Sunday, September 29, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Hooray for Fall!

Right up there with themes like Back to School and Apples, September is the perfect time to create a Fall story time!  Without further adieu, here is the plan!
It's Fall by Linda Glaser
This one again was on the long side for story time.  It was easy to cut out a page here and there to move it along. Its written in rhyme and the pictures are lovely, it was just a little long for story time.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro
Last year I made these felts to accompany the book.  Last year I also knew the book by heart so I didn't need the book to perform it!  This year I was rusty so we read the book and then we each pretended to sneeze and 'build' the scarecrow on the flannel board.  My felting technique has changed a little -this was all done with sharpies.  Now I use 3D paints, but I do love the shading that marker can provide too.

George Flies South by Simon James
Poor George hasn't learned how to fly, but it's time to migrate!  Oh dear what will happen when a gust of wind whisks George's nest right out of the tree?  The kids loved this one last year and this year as well.  There was a collective 'ahhh' at the end.

After halftime, I did this poem/fingerplay with the kids to get them ready for our craft:  Thanks to Debby Hill at!

5 Little Acorns
Five little acorns, lying on the ground.
The first one said "Oh my I'm getting round!"
The second one said "I think I'm getting fat!"
The third one said "I have a nice hat!"
The fourth one said "There's a squirrel over there."
The fifth one said "But I don't care!"
Down came the squirrel and swept them all away,
up to his nest for a cold winter's day.

And then we talked about squirrels and nuts and how busy squirrels are this time of year.  They loved telling me about the gatherers in their yard!  Back to the stories!

Fall is Not Easy - Marty Kelley

This book has been immortalized in felt by MANY of my fellow bloggers.  Because my library doesn't own a copy of this book, I decided to make my own felt set so I could recite the poem.  The kids and parents loved this book and all wanted to check out a copy!  I wish this was one I had multiple copies to share.    Shout out to Melissa at Mel's Desk since I most closely copied her felt set.  I added grass/snow/leaves for the seasons.

Nuts by Paula Gerritsen
Little mouse has to cross the farm to get to her favorite nut tree, but a storm is coming in!  Can she get to the tree and fill her pockets before the storm sweeps them all away?  Even though this was technically my fifth book, my kids were really into hearing one more story!  It's really a sweet book.

And here's my craft!  I used a clip art of an acorn, and added the poem to the page and circles to the acorn using Microsoft Word.  I cut out the cap and pasted three copies to another page so I could copy the caps on to brown paper.  The kids glued on the acorn paper caps, then added 5 real acorn caps I picked in my yard to the circles on the page (this kept them from using more than 5 acorn caps).  They also decorated their page however they wanted.  They were ready to tell the 5 little acorn poem at home!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Flannel Friday - Little Cloud By Eric Carle

It's Flannel Friday time!  This week I have made a flannel set based on Eric Carle's book Little Cloud.  I made this for a weather themed story time I have coming up in a couple weeks.  It could also be used for talking about shapes.  I really loved the illustrations in this book and thought this would be a great story to tell on the flannel board. 

It begins with Little Cloud...
Little Cloud floats above the houses and trees while the other clouds float up and away!

With the other clouds gone, Little Cloud decides to change into a giant cloud!

Little Cloud then changes into other objects - a sheep, an airplane, a shark, two trees, a rabbit, a hat, and a clown!

The other clouds float back and call to Little Cloud to join them.
 Little Cloud joins the other clouds to form one big cloud and it begins to rain!

 The End

I had a lot of fun creating this set.  The pieces were all drawn by myself based on the illustrations.  I hope the little ones enjoy this story as much as I did making it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Toddler Story Time - A is for Apple

Hooray!  Summer is officially over and it is now time to start fall themed story times.  First one to check off my list is apples!  This week I introduced a new opening song.  Boy was I nervous because I had to sing- without a cd!  Fortunately, I had some awesome moms sing along with me.  Thanks to Ms. Christi at the Johnson County Library for sharing it because it fits my story time so well.  Welcome to Storytime is sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  I hope it becomes a great addition to our weekly routine.    

Welcome to Storytime
Welcome, welcome everyone,
Now we’re here, let’s have some fun.
First we’ll sing the ABC’s,
Then we’ll read and sing with me.
Welcome, welcome everyone,
Now we’re here, let’s have some fun. 

Books I read…

Ned’s New Home By Kevin Tseng

I originally planned to read Ducking for Apples by Lynne Berry, but a last minute book switch was a huge success.  This book is super cute and the little ones loved it!  Poor Ned needs a new home when his begins to rot.  He tries out many new homes until finding one that is just right.  This is definitely a book I plan on making a flannel for someday! 

Max’s Apples Based on the stories by Rosemary Wells

Who wouldn’t love a book with shiny red apples?!  This sweet story is about Max asking for help to get apples down from a tree.  As usual Ruby can’t understand why he needs so many until he surprises her with a pie.  It’s a shorter book, but you generally can’t go wrong with Max, Ruby, and a room full of toddlers!   
 Apples, Apples!  A Lift-the-Flap Book By Salina Yoon   
Who knew apples could make so many different types of things?  The little ones had fun guessing what each person was making out of apples throughout this book.  It was a good closing book for a busy story time morning.   

How it went…

The first action rhyme we all did together was called Apples.  I found it on Sunflower Storytime but I think it is used a lot for apple themed story times.  The rhyme and accompanied movements are super simple.  The little ones made such cute little apple trees.  We did it twice!
Way up high in the apple tree  (Stretch arms in the air) 
Two little apples smiles at me  (Make two fists)
I shook the tree as hard as I could  (Shake arms in the air)
And down came the apples  (Drop fists to floor)
Mmmmm, they were good!  (Rub tummy)

I think it can be really fun to incorporate puppets or props into story time.  This week I found the cutest apple and worm finger puppet in the supply closet.  I knew I wanted to use it during story time so I was super excited when I stumbled upon the poem, Squiggly Little Worm from Pre-K Fun .  While I recited the poem, I made the worm wiggle around in the apple.
Squiggly Little Worm
A squiggly little worm into my apple bit.
He chomped and chomped until the core he hit.    
I asked him why he did it,
And though it sounds absurd,
He said, “I love apples.”
Now that is what I heard. 
Retired Folkmanis Finger Puppet.  Look on ebay if you love it!

One of the reasons I was excited about this week’s story time was Flannel Time!  (Thanks Future Librarian Superhero!)  It was finally time to unveil my new favorite flannel story.  Five Apples in a Basket is a funny rhyming poem about five apples that think they are climbing into a basket, but really it’s a pie!  I wasn’t sure if the little ones would get the humor but I was very pleased when I heard laughter from the moms.  Mission accomplished! 
Five Apples in a Basket
The first apple in the basket was bright and shiny red.
The second apple in the basket said, “My, what a cozy bed!”
The third apple in the basket said, “Make room for me you pair!”
The fourth apple in the basket said, “Please move over there!”
The fifth apple in the basket said, “Oh dear, oh me, oh my!”
This basket looks like a pastry, I think we are in a pie!” 
 Check out this Flannel Friday post for more photos of this flannel story!

To get the little ones up and active, we danced to Raffi's Apples and Bananas.  A great song that also promotes different letter sounds.  You can watch Raffi in concert singing it here.

A craft completed this story time.  It was so easy peasy and they turned out incredibly cute.  The little ones added color to the backside of small paper plates to resemble the top of an apple tree. Some made green trees while others made rainbows, but they all finished with at least a few apples.  We use dobber markers with the toddlers for low mess fun!  It was then up to the moms to staple on a pre cut brown card stock trunk.  Inspiration for this craft came from Reading Confetti.

Can't wait to check more fall themes of my list!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Apple Season FUN!

Have you ever had just too much material for your story time? There is no shortage of apple story time help out there in the cyber space, but I went in another direction and just had a ball with this theme.  If you missed my Flannel Friday post last week about apples, check it out HERE.  I used all three flannel boards in this story time!

The Plan:
Apples Apples Apples by Nancy E. Wallace
Lesson one:  Read your books before you read them in story time.
Lesson two:  Read them out loud before you read them in story time.
Lesson three: Decide if you want to do the book only after lessons one and two, not before.

I got half way through this book and realized I missed lesson 2.  It was too long, too involved, and had too much information for my group.  I skipped lines and pages everywhere just to finish up. So on day two I did this book instead and it made a huge difference:
Apples Apples Everywhere by Robin Koontz
A much better choice for preschool and kindergarten with just enough information on Apples.  The worms in the apples were a great fact I hadn't seen before.

We next did my NEW Apple Sauce song...complete with felts.  It's to the tune of Peanut, Peanut Butter, Jelly:

Making Applesauce (by Miss Sue)

Making some applesauce, YUM! 
Making some applesauce, YUM!

First you take an apple and you peel it, you peel it.
First you take an apple and you peel it, you peel it.
Then you take the apples an you chop 'em, you chop 'em.
Then you take the apples an you chop 'em, you chop 'em.
Next you add some sugar and you cook 'em, you cook 'em.
Next you add some sugar and you cook 'em, you cook 'em.
Then you take a masher and you smash 'em, you smash 'em.
Then you take a masher and you smash 'em, you smash 'em.
Coooool it down! yeah....Coooool it down!
Then you take a spoon and you eat it, you eat it.
Then you take a spoon and you eat it, you eat it.

This went over well because it was to a familiar tune.  Some of the kids picked it up really quickly!

Next up:
Little Apple Goat - Caroline Jayne Church
This darling little story about a goat who loves her orchard teaches the kids a little bit about what happens to seeds when they are scattered unwittingly by any creature.

After our halftime dance, we got back to the stories!  This time a flannel story I also created.  This is based on Katya Arnold's That Apple is Mine!  I used the story but not the book to retell the tale in my own fashion using my own felts:

This photo only shows part of the story.  For more on these felts and the story it goes with, click HERE

Our last story is my new favorite!! 
Ned's New Home by Kevin Tseng
Ned is in need of a new home!  Will he find one that suits him as well as his beloved apple?  I adore this book and will surely use it again and again.

Last felt set for today was my matching apples: 

I passed the apples out and together we tried to match the number with the number of seeds.  The younger ones had a little trouble but the older ones were quite excited to help out!  For more on where I got the idea for these and any of my felts this week, click This Flannel Friday Link, or search our labels for more Apple Felt and story ideas.

This was the craft idea I designed:

We talked about how to form numbers this week, using little poems for each number (Something like "around the tree and around the tree is how you make a number three!").  This was a basic apple shape on red paper and a basic circle on white.  I wrote the "I am ___" on the white paper and photo copied it. The seeds are raisins which is safer than using real seeds.  I'm sure the kids were sneaking a raisin or two!

Another successful story time this week!  I had lower numbers than usual this week, perhaps because the weather was so amazing, but the crowd was perfect.  Great participation, great atmosphere, and great fun had by all.  I'll tuck this one away for next year!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flannel Friday - Socks!

I took over PJ Story Time while Miss Carol was on vacation this week, and decided we needed to read some books about warm, fuzzy socks!

This felt set is for a matching game for toddlers and preschoolers.  I gave every child one sock, and they had to bring it up to the board and find its match.  Thank goodness I had exactly 8 children!

I just used Google images to find an easy sock outline, and the decorating was easy, using felt and puffy paint.  The cloud socks are for Miss Kristie, and I think Miss Sue would enjoy the fuzzy gold ones :)  My personal favorites are the dinosaurs!

If you wanted to make a ton of them for a large group, this would be an easy task to give to a crafty volunteer!


I shamelessly stole this from Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends - it was too cute to pass up!  Here's my take on Ducks Don't Wear Socks by John Nedwidek:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baby Story Time - Babycakes!

Let's face it - we LOVE babies!  This story time celebrates their cuteness!

Wake-up Rhyme: "Patty Cake"
Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker's man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
     (clap hands)
Roll it and pat it and mark it with a "B"
     (roll hands, pat tummy, draw "B" on tummy)
And put it in the over for baby and me!
     (clap hands)

1st Book: All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler
I love Hiroe Nakata's illustrations and this rhyming book about body parts is super cute.  It was a little too long for my wiggleworms today so I didn't quite read the whole thing.

Action Song: "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" (always a favorite - we sang this twice!)
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes,
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes!

Nursery Rhyme: "Jack and Jill" (I used a storytelling kit from Lakeshore Learning)
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
     (bounce baby)
Jack fell down and broke his crown
     (lower baby to the floor)
And Jill came tumbling after!
     (roll hands)

Bounce Song: "Baby Hop" (from the cd Diaper Gym: Fun Activities for Babies on the Move)
(This song is really cute, even if it is a little corny.  It goes to the tune of the "Bunny Hop." This was introduced to me be a fellow Baby Story Time teller - thanks, Keesha!)
Snuggle up together, baby's in your lap.
Snuggle up together, and clap, clap, clap.
Snuggle up together, don't you nap.
Snuggle up together, and tap, tap, tap.
We're working out together, baby don't stop.
We're working out together, so hop, hop, hop.
(Song repeats)

2nd Book: The Baby Goes Beep by Rebecca O'Connell
This book was a hit, with lots of repetition and bright illustrations.  The parents were making all the sounds along with me!

Rhythm Time with Scarves:
What would I do without Lakeshore Learning? We used their wonderful activity scarves for these songs.

Action Song: "This is the Way" (tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush")
(pretending our scarves are washclothes - parents scrub their babies)
This is the way we wash our arms,
Wash our arms, wash our arms.
This is the way we wash our arms
When we're in the bathtub!
(Repeat with legs, head, tummy, toes, etc.)

Action Song: "Baby's Hokey Pokey" (adapted from the cd Baby Face by Georgiana Stewart)
(waving our scarves)
Arms up, arms down,
Arms up, and wave them all around!
Then tickle, tickle, wiggle, wiggle, everybody knows,
That's how baby's hokey-pokey goes!
(Repeat with legs)

3rd Book: Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson
We are so lucky to have class sets of many great board books - Baby Cakes is one of them.  Parents read aloud with me for this one.

We finished with our usual songs and rhyme, and it was play time!

How it went:
20 babies this week!!  It was a little rocky at first, as we had many new faces today, but we got into a rhythm and made it through.  I shortened a few songs and definitely had to think on my feet - I didn't bother to collect the scarves or the books until after I got the toys out at the end.  It would have taken too much time and I knew I had to keep the ball rolling with this huge group!  As long as people leave happy, I guess I'm doing okay!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Sheep Shenanigans

I love books with sheep in them, and there are TONS!  Last year I did an entire theme of counting sheep - all books referring to sleeping and sheep.  Except for my last book, each of these books talk about wool and sweaters.  Keeping Every Child Ready to Read in mind, these books are all written in rhyme, and the last book reinforced the 'ee' sound and rhyming.  I explained to the parents that children can recognize rhyme before they can make a rhyme, so they should start with asking if something rhymes before they have the child create a rhyme.

The Plan-

I have a new opening rhyme I tried!  This rhyme is by an unknown author.  When I read this rhyme for the first time, I sang it in my head loosely to the tune of Merry Old Land of Oz (Wizard of Oz) and it stuck, so that's my tune.

Touch Your Nose
Touch your nose. Touch your chin. That's the way this game begins.
Touch your eyes. Touch your knees. Now pretend you're going to sneeze (A-choo!).
Touch your hair.  Touch one ear.  Touch your two red lips right here.
Touch your elbow where it ends.  That's the way this touch game ends.

Woolbur- Leslie Helakoski
Woolbur is a free spirited lamb who cannot follow the flock.  "But isn't it GREAT?" Woolbur tells his parents.  This book is longish for preschool story time, but the kids really loved the refrain. A comical way to look at wool and the process of making yarn.

The Great Sheep Shenanigans - Peter Bentley
Wolf has a plan to have lamb for dinner, but Red's Gran and Rambo the Ram have other ideas.  Anytime you can say the word 'poo' or 'stinky' in story time, the kids are going to like it!

Peppered in between the books were our nursery rhyme felts.  If you missed my Flannel Friday post, click here for more about my Nursery Rhyme Sheep
With this set, I was able to do Mary Had a Little Lamb, Little Bo Peep, and Baa Baa Black Sheep.
I was really surprised that some of the kids didn't know Mary Had a Little Lamb!  Usually my group knows nursery rhymes but I either had shy ones or they just don't get these rhymes at home.  I guess the lesson is to not assume that nursery rhymes are old news for the preschool kids.

Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep - Teri Sloat
It's spring and time for the sheep to be shorn, but the sheep want their wool back!  This book cleverly explains the process from shearing through sweaters.  The naked sheep really distracted the kids, but this book is hysterical.

Sheep in a Jeep- Nancy Shaw
This is very short and sweet but reinforces rhyming, and our craft was based on this book!  I had two kids tell me that this book was too short.  I guess after the last three books, it is, but I like to end on a quick one.

My craft was based on Shannon's Book Nook Blog.  She did something very similar, but I used A to Z Teacher Stuff Tools to create the bottom line of the sheet.  I left out the 'ee' in both words so the preschoolers could write that in and practice that sound with their parent.  My craft has little detail because I do not want the children to copy me.

Overall SUCCESS!  The kids loved the theme and sat perfectly for all 4 stories.  We ran almost 10 minutes over but they still wanted more.  Now I am ready to launch into our fall, then holiday story times.  It's going to be a busy fall!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flannel Friday - Apples, Apples, and More APPLES!

In a Flannel Friday BONUS for my Flannel Friday Peeps, I have not one,  but THREE Apple Flannel Board Posts for you.  I am going to have a very busy Apple Story Time next week, but I couldn't resist making a song/finger play, a story, and an activity.

First up, my own take on the song Peanut Butter and Jelly (you know, "Peanut, Peanut Butter, Jelly").  A chant I saw on this site gave me the idea for the chant, but I decided to set it to music and change it up for simplicity.  The felt pieces below coordinate with the song's verses, and the hand motions I do match as well (fairly self explanatory).  For the Chorus, clap out the rhythm and rub your tummy on the word Yum.:

Making Applesauce (by Miss Sue)

Making some applesauce, YUM! 
Making some applesauce, YUM!

First you take an apple and you peel it, you peel it.
First you take an apple and you peel it, you peel it.
Then you take the apples an you chop 'em, you chop 'em.
Then you take the apples an you chop 'em, you chop 'em.
Next you add some sugar and you cook 'em, you cook 'em.
Next you add some sugar and you cook 'em, you cook 'em.
Then you take a masher and you smash 'em, you smash 'em.
Then you take a masher and you smash 'em, you smash 'em.
Coooool it down! yeah....Coooool it down!
Then you take a spoon and you eat it, you eat it.
Then you take a spoon and you eat it, you eat it.

The picture isn't great at showing the 'chopped apples' on the upper right or the apple being peeled on the upper left.  The cream colored felt appears lighter in the photo than is in person.  The artwork is all my own for this flannel board. Feel free to use this for your story times but please credit this blog.

Next up is a flannel board based on Katya Arnold's retelling of the Russian Folk tale, That Apple is Mine!


Another book where I love the story, but the illustrations won't translate well to story time, in my opinion.  This will be shared strictly off book as a flannel board story.
If you do not know they story, a rabbit spots an apple up high in the tree. Try as he may, he can't reach it, so he asks Crow to knock it down for him.  Crow decides instead to pluck the apple from the tree for himself, but accidentally drops it onto hedgehog.  Hedgehog thinks 'what luck' and runs away with the apple. All three creatures declare the apple is theirs!  A large argument ensues.  "But that apple is MINE!"

Their bickering wakes bear, who tries to sort out the disagreement.  He suggests cutting the apple and sharing it.  But there is one piece left!  Hedgehog declares the last piece should be for bear, be cause he solved the problem.

 At the end, worm wriggles out from behind the stem to declare, "Hey, that apple was mine!"
The animals in my flannel board are original artwork by my daughter, Sarah.  The apple was made by making two apples with white centers, cut facing each other.  If you notice, two halves have 2 seeds and two have 3 seeds.  This is so I can match which sides go together, so the apple can fit back together like a puzzle.  As the story unfolds, a piece of apple can be 'cut' away and given to an animal, leaving the stem behind.  The worm can be placed quickly when the last piece is moved.

Last up is a bonus activity, Counting and Matching Apples. 

I have seen this activity on many websites but not quite in this form.  I used this image idea from StoryTime Katie combined with these images from Desert Blossom Learning to make this activity:

The plan is to use these apples as a matching game in the group along with counting.We will also make numbers in the air with our fingers as many children will not have experience writing numbers yet.  After story time, these apples will remain on the board for free exploration.  I usually stay by the flannel board after story time and interact with the children one-on-one while mom is chatting or siblings are crafting.  Some children prefer to have some quiet time with me while the craft tables are so busy and noisy.

Stay tuned for the story time next week, and the craft that goes along perfectly with this last felt activity!

Please feel free to comment or contact me with more information on any of these.  I had a little burst of energy when making my flannel board stories last month and can't wait to use them! 

Thanks to Bridget over at What is Bridget Reading? for hosting Flannel Friday this week!  Check out her awesome blog at: