Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Skeletons (Bones)

Last fall two books appeared that called out to my slightly twisted side:  SKULLS by Blair Thornburgh and GIVE ME BACK MY BONES! by Kim Norman.  It was October & what's spookier than bones?  I started looking and came up with more than enough books for a storytime that was more STEM than spooky but still lots of fun.  This would be easy to expand with stories on fossils as well as skeleton bones.

In the fall of 2020, I found a skeleton garland that I took the string out of & then used the white felt skeletons for a flannel board story.  I found it at Dollar Tree, so quick & cheap.

I wrote a rhyme that I started originally with the traditional "five" but then switched to "six" and instead of counting down & up by one, we did it by two.  (You can easily switch back if you prefer).

SIX SKELETONS    (tune: Three Blind Mice)

Six skeletons, six skeletons
Dancing all around, dancing all around
Two fell down!  BOOM!    
(Boom is shouted & I slap my hands hard against my thighs)

Four skeletons, four skeletons....
Two skeletons, two skeletons...

No skeletons, no skeletons
Dancing all around, dancing all around
Two jumped up!  HURRAY!

Two skeletons, two skeletons...
Four skeletons, four skeletons...

Six skeletons, six skeletons,
Dancing all around, dancing all around
Dancing so fast, they danced     right    out    of     town.

When I first did this is fall of 2019, I used the plastic skeleton but then found the jointed felt skeleton (both at Dollar Tree) later.  I used the felt one for my virtual storytime in 2020.

For action verses, I used "The Skeleton Dance" from Super Simple Songs-Halloween and "The Spooky Pokey" (I called it the Boney Pokey since I was emphasizing bones as my theme) from Cape May County Library Kids blog.  You'll need to scroll through to find it, but while there check out their Fall Movement Cards.  Shake dem bones!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Pumpkins--Flannel board & active participation

 I found the rhyme "Once I Had a Pumpkin" on the King County Library System website.  You start with a plain pumpkin and the next verse has you add eyes, nose, mouth and teeth.  I'd sing a version of this as I created a jack-o-lantern on my flannel board.  I then put up a number of felt pumpkins and handed out features & let the kids come up and make their own faces.  The features were many fun foam stickers made to decorate pumpkins which I stuck to felt & cut out.  My faces are plain compared to what the kids did but I thought they'd give an idea of a finished face.  My pumpkins were various shades of orange and brown.

I just noticed no noses, but I have some of those that I hand out too, as well as hair, hats & a few other items.  I hope you try this and have as much fun as we have had.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Storytime resources

Over time, I've collected many websites that are useful for storytimes and child care providers.  It's constantly changing as I find new sites and older sites disappear.  Below is my current list (as of April 2020)

Before using, please check copyright information at each site

Lincoln City Libraries: 

To reach me, Sandra Wallick, Gere Branch Librarian:
phone: (402) 441-8568 (office) or (402) 441-8560 (Gere Branch Library)

Author Sites:
Jan Brett: has so much stuff that you need to see it to believe it.
Eric Carle: has information on the author and a section where teachers share ideas on ways to use his books in the classroom. 
Denise Fleming:  has puzzles, crafts and book activities related to her books.
Ezra Jack Keats:  is the site for his foundation which has activities for his books & information on mini-grants for schools & libraries.
Jan Thomas:  offers many ways to extend her books & the tune for the Brave Cowboy’s  lullaby.
Mem Fox:  Mem is a champion of reading aloud to children, the sooner the better.  Her site offers insights into her books as well as her 10 commandments for reading aloud and more. ****
Mo Willems: has stuff for grown-ups & kids with ideas to use with most of Mo’s books.  His official website is  where you’ll find his blog and more information about & ideas to use with his books.

Babies Need Words Everyday: Talk, Read, Sing, Play.  Babies Need Words Every Day resources include eight visually appealing posters that deliver simple, effective rhymes, games and other suggestions for immediate, enriching ways to communicate with babies.
Bridge to Reading:  “To provide parents and caregivers with a selection of quality picture books to read aloud to young
Center for Early Literacy Learning: CELL offers Practitioners’ Practice Guides & Parent Resources along with much more.
4-H Stem Reading Connections:  STEM resources related to Summer Reading themes since 2015.
Nebraska State Reading Association:  They have great pamphlets for parents on reading development in both English and Spanish.  These are wonderful to have available for baby, toddler, & preschool programs.                  ****           
Nerdy Book Club:  If you love books, especially those written for children and young adults, then you are an honorary member of the Nerdy Book Club.”
Read Aloud 15 Minutes:  Brings together partners nationwide to make reading aloud 15 minutes a day the new parenting standard.
Read Aloud Nebraska:  This group promotes reading aloud through many avenues.
Views2: Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully from the University of Washington Information School.  

Diversity/Multicultural Sites:


Storytime Resources:

Book to Boogie:  Part of the Library as Incubator project, this monthly post ties a picture book title into dance & movement activities.
Cape May County Library Children’s Department Blog:  Lots of good stuff but if you go to page 3 you’ll start to find free printable movement cards.
Child Care Land:  Early learning activities for Pre-K & kindergarten.     ****
Children’s Music by Nancy Stewart:  Check out her section on Homemade Instruments for ideas of easy instruments you can make.
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Bell Awards:!clelbellawards/c8k2   This award, which began in 2014,  selects one title each for the five parts of Every Child Ready To Read.  An activity sheet for each winner is available for you to use.
Create a Storytime: This has links to various resources from Indianhead Federated Library
The Daycare Resource Connection:  described as a resource for parents & providers, they offer a variety of options including flannel board printables at
Early Childhood Investigation Weninars: Free conference quality webinars for early childhood educators.
First School:  Offers themes, crafts & coloring pages to support preschool activities.
Flannel Friday: on the web: &  on Pinterest:
Fruit and Vegetable Fact Sheets from UNL Extension:
The Holiday Zone:  The Holiday Zone offers free educational resources on holidays and seasons for use in early childhood and elementary educational settings. Holidays include those that are less well known.
Jbrary Channel  @ Children’s librarians host a video collection that demonstrates dozens of songs, rhymes & fingerplays
King County Library System:  Here is the section of their site called “Tell Me a Story”
Kizclub:  A fun site with great printouts for flannelboards just click on Stories & Props.
Little Giraffes:  This is a former kindergarten with some really good links.
My Cute Graphics:  Free graphics to print for flannel boards, bulletin boards, etc.
Pre-K Fun:
Preschool Education:
Preschool Express:  Jean Warren’s site.
Printable Puppets:  primarily stick puppets but quite colorful.
Recommended Books from ALSC:
Saroj Ghoting, Early Childhood Literature Consultant:         ****
Science Bob:  Simple science experiments at
Star Books  (From Hennepin County Library)
Step by Step Childcare:
Storytime to Go: A Reading Readiness Guide for Parent and Preschools by Lexington Public Library
Storytime Standouts:  Raising children who love to read:
Sweet Clip Art:
Teaching Mama:  She has free printables available through her printables button @
The Virtual Vine:  A resource for Early Childhood teachers. 

Blogs I have found useful:

Mel’s Desk:  Mel started Flannel Friday which is now being hosted & added to by several different bloggers.
1,2,3,4 More Storytimes:
Science In Storytime: A place to share cool science ideas for storytime  This is maintained by 3 Lincoln City Libraries’ staff members/storytellers.    ****
The Show Me Librarian:

My blog is called Storytime Sparks, –I’m primarily posting flannel board ideas right now.  If you would like to see me post something specific (such as a Color Flannelboard or storytime suggestions on a specific topic, e-mail me with Storytime Request in the subject line)

Super Storytime Extensions:

Pete the Cat:  I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin.  Free song download  at:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Flannel board pieces at:

What Will Fat Cat Sit On? by Jan Thomas.  Fat Cat play at:

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker.  Idea source & adapted script at:                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Storytelling with Props

Teddy Bear (or puppet):  TEDDY BEAR, TEDDY BEAR, A CLASSIC ACTION RHYME.  By Michael Hague.
Gingerbread Man puppet:  THE GINGERBREAD MAN, THE GINGERBREAD BOY.  No-sew gingerbread man puppet at 

Play Food:
                        The first is for the sandwich made with a sponge & the second has a collection of no sew ideas!
Stick Puppets:
   (activities, masks) print & cut out & attach to paint sticks.
   (things to do)  “Have a Fat Cat Play”—WHAT WILL FAT CAT SIT ON?  Print, color & attach to paint stick.    Find the rhyme for Elephants Balancing & her free printable.

Finger puppets:
   (finger puppets for TOWN MOUSE & COUNTRY MOUSE)
   (things to do)  Finger Puppet Fun!  IS EVERYONE READY FOR FUN?

Updated 4-20-2020 sw

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fairy Tale/Mother Goose Bedtime (with a twist!)

This all started with the book SLEEP TIGHT, SNOW WHITE: 15 BEWITCHING BEDTIME RHYMES by Jen Arena, which can be read aloud quite easily.  It reminded me of another favorite, GOOD NIGHT, BADDIES by Deborah Underwood where many of the baddies from fairy tales gather and get ready for bed.  Could I find enough to make a storytime  with a twist?  I could and more!

Cover image for Good night, baddiesCover image for Sleep tight, Snow White : 15 bewitching bedtime rhymes

The books I had on hand were:

FAIRLY FAIRY TALES by Esme Raji Codell
GOOD NIGHT, BADDIES by Deborah Underwood
LA PRINCESA AND THE PEA by Susan Middleton Elya
ROCK-A-BYE ROMP by Linda Ashman
SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

I have two preschool storytimes a week so I used different titles at each one & still wasn't able to use them all.  I also used a collection of bedtime rhymes called SLEEPYTIME: BEDTIME NURSERY RHYMES by Terry Pierce.

Then came flannel boards.  There are lots of bedtime themed one but I wanted some that were Mother Goose or fairy tales & had a twist.  Here are three that I made, the first was inspired by a rhyme from SLEEPYTIME called "On Saturday Night, I lost my wife."  I changed wife to cat & added the other days of the week.  I found a moon image through Google for my felt moon, used our die machine to cut the other figures out of felt & (since I didn't have the star die handy) used some star cut-outs from a bulletin board,


On Saturday night, I lost my cat
And where do you think I found her?
High on the moon, singing a tune,
With all the stars around her.

On Sunday night, I lost my mouse
And where do you think I found him?
High on the moon singing a tune,
With all the stars around him.

(I continued with the rest of the days of the week)

Another flannel board came from Story Time Secrets, Rock-a-Bye Baby (Animals).

I used a cradle from a baby announcement for my cradle pattern and enlarged a tree die cut for my tree pattern.  Again, I die cut the animals from felt.

The third flannel board built on Little Boy Blue.  He's asleep, but behind which haystack?  I had farm animals behind 5 of the haystacks & we rolled the die to see which number to look under.

(expanded flannel board edition)

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.
Where is the little boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack, fast asleep.

Which haystack should we pick?
Let's give the die a roll real quick.
Number ____, can it be?
Let's take a look and see.

My patterns were primarily Google images I found with the farm animals being dies that we had in our collection.

I had a lot of fun with this and my storytime group of children and adults got some good chuckles from it as well.  Happy Storytimes!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Creepy Underwear

I adore Aaron Reynolds' book Creepy Pair of Underwear and love reading it to children.  I just had to create a flannel board story to go along with it and thought I'd share it with you.

I created my underwear out of glitter fun foam for a spookier look and used velcro dots on the back.  I used a coloring sheet called Design Your Own Underwear as my pattern.  I used the expressions on the underwear at the end of the book for my faces.  I wrote this last fall & only had time to make 8 pair and so that's what my rhyme reflects.  I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did & have some fun making your own underwear.


Creepy, creepy underwear
I see them here
I see them there
I see them almost everywhere.

Look, there’s one, two, three,
That I can see.

Now there’s four, five, six,
Are they up to tricks?

Here’s two more, seven & eight
Hurrying so they won’t be late.

Creepy, creepy underwear
Really are EVERYWHERE!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Arbor Day

Being a Nebraskan, I'm very proud that Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City.  Since today is Arbor Day, I wanted to share this flannel board I created using wooden shapes from the craft store and paper tree d├ęcor sheets from the dollar store.  I found the trees and brainstormed until I figured out how I could use them.

Red bird, red bird,
What do you see
Hidden high up
In the tree?
Red bird, red bird,
Look with me
There a __________
In the tree.
We talked about how footballs, soccer balls (or a helicopter) could end up in a tree.  I thought it might be fun to find things that DON'T belong there as well.  I may also do a set with pictures behind the trees of nests, birds, and fruit.  On group of kids kept guessing apples each time.
Kate at Feltboard Magic is our hostess today so visit her page for more sharing.

Friday, January 29, 2016


I haven't posted for quite awhile, so I thought I'd share several robot flannel boards today.  These were all items I picked up at various stores but I don't think I paid more than $3 for any one set.

These are wooden lacing robots I got from Target's $1-$3 bins (these were $3)

Hank has eight robots in his shop this week.
This one's microchips are fried and that one sprung a leak.
Hank will give these two a look-see
And he'll know just what to do.
And when these robots leave Hank's shop
They'll be as good as new!
(repeat with 6, 4, 2)
Hank has no more robots in his shop this week.
He's fixed all their microchips and plugged up all their leaks.
This is my adaptation of the rhyme Cate at STORYTIMING wrote.

Two different sets:  the top ones were bulletin board cutouts from Wal-Mart & the bottom three are from Dollar Tree & a set of 15 (5 of each design).  Here's the rhyme I use with 9 of the bottom ones.

One friendly, two friendly, three friendly robots,
Four friendly, five friendly, six friendly robots,
Seven friendly, eight friendly, nine friendly robots,
Standing in three rows.
Nine friendly, eight friendly, seven friendly robots,
Six friendly, five friendly, four friendly robots,
Three friendly, two friendly, one friendly robot
Waving bye, bye, bye.

I love these because they're big (9") & I got them from Dollar Tree.  I used these with this song (to B-I-N-G-O).  I cut the 8" letters out with our Ellison dies.  I'm still working on some other rhymes for these.

I took a lot of metal parts
and built a funny robot.
I built a funny robot.
(Continue with by replacing one letter at a time with a robot & a clap)
Shawn at Read, Rhyme & Sing is hosting Flannel Friday this week so check out his blog to get lots of good ideas.  Flannel Friday is a wonderful way to share and gain inspiration for programming.  I love to visit, learn, and borrow ideas from lots of different folks.