Toddler Storytime: Favourite Felt Stories

This is the last post in my Toddler Storytime series.  Did you miss any?  Here’s a recap:

This post features my favourite felt or flannel stories to use with ages 1-3 years old. If you are looking for a collection of outstanding felt patterns, be sure to visit Kiz Club.

Felt stories use to scare me. Caregivers don’t always keep the little ones from coming up and grabbing the felt pieces right off the board, which makes it hard to complete the story or rhyme.  And once one toddler grabs a felt piece, it’s like a green light signal for every other toddler and at that point there really isn’t any hope.  I’ve been lucky to be at a branch that has two felt boards – one large one that extends almost to the ground, and another smaller one that is high enough to be out of reach. I use the smaller one during storytime, then I bring out the larger one after storytime for the kids to play with. It’s been a win-win solution! Do you have an ingenious way to use felt stories with babies or toddlers?  I’d love to hear them!

So here are some of my favourite felt/flannel stories that are the right length, the right topic, the right amount of repetition – all that good stuff.

1. The Bus for Us

This is the felt story version of the book by Suzanne Bloom. Excellent repetition and rhyme – the parents join in after the first example in my experience. And I love how it builds transportation vocabulary. You can find the pattern here or check out this flannel game by In the Children’s Room.

2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear

This book by Bill Martin is a classic for a reason. Check out Libraryland’s version for some really cute puff paint animals. There are many versions of this story – try doing a shape themed version called Red Circle, Red Circle or a Halloween version called Black Cat, Black Cat. Here in the Northwest we have a version called Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle with a series of animals common in our part of the world.

3. Dear Zoo

This book by Rod Campbell is one of the best stories for teaching toddlers to make educated guesses and inferences.  Definitely check out Storytime Katie’s version for some artistic inspiration. When you’re ready to make your own, get the pattern here.

4. Slippery Fish

My library has this as a board book, but I think it started as a song. The kids love making the gulping sound and saying, “Oh, no!” You can find the pattern here.

 5. I Went Walking

For me, this book by Sue Williams is a “felt-alike” to Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Great repetition and good for getting kids to identify animals. See an example of the felt story at Early Literacy Connection.

6. Make a Rainbow

Make a Rainbow Felt

As far as I know, this isn’t based on a book. I found this felt in my library’s collection and fell in love instantly (fairies! rainbows!). You can sing this rhyme to the tune of “Skip to My Lou” or you can just chant it. My toddlers loved it!  Here are the words:

Take some cherries;
put them in the pot
Stir them, stir them, stir them a lot!
Pour it out now, what will it be?
The prettiest red you ever did see!

Just repeat this chant substituting the other fruits and colors. When you’re done, sing:

Red and orange, yellow and green
Blue and purple colors are seen
Put them together, what will it be?
The prettiest rainbow you ever did see!

 7. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

I love reading this book by Kevin Sherry to kids of all ages, but it works particularly well with toddlers as a felt because of the simple sentence structure. The parents always get a laugh at the end too! Here’s a ready to print pattern.

 8. Clip Clop

I love using this story by Nicola Smee because caregivers can put toddlers on their laps and act out the story as we do the felt together. Lots of bouncing and lifting fun! Piper Loves the Library has a super cute felt-puppet version and Thrive After Three has a neat puppet version too!

9. Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs sat on a speckled log
Eating the most delicious bugs — YUM YUM!
One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green and speckled frogs.
Glub! Glub!

I love this song for many reasons – the counting, the funny sounds you get to make. Takes me back to my childhood. You can find a felt pattern here or check out this awesome tube story Librarian vs. Storytime made!

I’d love to hear your suggestions for felt and flannel stories that work well with toddlers!  Leave a comment below.

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13 thoughts on “Toddler Storytime: Favourite Felt Stories

  1. I work for a small library and we have several lap-sit age programs at various locations per month. We are always looking for new ideas! Thank you so much!

  2. I hope you do another list of these soon! We are wild about the rainbow stew, speckled frogs, slippery fish and i’m the biggest thing in the ocean! Rainbow stew is probably the biggest hit, although I left out the fairy because they freak me out lol. The toddlers leave doing the stirring motion every time!

    1. Oh that’s so wonderful to hear! I’m actually right in the middle of updating my toddler storytime series. I recently wrote posts about new songs, rhymes, and books. Felt stories is next up! Hopefully I’ll have it up in a month or so.

  3. Hey guys

    I’m a music therapist in Scotland (although in the process of trying to relocate to Canada!) and I’ve only recently come across your bits! I run some under 5 parent and kiddie music and sensory fun workshops and I’ve picked up some great new songs from your youtube channel! Thank you, and you never know, I may see you on the other side of the pond sometime 🙂

    Lynsey

    1. Hi Lynsey, that’s so great to hear we’ve been able to give you some song ideas! We think Canada’s pretty great so we hope the relocation process goes smooth! Scotland’s on my bucket list too 🙂

  4. Yes, thank you for sharing. I will maybe be able to use some with private clients too! It’s so great to come across a treasure trove of goodies like this. Yeah, I agree. I do love Canadia! Scotland’s pretty awesome too, make sure to try and visit the Outer Hebrides if you do ever make it 🙂 Thanks again.

  5. Hi! I admit felt felt stories scare me a bit. So many pieces! So many little hands! Can you tell me a bit more about the smaller board you use during storytime? It seems it would need to be big enough to fit a story with quite a few pieces, but small enough for you to also hold up with one hand (because you’ll be grabbing pieces with the other). Or does your small one have a tall stand? I may be overthinking this, but practicalities matter, you know?

    In my magical storytime dream world, the board would also flip to a magnetic whiteboard (we have some laminated paper “flannels”) and portable enough to take to outreach storytimes.

    Also, what is your preferred storage method?

    We have many youth librarian fans in our library system, both new and experienced. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! You’re helping us help lots of kiddoes and communities!

    1. Yes, the smaller felt board is attached to an easel that stands up so I don’t have to hold it the whole time. That would be impossible! It’s tall enough so toddlers can’t really reach it. I did a quick Google search and this one is kind of what it looks like, minus the paint on the middle shelf (https://www.harleyseducational.com.au/product/activity-felt-board-easel-5-1?id=75850). I also have a portable flannel/whiteboard that I take on my outreach visits that sounds like the one you are looking for. I’m pretty sure it’s this one: https://www.amazon.com/Educational-Insights-3-In-1-Portable-Easel/dp/B001C609DE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1389403407&sr=8-3&keywords=flannel+board. We store our felts in large ziplock bags that are big enough so the pieces can lay flat and not get bent out of shape. Then we stand the bags up in a box. It’s not perfect. It looks like this: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2015/03/spring-cleaning-storytime-style/. I’ve also seen people keep them in binders like this: https://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/07/30/quick-tip-for-storing-your-preschool-flannel-board-stories/. Thanks so much for your kind words! I am so glad to helping in any way I can 🙂

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