Friday, March 29, 2013

Flannel Friday Round Up for 03/29/13

Hoppy Flannel Friday everyone! Here are this week's contributions:

Kathryn has an Easter egg hunt happening on her blog, Fun with Friends at Storytime.

Anne at So Tomorrow is rocking and rolling with her storytime group.

Bunnies are getting colors of their own on Mrs. Shaia's blog, Thrive After Three. She even included a template for us!

Guess the animals in the Color Zoo with Lisa in Libraryland.

Head over to In the Children's Room to play Who's Hat is That? with Lucy.

One look at these adorable bouncing bunnies from Storytime ABCs and you'll be squeeing with delight.

Jane from Piper Loves the Library assures us that Spring is on its way with these colorful bugs.

Dorothy at The Wielded Pen is turning storytime into a three ring circus with help from Sammy the Seal.

Thanks for your hard work this week, everyone! Don't forget to look for us on the Flannel Friday blog, our Facebook page, and on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life-Sized Candy Land

I read about the idea of a Life-Sized Candy Land board on ALSC's blog. Abby the Librarian wrote about how she created a candy wonderland in her library, and I instantly knew that I wanted to do this in my library.

So why do a Candy Land program? There's the obvious nostalgia factor; everyone loves Candy Land! But basic games like this also work on color recognition, patterns, following simple directions, how to have patience, turn-taking, and learning the basic math skill of one-to-one correspondence. How's that for Saturday afternoon fun?

The Board
I played with several ideas for the board. Many suggested using carpet squares or interlocking foam squares, which would stand up to rough use, but they are pricey (they would have cost about $200). If you're going to be doing the program again and have a place to store them, this would be the way to go.

A cheaper, yet less durable way, is to use construction paper. I chose to not laminate the paper beforehand, but it certainly could be done. 

The paper held up fairly well; there were a few rips and tears along the way, but we only had one complete casualty that required replacement. The big problem was keeping them fixed to the floor. I taped them down, but because we were on carpet, the tape kept slipping off. I had to reattach pieces fairly often.

The special spaces had their pictures attached to the pink paper and tablecloths using contact paper. The tablecloths were then taped to the carpet.
I chose six special spots from the board game and used those. Two of these spots, Gloppy Swamp and Licorice Lagoon, were "stuck" spaces, with black dots denoting that you lost a turn if you landed on one. Four spaces were Gummy Forest, Peppermint Place, Lollipop Land, and Ice Cream Island. A player could land on one of these spots if they drew a special card from the deck. The last space was the finish line, Candy Castle. Each special spot was noted with a sign and some type of decoration. I found plastic tablecloths quite handy for this purpose.

The Decorations
Gummy Forest: I placed a green plastic tablecloth on the floor.

Peppermint Place: a coworker of mine let me borrow some of her outdoor Christmas decorations. The candy canes were zip tied to the table and to each other. On the floor I used a peppermint striped tablecloth I had leftover from Christmas.

Licorice Lagoon: A red tile with a black dot. The same coworker also let me use red rope lights that look EXACTLY LIKE LICORICE. I wound them around a table.

Lollipop Land: a red tablecloth was taped to the floor.

Ice Cream Island: I had a snowflake tablecloth on the floor.

Candy Castle: I'm not an artist, but I managed to paint a simple castle to hang up on the wall for the finish.

Hard Candy: balloons wrapped up in cellophane. The ends were tied using pastel ribbons.

Candy Lights: another coworker of mine made these herself. She put craft stuffing into two plastic bowls, used the bowls to cover the lights, then wrapped it all in colored cellophane. I used these to decorate the check-in table.

The Process
The players were asked to check in first. They were greeted by my helper, Hailey, who wrote down how many people were playing (children/adults) and a name. If the board was full, we invited the families to make a crown craft and color the coloring sheets and word puzzles we provided.

We allowed four families to play at one time, staggering them so that they wouldn't overlap each other. Our check-in table was right next to the beginning of the board, in the hallway, so we were able to monitor who started when.

When it was a family's turn to play, we called their name and gave them a packet. They each picked out what color they'd like to be and we gave them the badge of that color with double-sided tape on the back so they could wear it. We briefly explained the rules, answered their questions, and let them play.

Hailey kept an eye on the desk while I ran between the desk, craft room, and the board. It worked best if she checked families in and hand them their packets, while I stood by the starting line, explained the rules, and told them when to start. When they were done playing, they turned in their packets and we gave them a sticker.

After everyone had had a turn, we allowed families to go through a second time. One family went through six times! Listening in at the door to the craft room, I heard one boy say, "This is the best thing EVER!"

The Rules
1. Spin the spinner. The color you land on is the color you move to.
2. If you spin pink, pick a card from the deck and follow the instructions on the card. You may have to move backwards.
3. If you spin MOVE 2 SPACES, spin the spinner again. Move to 2 spaces of that color.
4. If you land on a space with a black dot, you lose a turn.
5. When you’re finished, please turn in your badge, spinner, and cards at the check-in table.

The Packets
Each bag contained:
1 spinner (laminated cardstock with metal brad)
7 cards (cardstock)
6 badges (die-cut laminated construction paper)
1 rule sheet

Each item in the bag was labeled with the number bag it belonged in. We could easily tell at a glance if the bag had extra pieces or not enough.

What I Learned
1. I didn't want to use floor decorations for fear that the children would throw them around, people would trip, etc. Turns out I shouldn't have worried. The giant hard candy pieces I placed on the tables actually stayed on the tables and no one tampered with the placement of anything.

2. The badges didn't work. They kept falling off and they really didn't serve any purpose. Halfway through the program I took them out of the bags. Maybe next time we'll use hats, but it worked just fine without them.

3. It requires at least two people to run effectively. Three would have been ideal.

4. I'm glad I decided on using the spinner. A large deck of cards would have been too unwieldy for families with small children.

5. It's a lot easier to clean up than it is to set up. It took me two and a half hours to set it up on my own, but I would have spent more time on it if I could have.

For More Information
Use Pinterest for inspiration! Here's my Pinterest board for more ideas.

So You Think You're Crafty's post about how it was done was incredibly useful. This is where I got the idea to use the spinner instead of cards.

All of the documents I used can be found here in PDF form. They are available for you to use for educational and non-profit purposes. All images are from Open Clip Art or and are available to use according to their terms of use.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flannel Friday - Two Little Bluebirds

Happy Birthday, Flannel Friday! 

My post this week is one of my favorite rhymes to chant with my Wee Read group: "Two Little Bluebirds". The clip art I used as a pattern came from Sweet Clip Art.

Two Little Bluebirds
Two little bluebirds sitting on a hill.
One named Jack, the other named Jill.
Fly away, Jack. Fly away, Jill.
Come back, Jack, and come back, Jill!
--Lapsit Services for the Very
Young II by Linda L. Ernst. New
York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc,

Melissa, our founder, is hosting the roundup this week. Amy, Anne, and I worked to bring you the Flannel Friday Map in time for our birthday party. Thanks, Amy, for doing such a great job with the unveiling!

As always, we are available on Facebook and Pinterest

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flannel Friday - Blue Bird, Blue Bird

This week's entry is a set of props that I've discussed before in my storytime posts, but I never talked about its origins.

I got the idea for these props from Dr. Jim Thomas. At a seminar we held for area day care workers, Jim provided foam bird cut outs for the attendees. I was lucky enough to snag a set, and thought it would be great if, while singing the song, each baby had their own set to look at.

I traced the outline of Jim's set, scanned it into my computer, and printed them out on blue, red, green, and yellow paper, then laminated the paper. After they were cut out, each had a popsicle stick taped to the back to make it easy for the babies to hold on to.

Jim used the signs for each color, bird, and Mommy. I made my own little changes by changing Mommy to Daddy, Grandpa, and Grandma for the other three verses. 

The song "Red Bird" from Babies in the Library by Jane Marino (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2003) also works with these props.

Blue Bird, Blue Bird
Blue bird, blue bird
On my window,
Blue bird, blue bird
On my window.
Blue bird, blue bird
On my window,
Oh, Mommy, I’m tired.
Use green, yellow, and red.
My additions: change "Mommy" to a different family member each verse.

Sharon from Rain Makes Applesauce is hosting today's roundup as well as the What Flannel Friday Means to You event. Make sure you stop by and give her a big internet hug for putting so much work into the festivities.

Find us on Pinterest and on Facebook, and check back next week for the Flannel Friday birthday celebrations on Mel's Desk. This is where we'll be unveiling the Flannel Friday map!

Flannel Friday Turns Two!

Melissa's call for others to contribute to her weekly Flannel Friday event came at the exact right time. I had been following (read: lurking) her Twitter feed for quite some time, and I wanted to start joining the conversations her and many other fabulous librarians were having there, but didn't quite know how. When Mel invited us to join her, I knew this was the moment I was waiting for.

The fact that I didn't have an established blog did not get in the way. I quickly designed one and posted my first Flannel Friday entry, "Flannel Friday - Teeth!" Since then, I've used the blog to talk about storytimes, programming, and in-depth topic views. I've reached out of my comfort zones, expanded my knowledge, and became a better librarian. Most importantly, I've made new friends and was even lucky enough to meet some in person.

The Flannel Friday community has become so much more than it started out. We're not just about flannel boards, we're about helping out, building each other up, and sharing our experiences. It is easy to allow yourself to feel alone, but with the extensive support group we've built up around us, I know that there will always be someone to help me track down that impossible-to-find book for a patron or help me think of a song that will work for my crazy storytime theme.

Thank you, Melissa, for opening up Flannel Friday. Thank you, Flannel Friday Development Team, for allowing me to work with such brilliant minds. Thank you, Bloggers, for your endless creativity and passion for what you do. And thank you, Readers, for being our audience.

I can't believe that it's already been two years. Here's to many, many more Flannel Fridays!