Flannel Friday Valentine’s Special: Vincent’s Valentine Animals

This week at Flannel Friday we’re spreading the love of Valentine’s Day!  I’m sharing a story I use often around this time of year, Vincent’s Valentine Animals.  It’s not too mushy, and the kids can make fun animal noises with it.

This is another flannelboard story that I got from my mother after her retirement from librarianship, so I’m not 100% sure on the original source.  It’s on page 28 of A Storytime Year, and while I haven’t verified to make sure this is the correct book (we don’t have a copy in my system) I think it is by Susan M. Dailey

Vincent’s Valentine Animals
One day, Vincent the toymaker received word from the King that he was to create a special toy for the Princess for Valentine’s Day.  Vincent knew a lot about making toys, but he had never made a Valentine toy before.  So he thought long and hard and finally had an idea!

He cut out hearts from wood, glued and painted them.  He made a Valentine cat, dog, mouse, pig and snake.

And to make them extra special, he gave them each a sound.  The cat said, “Meow”.  The dog said, “Arf”, the mouse said, “Squeak”, the pig said, “Oink” and the snake said, “Hiss”.

Vincent was very proud of his animals, and couldn’t wait to give them to the Princess.  But he was in such a hurry to get to the castle, he stumbled and all the heads and body’s became separated.

“Oh no!” said Vincent.  “Now I need to put them back together.  Let’s see.. here’s a mouse head. Does this head go with this body?”  Place the animal head on top of the wrong body.  Now here comes the fun part of the story – you place the head of one animal on the body of the other and make the new sound that results.  For example, with the mouse you would have it say:
VincentsValentineAnimalsFlannelboard5 VincentsValentineAnimalsFlannelboard4 VincentsValentineAnimalsFlannelboard3
The toy said “Sque-arf!” Oh no, that can’t be right!  What about the next body.  The toy said “Sque-Oink!”  No no no.  Let’s try this one… “Sque-Eow!”…  Continue doing this with the various pieces until you match the cat, dog, pig and mouse correctly.  Then continue the story.

But Vincent heard the King impatiently calling for him.  He couldn’t keep the King waiting!  In a hurry, Vincent gathered up all his Valentine animals (take all the animals down from the board and put them up momentarily as you name them one by one) and brought them to show the Princess and the King.  And they were both very pleased.  The Princess loved her Valentine Cat.  She loved her Valentine Dog.  She loved her Valentine mouse.  But here favorites were the Valentine pig-snake who said, “oin-hiss” and the Valentine snake-pig who said “hi-oink”.  When she heard those noises, she laughed and laughed.

Today’s Flannel Friday roundup is sponsored by Sarah at Read it Again.  For more information on Flannel Friday, visit the Flannel Friday blog or Pinterest page.

Alligators & Crocodiles – Preschool Storytime

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song

MOVEMENT: “Can’t Wait to Celebrate” from Jim Gill’s Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill

Egad Alligator by Ziefert
Egad Alligator! by Harriet Ziefert

Counting Crocodiles
Counting Crocodiles Flannelboard
Pattern and Story from Judy Sierra (it’s called “A Bridge of Crocodiles” in the Second Edition of The Flannel Board Storytelling Book. I inherited this flannelboard set from my mom, who was a librarian until she retired.  She had my dad make all her flannelboard sets, so it’s steeped in family history.  I think it came from the 1987 version of Sierra’s book…)

“The Alligator”
The alligator likes to swim (two hands flat, one on top of the other)
And he opens his mouth wide (hands open and shut)
But when he sees me on the shore (turn hands towards self)
Down under the water he’ll hide (hands go between legs on lap)

Solomon Crocodile by Rayner
Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner

MOVEMENT: “Shake My Sillies Out” from More Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi

For Pete's Sake by Walsh
For Pete’s Sake by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Swimmy DVD
“Cornelius” from Swimmy …and More Classic Leo Lionni Stories

MOVEMENT: Storytime’s Over

Guji Guji by Chen Extraordinary Egg by Lionni 
Book: Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen
Book: An Extraordinary Egg by Lio Lionni

I had a lot of infants and toddlers in the group today, so that changed my plan a little.  I was originally planning on reading Guji Guji, since I really enjoy it, but thought that it might be a bit too long with little ones there.  I switched and chose Egad Alligator instead.  I really must say “Egad!” more when surprised is what I think every time I read this book.  Then, because Guji Guji is a long book, I had some unaccounted for time at the end and decided to use For Pete’s Sake.

ATTENDANCE: 30 (adults and children)

Let’s Seek! – Kindergarten Storytime

I tweaked my Infant/Toddler Hide and Seek storytime a bit to use it with a Kindergarten class visit I had the day after.

MOVEMENT: My Wiggles*

Little Owl Lost by Haughton
Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton

No Bed Without Ted by Smee
No Bed Without Ted by Nicola Smee

MOVEMENT: “Shake My Sillies Out” from More Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi

Little Mouse Little Mouse
 Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 1Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 2
Pattern & Rhyme from Felt Board Fingerplays by Liz & Dick Wilmes

Little mouse, little mouse
Are you in the (insert color) house?

We played this through twice.  The first time, I put up the houses with the animals underneath them and we went house by house.  After that, I took the house and animals down, mixed them up, and then put them up again.  This time around I asked the kids which house we should start with.

Dear Zoo by Campbell
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles DVD
“Hide and Seek” from Peppa Pig: Muddy Puddles

HOW IT WENT:  This storytime is probably a little younger than I would normally do with a kindergarten group, but it surprisingly went pretty well.

ATTENDANCE: 1st group: 38     2nd group: 35

Hide & Seek – Toddler Storytime

I used a lot of lift-the-flap books in this storytime, so I decided since we were looking for things it made sense as a hide and seek storytime.

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song*

MOVEMENT:“Clap Everybody and Say Hello” from Sally Go Round the Sun by Kathy Reid-Naiman.

MOVEMENT: Open Shut Them*

Where's Spot by Hill

Where’s Spot?
 by Eric Hill

MOVEMENT: “I’m a Little Teapot” from Walt Disney’s Children’s Favorite Songs Volume 4

MOVEMENT: Itsy Bitsy Spider*

10 Children Flannelboard
Children (since they are fun to play hide and seek with).  These are from ArtFelt.

Little Mouse, Little Mouse
Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 1 Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 2

Pattern & Rhyme from Felt Board Fingerplays by Liz & Dick Wilmes

This is a fun game to play with storytime.  You start off with different colored houses on the board, the say the following rhyme before uncovering who is under the house.

Little mouse, little mouse
Are you in the (insert color here) house?

When I first started doing this rhyme, I only hid the mouse in one of the houses.  Then I realized it would be a whole lot more fun to uncover other animals.  I just take some friends from my other flannelboard stories to add in there.  The ones picture above are from some of my ArtFelt sets.  I also like to leave one house empty with “nobody home”.

MOVEMENT: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” from Songs for Wiggleworms by the Old Town School of Folk Music

Flappy Waggy Wiggly by Leslie
Flappy Waggy Wiggly by Amanda Leslie

MOVEMENT: “Two Little Blackbirds” from Fingerplays and Footplays by Rosemary Hallum and Henry “Buzz” Glass

Baby's First Word Stories House DVD
“Whose’s Hiding in the House?” from Baby’s First Word Stories: House

Storytime’s Over*


Dear Zoo by CampbellPeek-a-Moo by Cimarusti City Animals by Taback Hoot Hoot by Powell
Dear Zoo
by Rod Campbell
Peek-A-Moo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti
City Animals by Simms Taback
Hoot! Hoot! by Richard Powell

I tried using “I’m a Little Teapot” for the first time ever with this group, and I don’t think it was quite the right fit.  Since I was just filling in for the storyteller who had lost her voice this week, it was a nice chance to try out things like that without having to add it to a ten week rotation.  I think I would like to use it again, but maybe with older children.

ATTENDANCE:  10 am:  38 people      11 am: 39 people

* For these songs, please see my Storytime Movements & Music page

Hide & Seek – Infant Storytime

My coworker lost her voice, so I took on her storytimes for her this week.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time to prep, I thought about what would be a quick storytime I could put together with what I had on hand and came up with this hide & seek theme.  Most of the stories that I used had lift-the-flaps that created that “seeking” element.

MOVEMENT: Welcome Song*

MOVEMENT: “Baby’s Little Self” from Here I Am by Caspar Babypants

BOUNCE: Ride a Little Pony*

Peek-a-Baby by Katz

by Karen Katz

MOVEMENT: “Clap, Tap and Bend” from It’s Toddler Time by Carol Hammett and Elaine Bueffel

Little Mouse, Little Mouse 
Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 1
 Little Mouse Little Mouse Flannelboard 2
Pattern & Rhyme from Felt Board Fingerplays by Liz & Dick Wilmes

This is a fun game to play with storytime.  You start off with different colored houses on the board, the say the following rhyme before uncovering who is under the house.

Little mouse, little mouse
Are you in the (insert color here) house?

When I first started doing this rhyme, I only hid the mouse in one of the houses.  Then I realized it would be a whole lot more fun to uncover other animals.  I just take some friends from my other flannelboard stories to add in there.  The ones picture above are from some of my ArtFelt sets.

BOUNCE: “Smooth Road to London Town” from A Smooth Road to London Town: Songs from the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program by Kathy Reid-Naiman

City Animals by Taback

City Animals
 by Simms Taback

TICKLE: Here are Baby’s Fingers*

Little Miss Muffet

Flannelboard from Little Folk Visuals

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away!

MOVEMENT: “Itsy Bitsy Spider” from Children’s Favorite Songs Volume 3 from Walt Disney

MOVEMENT: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” from Songs for Wiggleworms by the Old Town School of Folk Music

MOVEMENT: Storytime’s Over*

Peek-a-Moo by Cimarusti Where's Spot by Hill
Peek-a-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

It was nice to just to one storytime without doing the whole series, because it allowed me to try out a couple of new things and not have to worry about changing the storytime routine if it didn’t work well.  For this storytime, I wanted to see if “Babies Little Self” would work as an activity for the parents to do together with their children.  I think it is such a sweet song, and it did seem to work fairly well.  I don’t know if I would use it every time, but it was a nice change of pace. I also chose to use that since we were doing a lot of “peek-a-boo” during the stories themselves, so I didn’t want that as my intro movement as well.

ATTENDANCE: 40 people

* For these songs, please see my page Storytime Movements & Music

Flannel Friday – The Bear Went Over the Mountain

Another simple one for today’s Flannel Friday.

The Bear Went Over the Mountain
Bear Went Over the Mountain 1
    Bear Went Over the Mountain 2
Pattern & Song from: Mother Goose’s Playhouse by Judy Sierra
(song adapted by me, a little)
If you do infant and toddler storytimes, and don’t have this book yet, it’s so worth getting!

The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
The bear went over the mountain,
To see what he could see.
But all that he could see,
But all that he could see,
But all that he could see was
The other side of the mountain.
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
was all that he could see.

The best part is the reversible bear.  You make him move up the mountain on one side, and then flip him over to sing it all over again and move him up the other side of the mountain.   Judy Sierra also suggests making this into a stick puppet, which I need to do.

And isn’t the fact that he has a backpack so rugged?

Here’s a copy of the bear pattern:


Katie at Storytime Secrets hosts the Flannel Friday Roundup this week!

2013 Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Friday January 11 – Saturday January 12 my library held our second ever Stuffed Animal Sleepover, and it was so much fun!

We started off on Friday with the stuffed animals signing in with our teen volunteers (we required registration for this program to ensure we had enough materials to make a good take-away the next day.  It was limited to 25 participants).  We made sure we had all names spelled correctly (this would help later when putting together the memento from the day), name-tagged the stuffed animals, and had the children fill out a questionnaire so we could learn more about their stuffed friends.Stuffed Animal Sleepover 2013 Survey

Then it was time to begin storytime!  We didn’t put an age range on this program when we publicized it, since we figured the children’s ages didn’t matter much since we were focusing on the stuffed animal.  This meant we had children from 1 – 10 enrolled.  I was a bit worried about making storytime work for such a wide age range, but then a colleague said “Well, the storytime is for the stuffed animals, really” which made it much easier to focus while preparing.

Stuffed Animal Sleepover Storytime

Song: Sing With Me (Nighttime Version)
(to tune of: “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”)
Come along and sing with me
Sing with me, sing with me.
Come along and sing with me,
So early in the evening.

Other verses:
Come along and clap with me…
Come along and stretch with me…
Come along and yawn with me…

Last verse:
Come along and listen with me
listen with me, listen with me.
Come along and listen with me
As we hear our next story.

Knuffle Bunny by Willems
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Movement: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around”
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear show your shoe
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear that will do
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear go upstairs
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear say your prayers
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn out the light
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear say goodnight

Five in the Bed
There were five in the bed and the little one said,
“It’s crowded!  Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out,
There were four in the bed…

Continue counting down until…

There was one in the bed and the little one said,
“I’m lonely!”
So they all crawled back in
And went to sleep.

Bounce: Ride a Little Pony* (the children bounced their stuffed animals as if they they were toddlers)

Bounce: Dickery,Dickery Dare*

Tuck Me In by Hacohen
Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen

This book segued perfectly into the take-home craft I handed out, the Tuck-Me-In Teddy:
TuckMeInTeddyCraft2 TuckMeInTeddyCraft1

Then it was time to say goodbye to the stuffed animals, and for our work to begin!

My list of photos to take was really long — next year I have to remember to pare it down a bit!
Photos to Take Sleepover 2013

Here is a sampling of photos to give you an idea of what we did:
P1110377 P1110530 P1110526 P1110509 P1110497 P1110494 P1110484 P1110467 P1110466
P1110457 P1110446 P1110443 P1110440 P1110433 P1110431 P1110428 P1110426 P1110417 P1110408

After the photos were taken, I went home and worked on prepping the mementos the kids would get the next day.  When we did this back in August of 2012, we actually made photo books for each of the participants with the photos of the stuffed animals.  We went to a 24-hour pharmacy, printed out about 12 photos for each child (we had 23 participants total), then stuffed dollar photo albums with pictures and other assorted things.

This time around, I decided I wanted to attempt to streamline the process.  I would make photo collages using PowerPoint, then print those out on 8 1/2×11 sheets of photo paper. I bought document frames at the dollar store to put the photo collages in to make things a bit more special.  Then on the back, I taped an envelope to hold the extra accoutrements (like the questionnaire we had the kids fill out, the snowflake craft the animals made, and the award the animals won).  They turned out pretty nicely, but I have to say, I’m not sure that this streamlined things at all!


The next morning, the kids came to pick up their stuffed animals.  This is the BEST part of doing a stuffed animal sleepover — seeing the kids reunited with their friends, and the delighted squeals and laughter as they look at what their animals did the night before.


Since I couldn’t fit all the photos in the frame, we also had a slide show of all the photos that were taken.
So fun to hear all the squeals of laughter, and a nice way to have all the participants share in the experience together.  We didn’t do this part the last time we did our sleepover, but I think I would include it from now on.  Also we added a web address on the children’s frames so they could go online and find the photos from the sleepover on the library site as well.  This was especially great for those who couldn’t stay the next day for the slide show.

All in all the sleepover was a great success – fun was had by both humans and stuffed animals alike!

I still would like to find a different way to create a memento for the kids to take home.  Something a little less labor intensive.

Have you done a stuffed animal sleepover?  How was yours?

Flannel Friday – Where is Your Bellybutton?

For today’s Flannel Friday I have a really simple flannelboard that I love using with my infant and toddler storytimes, especially when I am doing a “body” theme.

Where is Your Bellybutton?
Where is Your Bellybutton
Pattern and idea from: Flannelboard Stories for Infants and Toddlers by Ann Carlson & Mary Carlson

Begin by saying:

This is baby’s head.
Where is your head?
Have child or parent identify their head.

Continue identifying as many body parts as you wish.  Don’t forget to include the bellybutton though — as everyone knows (and is reinforced when I do this activity), bellybuttons are HILARIOUS!

Feeling Toasty!

On Friday, the library is presenting our second ever stuffed animal sleepover!  Right now I’m busy planning all the fun the animals, volunteers and I will have together.

Our first stuffed animal sleepover was during the summer, and I’m trying to take advantage of the difference in seasons to find some new activities for the animals.  One of the most beautiful aspects of our children’s room is the fireplace.   Designed for the library opening in 1927 by Pasadena sculptor Maud Daggett, it’s beautiful, with a mantel based on a famous children’s book.  Can you guess which?

Fireplace in Children's Room
Here are some hints – the sculpture features pirate ships, crocodiles and a young man “crowing”.

It’s Peter Pan!

Everyone always asks if we ever light the fireplace, which we don’t anymore.  But I thought it might make a fun gathering place for the stuffed animals on a cold winter’s night, and for that it definitely needed some light.  So, I created a fire:


Made from a box covered with construction paper, it’s a little ridiculous, but I think it brings a spark of something to the fireplace:

Fire in Fireplace

Hopefully the stuffed animals will enjoy it on Friday night!  And stay tuned for a post about all the sleepover shenanigans.

Flannel Friday – A-Hunting We Will Go Down Under

I’m so excited to have this be my first Flannel Friday post!
Whenever I find myself in need of a great new storytime idea, I find myself turning to Flannel Friday, so it’s wonderful to finally be able to take part in this wonderfully creative, welcoming community.

Today I have an Australian spin on the traditional song “A-Hunting We Will Go”.  I’ve had this one for a while, so I don’t remember where I found the rhyme, but all the images were found via a Google Image search. 

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 1
A-hunting we will go,
A-hunting we will go,
The king brown snake will eat some cake
and then we’ll let him go!

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 2
The bandicoot will play the flute…

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 3
The fat wombat will wear a hat…

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 4
The platypus will dance for us…

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 5
The cockatoo will wave at you…

Australian A-Hunting We Will Go Flannelboard 6
At the end of the rhyme it’s fun to have the kids see if they can remember the names to all the different animals.  To make it even more interactive you can also have the kids act out what the animals are doing.

Lisa of Libraryland is hosting the Flannel Friday round-up this week.  Check out all the other wonderful ideas there!