Truck Matching, Flannel Friday

This truck matching game was originally created for a coworker but I used it recently for my earthmover storytime. The elements are all created with my library’s die cut sets. The trucks were backed with black felt to be sturdier.

Once more, this flannel was a quick piece created with die cut elements. I think that this flannel is pretty easy to understand. There are six colored people. There are six colored trucks. The goal is to match the person to the truck.

If you want, you can sing a little song as you get ready to match your felt elements. I’ve seen several versions of this song across the internet. But I made this one up to be super-simple and allow me to interchange all of the different trucks.

My Favorite Truck (Sung to “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”)

My favorite truck is a ______________.
That’s the only one it could be.
My favorite truck is a ______________.
So point the right truck out to me.

Sing your verse and then have the children call out when you point to the appropriate vehicle.


Thanks to Linda at for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!

Earthmover and Printmaking, an Art Storytime


Tip Tip, Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
I Am a Backhoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines

We’re starting to wrap up our CSLP 2013 summer reading theme, “Dig into Reading.” This week our theme was EARTH MOVERS. Since it’s getting to be the end of the summer I pulled out some of my favorites. We started out reading Tip Tip, Dig Dig. I always love a book that gives you an easy opening for incorporating movement into the story. This one had the added bonus of a loose color tie in, so as we worked on remembering the movements that accompany each truck, you can also ask the children about the colors they see. Everyone got into the action.

Our second story this week was another one of my favorites, I Am a Backhoe. This is another story that has a great dramatic play tie-in. As the child in the story plays and acts out the movements of different machines, the storytime children can play along and try to guess what kind of machine he is.


Today I introduced the children to a construction themed flannel game I created for a co-worker. The object is to match the color of the person to the color of the vehicle. For more about the flannel including the cute little song I made up, see the Flannel Friday post!

Action Rhyme:

Today’s extension activity was a great one for working out the fidgets. The kids liked it so much we did it twice.

Johnny’s Hammers

(Make hammering motion with one fist)
Johnny had one hammer, one hammer, one hammer
Johnny had one hammer then he had Two
(Make hammering motion with both fists)
Johnny had two hammers, two hammers, two hammers,
Johnny had two hammers then he had Three.
(Make motion with both fists and one leg.)
Johnny had three hammers, three hammers, three hammers,
Johnny had three hammers then he had Four
(Make motion with both fists and both legs)
Johnny had four hammers, four hammers, four hammers,
Johnny had four hammers then he had Five
(Make motion with both fists and both legs and head.)
Johnny had five hammers, five hammers, five hammers
Johnny had five hammers, then he went to sleep
(lay hands like sleeping)

Art Station:

Our art word this week was PRINT. You make a print anytime you transfer an image onto your presentation media (in this case paper). For our earthmover storytime, we created earthmover prints. First the children worked with my special fingerpaint (8 parts tempera paint to 1 part dish soap) directly on the surface of the table. Craft sticks were available for children to pretend they were bulldozers pushing paint around… or they could just use their fingers. When their masterpiece was complete, an adult would lay a clean piece of paper on top of their painting to transfer the paint to the paper. The kids seem to love any kind of printmaking project and this was no exception.

Featured art station set up:

  • Clean fingerpaint (8 parts tempera paint to 1 part dish soap)
  • Dishes with spoons for the fingerpaint
  • Craft sticks
  • Paper

Burrow and Blue, an Art Storytime


What a Treasure by Will and Jane Hillenbrand
Underground by Denise Fleming

In our continuing CSLP exploration, this week we talked about BURROWS and burrowing animals. We began by reading What a Treasure. I told this story using flannels created by the artist. See the author and illustrator’s website here to download your own. There are a few activities available for free download. I highly recommend checking out the matching game.

Our second book this week was Underground by Denise Fleming. The children had a great time closely reviewing all of the illustrations. We talked about almost all of the animals in the story. The children especially enjoyed finding the buried toy truck on one of the pages.


My flannel this week was taken from the author and illustrators’ website. I will not be posting pics because I do not own the artwork.

Action Rhyme:

My extension activity this week was yet another adaptation of “Wheels on the Bus.” I don’t know a child who doesn’t enjoy singing this song in any of its incarnations.

Underground Animals

(tune of the “Wheels on the Bus”)
The worms in the ground
wiggle wiggle wiggle, wiggle wiggle wiggle, wiggle wiggle wiggle
the worms in the ground
wiggle wiggle wiggle, all day long.

Armadillos in the dirt roll and stretch…
Moles underground they scratch scratch scratch…
The rabbits in their den sleep all night…

Art Station:

This week our art word was BLUE. The children were a bit rowdy so we didn’t have a chance for much discussion and moved straight into our featured art project. This week I provided black, blue and white paint and pieces of blue paper to glue. Unfortunately because of the materials provided, the parents felt that my project was actually meant to be stenciling because the pieces of blue paper I provided were the negative pieces leftover from die cutting butterflies. Most of the parents didn’t completely take over the art projects, but they did lack the spontaneity and variety of past art projects.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paint brushes
  • Paint containers
  • Blue, black, and white tempera paint
  • Glue
  • Pieces of blue paper

Flowers, Flannel Friday

This flower matching game was created for a coworker. These were simple and quick to create.

Each of the flower tops has 1, 2, or 3 glitter circles on it. Each stem either has 1, 2, or 3 leaves on it. I made two sets of flowers and stems and only glued one set together.

These can be played with in several ways. First as a simple matching game with colors. Present the children with the completed flower. Have them choose the matching colored flower top.

Then have them choose the stem with the correct number of leaves.

These flowers can also be used as a counting game, matching the number of glitter circles on the flower tops with the number of leaves on the stem. The child counts the number of circles on the top “1-2-3” and finds a stem with the correct number of leaves, “1-2-3”. This is a great way to make the activity appropriate to an older audience and to scaffold up the activity when the children get bored.

Of course, I can also use these flowers during my storytime in combination with my counting windows. I can place my completed flowers in the appropriate number window while sharing a rhyme.


Thanks to Anna at for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!

Ants and Artists, an Art Storytime


Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants by Barbara Ann Port
The Ants Go Marching by Sandra D’Antonio

Continuing our CSLP theme “Dig into Reading” this week we talked about ANTS. We began with the Chinese tale Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants. This was a great story to talk about cultures other than our own and since fire ants are a big deal to kids in the south, they easily connected to the fierce orange ants in the story. This story was incredibly long for a storytime group and so required some abridgement, but the overall story was accessible to the children and they enjoyed Ma Jiang’s ingenuity.

Our second story was The Ants go Marching. I will admit that we did not read/sing the entire 1-10. I ended at 5 when “the little one stopped to wave good-bye”. The children did enjoy the marching along with the ants.


This week we played with my “matching flowers game” flannel. The set consists of some flowers and flower pieces. The child’s goal is to match the appropriate flower top with the stem that has the correct number of petals. As with any other matching game, the children had a blast finding the correct flower top and matching with the appropriate flower bottom. Find out more in my Flannel Friday post!

Action Rhyme:

My extension activity this week was a very simple fingerplay. As always, the incredibly simple fingerplay was a big hit with the young ones and older ones.

Ant Hill

I once saw an ant hill,(make fist with one hand)
With no ants about
So I said, “Dear little ants,
won’t you please come out?”
Then as if the little ants had heard my call,
One, two, three, four, five came out.(extend fingers, one at a time)
And that was all.

Art Station:

This week our art word was ARTIST. We talked about how everyone is an artist because everyone has the ability to put paint down on paper (or in some other way make a mark). Our featured art set up this week was a little bit of a twist on finger painting. Initially I had planned on finger painting, but when I was setting up for my class I realized I didn’t have any of my preferred paper for the project. So instead, I gave the children foam rollers and encouraged them to paint on their hands and then make handprints on their papers. It was a project that was enjoyed by all… and hardly any paint was left on my library, so I was pleasantly surprised as well.

Featured art station set up:

  • Shallow paint trays
  • Tempera paint
  • Paper
  • Small foam rollers
  • Paint brushes and crayons for embellishment

Cats and Circles, An Art Storytime


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
Mamma Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming

We continued this month’s theme of pets by talking about CATS. We started out by reading Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin’s Pete the Cat series always makes me happy. The kids love the singing and the story lines. I love that it is so easy to include the children in the storytelling. These books have everything, colors, counting, a nice message.

Mamma Cat Has Three Kittens is a sweet little story. Mamma cat does indeed have three kittens: Fluffy, Skinny and Boris. Fluffy and Skinny do everything their mother does, but Boris keeps sleeping through their antics. The kids really loved looking for the hidden creatures on every page.

Action Rhyme:

This week’s accompanying activity was a traditional counting rhyme. I used 5 cat silhouettes on my counting windows and removed each one as I progressed through the rhyme.

Five Little Kittens

Five little kittens, sleeping on a chair.
One rolled off, leaving four there.
Four little kittens, climbing in a tree
one hid in a bird’s nest; then there were three.
Three little kittens, wondered what to do.
One saw a mouse, then there were two.
Two little kittens, playing in the sun.
One chased a ball, now there is one.
One little kitten, with fur soft as silk,
Left all alone to drink a dish of milk.

Art Station:

Our art word this week was CIRCLE. We briefly discussed the difference between a circle and an oval and also talked about some things we could see that are circles. Included in this discussion were Pete the Cat’s round buttons which led us (conveniently) into our featured art project.

Our project this week used circle cut outs of various sizes as well as my hand made paint daubers. To make a dauber yourself, take a disposable water bottle (I’d suggest an aquapod type water bottle because they’re more rigid). Add about a half cup of tempera paint. Add a quarter cup of water and stir if your paint is very thick. Use a flat round makeup sponge or a cheap synthetic sponge to cover the top of your water bottle. Hold the sponge in place with a rubber band. Add masking tape around the edges of your sponge if you’re feeling paranoid. To paint, tip the bottles upside down and dot, dot, dot. Do not squeeze the bottles.

This painting method is especially fulfilling for a few reasons. First, there is a novelty factor. Second, there is slightly less painting mess to clean up as the paint almost always moves directly from dauber to paper and almost never ends up on the table. Third, the various colors seem to mix much less so the finished pieces are a pastiche of various colors, not an ugly brown mess. Fourth, although you do need some time to set up the bottles and clean off the sponges to use again another day, there is almost no wasted paint because at the end of the day, you just put the caps back on the water bottles.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paint Daubers
  • Paper
  • Circle cut outs

Matching Mushrooms, Flannel Friday

This is a set of flannel mushrooms that I created recently, for use as a game at the end of my DIRT storytime. There are thirty mushrooms total (fifteen pairs) which are all identically blank on one side and matching flannel shapes on the reverse. The mushroom shape is one that I created. The smaller shapes glued to the mushrooms were created either by cutting freehand using templates that I created, or were cut on various Ellison dies.

In storytime, half of the mushrooms can be given out to the children who then must come up to the flannel board when their shape is uncovered. Alternately, all the mushrooms could be given out and you could call out the shape on the mushroom or the color.

These mushrooms can be used by individuals or small groups to play “memory” type games wherein the blank mushrooms are flipped two at a time until matching shapes/colors are identified.

For younger children, reduce the total number of mushrooms available. Lay out one half of the pairs face up on the flannel board. Have the child choose a mushroom from the stack remaining and find the match on the flannel board.

These mushrooms can also be used in conjunction with my counting windows (1-6) as the mushrooms show various numbers of matching felt shapes.

Or for a color matching game, lay out larger pieces of matching colored flannel pieces to have the children find the match to the color of their shape.


Thanks to Amy at for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!

Bugs and Brown, an Art Storytime


The Big Bug Ball by Dee Lillegard
I Love Bugs! by Philemon Sturgis, illustrated by Shari Halpern

Our CSLP “Dig into Reading” theme continued this week with BUGS. The children were very excited to talk about all kinds of bugs. Some were very interesting (like dragonflies and butterflies) and some should be avoided (like mosquitos and fire ants). Then we read The Big Bug Ball. I enjoyed rhymes and the children enjoyed talking about all the different bugs they saw. We stopped several times in our telling to talk about the characteristics of the different bugs.

Our second story this week was I Love Bugs! Again, they were all quite excited to talk about the different bugs as they appeared in the book. One child quite emphatically told me not to touch ants because they would bite you (as he illustrated by biting his own finger.) Some of the insects in the story were not familiar to the children but they enjoyed discussing them anyway and those “in the know” were sharing their knowledge with the uninformed.

Action Rhyme:

My supporting activity this week was the Eency Weency Spider. We did the traditional, tiny spider with thumb and index finger pinched together. We followed up by singing the Big Fat Spider with the thumb and index finger as far apart as they could go. Then we rounded off the songs by singing The Really Fast Spider and The Really Slow Spider.

Eency Weency Spider

The eency weency spider went up the waterspout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the eency weency spider went up the spout again

Art Station:

Our art word this week was BROWN. None of the children claimed it was their favorite color. However, then we had a discussion about all the things that are brown: trees, puppy dogs, hair, people, chocolate. Once we started talking about all the things that are brown, they admitted that brown is a useful color.

Our featured art station this week included brown, white and red paints. The brown paint was composed of the leftovers from previous painting projects (RECYCLING!) To make the project a bit more exciting (and work on more fine motor control) the children also had access to some confetti type pieces of colorful paper they could stick to their paint and some glitter. The glitter was provided in an empty plastic spice shaker with half the holes blocked. Amazingly enough, glitter mostly stayed on the art, not the library.

Featured art station set up:

  • Brown, white and red paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper
  • Confetti pieces
  • Glitter

Counting Windows, Flannel Friday

These felt counting windows were developed when I got tired of writing and spelling numbers on all of my counting rhyme animals. They are each approximately 11” x 5” with the windows about 5” x 5” which is large enough for most felt creatures. Download the template here!

I have been pleasantly surprised with the versatility of these windows. I am able to use them in my storytime almost every week.

I generally create very simple silhouette felt animals for my counting rhymes and use the windows as we recite the rhyme.

I also have the option of writing the numbers on the counting rhyme animals if I wish (meaning that the animals and windows can have a second life as a matching game).

These counting windows are especially great for flannel stories like the one I developed for Over in the Jungle by Marianne Berkes. This flannel was created by scanning pictures from the book and printing them onto filter paper. I then touched up the image with colored pencils to make it brighter. As I read the story, I put the mother animals on the appropriate number window. In a smaller storytime, I would also have the option of giving the pieces to the children in the storytime and allowing them to place the mother animal on the board as I read/sang.


Thanks to Meg at for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!

Vegetables and Vehicles, an Art Storytime


It’s Harvest Time by Jean McElroy
Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre

We continued our “Dig into Reading” theme again this week with VEGETABLES. We began by reading It’s Harvest Time. This book was a last minute find. I was very excited to find this book. The book features photographs of seeds and shows them in the beginnings of the germination process and then shows the harvested fruit or vegetable. The kids really liked seeing all the seeds and guessing what the final product would be. The format of this book was also interesting as each page folded out in stages.

Our second story was Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant. The kids enjoyed this book more than I thought they would. We spent the entire book looking at the quality photographs of vegetables and discussing the ones we liked to eat. I (in addition to their parents) was quite impressed with the number of vegetables they claim to eat.

Flannel Activity:

This weeks activity was a flannel rhyme, Magical Rainbow Stew. I first discovered this flannel through Flannel Friday about a year ago and every time I do it with the kids they are amazed! Check out Storytime ABC’s Flannel Friday post for more details!

Begin by introducing the children to a rainbow collection of plastic fruit. To do the activity, start with your red fruit and put it in your pot. Stir the pot with a nice big spoon as you repeat the rhyme below. At the end of the rhyme, pull out pre-cut pieces of your flannel rainbow. Repeat with all the fruit until your entire rainbow is up.

Rainbow Stew

Take an apple, put it in the pot
Stir it, stir it, stir it a lot.
Take it out. What will it be?
The prettiest red you ever did see.

Art Station:

This week our art word was VARIETY. We discussed the meaning of the word and then talked about the importance of variety in our lives. The children discussed the different types of art projects we sometimes work on and then I introduced them to yet another variety of art project…. painting with vehicles. The process for this project was to drop a small amount of watered down tempera paint onto their papers and then drive through the paint with matchbox cars.

The children really enjoyed this art process. The only issue was in the amount of paint applied to their papers. I clearly stated at the beginning of this project that parents should apply the paint and there should be no more than a teaspoon of paint total. However, quite a few of the papers were soaked with paint.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paper
  • Watered down tempera paint (1 part paint: 1 part water)
  • Spoons (for dripping paint)
  • Cars