Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Flannel Friday: Gregory Groundhog Looks for His Shadow

I know Groundhog Day is months away, but here is a great story for it or even just a shadows theme: Gregory Groundhog Looks for His Shadow. Words and patterns are from Magnet Board Fun by Liz Wilmes, but I would not suggest doing this story on the magnet board. I think it's a lot easier to tell on the flannel board as you can make the pieces reversible instead of having two sets of animals.

It's a simple story. Gregory has lost his shadow and goes into the woods to find it. He sees lots of shadows, but they turn out be for different animals (bear, deer, frog, etc.). This part is fun for the kids because they see the shadowy outline and can try and guess what the animal is.

Spoiler alert! Eventually Gregory finds his shadow and they are reunited.  Can you see his shadow?

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Katie (@sharingsoda on Twitter) of Storytime Secrets. I hope everyone in the U.S. had a Happy Turkey Day yesterday! Don't forget that next week (December 2nd) Flannel Friday will be having its first Holiday Extravaganza! We hope to have record participation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kids Today

photo by kr4gin on Flickr Thanks for CC licensing! 
I stumbled upon a newspaper clipping that I thought some of us would find interesting. It is called "Unruly Students Given Warning at [City] Public Library" and covers the problems (noise, theft, playing radios, smoking) that can be associated with groups of teens in a library setting. Apparently, it was so bad that the mayor himself came over to warn the "unruly students" that "drastic action" up to and including closing the library could be taken if the situation continued. The police had even been visiting regularly in the evenings to keep an eye on the situation, to no avail.

Sound familiar? I found it interesting that the article was published on October 17, 1962, which means that the teenagers in question are now my parents' age (actually older). I had a mental image of a preteen version of my Mom and Dad smoking in the library and frankly that is hilarious. I searched the Google archives of our local paper and didn't see a follow-up. So, chin up, modern librarians! We're not the first generation to deal with unruly patrons, and probably not the last either. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

School Age Program Idea: Sewing Camp!

Sample felt pincushion
It can be so hard to put together a program for school age kids that they will actually show up for! I was thrilled today when we hosted our first sewing camp. I got the idea from the wonderful book (and blog) Sewing School, which I was introduced to by my friend Anne at Canton Public Library. Side note: has anyone noticed how many librarians are named Anne? It is almost as crazy as all the Katies.

We did registration (capped at 15 & we filled it easily but a couple kids didn't show, so we had 10 total, including 2 boys) and limited it to kids over 7. I decided on 7 because I wanted them to not be so young that they would get bored or frustrated if they struggled. We picked a gender neutral project (felt pincushions). We provided all the supplies: templates, embroidery floss, needles, pins, felt, stuffing, and fabric scissors. We also copied instructions for all the kids so they could bring them home.

We also gave out these stickers
We wanted to start with a simple project because we had no idea what kind of background the kids would have. Some of them were really quite good and finished quickly, and others were total beginners. Our promotional materials said we weren't expecting any knowledge or experience with sewing. I don't really sew myself, but luckily one of my co-workers is a seamstress (she even sewed some of our puppets from a show last year, which I was super impressed by) and she agreed to help me out. That is her handiwork up in the picture of our sample craft.

This was a really fun, cheap, and simple program. We definitely want to repeat it in the future with a different project. We pre-threaded the needles for the kids to save them the frustration of trying to do it themselves and it was a big help, so I would advise doing that if you put this program on at your library. I'd reccomend having 1 adult for every 3-5 kids as some will need a lot more direction than others. It might be useful to ask the parents when registering if their children have any sewing experience, so you know what you're going into.

I'm going to leave you with a few links for some additional advice if you want to try a sewing program at your library:
-Sew Mama Sew has a great post filled with advice on how to teach younger kids to sew. Lots of comments on this one.
-Sewing School also has a post with suggestions for items that are especially child friendly to include in your sewing kit. I think a kids' sewing kit would be a great gift for the holidays. Sewing books are one of our most popular nonfiction circulating books.

Has anyone done a sewing program before? Or other fabric crafts?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flannel Friday: Two of Everything

Today for Flannel Friday, I'm sharing my version of the folktale known as "Two of Everything." I used Diane Briggs's patterns from 52 Programs for Preschoolers, which is also the source of the words. I was able to get this book through ILL and I do not have a copy of the patterns, but Amazon has several used copies starting at $0.01.

Essentially the story goes like this... Husband finds mysterious pot buried in his yard. He digs it out and drags out. He has a little trouble carrying the pot comfortably while also hanging on to his one gold coin, so he puts the coin in the pot. When he goes to retrieve the coin, to his surprise there are now two coins.

He and his wife get a little greedy duplicating their belongings and things are going swimmingly... until the wife trips and falls into the pot! Not wanting two wives of his own, the husband panics... and then trips and falls into the pot himself.
 The new couple builds a house next door and they all live happily ever after.

Today's Flannel Friday is being hosted by the lovely Cate at Storytiming. (@storytimingcate on Twitter). 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Plea for Sharing

I've been participating in Flannel Friday for over 6 months now, and it has reinvigorated my love of storytelling to children. I love being able to share my ideas and get to see others' too. You may have noticed, dear readers, that often my flannels are made (or at the least inspired by) from patterns in professional resource books like Storytime Magic. I would never have discovered most of these wonderful planning books without being able to borrow them through our statewide ILL system, MeLCat. 

I am so grateful to my colleagues around the state who allow these resources to be loaned to librarians like myself. I hope that by writing this I can encourage some libraries whose collections are In Library Use or Staff Only to rethink this position. Yes, these books are expensive and it is handy for them to always be at our fingertips, instead of being lost or damaged out in the wild.  But they are invaluable to working professionals in libraries, child care facilities, schools, and countless other settings as well. Not to mention the educational advantages of being able to use them as a student aspiring to work in our field or other related ones.

So, what I am trying to say, is please consider allowing these gems to circulate after you've had a chance to go through them and absorb their great ideas. If nothing else, it would help keep this blog going! I have a whole drawer full of felt and I am dying to find another great book full of ideas to use it all up!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flannel Friday: Snowball Friends

Here is a very simple flannelboard called "Snowball Friends," (by Liz and Dick Wilmes, in their 2's Experience: Feltboard Fun book)  which I have used for a winter toddler storytime. Very simply, a few snowballs are friends and they decide to roll down a hill one at a time. At the bottom, they climb onto each other's shoulders and make a snowman. The best part is rolling the snowballs down the hill on the board. At the same time, you can have the kids "roll" their fists and chant "roll, roll, roll, roll!"

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Sharon (@ReadingChick). Don't forget that I recently made an announcement about Flannel Friday and the holidays, read that here.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Flannel Friday Roundup for November 4, 2011

**In case you missed yesterday's announcement about Flannel Friday's plans for a holiday extravaganza and a holiday break, please make sure you read that post, as well. 

Also, I don't think anyone has ever mentioned this before, but we tend to use blogger's first names when compiling the roundup, so it is super helpful if you have your first name (or a pseudonym like Loons and Quines) that we can refer to you by. Otherwise, by default, if you make cute flannelboards, I'm probably going to think that your name is Katie. I am just speaking for myself here, but if your name isn't Katie (lovely name that it is), maybe you don't want to get credit as a Katie. I would also suggest having an About page with contact info (Twitter account and/or email address, etc.), in case the host has any questions or needs to get in touch.  **

On to the roundup!

Alison shares How Grandmother Spider Stole the Sun, originally a story necklace (such a neat presentation idea). 

Angela dives into "We Dove Into the Ocean"  and shares the rest of her plan for an ocean-themed storytime.

Awesome Storytime has 5 Enormous Dinosaurs, and I am thrilled to learn that someone else's favorite dino is the under-appreciated stegosaurus. Everyone seemed to be a velociraptor or T. Rex fan at my elementary school.

Andrea and I were both thinking of Thanksgiving: Turkey Feathers! Our songs are slightly different. Here's hers and mine.

Carissa has a fun bilingual version of Let's Play in the Forest. She also shared her super cute pattern. I plan to make a milk filter version myself, so thank you, Carissa!

Cate made an adorable frog life cycle felt board and now needs your help working it into storytime. As this is partially my fault for pinning the inspiration (my bad), I feel responsible. Absolve me of my guilt! 

Erin has lost her baby kangaroo! Oh no! Kids can you ask "Baby Kangaroo, Where Are You?" 

Katie at Storytime Secrets has a flannel version of Raffi's "Thanks a Lot," which is great because I have found that a lot of parents aren't familiar with Raffi but really enjoy his music after being introduced to it in storytime.

Katie at Recipe for Reading flannelized one of my favorite picture books: A Hat for Minerva Louise. You'll want to make this for any upcoming winter storytimes! Also, how adorable is her felt Minerva? Awwwww.

Storytime Katie has adorable blackbird finger puppets. More awwww. (Also, see what I mean about all the Katies?)

Library Lady shares the Witch's Hat and also her theory of what makes something flannel-worthy (or not).

More dinosaurs over at Liz's blog today! 5 Little Dinosaurs, to be precise.

Loons and Quines made the most adorable felt version of Pirate Pete. Kids love pirates, which you already knew. Probably everyone loves pirates, except cruise ship operators.

By request, Mary has posted a puffy paint master class, so you can study up on your technique. Honestly, puffy paint has been kind of a disaster for me, personally, so I can appreciate her skills.

Meghan has two feltboards from her jungle storytime.

Melissa shares a pattern for a felt version of The Tortoise and the Hare.

Mollie has 5 Little Fishies Swimming in the Sea but (SPOILER ALERT) they do not pay the ultimate price.

Moxie is playing Tooth Fairy, a guessing game similar to Little Mouse, Little Mouse.

Sarah at Read Rabbit Read flannelized Spot and Friends Dress Up. Does anyone else have a soft spot for Spot? I was a big fan back in my own childhood.

Sarah from Read it Again flannelized what I have found to be a perpetual crowd pleaser: Dear Zoo. 

Sharon explores the galaxy with 5 Little Aliens. 

Also this week, Cate over at Storytime posted a roundup of different Flannel Friday participants' process for deciding if a story or idea would be a good flannelboard. I intend to talk about this at some point too.

That's it for now! Or at least I hope so! I will keep adding posts as I get them, through tonight. If you are unable to get your post to me by the end of the day today, please hold onto it for next week's Flannel Friday, which will be hosted by Sharon.

If I missed your post, please leave a (polite) comment and accept my apologies in advance. If I accidentally changed your name to Katie, let me know that too. Unless you want to be a Katie. That you'll have to take up with the DMV and Social Security. And possibly your parents.

Are you one of our 368 (at press time) Flannel Friday followers on Pinterest? Or in the Official Flannel Friday Facebook group

Flannel Friday: Turkey Feathers!

It's almost Thanksgiving time here in the U.S. and it has always been one of my favorite holidays. Mostly because it is all about delicious food and family. I love any holiday that has mashed potatoes AND stuffing. Yummy carbs!

For today's Flannel Friday, I'm sharing a fun group activity called "Turkey Feathers." Each child gets a feather and then as you sing about the different colors of feathers, the kids who have that color will come up and put their feather on the board.

Turkey Feathers
(Sing to the tune of "Frere Jacques"/"Are You Sleeping") 
Turkey feathers, turkey feathers.
Brightly colored, brightly colored.
If you have a blue feather,
Add it now! 

I originally found a turkey with a bunch of feathers in the files here when I started and there was no activity to go with them, so I was happy when I stumbled upon this one. That said, I have no idea where this turkey's pattern came from. I would use a coloring page as a template if I wanted to make one myself.

Don't feel limited to only using colors that turkey feathers might actually be. Kids love when you up the silliness factor! Try polka dot feathers, feathers with little hearts or stars, striped feathers, pink and purple feathers--go nuts! This is a magnet board story, but you could substitute felt.

I'm hosting Flannel Friday this week, so check back later for the roundup! If you're participating, tweet a link to your post to me (@sotomorrow) or leave a comment here and I will add you to the roundup!