Friday, March 30, 2012

The Little Breeze

Although I used this story for my March Family Story Time, all of the action takes place at night so I thought this story would also fit in with the 2012 CSLP summer reading program theme, "Dream Big - Read!" 

The little breeze does not want to go to bed so he stays behind in the meadow when the other little breezes go over the hills with Old Mother West Wind to go to sleep.  He finds out that it is dark and lonely in the meadow for the sun has gone and his animal friends are asleep.  Hoot owl and red fox are not asleep.  They are out hunting and they are after the bobwhite family.  The little breeze warns the bobwhite family just in time.  This story is an adaptation of  “The Wilful Little Breeze” in Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess (1910, Project Gutenberg Release #2557).  The complete adaption can be found as a Google document here.

I used clip art from Microsoft Publisher for the fox and owl.  I found a shape I liked for the birds and then drew in the details using pictures of bobwhites.  (The true colors of the bird are much more subtle than what I used.)  I drew my own breeze, bush, and bobwhite nest.  Be sure to make the nest large enough to hide the birds.  I drew blades of grass and sticks.  I filled in the background with black marker.  I then glued the pieces to heavier paper because I did not have time to get them laminated before my program.  (I use either construction paper or card stock.)  I added magnets to the back. (Flannel board users would add Velcro).  I had my birds hidden behind the nest so that when I removed the nest, it looked like the birds were flying away.  (If you do that, be careful how you place the magnets or Velcro on the back of the nest.  Those pieces should be at the edges leaving room for the birds in the center.  I didn't pay attention to this detail when I made mine so my nest did not stay up on the board.  Fortunately my board has a shelf at the bottom so I propped the nest up on that with the birds behind it on the board.) 

Figures for "The Little Breeze"

Sharon of Rain Makes Applesauce is hosting a special Flannel Friday Summer Reading Extravaganza this week.  For complete Flannel Friday information see Anne's So Tomorrow Flannel Friday page.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Evening Family Story Time #6

Family Story Time - Wind and Kites
Monday, March 26, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Attendance - 16 (9 children, 7 adults)

Books:  The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins
             Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Board Stories:  "The Little Breeze"
                       "A Fair Wind"
                       "Dandy" from Short-Short Stories by Jean Warren (This is an old set my library has.  There is no source listed for the clip art used to make the pieces.  I also did not tell the story exactly as written but used the general idea of a dandelion seed looking for the right place to land and grow.)

Prop Story:  "How Ishikawa Became a Kitemaker" adapted from The Dragon Kite by Nancy Luenn

Crafts:  Simple kite from a single piece of paper
            Paper bag wind sock (Turn a paper bag upside down.  Decorate - I simplified some clip art to make a butterfly for one side and a bee for the other.  Accordion fold a narrow strip of paper and glue one end to the bug and the other to the paper bag.  Glue crepe paper streamers inside the open end.  Punch holes on each side of the closed end.  Tie one end of a piece of ribbon, string or yarn through each hole.)

Notes:  Again the group was small but enthusiastic.  Most were regular participants.  The two books received a lukewarm reception but the board stories and the prop story garnered applause.  The children actually oohed when the dragon appeared.  Such a response makes the time spent making the props worthwhile.  I had taken the effort to look at pictures of Chinese/Japanese dragon kites so that the one I made would look right.  I used my imagination to make the dragon but also modeled it after Chinese/Japanese dragons.  I was a bit nervous about my props when I told the story because a Chinese family was in the audience but the father nodded and smiled when I held them up.  The true hit of the evening was the simple kite craft.  Everyone loved it.  One mother made one for herself.  The children colored sheets of white copy paper (the papers were marked and the holes punched ahead of time).  I stapled the ends together and then the children added the yarn.  Since the group was small there was room for the children to run and "fly" the kites.  Even without wind they easily went up.  One of the moms even gave it a try.  Click on the link above for kite making details.

Wind Sock

Decorations for Wind Sock


Friday, March 16, 2012

Paper Finger Puppets for "Five Colorful Birds"

Paper finger puppets are easy to make.  They are great to use when you find a new "five little something" rhyme you want to use.  They can be customized to go with any such rhyme.   The best part is that they cost little or nothing to make.  Paper, markers and a glue stick are the basic materials.  The biggest expense will be your time. 

Finger puppets for Five Colorful Birds

Step one:  Find a simple bird image that you like and reduce it to finger puppet size or draw your own.  I drew my own this time.  Make five.  I drew one, cut it out, and used it as a template to make five birds.

Step two:  Draw an upside down "T" five times, adjusting the length of the "T" to fit your finger.  Again I drew one, cut it out and used it as a template.

Step three:  Color the birds.  I like to outline in black marker as well.  I chose specific colors to go with my rhyme.

Step four:  Cut out the birds and "T" pieces.

Step five: Make the back pieces.

Glue sides together.

Glue top down.

Step six:  Glue a back piece to each bird.

Finger Puppet!

Step seven:  Find a counting rhyme about birds or write your own.  I wrote my own:

Five Colorful Birds

The cardinal is a bird that is colored bright red,
He has a crest of feathers on his head.

A squawking jay's feathers are blue,
She calls out loudly to protect her babies so new.

A hummingbird has feathers that are green,
He moves his wings so fast they can hardly be seen.

The finch has feathers that are bright yellow,
Indeed he thinks he's a handsome fellow.

Bright orange are the feathers of the oriole,
She sings a song telling winter to go.
(A scanned version with the puppets and rhyme can be found here.  When converted to a Google document it was reduced so you will have to enlarge it a bit.)

Angela of ValleyStorytime is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up.  For everything you need to know about Flannel Friday go to Anne of So Tomorrow's Flannel Friday Page.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flannel Friday Round-Up for March 9

This week's round-up has a wide range of creative ideas. 

Sarah of Read, Sarah, Read presents a versatile "House" story time.  The house is made from shapes and can be used with a rhyme, or as she did, having the children help build the house.  She also has a flannel that matches animals to their homes, again getting the children involved.

Katie of Storytime Katie has created a work of art!  She has embroidered all the details of a fantastic "Freight Train."

Kari Ann of My Storytime Life concludes the adventures of the "Hippity Hop" frogs when they find out what is over the wall.  I love the exuberant frogs!

Andrea of Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit was inspired by a Flannel Friday post to make a "Magical Rainbow Stew." (She has in turn inspired me to do this for my April Family Story Time.)

Library Quine of Loons and Quines at Librarytime has a cute rhyme about puppies as well as tips about making a "flannel" set quickly.

Katie of Story Time Secrets gives us a flannel version of a rhyme by one of her favorite story time authors, Nick Sharratt (he's one of my favorites too.).  Those are some "Snazzy Aunties."

Susanne of Fussy Hen at the Library brings us "KITTY" instead of "BINGO" with a clever use of felt and calendar pages.  I wish I could have been there to hear all the meowing at the end.

Jane of Piper Loves the Library created beautiful, colorful circles inspired by Kandinsky and a circle game inspired by Joni Mitchell.  She has books and activities for a great "Circle" story time program.

Kay of Storytime ABC's celebrates St. Patrick's Day with "Leprechaun, Leprechaun, What Do You See?"  She cleverly places the pieces to form a rainbow complete with a post of gold at the end.

Cate of Storytiming informs us that "Holy Moly, There's an App for That!" - yes, virtual felt.

Meghan of Busy Crafting Mommy is ready for summer with her flannel version of Splash! by Ann Jonas. She shows how it can be used with different ages.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Courtney of Miss Courtney Meets Bobo who is a first-time Flannel Friday participant.   She has written her own story to go with some flannel pieces she "inherited" without a story.  Her "Colorful Caterpillar" would be a great for a spring story time.

Another warm welcome to new contributor Lena of Sixcranberries who has made a cute rocket finger puppet to accompany a rhyme about going to the moon.  A little glitter makes it sparkle. 

Maureen of StrongStart has been inspired by Flannel Friday.  For her first contribution she has a "Cat in the Hat Felt Game."  Welcome Maureen! 

My contribution for this week is about using finger puppets for rhymes with Finger Puppets or How I Do "Five Little Monkeys."

Information about Flannel Friday can be found on So Tomorrow's Flannel Friday page.

Finger Puppets Or How I Do "Five Little Monkeys"

Lately I've been trying to come up with program ideas that tie in with the summer reading theme of Dream Big - Read!  I plan to do an evening pajama story time.  If I do stories about bedtime then I'll be doing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."  This will give me a chance to use my new "old favorite," the Monkey Mitt.  When I use the mitt the little monkeys get do a lot of bouncing up and down.

Early in my career as a children's librarian I came across the Monkey Mitt and its assorted pom pom puppets.  I went through three mitts in the fifteen years I was in my previous position (the mitts would lose their "furriness" from frequent use).  The puppets stood up surprisingly well over that same period with only a few glue repairs needed.  I had a core group of rhymes that I used over and over.  Children paid attention when I put on that big fuzzy mitt.

Since I don't regularly work with younger children, I haven't had much need to use a Monkey Mitt but recently I decided to get one "just in case."   I just might not wait until summer to use it.  After all I have a couple of two-year-olds who regularly come to Family Story Time.

Because I like to use multiple ways of presenting material in a single program, I usually have a finger puppet rhyme when I do a toddler or preschool program.  I particularly like to use finger puppets when doing counting rhymes.  Often children will hold up their own fingers and follow along.

Finger puppets can be made from felt and even knitted.  Many sets are commercially available, including some lovely animal ones from Folkmanis.  However, simple ones can be made using paper.  I have several paper sets with rhymes that I made years ago using the book, Mitt Magic by Lynda Roberts.  Before I started doing a craft at the end of a program, I would send the children home with an activity sheet that the child and caregiver could do together.  Often I would give out a sheet with the rhyme I had used that day with the finger puppets to color and make.  Paper finger puppets can easily be made to go with a rhyme.  They don't have to be fancy.  In fact simple is better for they need to be easily seen. 

"Two Little Blackbirds" is a rhyme that can be done with just fingers.  I always have the children participate since it is such a simple rhyme.  I like to point out that they will always have their "puppets" with them and can do the rhyme any time they want to do it.

Finger puppets make a great visual accompaniment to a story time rhyme.  The basic set is always available at no cost.  Other sets range from simple paper ones to beautifully designed figures and animals.  Because they take up little space they travel well.  My original Monkey Mitt sets traveled with me to numerous preschools and elementary schools throughout the years.

Finger puppets:
Purchased puppets have great details.

Semi-homemade puppets are quick and easy.
The bugs are felt stickers.
The giraffe was made from animal print felt.

The duck is from
The kittens and dog are from a set I did years ago to go with a rhyme.
I have the dog turned over to show how they are made.
I show how to make paper finger puppets here.

Some day I will knit one of these:

Consider using finger puppets instead of the flannel board, especially when doing counting rhymes.   Not only does it add variety to a program but it's fun. 

(Busy librarian tip:  One thing I like about using finger puppets is that I can have a copy of the rhyme next to the puppets I am adding or removing so I can discretely look down to read the rhyme as I move the puppets - no memorization required.)

(Craft tip:  Children enjoy making finger puppets. Although the ones that sit on top of the finger are fun, children particularly enjoy the ones with the holes so their fingers can be part of the puppet.  Enchanted Learning has some examples.)

(Note:  I am hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up which can be found here.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Fair Wind

I have decided to do stories about the wind and about kites for my March family story time. (I know, not very original, but I found a really simple kite craft that I want to do.)   The following story is based on a very short and simple tale so of course I had to add to it.

The Story:
A Fair Wind

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before there were cars, trains or airplanes, there was a traveler walking down the road from one town to the next. He could not afford a horse or even a donkey so he walked. It was a very chilly day.

Now it just so happened that the Sun, Frost and Wind were resting by the road after a busy morning of making weather. The traveler walked past them and as he did, called out “Peace to you, brother!” as he went by. Soon the Sun, the Frost and Wind began to argue. Each one had thought that the traveler had addressed him and not the others. “Surely, he was talking to me,” said the Sun. “No, I was the one he was greeting,” replied Frost. Wind said, “Well, there is only one way to find out. We will go ask him.”

They caught up with the traveler further down the road and demanded to know which of them he had greeted. The traveler replied, “Brother Wind was the one I greeted because a fair wind at my back makes my journey easier.” This made the Sun angry. “Ignore me! Ha! I’ll make your journey harder by baking down on you so that you will quickly become miserable from the heat!” “Don’t worry,” said the Wind. “I will blow and blow to keep you cool while the Sun shines.” “Well, I will freeze him! He’ll regret ignoring me!” said Frost angrily. The Wind replied, “Do not worry. Frost cannot freeze without my blowing the cold air. I simply will not blow and you will stay warm.”

“Thank you for protecting me, Brother Wind,” said the traveler as he continued on his way. Indeed he had an easy journey for there was always a fair wind at his back to help him along his way.

Source:  I found the original story on the SurLaLune Fairy Tales web site.  It is called, "The Frost, The Sun and The Wind" and is from Sixty Folk-Tales From Exclusively Slavonic Sources (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, & Company, 1890) by A.H. Wratislaw.

Magnet Board figures awaiting lamination:

I made large colorful figures for the magnet board for visual interest.  Since there are few characters and the story is short, I wanted the figures to stand out.  I made the sun, frost and wind using the shapes and lines in Microsoft Publisher.  This story is a good example of one that can be told using figures from other stories.  There are many stories that feature the sun and wind.  The traveler can be almost any standing figure.  I took the traveler figure from "The Miller, the Boy and the Donkey" in The Flannel Board Storytelling Book by Judy Sierra. I was going to use one of my Month Brothers but decided on this one because the simple style of the illustration went well with the other figures.  If I had taken my pieces from other storytelling sets, the only one I would have had to make would have been Frost which is simple to do.  The main reason I like to make duplicates is because I like to keep all the pieces of a story together in a large envelope.  I note on the envelope the date the story was used and with what group. 

Katie of the Storytime Katie blog is hosting the this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up.  Information about Flannel Friday can be found on So Tomorrow's Flannel Friday page.