Flannel Friday: Little Fox

My love of Little Mouse games is no secret– and I’ve got another new one today! This is one I’ve been meaning to make since I saw it on erinisinire’s blog and I’m so glad I finally got around to it. This is little fox and his birthday boxes.

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The boxes are so simple to make and they look so cute when they’re put together. They’re just three pieces. To make it even easier for you, I’ve attached the pattern I made for these so you can make your own!

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I made little fox using clip art I found on google images. Someone who’s a better artist than me could probably freehand him because he’s pretty simple. A little puffy paint for the eyes and nose and you’re all set!

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There are a few ways you could mix up the rhyme. Your more traditional little fox game:
Little fox, little fox
Are you under the (color) box? 

Or maybe he’s been invited to a party:
Little fox, little fox,
Did you bring the (color) box?

Or it’s his birthday:
Little fox, little fox, 
Will you open the (color) box? 

You can find this week’s round-up at Storytime in the Stacks!

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Toddler Storytime: Bunnies

I continued with my animal themes this month and did a storytime with bunnies!

We read…

 

 

 

 

Life Size Farm by Teruyuki Komiya
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes

We sang…
Well, Hello Everybody
 Old MacDonald
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Bunny Hop

We wiggled…
Open, Shut Them
Dance Your Fingers Up
This is Big, Big, Big

We played…

We did two activities with my Little Bunnies. First, we did the rhyme Hippity Hop, Hippity Hay and we used all six bunnies. Later, I brought them back out and we played a Little Mouse style game with a hidden carrot. We only used bunnies 1, 2, and 3 for this. Some of the older siblings of my toddlers are good with number recognition, but the youngest are still relying on colors to identify which bunny they wanted to look under. I didn’t want them to get confused or frustrated with having two of each color on the board.

We made…

Some VERY cute bunny noses! These were a big hit. I encouraged the grown-ups to let their child fold the pipe cleaners themselves and a lot of them were surprised how well their littles did. This is a great craft for those fine motor skills. Plus, there’s gluesticks, and what three year old doesn’t love a good glue stick?

Our literacy tip…

Nonfiction isn’t just for big kids. Younger children love learning new things and getting answers to their questions. Our nonfiction collection is a great place to browse.

An Ode to Bulletin Boards

I love bulletin boards.

I hate bulletin boards.

I love combing Pinterest for clever ideas, I love creating the pieces- from book covers to flower to letters- by hand, I love the finished product.

I hate hanging bulletin board paper. I hate hanging bulletin board paper SO MUCH that I resist changing my bulletin board for weeks (*cough*months*cough*) at a time. I’ve been working at my library for close to three years; in that time, I’ve hung maybe six bulletin boards. Of those, I was proud of three and I’d like to contribute my ideas to the hive mind of storytime librarians.

The “Intentionally Designed to Leave Up for Months” Bulletin Board

The letters were cut from gardening magazines. I used Century Gothic in 500 pt font and cut them by hand because that somehow seems easier than asking the branch that stores the Ellison Die letters to send them to me.

The leaves (Ellison Die) and flowers (handmade stencils) are made from picture book covers, both ones I printed myself and some sent to me by our collections department just for crafting.

The “Wait, Is Pokemon Cool Again?” Bulletin Board

I went old school for this one and traced the characters using a projector. I painted them by hand (which is why Clefairy looks like she’s wearing pants… sorry, Clefairy). It was super relaxing, I would paint five more giant Pokemon right now and love it.

I made the border in Publisher by overlapping Pokeballs on a sheet of 11×17 paper and printing them out in sets of five. I just flipped them to change the orientation for the sides and top.

The letters are again Century Gothic in size 500 font (because I have really convinced myself it’s easier to cut them by hand than to send a single email to one person and ask for the Ellison Die letters. I’m hopeless). I used a Pokemon character computer wallpaper and traced the letters onto it.

The “I Always Regret Doing Thematic Bulletin Boards Because I Have to Change Them Sooner Than I Want To,” Women’s History Month Bulletin Board

This one was actually a ton of fun to make. I repurposed my giant Century Gothic stencils and pinned them to the paper, then sponge painted around them. Then I carefully covered everything, including myself, with paint smocks and threw every color of paint at it for a while.

Pro-tip: it will 100% get on the walls anyway. Acrylic paint wipes off with wet paper towel easily but ONLY if you clean it immediately. Got that part?

Mess aside, it looks really cool. Here’s a close-up to prove it:

I made a big ol’ list of women I like and who inspire me and the kinds of women I want the girls I meet in the library to aspire to be like. I sent it around to a few friends and co-workers because it was important to me to present a diverse view of what women can look like, what they can do, and who they can be.

Bulletin boards are a great way to express to the community what your library values, whether it’s the skills you’re trying to help kids attain, programs you provide, or the diversity of the community you serve, and I love seeing what I can create and what others can create.

But, man, do I hate putting up bulletin board paper.

Toddler Storytime: Fish

I work with two other fabulous children’s librarians and each month we each take a turn doing one of our three weekly programs: Preschool Storytime, Toddler Storytime, and H-Club, our homeschool program for school age children. This month, I’m covering Toddler Storytime. We started with books about fish!

We read…

 

 

 

 

Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins
Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

We sang…
Well, Hello Everybody
We Wave Our Scarves Together
There are Scarves in the Air

We wiggled…
Popcorn Kernels
Open, Shut Them

We played…

We borrowed Little Mouse’s houses and played with Little Shark instead!

We made…

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We used crayons instead of paint because our craft time usually goes pretty quickly and I hate making grown-ups leave with their arms full of kids and wet paint!

Our literacy tip…

Using scissors is a great way to strengthen the muscles that will help your child learn to write. Even if they can’t cut perfectly yet, it’s still good practice.

Flannel Friday: Eggs

I cannot resist the dollar section of Target. It calls to me. It whispers my name. Lately for good reason- every season they have AMAZING felt pieces! I’ve scored candy canes, snowmen, cats, bunnies, and these super cute eggs. What I love about these is that I could 100% have made them myself, but the idea never occurred to me until I saw them.

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I used them with Kevin Henkes’ new book “Egg,” which is why there is a teeny little crocodile inside. I also use a little bit owl with them when I read “Wow! Said the Owl” and “Night Owl,” but you could put anything at all inside. Dinosaurs, snakes, a platypus!

They work the same as the little mouse game (closed eyes, hide, guess the color), except we all knock on the floor and say,. “Mr. Crocodile, Mr. Crocodile, are you in the (yellow) egg?”

Preschool Storytime: Cats, Cats, Cats

I’d really hate to pigeon hole myself as a stereotypical librarian buuuuut… I love cats. Every time we get a new cat picture book I think to myself, “When was the last time I did cat storytime?” And if the answer is anything other than “you’re literally doing one right now,” then I do it again.

So this week we read

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Cat Nap by Toni Yuly
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
There Are Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwartz

We sang…

Hello/Goodbye, Friends
If You’re Happy And You Know It
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Tony Chestnut Knows I Love You

We wiggled…

Open, Shut Them
These Are My Glasses
This is Big Big Big

We played…

Little Cat felt board

We made…

Paper bag cat puppets. I forgot to take a picture because I am the worst but I gave every child a brown lunch bag and a sheet of brown paper. We talked about the shape cat ears and cat tails are and I had everyone draw and cut their own. As penance, here is a picture of my real cat, whom I love very much.

She's beauty and she's grace.
She’s beauty and she’s grace.

It went…

Great! A fun storytime for the librarian is fun for everyone. In particular, They All Saw a Cat is such a great book. It provides so many STEM opportunities (I said “echolocation” for the first time in storytime with this one) but be prepared to chat. We spent a lot longer on this book than I had planned.

Tony Chestnut is a song I learned in elementary school that I’ve always loved. If you don’t know it, it’s similar to head, shoulders, knees, and toes. As you sing Tony’s name, you point to the different parts of your body (toe-knee chest-nut (head)). We don’t do the whole song, we end on “that’s what Tony knows,” and then just repeat it going faster and faster. It was a hit and a nice shake-up from my typical routine.

Preschool Storytime: Soup!

Indiana is pretty gross in January. Especially this year- we’ve barely had any snow but we’ve still been treated to freezing rain and subzero wind chills. If I had my choice, I’d hibernate, but I don’t have hibernation leave at work. As long as I’m stuck, I’ll be doing warm and cozy themes until it starts to thaw.

We read…
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B
ear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson
Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert

We sang…

Hello/Goodbye, Friends
If You’re Happy And You Know It
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
Vegetable Soup Song

We wiggled…

Open, Shut Them
These Are My Glasses
This is Big Big Big

We made…

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This cute soup bowl! I found it on Pinterest with no credit and a reverse image search was unhelpful. Please let me know if you know the origin of this craft! I use plastic cups instead of bowls (we have a weird surplus of cups right now) and foam alphabet beads. Everyone got a squirt of paint inside their cup and a strip of paper with a spoon printed on it (yep, I made them cut their own- gotta work those fine motor skills). They were so cute! And it was nice to send a paint craft home in which the paint is actually contained for once. No messy paintings.

It went…

Great! Who doesn’t love soup, other than lots of picky preschoolers? They loved telling me the things they thought were gross on each page and they loved sharing their favorite foods to use in our soup song. I worried our craft might be a little too simplistic, but it was really popular.