Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Evening Family Story Time #4 - Winter

Family Story Time - Monday, January 30, 2012, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
                               Attendance:  12 (7 children, 5 adults)

Program -

Books:  Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
             The Snowmen Pop-Up Book by Caralyn Buehner

Board Story:  "The Month Brothers"
Prop Stories:  "The Mitten"
                      "The Bird and the Trees"

Paper Folding Story:  "Overcoat" from Stories to Play With by Hiroko Fujita

Paper Cutting Story:  "The Disappearing Snowperson" from Paper Stories by Jean Stangl

Crafts:  Snowperson from Beginning Step-by-Step Art Projects
            Snowman Tic Tac Toe

Notes:  It was a very small group and overall younger than previous groups.  Everyone enjoyed "The Bird and the Trees."  "The Month Brothers" was a bit long for most of the children but the older ones did like it.  Of course the game, "Snowball, Snowball" went over very well.  The children were very good at guessing behind which mitten the snowball was hidden!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shel Silverstein's "Snowball"

Shel Silverstein's "Snowball" was the subject of a recent Flannel Friday post from Miss Alison Is Blogging.  I thought it would be fun to end Monday's Winter Family Story Time program with his irreverent humor.  (I am also using "Snowball, Snowball" from so tomorrow.  Thank you Flannel Friday!)  Instead of making it a board story, I decided to make some illustrations and glue them on to construction paper.

I made the pajamas and bedspread with scrap book paper to add a little pattern to my very basic drawings.  The puddle is leftover laminating film colored with marker.  I couldn't resist making bunny slippers though I did manage to refrain from using some of my newly acquired glitter glue on the snowball.


First illustration

I pasted the lines to read on the back.

Second illustration - Keeping it simple

Third illustration - Bunny slippers!

Fourth illustration - Uh, Oh!

This week's Flannel Friday roundup is being hosted by Anne of so tomorrow.  Everything you want to know about Flannel Friday can be found on her Flannel Friday page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Toddler Time: Winter

Today I was a substitute librarian for Toddler Time (ages 2 - 3.5 with parent/caregiver).  This week's storytime theme is "Winter."

Books:   Hamilton Duck by Arthur Getz
             From My Window by Olive Wong
             Snowy, Blowy Winter by Bob Raczka
             Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

Finger Puppets:  "Snowmen" from Mitt Magic by Lynda Roberts

Paper Cutting (paper plate):  "Mr. Snowman's Ride" from Cut and Tell Scissor Stories for Winter by Jean Warren

Board:   "Five Little Snowman Riding on a Sled" (instead of "Five Little Monkeys") - the figures were laminated clip art
             "Hey, Mr. Snowman" from Preschool Favorites by Diane Briggs
             "Five Little Snowflakes" from DLTK's Sites

Craft:  The children decorated "mittens" made of construction paper using crayons and stickers, as well as by gluing on colorful scraps of paper.  Yarn was taped to the backs to keep them together.

Notes:  I don't get to do Toddler Time often so I enjoy it when I do.  I like to use finger puppets with this age group which always go over well.  I have some patterns from Mitt Magic that I have been using for over twenty years.  Another old favorite is "Mr. Snowman's Ride."  I found the others from various Flannel Friday posts.  When I did "Hey, Mr. Snowman" I put the pieces on the wrong places (e.g. I put the arms on top of his head) and had the children help me get it right.  I needed a lot of help and it was enthusiastically given!  Although the craft was simple, the children really enjoyed it.  For two-year-olds there must be something magical about glue sticks.  Much thought went into the decorating of those mittens.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Amazon Theater #2 - The Bird and the Trees

Winter is the topic this month.  I will be a substitute librarian for Toddler Time next week and telling winter stories at Family Story Time the following week.  I'll be using ideas from Flannel Friday posts for Toddler Time so thank you fellow participants.  For Family Story Time I will be telling some winter folktales.  As I have mentioned before, I like to use various methods of storytelling so I adapted a story to tell using props.  I call it "Amazon Theater" because my stage is an amazon.com box.  I simply put my props on the overturned box as I tell the story.  (See my post for 9/1/11 for another example.)

The following story is adapted from one by Rick Walton, a pourquoi tale called "Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter."  His site is an excellent source for finding stories to tell. 

My version is called the "The Bird and the Trees" and can be told using props as I have or using felt or magnet board pieces.  I based most of the figures on clip art from Microsoft Publisher.  I made the North Wind and the Frost King into stick puppets to hold over the "stage" at the end of the story but they can be board pieces as well. 

The story:
The Bird and the Trees

Once there was a bird who could not fly south for the winter with the other birds. He had injured his wing and could not fly. As the cold winds started to blow, the bird knew he would have to seek shelter. The forest was full of trees with sheltering branches. So he went into the forest to find a place to stay for the winter.

First the bird came to a willow tree at the edge of the forest and asked, “May I please spend the winter in one of your branches? My wing is injured and I cannot fly south this year.” The willow replied, “Goodness no! My branches are much too delicate to have a bird living in them!”

The bird went a little further into the forest until he came to a birch tree and asked, “May I please stay in one of your branches until the spring comes?” “I’m sorry,” the birch tree answered, “but I have to look after myself this winter and it would be too much to look after you as well.”

So the bird hopped even deeper into the forest looking for a tree to shelter him. He came to a tall oak tree. “Please,” asked the bird, “may I stay in your branches for the winter?” “Harrumph!” said the oak, “If I let you stay in my branches, you will eat my acorns all winter long and I can’t have that!”

The bird hopped even deeper into the forest not knowing what to do for none of the trees wanted to help him. “What are you doing so deep in the forest little bird?” asked a spruce tree who saw him hopping along. “I’m looking for a place to spend the winter,” answered the little bird. “My wing is injured and I cannot fly south with the other birds.” “You are welcome to spend the winter with me,” replied the spruce. “Come, hop onto this branch,” said the spruce as she lowered one of her large, wide branches down to the ground. The pine tree saw what had happened and said to the bird, “Although my branches aren’t as warm, I will help shelter you when the wind blows for I am big and strong.” Then the juniper tree said, “I may not be big but I have delicious berries that you are welcome to eat all winter long.” The bird thanked each of the trees for their kindness and stayed safely with them throughout the winter months.

But that is not the end of the story. The North Wind was playing in the forest and wanted to blow everything off the trees. The Frost King would not let him touch the trees who had helped the bird. The Frost King declared, “These trees showed great kindness by taking care of the injured bird. Their branches will remain green throughout the year. However, you may blow the leaves off the trees who thought only of themselves. Their branches shall stay bare until the springtime comes.” The North Wind had fun blowing the leaves off of the selfish trees.

So it is today. The spruce, pine and juniper trees are green all year long while the leaves of the willow, birch and oak trees fall to the ground when the cold wind blows.

The figures:

 The Selfish Trees

 Bird with the Kind Trees

North Wind and King Frost Stick Puppets

How the props are supported

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Melissa of Mel's Desk, the one who started it all.  Please be sure to look at her post about starting Flannel Friday just one year ago.  Many thanks to Melissa and the others who have worked so hard this past year to make Flannel Friday the wonderful resource it is today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Squirrel Gives Her Heart

Squirrel Gives Her Heart

Squirrel was very busy. She was making the biggest and best Valentine heart she had ever made. It was almost as big as she was. She was so excited and could hardly wait to give it to her friend.

Finally she was finished. She had made the most beautiful big and sparkly Valentine she had ever seen. Now she was ready to give it to a friend. But squirrel had lots of friends and didn’t know which one to choose. The big heart would be perfect for deer who was her biggest friend. But then she thought about her other friends whom she also liked very much. Raccoon would certainly enjoy having a sparkly heart. So would her friend chipmunk. She should also give one to her friend bird and she couldn’t leave out her smallest friend mouse. Squirrel was worried. She didn’t have enough paper to make everyone a Valentine. Yet she didn’t want to leave anyone out. What should she do?

Squirrel thought and thought. Suddenly she knew what she could do so that everyone could have a sparkly heart just the right size for them. Can you guess?
Squirrel cut up her sparkly heart. She took her scissors, folded the heart in half and carefully cut around the edge to make a big open heart for deer. Then she cut some more to make an open heart for raccoon. She made a medium-sized one for chipmunk and a slightly smaller one for bird. All that was left was a teeny-tiny solid heart which was just the right size for her smallest friend mouse.
Squirrel was very happy and so were her friends when she presented each of them with their own special Valentine’s Day heart.

Notes:  This story can be told as either a paper cutting story or as a board story.  The basic concept of cutting concentric hearts was inspired by a paper cutting story from Paper Stories by Jean Stangl. 
Paper - For plain paper cutting delete the adjective sparkly from the story.  For more ambitious paper cutting use glitter glue over the area to be cut out to make it sparkly.  Just make sure the area inside the heart is completely covered and that it is completely dry before folding the paper in half (so it won’t stick together). Be sure to do this well ahead of time for it takes some time for the glue to dry, particularly if you get carried away like I did.  (I put the paper on a towel and used a hair dryer so I could have my sample for Flannel Friday rather than Flannel Saturday.)   You can also use a metallic marker to give your heart sparkle.  I used both for the sample.  The paper can be any paper that can easily be cut when folded in half such as copy paper. My sample is made from thin construction paper.  Fold the paper in half (sparkles on the inside and fold on the left side) and draw half a large heart onto this side.  (Make sure this is done on the fold edge so that when you open it up you have a complete heart.)  Draw the the four smaller (half) hearts inside it.  These will be your guidelines for cutting out the hearts.  You can make templates to trace around if you wish.  I made my pattern using Microsoft Publisher.  Cut out the large heart and open it up to show the big heart squirrel made.  (If you wish, you can cut the large heart out ahead of time.)  Refold it to cut out the additional hearts. You should end up with four open hearts and one small solid heart.  Open each heart up to show which heart squirrel gave to each animal.

Board - If you tell this as a board story you will be making hearts that fit inside each other.  I use paper to make magnet board figures which is easy to cut.  Cutting the hearts from felt will be more difficult due to the thickness of the material so I recommend sharp scissors.  (The hearts can also be drawn on craft weight interfacing which is easy to cut and sticks to a feltboard.)  With felt you can decorate the edges with puffy paint as well making the pieces sparkly with glitter glue.  You also have the option of adding the animals mentioned in the story to the board.  The story would work with a very large heart alone which would probably be easier to make than a smaller one.  The other option would be to make a smaller heart with pieces that can be placed next to each animal.  Heart templates can be made with a simple drawing program.  Use clip art for the animals or use animals from other sets that you might have.  You can substitute whatever animals you have for squirrel's friends.

Template using Microsoft Publisher

 Use black marker on half of the heart so it will show through the copy paper for tracing the pattern.

I cut the template so I could trace it onto construction paper. 
I would use this for board pieces as well.

I used this to show where to cover the inside with "sparkle."

The inside with sparkle.

The large heart cut out.

All of the hearts cut out.

Happy Valentine's Day!
This week's Flannel Friday Roundup (Mushy Gushy Valentine's Day Extravaganza) is hosted by Anna of Future Librarian Superhero.  Past and future roundups are listed here and our Pinterest boards are here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Just a Note

The first Flannel Friday Roundup for 2012 can be found at What Happens in Storytime.  Thank you Mollie Kay.  Go here to find the schedule through March.  Next week is our "Mushy, Gushy Valentine's Day Extravaganza."  March 30 will focus on the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme "Dream Big Read!" for those participating states.  New Jersey participates so I'm looking forward to finding ideas for my family story times.