: I don't know where the stickers came from so I can't give proper credit. I do know that they were purchased through a "teacher store" during my teaching days. Most items I bought back then were "shareable" under the umbrella of "educational purposes". I don't mind sharing but I don't feel right posting them directly to my blog.  If you want them, please email me at storytimeabcs(at)gmail(dot)com and I will send them to you in an email. Or you could draw your own, find some in an image search, or use the ones on the Making Learning Fun site mentioned above.

Anyway... here are my Cow, Pig, and Duck ~ mirror images ~ ready to be glued back-to-back so that they are reversible.

After gluing the animals together, I started on my mud puddle. I drew a squiggly flattened oval onto brown construction paper and added the "mud".

Here is what I used for the muddy part:
Scissors, kitchen sponge, and brown tempera paint
I added the brown paint by dabbing the sponge all around the puddle. I also added the paint to one side of each animal so that they appeared muddy.

I let the paint dry and cut out the puddle. I laminated and trimmed all of them along with Mrs Wishy Washy and the tub pieces.

Everything turned out just the way I hoped they would! I am so excited to share them with you and with my storytimes friends at next week's programs!

Are you ready for a final look? 

I am using mine on my magnetic board so I added magnets  on to the back of Mrs. Wishy Washy, the tub, and the mud puddle. I used some double-sided tape for both sides of the animals since they are reversible. I love that! And I think my storytime friends are going to love the surprise element of it, too. :o)

I will be offering a smaller version as a take-home craft for my young friends. My storytime families enjoy being able to take a craft home that allows them to retell a book from our weekly storytime.

I think they will be very excited to have this book as a Storytime Craft!

If you decide to recreate Mrs. Wishy Washy and her silly friends, I would love to see a picture of your version and/or hear about your experiences.

I am considering dressing up as Mrs. Wishy Washy or ~ maybe her long-lost sister, Mrs. Splishy Splashy, who loves to have fun in the tub! LOL!

Maybe we can have lots of bubbles at our storytimes...

I'll let you know if I dress up. But, if I do, I think I need to find me some big yellow rain boots ~ or wellies as some of my young friends call them. Ha ha!

Enjoy your weekend! 

And, as always ~ 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Farm ABC'S Blog Hop

Our Farm ABC'S Blog Hop has begun!


Are you ready for a fun collection of

Activities, Books, Crafts, and Snacks


Down on the Farm?

I think the cows are ready...
Ha ha!

A quick note before we get started:
My other ABC'S Blog Hops have been well-received and are growing day-by-day. Whoo hoo! If you are interested, you can find them all here in alphabetical order or you can see a visual display on Pinterest here.
If you have any questions about the hops, suggestions for future hop themes, or issues with linking up, please contact me at storytimeabcs(at)gmail(dot)com.

ABC'S Blog Hops are excellent for "resource-building" whether you are:

   **a parent looking for something fun to do with your child as you spend quality time together
   **a preschool teacher looking for exciting new learning activities for your classroom
   **a children's librarian looking for new ideas to add to your storytime repertoire
   **a leader of a Mom's group looking for a simple easy ideas to share with your group
   **actually anyone interested in Early Literacy and Early Childhood Education

And besides being a good resource, blog hops are just plain FUN!

So, let's get started:

Farm ABC'S Blog Hop!

For this blog hop, we will be collecting all kinds of resources about farms and farm animals.

To get us started, I am going to share a few resources from the different areas that my blog covers.

(Includes: Learning Games, Creative Movement Activities, Songs, Dances,
and so much more!)

This is a "spinning wheel" song prop for "Old McDonald Has a Farm" and for just about any farm song depending on which animals you choose to add to your wheel. Directons for making this storytime prop are shared here.

(Please feel free to include any recommendations for Children's books
~ new and classic and in-between ~
I love learning about new versions of an old classic, don't you?)

Here is a very popular book about some silly farm animals who love the mud.
I have really enjoyed sharing some ideas to go with it. They can all be found in the blog hop.


(Any craft that can be made by a child or an adult that will enhance the child's
interaction with the topic of the blog hop.)

This is one of my latest Story Crafts:

(These can be any kind of snacks ~ healthy or not ~ as long as they are fun to make and eat!)

Cheesy Chicks! Yummy!

That is an example of the types of things we will be sharing on  the Farm ABC'S Blog Hop. Please don't limit yourselves to just these categories though. Anything you post yourself or you find on the internet that is related to learning about Farms and Farm Animals is fine to link up. I am really looking forward to exploring what is shared!

I'll mention one more type of post that I personally ADORE!

I call them:

Fun Finds:
(Any awesome purchase that can be turned into a learning activity, craft, or snack
or just any item that can be re-purposed for a little fun with your child!)

These cute chick crackers were a Fun Find from Super Target. I believe they are a regular product in the store. They are similar to the popular Goldfish crackers but they are shaped like little chicks. So fun and yummy, too! They are a great find at any price but I actually bought these on sale for $1.25 a box. Great price since I needed about 6 to 8 boxes for all my programs!

I used them for a counting game and also in a quick nest and chicks snack for our monthly Pajama Party. The little ones loved them!

Okay, enough of me sharing already! We need to get to the nitty gritty of the Blog Hop so you can share, too.

Here's what to do:

Write a blog post showcasing any activity, book, craft, snack, or other idea about Farms or Farm Animals or link to one that is already posted on your blog. You can share a flannel or magnetic board set that you created for a song or fingerplay about Farms or Farm Animals. You can share an old classic children's book about Farms or Farm Animals that you love to share at storytime or bedtime with your child or brand new book about Farms or Farm Animals that you are adding to your "must read" list. You can share your latest craft that you created yesteday or a yummy snack that you found on Pinterest and decided to try last week when it was rainy outside. You can even share a website that shows someone milking a cow, if you like!

Anything about  Farms or Farm Animals will do! It is all up to you!

Next, add your link to this post by clicking on the "Click here to enter" link at the bottom of this post and following the instructions. Make sure you link to your specific blog post, not to your homepage. Then choose a picture and give it a caption.

And the final step to making this a successful Blog Hop that benefits everyone ~ please click on "Get the code here" and follow the steps to adding the Blog Hop to your post. This step is what actually creates the links between all of the participating blogs so that a visitor to one blog will be able to visit any of the other blogs with just a click.

Please don't forget to link-up!

Another benefit to this step is that you will quickly see when another blog has linked up and you will be able to check out their contribution. That means less time blindly searching for new  Farm or Farm Animal ideas for your next storytime at your library or circle time in your preschool class or playdate with your Mom's Group or your child's best friend.

And it is as simple as that!

Have fun!

Be sure to grab the Farm ABC'S Blog Hop button if you link up or if you just want to share the fun of our Blog Hop with your friends and blog visitors.

All you have to do is grab the code from the sidebar on the right. Isn't it cute? ;o)

Oh, and I added a Farm ABC'S Blog Hop board on Pinterest. Check it out here.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Not a Flannel Friday: Big Red Barn

Wow! It's Friday again! It comes up quicker and quicker each week ~ I think that's because Summer is headed our way with all the FUN (and WORK) of Summer Reading Programs. :-} Just thinking about all our Summer programs makes me tired! Lol

Ah, well...


This month, I am doing my Family Storytime every Thursday evening and I am also doing our weekly daytime programs for our youngest patrons. 

When I am responsible for the weekly programs, I try to pick a topic that can be tweaked easily ~ that way I can change things up for the little ones ~ who tend to be younger for our daytime storytimes and a little older for our night one.

Besides our Mother's Day topic, which we did last week, I have chosen to do a Farm theme. It is such a versatile and fun topic for all ages! Plus I already have tons of flannel sets, magnetic board sets, songs, fingerplays, puppets, etc. ~ and the list of books to choose from is endless and awesome!

For Flannel Friday this week, I want to share one of my oldest ideas for a storytime prop. I made my first one years ago when my own boys were little and we were going to visit my Dad who was a veterinarian who cared for many types of farm animals in rural Oklahoma. It was a perfect way to connect our trip to our chosen library books for that week. My boys loved chosing library books by topic when they were little! They especially loved choosing animal books!

 I then used this storytime prop in my classroom for many years!

 It can be used with songs, fingerplays, or even a story. It is an item that I used each year during my teaching career so the original one weathered much use and many little hands! It is:

A Spinning Wheel Prop!

Who's inside our Big Red Barn?

This Big Red Barn is about 1 ft by 1 ft. It is made from very sturdy posterboard and held together by a paper fastener. The yellow circle spins so, that each time you open the barn doors, you will see a different farm animal. 

The little ones LOVE the surprise of not knowing which animal they will see next!

In our Big Red Barn, we have a:

As I mentioned earlier, this storytime prop can be used for lots of activities. I often use it with the song, Old McDonald Had a Farm

But I also often use it with this song:

The Animals on the Farm
(Sung to: "The Wheels on the Bus")

The cow on the farm says,
"Moo, moo, moo!
Moo, moo, moo!
Moo, moo, moo!"
The cow on the farm says,
"Moo, moo, moo!"
All day long.

Additional verses:
Pig ~ "Oink, oink, oink!"
Sheep ~ "Baa, baa, baa!"
Horse ~ "Neigh, neigh, neigh!

If you make your own Big Red Barn Storytime Prop, you can choose different animals for your "wheel". I actually have a second "wheel" with different animals on it that I can switch out very easily. If I have older storytime friends who want to sing about more animals, I have been known to switch the "wheels" right there in front of them. It is that easy!

Next week's craft for storytimes will be a smaller version of the Big Red Barn:

It is smaller and made from construction paper. I will be making a post about how-to make the smaller Big Red Barn. It is very fun to play and learn with! So check back here for the directions and hopefully a template. I will link the post up as soon as I can. :-)

Also, keep an eye out on the blog for another Blog Hop. It will be a Farm ABC'S Blog Hop! Coming your way soon!

This post has made me miss my home state of Oklahoma and all the years I worked with my Dad at his veterinary clinic. I love those memories! <3

I hope ya'll enjoyed our quick trip to the Farm. If you are looking for a delightful Farm book, try one of these:
Barnyard Banter
Written and illustrated by 
Denise Fleming


Big Red Barn
Written by 
Margaret Wise Brown 
Illustrated by
Felicia Bond
(one of my favorite children's book illustrators!

And I hope ya'll will have lots of fun with your child/ren if you get a chance to visit a Farm to see all of the animals in the Big Red Barn!

As always,


This week, our Flannel Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Linda at Notes from the Story Room. Thank you, Linda, for doing the round-up!

Everyone is invited to linkup their posts about farms and farm animals here:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Special: My Mommy Reads to Me

In honor of 

Mother's Day

I thought I would share my favorite quote:

"You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be ~
I had a Mother who read to me."

~Strickland W. Gillilan~
The Reading Mother

Being the mother of 4 incredible sons, I have always loved this quote but it became more meaningful for me with each passing year as I watched my sons grow into awesome young men! 

Most people may know the short verse above but many have never seen the whole poem. Since it is in public domain, I thought I'd share it here. 

I hope you enjoy it!

The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read to me

Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,

Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,

“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays

Of ancient and gallant and golden days;

Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,

Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales

Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,

True to his trust till his tragic death,

Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things

That wholesome life to the boy heart brings

Stories that stir with an upward touch,

Oh, that each mother of boys were such.

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be --

I had a Mother who read to me.

~Strickland W. Gillilan~

It is my hope that whether you have a son or a daughter, this poem will touch your heart as it has touched mine and that you will enjoy many wonderful reading moments 

with your child

 and together as a family!


Flannel Friday: My Mommy Is Special!

Happy Flannel Friday!


to all the Moms and Grandmothers, too!

My contribution this week is Flannel Friday-inspired by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime... and also by these lovely felt "Moms" and "Daughters" made by Shelia at Note Songs.

Watch for the surprise!

M - O - M - M - Y
Sung to: "BINGO"

I have a very special friend 
And Mommy is her name-o!
M - O - M - M - Y
M - O - M - M - Y
M - O - M - M - Y
And Mommy is her name-o!

Here comes the surprise!

Each flower has a different Mommy on the other side!
So as you sing the song, each time you will turn a flower over to reveal a new Mommy.
For each new Mommy, you will add a kiss instead of singing the letter.

For example, the 2nd verse would be:

I have a very special friend 
And Mommy is her name-o!
(Kiss) - O - M - M - Y
(Kiss) - O - M - M - Y
(Kiss) - O - M - M - Y
And Mommy is her name-o!

At the end, there will be 5 kisses and 5 Mommies ready for the next song. :o)

Five Pretty Mommies
Sung to: "Five Little Ducks"

Five pretty mommies I once knew.
Cute ones, busy ones, happy ones, too.

But the one in the middle, pretty as can be.
I love her and she loves me!

Down to the grocery store we did go,
Skippety-hop, skippety-hop, to and fro.

But the one in the middle, pretty as can be,
I love her and she loves me!

Here is another song for our lovely Mommies:

Mommy Is Special
Sung to: "Frere Jacques"

Mommy is special.
Mommy is special.
~ If you look ~
~ You will see ~
Someone very special.
Someone very special.
~ It is Mommy! ~
~ It is Mommy! ~

I hope everyone enjoys a delightful Mother's Day with their families! 

If you are looking for a quick, simple, last-minute gift for your children to make for the special lady in their lives, here is the one we made at our Family Storytime last night. 
(Click on the picture for directions on how-to make it.)

And one last song to go with this special Mother's Day gift:

Hugs and Kisses
Sung to; "Frere Jacques"

Hugs and kisses,
Hugs and Kisses,
Just for you!
Just for you!
Just to tell you Mommy,
Just to tell you Mommy,
I love you!
I love you!


And, as always,