Sometimes I am amazed at how well the smallest things go over at storytime. I began doing this "Little Mouse" game after reading about it on several blogs and while I was skeptical, it has turned into a huge hit. Which just shows you how much I know.
If you are not familiar with "Little Mouse," it is ridiculously simple. You simply make a bunch of houses of different colors and hid a felt mouse behind them. Then you teach the kids to chant "Little Mouse, Little Mouse! Are you in the ____(color)____ house?"
Currently we have 9 different houses. I have been meaning to make a 10th. Here they are:
And here is our dear friend, Little Mouse:
I used a coloring page image to cut out the shapes of the houses and then embellished them with puffy paint. Puffy paint isn't the easiest material to work with so the windows and doors aren't perfect, but such is life. Maybe Little Mouse's neighborhood has shoddy construction. Little Mouse I made freehand.
This game is genius because it is extremely interactive and anyone can do it. It works with 1 kid and it works with 30. I adapt it for a one or two family storytime by having the parents hide the mouse for the kids and then the kids hide it for the parents.
"Little Mouse" is a great game to play as part of your opening ritual, because you can do it as many times through as the kids want. It is a great way to break in a new crowd at an outreach event and let them get to know. The kids love the suspense and it gets them used to interacting with you.
There are a few different ways to mix this up:
If we have a big crowd, I point to a certain colored house while we are chanting and the kids guess that house. If we have a smaller crowd (say only 3 kids), I let them come up and take a turn at saying the rhyme and then picking a house.
I have been meaning to make another Little Mouse and hide two. Or what if I play a "trick" on the kids and hide something other than a mouse? Sometimes I worry that the mouse won't be home at all!
You can have the kids count the remaining houses. You can talk about what color house the kids live in. And if they have mice there.
They like to come in and tell me which house they think Little Mouse is hiding behind. Sometimes they are right!
Just a little note about our flannel board. The one shown here is the big one that lives at my regular branch. I love it, so if you're in the market, definitely check out this one. I also have a double-sided portable felt storyboard that I bought from Etsy.
Wow, I honestly cannot believe I had that much to say about the world's easiest felt board story.