Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flannel Friday: Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea

For our fall session of story time, I decided to base my theme around colors! Basic, I know, but it's my first time running a full-fledged story time session on my own, so I wanted something simple that also gave me some wiggle room. It feels like I've got a VERY young group this time around, so having the wiggle room is good.

For week 1, I did red, and borrowed the crafty Miss Sarah's Five Red Apples flannel board. The kids LOVED it; I can't even begin to describe how adorably silent and worried they went when I brought out the farmer's wife to exclaim about how there weren't any more apples.

We did blue my second week, and I decided to make a flannel board based off of Jan Peck's book, Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea. It's a cute story with great illustrations, and it has a lot of repetition, which I like to use with my flannel boards. The animals are made out of craft foam, though the background is flannel.

Here's my full cast of characters:

 Please excuse the dolphin's terrifying eyes. I promise they're normal googly eyes, there's just an unfortunate light glare. (Though based off this picture, I am seriously considering naming him Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. I feel like it fits.)

 My background:

And some close ups:

Ms. Whale and Mr. Octopus are fancy. Probably on their way to an under-the-sea ball. The BEST kind of ball, obviously. I hear life is the bubbles down there.

Oh, Stormageddon. You look so much friendlier now!

But Mr. Seahorse is still keeping an eye on you.

I switched up the book's text a little to work more smoothly for a flannel board. Instead of including the "treasure" stanzas to frame the story, I just focused on "meeting" each sea creature. Here's the rhyme I ended up using!

Way down deep in the deep blue sea,
I spy a seahorse swimming by me!
Hello, seahorse!
How are you, seahorse?
See you later, seahorse!
And we swim away!

I then switched out the seahorse for a hermit crab, a starfish, a sea turtle, an octopus, a dolphin, and a whale. (There was a swordfish in the original book, but I was out of room on my flannel board, and I figured my 2s and 3s would be least likely to recognize a swordfish. Sorry, Mr. Swordfish!)

Then, to wrap up this flannel board, I introduced an exceedingly cute, fuzzy shark puppet (WAY less intimidating than you-know-who a few pictures up):

Okay, he is a wee bit toothy, but I maintain that he is adorable.

And here's the end of our rhyme!

Way down deep in the deep blue sea,
I spy a... a SHARK! Oh no!

Quick, swim away!

And that's it! We ended by waving goodbye to all of the different animals. The first time I did this, I waved goodbye to each animal individually as I took them off the board, which did not hold the kids' attention even a little bit, so we switched to a general goodbye instead. If I do this one again, I also might omit a couple animals - the flannel board as a whole went a bit long, and at one point, I had a little girl inform me, "You're putting too much on there!"

End note: Apologies for the Stormageddon jokes, which you probably won't find funny unless you watch Doctor Who.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flannel Friday: 5 Little Ducks

This is an old favorite, obviously; I'm sticking to the tried and true lyrics because I love them. (I grew up listening to Raffi's version of this one over and over and over.) I would love to figure out a way to make this flannel board with more bells and whistles: for example, finding a way to make the ducks "swim" across the board, plucking them off one at a time once they disappear around the back. Ooh, magic! [insert jazz hands here] Alas, I'm going to have to save that for some future story time.

Five little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother duck said, "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only four little ducks came back.

(Repeat with 4, 3, 2, etc.)

For the last verse, I use:

Sad mother duck went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said, "Quack, quack, quack quack!"
(dramatic pause)
Uh oh... I don't think that was loud enough. Can you all help Mother Duck quack a little bit louder?
And all of the five little ducks came back!

For the actual flannel pieces, I used our ellison machine to cut ducks out of craft foam, then added some orange foam for their beaks and feet. Then I decided that this bunch of ducks loves to play dress up, and so each of them got a different accessory. (Aaaaand I am linking this to the Halloween flannel board post because... you know. Costumes! Totally relevant! Easy way to jazz up an otherwise non-Halloweeny flannel board!)

 There's my whole crew! Flock? What do you call a group of ducks?

Haha, and obviously I had to look that up. According to wikianswer: A group of ducks is called a badelynge, bunch, brace, flock, paddling, raft or team. Also, one might call it a dover of ducks. If it's a group of ducklings (i.e., they've recently hatched and are being looked after by their mother), it is called a brood. The more you know! I think I might like "paddling" the past. Look at that paddling of ducks paddling about! Dover is rather charming, too.

 Superhero Duck and Sir Royal Duck

 The Court Jester!

 Santa Duck and Ballerina Duck (I know, it's barely even October yet, but I figured a Santa hat was nice and recognizable.)
 And here we have poor Mother Duck! She's a sort-of-puppet. Her head is turnable, but that's the extent of it. She's huge and fluffy though, so she gets to sit on my lap and lead the quacking.

And that's it from me! Hope you liked my ducklings.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Story Time Craft: Sunflowers

 I'll have to go back and play catch up on my previous crafts for this session of story time, but for my YELLOW week, I actually remembered to take some pictures, so here they are!

We made sunflowers from yellow fall leaves and black beans!

These were super simple to make and even easier to prep for. I gave each kid a sheet of blue cardstock, with a simple circle drawn in the center (just a little bit bigger than the brown circle of construction paper). The circle was just there as a guideline to help my crafters figure out where to put the glue. We outlined the circle with a gluestick, then pressed the yellow leaves in place. Once the leaves were down, we glued our brown circles on top. Then we made dots with our tacky glue, and the kids pushed the black beans into place. (Tacky glue worked BY FAR the best to hold the beans in place.) Finally, each child got a green crayon to add whatever extra details they wanted.

 And there you have it! A nice sunny, autumnal sunflower. Do keep in mind that leaves can be temperamental beasts; my second day's story timers ended up with sunflowers that were more brown than yellow, since I had collected the leaves a few days previously. If you have the chance, it might be a good idea to press them ahead of time, in the hopes they'll hold their color a bit longer. Otherwise, collect the leaves day of or the day before for the brightest colors.


Happy Fall!

Monday, September 17, 2012

We take a break from our Wacky Wednesday updates to bring you...

Seussian decorations!

Our children's room is filled with some fairly large, terribly ugly columns. I'm sure they're an integral part of, you know, the library's structural support, but they also happen to be a huge pain to decorate. We try to change the columns with each new season, but it isn't always easy to come up with new ideas - especially ones that can be cylinder-ized.

Anyway, my coworker Miss Beth came up with the idea to Seussify the room, and the rest of us took that idea and ran with it. The room looks great (in my oh-so-humble opinion) - nice and colorful and bright and fun! So I wanted to snap some pictures to share with you guys!

 Credit to Miss Beth for this one! She kicked everything off with the Lorax. His mustache is made of felt, and the kids LOVE it.

I am the Lorax, and I speak for the trees. 
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not!

Miss Beth also did a Green Eggs and Ham pole.
"I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am!"

Miss Jan made a lovely Yertle the Turtle bulletin board.

 And we have good old Horton over in the corner, courtesy of Miss Sarah!
"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!"

This was one of mine - the lovely Miss Gertrude McFuzz!

"This just isn't fair! I have one! She has two!
I must have a tail just like Lolla-Lee-Lou!"

And, of course, it wouldn't be Dr. Seuss without the Cat in the Hat, so I had to tackle him as well.

 "We looked, then we saw him step in on the mat. We looked, and we saw him - the Cat in the Hat!"

 I also did a One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish pole. I had wanted to do something more along the lines of McElligot's Pool with all of its crazy fish, but I ran out of time. Still, I like the idea of an interactive pole where the kids can "find" each of the fish! (Hufflepuffs in training, obviously.)

 "One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!"

I'm doing colors for story time this fall, and my first week is "red," so my initial thought was to make these Cat in the Hat hats (found here although be warned, those measurements are way off). Anyway, I decided the hat was a bit too complicated for a first week craft for 2s and 3s, but I didn't want it go to waste, so I stuck it on this little guy's head instead!

And finally, it was tough to get a decent picture, but I lined this overhang we have on our ceiling with"Oh the thinks you can think, when you think about Seuss!" in some awesomely bright colors. 

 As well as some bright 3-D orbs for good measure! (And yes, I did indeed have the soundtrack to Seussical the Musical running through my head the entire time I was making this.) In this picture, you can also see the stack ends that Miss Sarah made - the middle one has a silhouette of the kids from the Cat in the Hat, as well as a quote. Very cute!

And that's all for now! Check back soon for some more Wacky Wednesday crafts from this past summer, as well as at least one Flannel Friday in the near future.

Friday, August 31, 2012

SRP 2012: Wacky Wednesday (Part 3) | Nocturnal Animals/Things that Go Bump in the Night!

The subtitle of this post shall be: Miss Angela Cuts Out Ten Thousand Triangles.

Did I cut out ten thousand triangles? Technically, no. Did it feel like I cut out ten thousand triangles? Ohhhhhhh yes.

For the final week of our Wacky Wednesday program, we decided to combine two of the themes we hadn't been able to use yet: Nocturnal Animals and Things That Go Bump in the Night. (And yes, I am once again going out of order, because I have lots of pictures for this week!)

Now, back to the triangles! Miss Jan and I had seen these adorable construction paper owls and immediately decided we wanted to use them as one of our crafts. Now, considering our very high turnout each week, and seeing the number of triangles that ended up being used for each of these owls, I made it my mission to cut out All The Triangles. All of them. Honestly, we have some kind of terrifying automatic paper cutting machine upstairs in our office, but I didn't think cutting out over a thousand triangles would take THAT long, so I just opted to do it myself. (No, Miss Angela. Miss Angela, no. You are WRONG.)

Haha, interminable triangle-cutting aside, these owls turned out GREAT. (And, of course, we had SO many triangles left over. Oh well. I would rather have too many than not enough!) The kids really went to town with them, resulting in a slew of what I like to call 'Picasso' owls.

 I loved seeing all the different takes on the owls! I think we have the most fun when we focus on projects that are more about the process than the final product, and this definitely felt like one of those.

So, the owls were a 110% thumbs up!

Next, we were inspired by these lovely fireflies, though we decided to put our own spin on them.

This is Miss Jan's sample. It's hard to tell in the picture, but we added a little bit of glitter to the wings, and it really jazzed up the craft!

This was probably my VERY favorite firefly; it's not every day you see one that has a nose!

Another one, with lovely, sparkling wings!

Our final Nocturnal Animal craft was a raccoon mask, (inspiration here).

I only have a picture of the template for this one, but there wasn't too much variation across the board. We cut the paper plates ahead of time, and traced the black sunglasses shape. We also went ahead and punched holes for the eyes, instead of using googly eyes, so that the kids would be able to see through them. Definitely the quickest craft of the day, but fun!

And finally, we finished up with blow paint monsters! I saw this post linked on Pinterest awhile ago, and it remains one of my very favorite things.

This one is Miss Jan's template - isn't he cute? Haha, I think he looks like a sea creature, a bit. 

The blue paint was a bit too thick when we first mixed it, which is probably clear from the picture. I like my paint watered down enough so that you can get some really awesome spidery branches. For this project, we just used your basic tempera paints mixed with water. Then we had our amazing volunteers go around and dribble a bit of each color on the kids' papers. In retrospect, we could have given them more paint, probably, and we ended up doing second rounds for people who didn't get enough the first time, but we were pretty focused on trying to keep the mess minimal.

Ahhhh, a terrifying monster! In the interest of keeping the program fast-paced (since we had numerous squirrely toddlers to contend with) we just gave the kids googly eyes to stick on, but I did love the idea of the kids being able to cut accessories from paper to give their monsters that little something extra.

And a final bunch of this week's crafts!

 I had a GREAT time with this week's projects. Since it was our final week, we'd had plenty of practice setting up, which really enabled things to run smoothly. I'd say this was maybe the smoothest program of the summer, despite it clocking in at four crafts!

I'll be posting about our superhero program next, so keep an eye out for that!

Monday, August 20, 2012

SRP 2012: Wacky Wednesday (Part 2) | The Night Sky!

And here we are with Wacky Wednesday Part 2: The Night Sky! This is another week with fewer pictures than I would like, but this time I actually have a good reason for it. That is, a reason that does not involve me simply forgetting the camera!

Somehow, Miss Jan and I completely failed to realize that since July 4th fell on a Wednesday this year, the library would be closed on the actual holiday. This led to some last-minute scrambling, as we decided to bump our "night sky" theme up a week, since we preferred to have it the week before the 4th, as opposed to the week after. We had a few activities and crafts in mind, but not all that much set in stone, since we thought we'd have an entire extra week of planning. And since nothing was too terribly set in stone, we (of course) managed to change our minds on almost every single craft approximately two days before we had to have them ready! Because we are awesome.

While clicking around, hoping for inspiration to strike, I stumbled across this amaaaazing depiction of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night:

Super beautiful and fantastic, right? Unfortunately, also waaay beyond the scope of our program. But while I was looking at this, I couldn't help but think about other ways we could do a 'Starry Night' of our own. And then I remembered salt painting!

Hah, not quite as impressive as the quilling, mayhaps, but well-suited to the age group we had, and lots of fun besides! We used black paper and watered down acrylic paint, which resulted in some really awesome, vibrant colors, and also meant we didn't have to worry about getting liquid watercolors! (We tried food coloring, but it was way too light.)

We decided against eye droppers, too, and just gave the kids those thin paintbrushes that come with every set of kids' paints ever. Those worked perfectly! They let the kids transfer enough of the thinned paint to color their pictures, but didn't completely soak the paper.

Our second activity was creating a "mural" of the night sky. We rolled out a huge sheet of black paper along three tables, then set out some chalk and let the kids have at! This wasn't a terribly time-consuming project, but I think it turned out really cool.

The chalk showed up well against the black paper, and you could also smear it for a neat effect. Once the entire paper was full, we hung it up in the hallway, behind our book tables!

My favorite part was probably the many suns that turned up in this version of the night sky!

And finally, we have our last craft, which is also the reason I have so few pictures of this week.

We made rocket ships! We got the instructions from Family Fun, and they turned out AMAZINGLY. Once you get the hang of launching them, they really fly! We even set up a launching site for the kids, to see who could send their ships flying the farthest.

Now, you might be wondering why this craft so severely impacted our picture taking. WELL. See that little circle where the kid has drawn in a face? We decided it would be cute and oh-so-personalized to take pictures of all of our kids, then cut them out so they could put themselves in the peep hole of their rocket ship. Unfortunately, we not only overestimated how long it would take to snap all the pictures, then upload them to our not-always-fast computers, but we didn't count on everyone being finished with their crafts so quickly! This was our shortest program of the summer; half an hour after we started, I had people wandering down to the children's room to ask if the pictures were ready to go yet, which they most decidedly were not. I eventually got MOST of the pictures handed out, after some serious scrambling, but it basically kept me tied to the desk until the very end, meaning I didn't get any pictures of the program. Still, the rocket ship cup was a big hit; I would absolutely do it again, probably just not with the individualized pictures this time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SRP 2012: Wacky Wednesday (Part 1) | Nighty-Night!

The end of July seems to be creeping up on me in the worst way possible. What happened to June, anyway? Long story short, it's been go-go-go around here all summer long, and I am sadly behind on my blogging! I haven't made any new flannelboards, either, so participating in Flannel Friday anytime soon is a no-go, but I did want to make a post for some of the crafts we've been doing.

My coworker, Miss Jan, and I, have been in charge of a Wacky Wednesday program for ages 3 - 7 this summer. We were initially hoping to do some science experiments, but with an average crowd size of 80+, we couldn't quite figure out a way to manage it. We focused on arts and crafts instead, with an occasional activity thrown in to keep things exciting!

 We started Week One off with some fun, simple camping crafts, but I'm having a tough time tracking down pictures of those, so I think I'll leave that post for later. Instead, I'll skip on ahead to Week Two!

Our theme for this week was Bedtime, and we planned (most) of our crafts accordingly! We'd initially talked about having a teddy bear sleepover sometime this week, but somehow in the scramble to get everything else ready, the sleepover was forgotten. Oh well - maybe next time!

Our first craft this week is tied with superhero week for my absolute favorite of the summer! We made... drumroll please...

Handmade teddy bear pillows! Such a fun bear craft!

Teddy Bear Pillows!

I am still entirely delighted with how well these turned out! They. Were. Adorable. Miss Jan and I had been tossing the idea around, but were having difficulty figuring out how to put it into action. The examples we'd found online all involved sewing, which would have been way too difficult to manage with 50-some five-year-olds. (For example: these bears here!) Finally, we cut two simple (matching) bear shapes out of the world's softest and fuzziest fleece (using this template as a guide), then hot glued them together along the edges. We left just the top edge unglued, so the kids were able to stuff the bears with fiber fill, poking it into the arms and legs with pencils. During our craft day, we had a hot glue station, manned by our AMAZING volunteers. (They completely rocked - we couldn't have done our program without them!) Once the bear was filled and glued shut, the kids got to take them back to their tables and decorate them, with a little help from the lucky adult who had brought them! SO much fun, and a great way to use up scraps of leftover fabric!

That's a picture of some of our patrons' AWESOME creations. If you're wondering what that vaguely tie-dyed, soggy mess underneath them is... well. Let me tell you about our adventures in bubble painting.

For those of you not in the know, bubble painting is supposed to produce an end result like the following:

 Picture from Meet the Dubiens

What a cool idea, we thought! Bubble painting! Awesome! And it is awesome - if you do it right!

Suffice it to say, our bubble station could have run a wee bit more smoothly. We used foil pie tins to hold the solution, which made it almost impossible to get a print. Most of the kids ended up with a very faint circle, if anything, and the rest managed to dip their entire paper into the solution, thus ending up with a soggy mess. (See above.) We had slightly better luck with smaller containers, but even then, the prints weren't nearly vibrant enough. (We used food coloring instead of paint to color our solution, which I think might have been part of the problem.)

Along with the bubble painting, we also made our own bubble wands with pipe cleaners, wire, and beads, then filled a big tub with bubble solution so the kids could blow bubbles. Thankfully, that was much more successful!

Bedtime week also featured a "counting sheep" craft. We printed this template on cardstock, then used it as our base. The kids drew a hat for the sheep, cut the entire picture out, then glued cotton balls to the sheep's body. (To cut down on waste, we had them tear each cotton ball into smaller pieces. Worked like a charm!)

 This was our initial inspiration, from Adventures of a Blonde Librarian!

We could have left it here, but we felt like it was too simple for our craft program, so we decided to give the sheep a "fence" to jump over. We cut sheets of cardstock in half, then had the kids draw a fence on them. Miss Jan, armed with a hammer and nails, punched holes in a bunch of craft sticks pre-program. The holes provided just enough give for us to stick a small brad through them. We taped the sheep to one end of the craft stick, then laid the piece of paper on top of the stick and punched the brad through both layers. Once the brad was through, we spread the tines and taped those down to the craft stick. The brad provided a pivot point, giving us a sheep that "leaped" over a fence!

(I seem to have misplaced my sample - clearly I was very well-organized this summer! - so please observe the following picture, of the sheep having completed its leap!)

And there you have it! Week Bedtime was, I believe, a success! The kids had fun, we had fun, and barring the bubble painting, I think all of our projects turned out really well! (And the kids still enjoyed the bubble painting, so I'm going to go ahead and count that as a win, too. I would absolutely try it again, just with more careful planning this time around.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flannel Friday: Fabulous Fireworks!

Hello, hello, and Happy "Two Days After the" Fourth of July! I hope everyone who was celebrating had a nice holiday! I didn't go see any fireworks this year, but it's a decision I'm pretty okay with, considering that  we got hit with a rather ridiculous downpour about halfway through the fireworks.

Our theme for this week was 'Night Sky,' and Monday night (roughly 14 hours before my story time!) I saw a firework craft that made me go "oooh!" (To give credit where credit was due, here is the link to the craft.) I thought it would make a perfect "color" flannel board, so using the sparkly pipe cleaners as a jumping off point, I made seven different fireworks.

I don't think you can go wrong with this much sparkle.



I'm pretty sure this one is my mental image whenever I read about the Weasley twins setting off Catherine Wheels at Hogwarts under the regime of Umbridge the Unbearable. (Oh, JK Rowling. Write me another book about wizards, please and thank you!)

I also came up with a quick, simple rhyme to read aloud as I put each firework up.

We sit and look at the dark night sky,
Waiting for the fireworks to start to fly.
Then with a BOOM and a flash of light
A big RED firework sparkles in the night

We clapped our hands on BOOM and waggled our fingers on "flash of light," and then I had the kids shout out the color of the firework as I stuck it to the feltboard. They LOVED the big clap on BOOM - I think it got louder every time!

This was a super simple feltboard to put together - I think it only took me about an hour to get all the pieces made, and that was because I was being fussy about it. The kids seemed to like it, too - at the end of our flannel board, I had one little girl announce, "I'm going to take one of those fireworks now!" I was cracking up on the inside, but I had to explain that no, the fireworks needed to stay with me. I couldn't really blame her - sparkles are so tempting!

This Friday's roundup can be found at Miss Mary Liberry!