Flannel Friday: Baby Shark and Slippery Fish

This week I’m sharing felt versions of two of my favourite storytime songs. Besides food, things that live in the ocean is a popular topic for my Vancouver toddlers.  To hear Dana and I sing these tunes, click on the title of each video.

Slippery Fish

slippery fish

I pulled the fish pieces and octopus from two other felt stories I already had, so I only had to make the shark and whale. I’ve noticed that putting these felt pieces up as we sing helps keep toddlers captivated and better able to follow along. I swear I’ve also heard more of them saying the names of the sea creatures when the song is over.  The link will take you to the sign language version.

Baby Shark

baby shark

These are some very happy sharks! So I always thought this was more of school-age song until my mom told me my 2-year-old nephew LOVES baby shark. So I’ve been trying it out in my family storytime with toddlers and preschoolers and it’s been a hit!  We sing the first version from the video and I put up the pieces as we go through each shark family member.  Grandpa shark is my favourite.  I often make both of the parents moms or dads – an easy adaptation you can do to many songs to be inclusive.

Thank you to Jen at Adventures in Storytime for hosting Flannel Friday this week.  Visit her blog to see the entire round-up! Learn more about participating in the Flannel Friday community.

Flannel Friday: Food Storytime Felts

On my quest to make flannel stories for all my go-to storytime songs, I realized I sing a lot about food! Here are some of my favourite food-themed songs to sing at storytime and some easy peasy felts to go along with them. Click on the title of each song to watch a video of Dana and I singing the tunes.

Bananas Unite + Extra Verses

bananas unite

There are many different ways to sing this song, but I love introducing a new verse each week.  We shuck the corn, squeeze the orange, peel the apple, and mash the potato.  A great chance to point out the unique vocabulary found in songs and rhymes.

Five Little Hot Dogs

5 little hot dogsbam

My toddlers love this song! We get to count to five and say BAM! really loud.  You can also introduce some basic math concepts such as “minus” and “less than.”  We practice spelling “Bam!” and making the “b” and “m” sounds.  As a pescatarian, I always tell the kids they are veggie hot dogs.  You can sub in tater tots or french fries.

I’m a Knife, Fork, Spoon, Spatula!


Perfect for a mixed-age storytime.  Caregivers can move baby’s feet or arms back and forth while older kids can do the motions with you.  I go really slow the first time, then get a little faster and a little faster.  The kids love it.  Before we sing, I put up each felt piece and we discuss what kind of foods we eat with each utensil – a great way to model the early literacy practice of talking.

In addition, Storytime Secrets has a great list of early literacy tips related to grocery shopping you could mention to caregivers either during storytime or afterwards during informal conversations.

Thank you to Cate at Storytiming for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday round-up! Learn more about the Flannel Friday community.

Flannel Friday: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

One of my goals this year is to make flannel pieces for all the songs I sing on a regular basis.  I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, mainly to act as a visual cue to both the kids and the ESL caregivers who may not know the songs yet.   So this week I’m sharing how to make flannel pieces for one of my all-time favourite storytime songs: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

Firstly, if you don’t know about Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, we’ve recorded a couple versions.

The original from three years ago! Perfect for mixed-age groups as you can jump with older kids while little ones are lifted into the air by caregivers.

Extra verses!  You can go to the sun and the stars too.  Watch until the end for an adorable baby adaptation.

Ahoy, mateys! Try this version out when doing a pirate or ocean themed storytime.

This sign language version has ASL you can teach to your storytimers before singing.

Now to the pieces!  All of these pieces are basic shapes with a few embellishments.  A huge shout-out to my co-worker Karen for helping me make these!

zoom zoom zoomzoom zoom

Thank you Anne at So Tomorrow for hosting Flannel Friday this week. To learn more about how to participate in the Flannel Friday community, visit their website.

Flannel Friday: Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau

Another Flannel Friday submission! Who am I even?!

I may just be becoming a flannel story enthusiast, folks.  This one, like the ones I’ve done before, is simple.  If you’ve read French children’s book author Edouard Manceau’s book Windblown, you’ll know his brilliance when it comes to shapes.  My library recently acquired his newly translated book Tickle Monster,  and I knew after reading it that it would make a great felt story.  The story uses a set of shapes that are transformed from a monster to a landscape.

As you read the story, you tickle each part of the monster which makes that body part “disappear.”  These body parts then become elements of a scene reminiscent of a children’s drawing – a house, trees, a car.  It’s similar to Go Away, Big Green Monster! but it’s got that added element of play with shapes.

Here’s a screen-by-screen shot of how the story progresses.

tickle monstertm2tm3




Using a felt story like this one is a great chance to sneak in some early literacy messages about social emotional development.  Here are some examples:

  • Naming emotions helps children express their feelings.  If you’re child gets upset or feels scared, try naming the feeling by saying, “I can see you’re feeling scared right now.  Would you like a hug?”
  • Sometimes when we’re scared our bodies freeze up. Let’s practice taking some nice, deep breathes to help us calm down.
  • One way to help your child conquer a fear is to gently expose them to the fear.  Books and felt stories like this one take a common fear like monsters and make them fun and comfortable to talk about.  They also model how to be brave and address a fear which is empowering.

What’s even better – this book won a 2016 CLEL Bell Award!  Check out their website for an Early Literacy Activity Sheet with even more ideas on how to use this story to promote early literacy development.

Thank you so much Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime for hosting the Flannel Friday round-up this week! Check out her post for more flannel story inspiration. Learn more about how you can participate in Flannel Friday.

Flannel Friday: Dog’s Colorful Day

Last week I wrote about how I plan a storytime session.  This week, I want to show in more detail how I retold the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.

The first way was through a felt story. We already had the dog and the bathtub in my library’s felt story collection, but I wanted to make it a more complete retelling.  If you’ve never made the dog before, here is a great printable pattern.  Now ya’ll know I’m not the craftiest of children’s librarians.  When charged with making my own felt story, I opt for the super simple.  This one was super easy to make, I promise! I free-handed all of these pieces. They aren’t perfect, but kids don’t care and a little imagination never hurt anyone.  I made new spots to match the colours of the felt pieces.  I was inspired a lot by this version I found on Etsy.

dogs colorful day 2dogs colorful day

The items are:  a chocolate bar, grass, orange juice, a beach ball and a puddle, a marker, a bee, a can of paint, a jar of jam, and an ice cream cone. I’m particularly proud of the bee.

When I did this felt story in storytime I used this AMAZING script to invite the children to participate by name.  First I passed out the spots to the kids who volunteered.  Amazingly, there were no tears, no complaints from anyone who didn’t get a spot.  As I told the story, each child would come up and place the spot on Dog and we’d all clap for them.  It took longer than the usual felt story, but it was so wonderful.  The kids were quite pleased with themselves, even the toddlers.  Not only did it celebrate turn taking, it also got the kids involved in the storytelling.  The script has some great ideas for adapting this story to smaller or larger groups too.

The second way we retold the story was through the use of a puppet.  I found a big, shaggy, mostly white dog puppet.  Then I cut out and stuck on velcro stickers.  To the other half of the velcro sticker I attached coloured pieces of felt.


During storytime, I passed out the velcro felt pieces before starting the story with the kids.  This time, I wanted to adapt it even further so I had the kids tell me what dog might have stepped on or rolled in or walked underneath in order to get each colour.  Some of them remembered the items from the original story, but others came up with things like green apples, blueberries, leaves, and the sun.  We also waited until the very end of the story to count all of dog’s spots since it was hard to see them all at the same time.  For his bath, I decorated a shipping tote with some bubbles.

dog in bath

I loved challenging myself to tell a story in three ways over the course of three storytimes.  I highly recommend trying this out with your storytime groups.

Thanks to Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!  Check out her blog for the full round-up this Friday, and check out the Flannel Friday website for information on how you can participate.

Flannel Friday: Ladybug, Ladybug Flannel Game

Remember when I tried to find all the renditions of Little Mouse, Little Mouse posted on the internet?  Good times.

My family storytime loves the Little Mouse flannel game. The toddlers faces light up with delight when we finally find the mouse.  Even the older kids get into guessing which colour house it is hiding behind.  I knew I wanted to create a summer themed version.

My 4-year-old niece Sophie loves ladybugs. The other day we were at the park and I snapped this picture of her with her little friend. Two seconds later it flew away and she said, “Bye, bye sweetie. I love you.”

sophie ladybugI made this ladybug felt game because it reminded me of her, and I wanted a chance to talk to my storytimers about the importance of ladybugs (they eat aphids which are killing some of our trees!)  It’s also super easy to make!

The rhyme goes like this:

Ladybug, Ladybug
Are you behind the (colour) rug?

When I do it in storytime we practice saying the rhyme two times before playing the game.  A great early literacy tip to share before or after is about phonological awareness: “Rhymes slow down language and break words into sounds children can hear. In this rhyme, we really stretch out the word “ladybug” and break it into three clear syllables.  Being able to hear the sounds in ladybug can help kids later when they learn to read.”

Now for the flannel set! I completely free-handed the ladybug.  Just cut out a black circle for the body, a smaller black half circle for the head, two black antenna, four small black circles, and the red shell. Grab some hot glue and you are ready to go.

ladybug 2

For the rugs, I cut out six rectangles in different colours.  Then I frayed the ends by cutting some fringe on the ends.   Seriously, this is the easiest flannel set you will ever make. Now I was content to leave them plain, but my awesome co-worker Karen saw my rugs and asked if she could decorate them.  But of course!  Imagine my delight when I came back the next day and they had the most adorable patterns on them!

rugsNow I have a second early literacy tie-in: patterns and shapes.  Before we play the game, we talk about the shapes and patterns the kids see.  I give a second early literacy tip to caregivers that goes something like, “The next time you see a pattern or a shape, try talking about it with your children.  Being able to distinguish between patterns and shapes will help them later when they need to recognize the differences between letters and numbers.”


The kids have been loving this Ladybug version just as much as Little Mouse. Thanks to Laura at Library Lalaland for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!  Check out her blog for the full round-up this Friday, and check out the Flannel Friday website for information on how you can participate.

Flannel Friday Guest Post Palooza: STEAMy Flannel in Outer Space

guest post finalHappy 4th birthday, Flannel Friday!  To celebrate, we are featuring Julie Crabb as a guest blogger who is sharing the felt stories she created for a STEAM program called Story Explorers.  Julie is a Children’s Library Associate at the Olathe Indian Creek Library in Olathe, KS, and is currently working on her Masters in Library Science at Emporia State University (go, Julie, go!).

Take it away, Julie!

Inspired by the likes of Amy Koester and Abby’s Preschool Labs, I set out to create my own program series celebrating all things S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and Story Explorers was fully realized in January! Each month (once for toddlers/preschoolers and once for Kindergarten through 2nd grade), I choose a theme, present a brief Storytime, and then let the little ones explore a room filled with hands-on activity stations. One of these stations is Flannel Board Fun!


I set out my flannel boards, some directional prompts, and rhyme signage. Not only do children simply love getting to place and pull the felt pieces (yay tactile learning!), but the caregiver/child interaction has been fantastic! The above picture is a child who, with mom’s help, created his own story that involved the Hey Diddle Diddle characters floating in space. The bunnies were on their way to rescue them!

Okay, on to the pieces:

First up, I re-used a set I had from an Outer Space Storytime. I love the rhyming text presented in Astro Bunnies by Christine Loomis, but the illustrations just didn’t work for a crowd. Guided by the Flannel Friday Facebook group, I created the following set:

Astro Bunnies (with removable blue helmets)

astro bunnies

See a star, think they’d like to go that far.
Climb aboard the rocket!

rocket ship

Once their rocket whooshes around a bit, they arrive in space.
They measure comets and meet bunnies from another place!


We also counted stars,


Hey Diddle Diddled it up,

hey diddle diddle felt

And explored the phases of the moon (having preschoolers attempt the phrase ‘waxing gibbous’ is beyond precious!)

phases of moon flannel

Thank you to Flannel Friday for creating the Guest Post-Palooza and to the wonderful Jbrary for hosting this newbie. I cannot put into proper words how much those of you who share online have inspired me this past year. I resolve to rock in 2015 and get my own blog up and running so I can contribute to the community too!

Little Mouse, Little Mouse Renditions

Do you work with toddlers?  If so, there’s a very high chance that you’ve done the Little Mouse, Little Mouse, Are You in the (Colour) House? rhyme.  Because it’s toddler gold. But maybe you’re a little tired of Little Mouse or maybe you’d like to model to caregivers how to adapt and evolve rhymes.  Either way, I’m here for you.

I looked through all 5,000+ of Flannel Friday’s pins and found some excellent renditions of Little Mouse.  And I’m excited to try some of these versions with my storytime toddlers!

Before I begin, if you’ve never heard of Little Mouse (which was me a year ago) or have always wondered how to actually do it with kids, this video by KCLS is a must watch.

Lots of people have blogged about their Little Mouse flannel stories.  I saw this one the other day on Playing the Hits and thought it was super cute.  On heytherelibrary you’ll find an autumn edition.  Storytime Katie’s Maisy Mouse version has the most adorable houses you will ever see. Piper Loves the Library expanded it into a story and spiced it up with a pirate and gingerbread house.  And Roving Fiddlehead KidLit used JavaScript to create an online interactive version – so flipping cool!

You can also try using this rhyme instead:

“Little mouse, little mouse, come out and play
What colour house are you in today?”

If you want to go beyond Little Mouse, try one of these adaptations!

bearI’m starting it off with my Flannel Friday submission.  I got the idea from With Kiddos @ the Library who shared a bear version that goes “Little bear, little bear, are you hiding under there?” I used the shapes from an already existing Flannel set (Red circle, red circle, what do you see?), so all I had to make was the little teddy bear.  I used the felt template found here because it looked easy enough to make.  Can’t wait to try this out next week!



fox boxFrom erinisinire, try “Little fox, little fox, are you in the (colour) box?” Gah, that fox is the cutest thing ever! Erin is the one inspired this post and I think toddlers would love her fox friend.  Go read her post because she also incorporates counting into the game and a wonderful early literacy tip for caregivers.


behind-yellow-doorFrom Thrive After Three, try “Dinosaur, dinosaur, are you behind the (colour) door?” I like how this one changes the preposition. Plus toddlers are all about dinosaurs! As a flannel novice, I am always looking for pieces that aren’t intimidating to make and these doors are right up my alley.


baby-kangarooFrom Falling Flannelboards, try “Baby kangaroo, baby kangaroo, where are you? Are you behind the _________?” Erin made this for an Australian Animals themed storytime, but I think it’s great to expose kids to more than the usual farmyard standbys.  And you can add in an early literacy tip about how learning shapes is the first step to learning letters.


frog logFrom Miss Kelly at the Library, try “Little frog, little frog, are you under the (colour) log?” Another nice change of prepositions and as Kelly points out it’s perfect for April, National Frog Month in the U.S.  Or pair with “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” for a Frog themed storytime.



From itsybitsymom, try “Wiggleworm, wiggleworm hiding in a book. Wiggleworm, wiggleworm where should we look?” Perfect for sharing during a library themed storytime, and great way to introduce the term “bookworm.” Can you say print motivation?! Lady Librarian’s Literacy, Lifestyle, and Lookbook Log shared a similar rhyme that goes, “Bookworm, bookworm, where should we look? Are you in the (colour) book?” She also added numbers for an additional early literacy element.



katie katmary catparty hats

The Little Cat, Little Cat rendition is probably the second most popular form of this game.  It goes, “Little cat, little cat, are you under the (colour/type) hat?” Starting from the left, Storytime Katie shows you how to transform Microsoft clip art into an eclectic array of hats. In the middle is Miss Mary Liberry with her hand drawn hats which she uses to talk about the people who may wear them. On the right is Piper Loves the Library with her party hat version that stars a Hello Kitty look-alike and would be perfect for a birthday storytime.



batOn Notes from the Story Room you can find a similar version to the cat one that uses a bat instead. The hats are perfect witch adornments, making this version great for Halloween. The rhyme goes, “Little bat, little bat, are you behind the (colour) hat?”





Over on Literary Hoots you can find two versions! The first is another book-inspired rendition featuring Gerald and Piggie! Emily says that Piggie hides behind a book and the kids help Gerald find Piggie by saying, “Piggie, Piggie, where do you hide? Are you behind the (colour) book? Let’s peek inside!” It’s just so….. meta! The second one is perfect for a sports or Superbowl storytime.  It goes, “Football, football, where do you hide?  Under the (colour) helmet?  Let’s peek inside!”



cliffordFrom LibrErin, try this dog version based on a popular children’s literature character. It goes “Clifford, Clifford where is your bone? Did someone put it in your (colour) home?” I like how there is something else under the other houses because it could lead to lots of good discussion with the kids.



duck-eggs2-300x282From Miss Meg’s Storytime comes the Knock Knock Baby Duck game. It goes “Knock, knock, knock, baby duck, baby duck. Are you behind the (colour) egg?”  I love how the eggs are cracked in two because you could really build the suspense. BONUS FLANNEL: She also has an adorable butterfly and caterpillar version.



little duck big trucksPiper Loves the Library just posted this duck version that has lots of cool construction vehicles. It goes, “Little duck, little duck, are you in the (colour) truck?” I bet there are lots of little ones who can tell you all the specific names of the trucks too.  Like me, she reused some flannel pieces from a different set making this one easy to pull together.



Toolboxes-300x202 On RovingFiddlehead KidLit you can find this construction themed version based on Bruno the Carpenter by Lars Klinting that goes, “Bruno needs his hammer lots and lots. Is it hiding in the (colour) toolbox?” I could imagine making different tools and using this one again and again.




Over on So Tomorrow, you can find not one, not two, but THREE versions of this game. Perfect for a bedtime or pyjama storytime, try the Little moon rendition which goes, “Little moon, little moon, are you behind the cloud of (colour)?”  During the winter months (now!), the Snowball, Snowball version is a perfect game to play: “Snowball, snowball, cold and round! Behind which mitten can you be found?” Lastly, try this Little Worm one that goes, “Little worm playing hide and seek, are you under the (name of fruit)? Let’s take a peek!” I love how all of these look easy enough to whip up in one afternoon.



whaleThis summer version comes from Fun with Friends at Storytime.  Staring the happiest little whale you’ve ever seen it goes, “Little whale, little whale, are you hiding in the (colour) pail?” Anyone who can make 3D felt pieces is one of my heroes.


The Librarian is on the Loose has shared multiple versions on her wonderful blog. First she shared a tooth fairy version. I love it because people actually hide teeth under pillows so it will make sense for those literal-minded toddlers.  Also, that tooth fairy is really cute! The rhyme goes, “Look and see! Look and see! Can you find the tooth for me?  Is it under the (colour) pillow?”  You can find similar versions on Adventures in Storytime (and Beyond) and SLC Book Boy. She has also shared an adorable fall-themed version featuring a squirrel and a summer-themed version featuring a beach ball. Perfect for seasonal storytimes!



photo 4photo 3

My wonderful co-worker Miranda emailed these pictures after reading this blog post. She made this dragon version for a Lunar New Year themed storytime, and I’m in love with them. The rhyme goes, “Little dragon, little dragon, are you behind the (colour) wagon?” Thank you, Miranda!



luckyHere’s another holiday version that comes from Fun with Friends at Storytime.  The rhyme is an original and goes like this, “Do you feel lucky? Let’s be bold! Let’s see if we can find the leprechaun’s pot of gold.”  You could work in lots of good vocabulary with this depending on the items you make.



turkey I saw this version on a preschool learning blog called PreK + K Sharing. Do you read preschool blogs? I need to read more; they are a great source of ideas and inspiration. This one goes, “Turkey, Turkey come out and play.  What color house are you in today?” And you can sing it to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle! Don’t have a turkey? Swap in any two syllabic animal.




Our friend Emily made this FABULOUS hiding game similar to Little Mouse that is all about letter recognition. Behind each door is a different animal.  They say this rhyme, “We’re looking for an animal that starts with [“P”] and we won’t stop ’til we find it! Now, let’s give the [RED] door three sharp knocks and see who hides behind it! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!” Then they practice saying the sound of the first letter of the animal. This is genius!


ladybuglittle bug

Bug versions are super easy to make.  I made the ladybug version on the left.  Wendy at Flannel Board Fun made the version on the right.  You can say, “Little bug, little bug… ” or “Ladybug, Ladybug…”

peacockPiggy Piggy Pancake

Wendy shared a few more versions I’ve never seen before.   The first is a peacock version which goes, “Little peacock, little peacock, are you behind the (colour) clock?”  The second is a pig version that goes, “Pink piggy, pink piggy, let me see. Do you have some yummy pancakes for me?”

jingle bells

Need a holiday version? Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing shared this super cute jingle bells idea that goes, “Jingle bells I hear you play. Are you under the (colour) sleigh?”  Great for the winter!


Amy at One Little Librarian has an adorable baby raccoon version that includes multi-coloured balloons and a mama raccoon puppet.  Her rhyme goes, “Baby Raccoon, Baby Raccoon, Are you hiding under the red balloon?”  It ends with a sweet racoon hug.


Shawn at Read, Rhyme and Sing shared this adorable (and easy to make!) robot and dot version to celebrate International Dot Day.  It goes, “Robot, robot, are you under the (colour) dot?” I love it!

Emily at Literary Hoots made this underwater themed version which would be perfect for the summer. Her rhyme goes, “Little crab, little crab, where do you hide? Are you in the red* seashell? Let’s peek inside!”

Storytime in the Stacks shared this birthday cake version featuring a fanged snake. It goes, “Mr. Snake, Mr. Snake, are you behind the (colour) cake?”  I think it would be so fun to ask kids what flavour each cake could be.

Need an outer space themed version? Check out this adorable set of moons from Lady Librarian’s Literacy, Lifetstyle, and Lookbook Log. Her rhyme goes, “Spaceship, spaceship, we’ll find you soon! Are you behind the (colour) Moon?”

Do you have a version I missed? Let me know in the comments and I’d be glad to add it in!


(All images have been used with the blogger’s permission)