Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Flannel Friday: 4th Anniversary Guest Post Palooza...Flannel Board Table by Grace

Happy 4th Anniversary to Flannel Friday! To celebrate, we're having a Guest Post Palooza and I have the honor of hosting Grace Smart and her very first Flannel Friday post. Without further ado, here's Grace.


Flannel Board Table
I have been doing Story Time for 2 years as an assistant to the Youth Services Librarian, and have created dozens of flannel boards during that time to use in StoryTime. I have read on other blogs that some librarians allow their young patrons to get up and interact with their flannel boards DURING STORYTIME. This seems like a great way to engage the kids, but unfortunately we have too many children attending for this to be practical. Nonetheless, I think flannel boards are a great early literacy tool and I wanted to find a way to get our flannels into the hands of our young patrons.

I pondered this idea for a good while, until one day my coworker came across this post by Lisa M. Shaia on Thrive After Three.  

I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to do, so I started brainstorming with my coworkers! We were able to find a flannel table cover for about $10. It’s a green table cover for card games with elastic around the edges, and it was a perfect fit for the small round tables already in our children’s area. We ordered two so that we could switch them out and clean them when necessary. (Hopefully they will hold up in a washing machine.) Once we had the flannel cover, I started working on the first flannel board table for our children’s area. I created the cars and trucks by tracing the outlines of clipart. The roads are simply rectangles of different lengths and sizes (with painted stripes down the middle).  I made the road pieces all different sizes with corners and straight pieces so the kids can rearrange and interact with them.  I used fabric paint for all of the details on all the pieces from tires to road signs and more.

Since this activity seemed like the perfect opportunity to reinforce the early literacy concepts that we promote during each and every StoryTime, I created information cards with talking points for the parents. These I laminated so they would last as long as possible.

Here is my first Flannel Board Table, “Driving Around Town”.

This has been out in the children’s area for over a month. We have found this to be very successful.  All the pieces have been rearranged at the end of each day! And we have had many compliments from parents about this activity.  All of the pieces have held up well at this point even though the roads are starting to be a little wrinkled. I am working on a few new sets of flannels so that I can swap these out in the future to keep things interesting.  Overall, “Driving Around Town” has been a really successful interactive flannel experience for our library.

Thank you, Bridget, for hosting!

Grace Smart
Denton Public Library


Thank you, Grace, for sharing this great idea with us! 

Mollie is hosting the roundup this week.

Important Links:
Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the hashtag #flannelstorytime.
Our March/April Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Mollie.   

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life Size Candy Land

Life Size Candy Land is an event I've wanted to put on for some time. This past fall, I finally managed it. I drew inspiration from the usual places (PUBYAC, other awesome librarians, Pinterest) including the following:

In my research, I discovered you can make almost anything work for decorations. Mostly I used what I had whether in its original form or re-purposed as something else.

Tiles were construction paper. I went with a bright pastel color scheme. I didn't tape down the paper and it didn't move too much. When it did, we just readjusted.

Gingerbread Tree: The meeting room already has a tree mural so I just added a sign and a gingerbread family (I used free clipart from the blog The Art of Teaching in Today's World. I printed them in different sizes on brown cardstock and colored in the details with Sharpies.)

Gumdrop Mountains: green plastic table cloths and a sign. I made the gumdrops using plastic flowerpots I'd bought to use for my Peter Rabbit Party. I covered them with colored tissue paper, applied white glue, and dipped them in Epsom salts.

Peppermint Forest: White and red table cloths, plastic candy canes in various sizes. The ribbon tree is a dowel with different lengths of peppermint type ribbon and bows on top (I raided my personal holiday decorations for the ribbon.)

Licorice Woods: Use What You Have! The meeting room has a coffee table that I use for my CD player, books, and schedules during storytime. We upended it, draped it with a black plastic tablecloth, added red crepe paper streamers and a sign.

Peanut Acres: Yellow Gold plastic table cloth, packing peanuts, sign, and a dog I made with a thrift store basket, a couple of red bandannas, and some thin brown cardboard.

Lollipop Woods: colorful plastic tablecloths, a sign, and the lollipops I made out of dowels, paper plates, cellophane, and ribbon.

Chocolate Swamp: brown plastic tablecloths, a sign, and giant Hershey's Kisses my co-worker constructed with packing paper, tape, and aluminum foil.

Candy Castle: Yellow plastic tablecloth, a sign, candies made with cellophane, ribbon, and crinkle paper, and the castle my co-worker and I made with cardboard, paper, and craft foam details

Sign-in Table: The sign-in sheet was a bit different. I asked for a last name and the number in the group. If anybody played again, I counted them again. The stickers were to help players remember what order their turns were.

I considered several options for game play (giant dice and spinners) before I decided pieces of construction paper (matching the tiles) in paper bags would work wonderfully.

In case we had a rush and needed to have people wait, I printed out Candy Land character coloring sheets to keep the kids occupied.

When they finished playing, every child received a dumdum.

Older kids enjoyed playing a fast version of the game: when you draw a color move 2 spaces ahead instead of 1.

This was a very fun well-attended event (despite soccer games) and I'm doing it again this month.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pete the Cat Party

Almost every children's librarian knows the Pete the Cat books written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean are pure storytime gold. Kids love Pete the Cat.

At one of my branches, the regular storytime day is Monday. We miss several storytimes because of bank holidays. Last fall I decided to make up for this by hosting a couple of special events on Friday mornings. The first I attempted was a Pete the Cat Party. Pinterest, a host of wonderful librarians (Meg, Kelsey, Lisa, Jane, and Jbrary), and the Make Learning Fun Pete the Cat theme page were instrumental to the planning of this event.

As the kids arrived, I invited them to answer two questions: Are you wearing buttons today? What color are your shoes today?

The storytime portion of the event involved my two favorite Pete the Cat books (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons) and corresponding flannel board activities (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Find the Button).

After storytime, we played Pin the Shoe on Pete the Cat (from the publisher). The kids colored their shoes as they arrived.

Then it was craft time. We made Pete the Cat paper bag puppets. I enlarged Pete's head from a coloring sheet I found on Make Learning Fun.

As the kids left, I offered them a Pete the Cat coloring sheet and a Pete the Cat Sudoku sheet for the older siblings (Both from Make Learning Fun).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Harry Potter Party

You may remember my Harry Potter Yule Ball from a couple of years ago. This party is similar and was a request by the middle schoolers at one of my branches.

House Points (colored counters in shaped glass vases)
Flying Keys (keys bought at Michaels, wings were an online template)
Dragon Egg (Crayola Model Magic & assorted beads/jewels)
Sorting Hat (a $1 purple witch's hat I picked up years ago)
Follow the Spiders (I wanted to tape these to the wall near a window, but I ran out of time. Instead I laid them out on star covered fabric.)
On the refreshment table: foam pumpkins I painted silver & gold, golden snitches (ping pong balls painted gold with white feathers glued on), fake fall leaves
Craft: paper bag Whomping Willows

The refreshments were Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Licorice Wands, Lemon Drops, Pumpkin Bread, Fish Crackers, and Butterbeer. I tried a new recipe for butterbeer this time and everyone loved it. Basically it was vanilla ice cream, cream soda, and butterscotch sundae syrup.

 House Tables: red, yellow, glue, and green tablecloths with the House shields printed on brown paper (found the shields on Pinterest)

More Decor:
Eeylops Owl Emporium (green tablecloth, green tulle, sign on green paper, assorted ceramic & glass owls from my personal collection
Owl Post Office: felt owl from Dollar Store, owl post signs (Pinterest), letters I made with envelopes, rubber stamps, & paint, stuffed owls from my personal collection

Photo Booths:
Platform 9 3/4 (craft paper painted to looking like red bricks, sign)
Signpost with locations from the books series (printed on brown paper and glued to arrow shapes cut out of packing paper...if I do this again, I'm going to outline them in black and add a post to give it some definition.
We played Harry Potter Trivia (jeopardy style), Harry Potter Would You Rather (Pinterst), and went on a Horcrux hunt. For more details on the activities, see my post about the Harry Potter Yule Ball (linked above) or my Harry Potter Party Pinterest board. Brytani, another NC librarian, hosted a fun Harry Potter Birthday Party last July. Bloomsbury (publisher of the HP series) has designated February 5 as Harry Potter Book Night. Visit their site for more information including an event kit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Once Upon a Time Teen Event

My teens really like the ABC show Once Upon a Time. So in September we did a Once Upon a Time fandom event. We watched an episode of the show ("Tallahassee," episode 6 from season 2) and then moved on to other activities.

Games: Poison Apple or The Price of Magic - Rumple's Deal (find lots of game ideas here)
The Blog Hot Glue & Sparkle had several posts about a Once Upon a Time Party (Games & Prizes, Refreshments, Decor & Favors, Activities)

What is your....
I also brought along several of the activities from my Adventures in Fairy Tales school age event, but we didn't end up using any of them. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flannel Friday Roundup for February 6, 2015

Here Comes Warmer Weather: Several of this week's contributions had me thinking of spring and summer!
First up is Sue's Fish (part of her Felts3Ways series). One felt set can be adapted for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. I actually used my version  for my "S is for..." storytime this week. Just in case you missed the first Felts3Ways, find the ducks here.

Kathryn is tired of winter and dreaming of summer with a couple of beach themed felt sets: sandcastles (inspired by Katie at Storytime Secrets) and Little Whale, Little Whale (a beachy version of Little Mouse).

Baby it's cold outside! 
Sarah shares a Queen Elsa version of a popular storytime rhyme/song. 

Not Felt: A couple of contributions this week that are not felt sets. 
Sue's back! This time she's talking about her library's Story Walk.

I'm sharing my favorite party (game) prop this week: a box with a hole.

Based on a Book
Welcome to a Flannel Friday first-timer (and new blogger), Rebecca of Singin' in the Stacks! She's sharing a version of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."

Jane returns with her third post all about everyone's favorite bird, Mo Willems' Pigeon

'Tis the Season...for football and love! 
Emily was in a Super Bowl mood and created footballs and helmets.

Mallory is ready for Valentine's Day with her Valentine Cookies.

I am wowed (and inspired). Thank you! 
Lindsey (of Jbrary fame) brings us a roundup of Little Louse, Little Mouse renditions. I don't have a Little Mouse set (GASP! I know, I know. I'll get around to it sometime), but I do hide a duck quite frequently behind various things. And I have made a version of Clifford, Clifford. Love the ideas that Lindsey shares throughout the post and at the end. Makes me want to consult my rhyming dictionary. Just because, I'd like to share the past Flannel Friday contribution that inspired me as much as the Little Mouse Renditions: Lisa's (Fill-in-the-Blank)'s Colorful Day.

Thank you for reading and contributing. I think this has been a wonderful week for Flannel Friday and we (youth services/children's librarians) are finally pulling ourselves out of the winter blahs.

Kelly is hosting the roundup next week on February 13.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog
Flannel Friday on Pinterest
Flannel Friday on Facebook

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the hashtag #flannelstorytime.
Our January/February Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Sharon

Flannel Friday: Party Prop...A Box with a Hole

I often include games in my special events. These special events include preschoolers. I like to use tossing type games to encourage  hand-eye coordination. A box with a hole has been one of the most useful props I've ever created. The possibilities are endless.

My box with a hole prop first made an appearance as a Feed the Monkey Game back in November 2012 when I hosted an Animal Antics Pajama Party.

When I was planning my Winnie-the-Pooh Party for January 2014, I found a fun game idea called "Bees in the Garden" and put my box with a hole to use again. This time I created a piece that just taped over the monkey.

While planning my Frozen Party in the fall, I found several mentions of a "Feed Sven" (or the reindeer) game. I knew my box with a hole would come to the rescue again. For this reincarnation, I covered the box with brown craft paper and added a sign below the hole. I had hoped to find a picture of Sven with his mouth open that would match (or almost match) the existing hole. No luck so I made it work another way. I just happened to have a crocheted carrot to make this game even better.

Librarians, do you have any other awesome suggestions for how to re-purpose my box with a hole?

I'm hosting this week's Flannel Friday Roundup.

Kelly is hosting the roundup next week on February 13.

Important Links:
Flannel Friday Blog
Flannel Friday on Pinterest
Flannel Friday on Facebook

Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the hashtag #flannelstorytime.
Our January/February Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Sharon