Felt Board: Sloths

I have a strange and intense love for sloths.

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Hello, I love you.

But who wouldn’t? Look at that face. And after’s discovering Jenny Offill’s adorable Sparky, I got the idea into my head of having a sloth themed storytime. But what’s a storytime without a felt board?

I started looking for a sloth template- my artistic ability starts and ends with cutting out shapes other people have drawn- and it was no easy task. Eventually I found this great free-for-use embroidery template. I cut off the baby’s head (sorry, baby) and it. was. perfect.

In an ideal world, the hair and accent lines would have been embroidered. But who has that kind of time? I used neon colors of felt and puffy painted them and you know what?

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A labor of love.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.

I wrote a rhyme for them- can you believe next to no one has done a sloth felt board? Me neither, friends. Me neither. Anyway, here’s Five Lazy Sloths.

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I leave them on my desk to keep me company now.

Five lazy sloths laying on the floor
One fell asleep and then there were four
Four lazy sloths climbing up a tree
One fell down and then there were three
Three lazy sloths wondering what to do
One got lost and then there were two
Two lazy sloths not having any fun
One got up and then there was one
One lazy sloth couldn’t wait ‘til day was done
He went to bed and now there are none.

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Storytime: Monsters

Books I used:
The Monster’s Monster, Patrick McDonnell
Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Mo Willems
Monsters Love Colors, Mike Austin
Bedtime for Monsters, Ed Vere

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Rhymes, flannels, and songs:
10 little monsters, to the familiar tune
If You’re a Monster and You Know It, action lyrics by me
We used stomp your claws, swipe your paws, and give a roar
5 little monsters, flannel board, here

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Craft:
Open ended art. I got the idea from a friend and early childhood educator. I attached two sets of googly eyes to a sheet of paper and let them draw whatever monsters they wanted.

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And it went:
Well! I was a little uneasy since my audience today was small and young- I was expecting 10 preschoolers and instead I got 3 3 year olds. They loved the monster books and they loved all the opportunities to roar. I almost cut “The Monster’s Monster,” because it’s on the long side, but I went for it and they got really into it.

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The craft may have been too open ended for this age group. One of them went to town, but the others seem frustrated at the lack of direction, so I suggested they pick a monster from our books to draw, which seemed to help.

Program: Cool Caves

I was hired to replace a librarian who filled an opening in another branch of the same library system. She moved quickly, so I inherited many of her summer programs. One I inherited was Cool Caves. I was free to pretty much do what I wanted, so I designed something of a craft program.

What we did:

First, we had a chat about the stations I had set up and how they related to caves. The first station had a small gallery of cave art from around the world. We talked about how old cave art is, how it’s find in almost every continent, and how it’s related to writing and language. For the craft, I provided crumpled brown lunch bags and sidewalk chalk. The kids could draw inspiration from what they saw or from their own imagination. I put out our craft placemats to keep the mess down, but there was actually very little chalk dust.

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India, 1500-2000 BCE

The second station had a cave I made from the same crumpled brown lunch bags and a largeish cardboard box. I covered it, inside and out, cut out an entrance, and created rock formations with paper and hot glue. Here we talked about stalctites and stalgmites, and troglobites, creatures that live primarily in caves. Inside our model cave, I hide five pictures of these cave-dwelling creatures. Kids were free to explore the cave and find and re-hide the animal cards.

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Cave, featuring a very well hidden trivia fact in orange.

The last station was “cave camouflage,” or bat hats. I provided print outs with pictures of bats, crayons, scissors, tape, and construction paper. They colored the bats, cut them out, and taped them to construction paper bands to wear as a hat.

There was a final component to tie it together and to help their new cave knowledge stick. I gave each participant a trivia sheet with five blanks and around the room I hide bright orange cards that provided an answer to each question. The fill-in-the-blank facts were things like: Most animals that live in caves are (blind). The longest cave system in the world is (Mammoth Cave).

And it went:

Great! It was a resounding success! The cave drawings were not nearly as popular as I had anticipated. What really stole the show were the… bat hats! The kids and parents LOVED them and, I have to admit, they looked pretty cute running around the programs with rings of multi-colored cartoon bats on their heads.

The cave was also very popular- they loved finding all of the weird cave creatures and then hiding them for their friends. Likewise, the trivia challenge went over really well. Many of our patrons are homeschoolers and it really appealed to that audience- but the kids got very into it as well.

This is actually from last summer’s SRP theme, but I thought it fit well with Fizz, Boom, Read too. Caves and natural science are a great way to explore the science theme!

First Chapter Books: Franny K. Stein

Title: Franny K. Stein: Lunch Walks Among Us

Author: Jim Benton

Series: Yes

Grade Level: 2-4

For: Anyone who loves funny books, kids who are into science or monster movies, struggling readers in older grades.

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Franny lives on a pretty street, in a pretty house, in a pretty room… that she frequently redecorates with bats and science experiments whenever she gets the chance. She is a mad scientist and, while her parents don’t quite understand her, she gets along just fine. At school, she has the best teacher who advises Franny that perhaps she needs some friends. One thing leads to another and before long, a lunch meat monster of Franny’s creation is rescuing her teacher from the top of a flag pole. Moral? Yes. But it’s presented in such a hilarious way that the even the tired trope of “be yourself” doesn’t seem all that tired.

Final Grade: A+