Tag Archives: puppets

Flannel Friday (in finger puppet form): 5 Little Ducks

28 Sep

I have a great set of Folkmanis duckling finger puppets. But some time ago, two of them waddled off to I know not where. So, I’ve been substituting a rooster and a penguin for my rendition of “5 Little Ducks“, to hilarious results. The kids think I’m a nut, and then we agree to pretend.

But I decided it was time to give Momma Duck back her 5 little ones, so I made some:


Aren’t they cute? The tufts on the top of their heads are a cut up pompom. Easy peasy!

Now when Momma Duck yells “QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK!” these are the 5 little ducks who come back.


Today’s roundup is hosted by Storytime Katie. And click the icon at the right to see all the flannels from past months, organized into categories!

Happy flanneling!

Flannel Friday! Shapes Rhyme (now with homemade finger puppets!)

29 Apr

Today’s Flannel Friday post is about shapes! Technically, this isn’t a flannel BOARD story (although it can be used as such) but a rhyme told with puppets.  When I first read this rhyme, I decided, since the shapes are “talking”, they should be puppets. So I cut the shapes out of two pieces of felt, glued them together on all but one side (leaving a space for fingers), and added faces, googly eyes, hands, and feet. The finished product looks like this:

Meet Ricky Rectangle

Here’s the rhyme:

Ricky Rectangle is my name,

My four sides are not the same.

Two are short and two are long.

Count my sides, come right along!

I’m Sammy Square, that’s my name

My four sides are just the same.

Sammy and Ricky strut their stuff!

I’m Timmy Triangle, that’s my name!

My three sides are short, or long, or just the same!

I’m Suzie Circle.

Watch me bend!

Round and round from end to end.

Timmy and Suzie. Suzie looks rather surprised! (her mouth is also a circle)

 Ollie Oval, that is me.

I’m not round, as you can see!

Like an egg that is laid,

That’s the way I am made!

Ollie's one happy shape.

While hunting for the original source of this rhyme, I found similar versions online that include stars, diamonds, octagons, and even hearts.  Maybe I’ll add to my shape puppet collection!

Please also visit So Tomorrow, Rain Makes Applesauce, Miss Mollie, Mel’s Desk, Nikarella and Storytime Katie (links to the right) for more Flannel Friday Fun! And if you’re on twitter, search for #flannelfriday.

Life Isn’t Like the Movies, Especially When It Comes to Frogs

27 Apr

My frog puppet, Freddy, was demonstrating his excellent hopping skills. He just kept going, so I asked the kids how we could get him to stop.  One young man, holding his hand out as if he held a remote, said, “pause him.”

Oh, that only works in the movies.

Ribbit! Frog and Friends Storytime

17 Apr

One of the preschool teachers I work with LOVES frogs. Really, seriously, LOVES frogs. So every year I do a frog-themed storytime especially for her. Although, I do it for me too – there are so many great frog stories and songs out there! I call this one “Frog and Friends” because I might throw in a turtle or snake book too.

I have an awesome Folkmanis frog puppet; his name’s Freddy and he’s got long limbs and is very flaily. For some reason he speaks


with a southern accent (I think it stems from the New York librarian who used to tell “The Wide-Mouthed Frog” with a southern accent. And she was from Brooklyn). He introduces himself, shows off his amazing hopping ability, and then sits down to listen to stories about “him” (he’s not modest).

  • Big Frog Can’t Fit In by Mo Willems. POP-UP BOOK ALERT!! Poor big frog, she’s too big for her book, and that makes her sad. But she has great friends who find a solution.
  • Flannelboard/Song: “Little White Duck”. Originally sung by Burl Ives, lots of the preschool teachers don’t know this one – or haven’t used it in a while! It’s a great song, and while it’s not particularly interactive if the kids don’t know the song, for some reason when I sing it they’re hypnotized. Seriously. Dead quiet. I don’t know why. Try it out. I made flannelboard pieces of a duck, frog, bug, snake and lilypad which I put on the board one by one.
  • Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson. Cool rhymes! Silly story! And the frog grows a little…bit…bigger.
  • Song: “5 Green and Speckled Frogs” Don’t we all know this one? I have a set of little frog finger puppets, and I made a log out of felt (glued in a tube shape) and a felt pond for them to jump into. I set the pond on the floor and the log on my knees, so I can play the tune on the ukulele.
  • Jump! Fischer, Scott. We end with this, and everyone gets up so they can jump at appropriate times. Lots of giggling ensues. I love this book.

Other books I might use:

Ribbit! Gotta hop now!

More! More! More! A Storytime to make you hungry.

6 Mar

It’s been far too long since I posted! I’ve been “performing” a couple of awesome storytimes lately so I’d best get to sharing!

My penguin friend, Frosty, introduces this theme with me.  What does a Penguin have to do with a food storytime? Nothing, really. He just comes along and tells me he’s hungry. He wants fish popsicles. I promise to get him some when we get back to the library, and on we go to the stories!:

  • Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  No food-themed storytime is complete without this classic tale of a caterpillar’s transformation (after a week of gorging himself) into a butterfly! What makes this one even more special, because the kids have heard the story a million times, is that we have the POP-UP BOOK! Yay!
  • Salerno, Steven. Harry Hungry! The kids have LOVED this one, about a baby who can’t stop eating until he’s eaten most of a town.  There are lots of opportunities to use your voice, too, with a growling belly sound, whispers, plops, and more.
  • Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food=¿Cómo comen los dinosaurios? Do they burp? Do they belch? Stick beans up their nose? Of course not! Dinosaurs behave perfectly at dinnertime (as do preschoolers, if what they tell me in storytime is any indication. I have my doubts).
  • Flannelboard/rhyme break!  5 HUNGRY ANTS This is a great silly one that gets lots of laughs.  I made it into a flannelboard, with salad, cake, pepper, and, of course, 5 hungry ants.  When the ants sneeze, I toss them over my shoulder which elicits crazy giggles (especially if one gets stuck somewhere silly).:

    Hungry Ant Picnic

5 Hungry ants, marching in a line,

came upon a picnic where they could dine.

They marched into the salad, they marched into the cake,

They marched into the pepper. Uh oh, that was a mistake!


4 hungry ants… etc.

  • Petricelli, Leslie. Yummy Yucky. There’s a lesson in this book, as we compare yummy things (spaghetti, cookies) to yucky (sand, mommy’s coffee). And the lesson is: BOOGERS ARE YUCKY! YUCKY! Take note, preschoolers!  After we read this we take turns saying something we think is yummy. I choose to skip the yucky. I don’t even want to IMAGINE what the kids would say.
  • Other titles I might use:
    • Wilson, KarmaBear Wants More. Great refrain for the kids to help with!
    • Pan, Hui-MeiWhat’s In Grandma’s Grocery Bag?=¿Qué hay en la bolsa de la abuelita? A fun guessing game book to share if you can get your hands on it. It’s also pretty small, so not so great if you’ve got a big group. The kids have to guess what item of food is in grandma’s bag, knowing only what color it is. There are tabs to pull each item out of the bag, and as we all know, novelty books like this are a big hit!

And with that, I’m hungry. Going to look for a fish popsicle.

RAAR! It’s a Dinosaur storytime!

2 Feb
Raaahr! I’m a dinosaur! Nothing can stop me!  Is there a better topic to appeal to preschool boys AND girls than dinosaurs? We all love it — although my throat gets a little sore from all of the roaring.  But what’s a little soreness when we’re having so much FUN?
My little dinosaur-in-an-egg puppet starts things out. The kids guess what I’m holding while the dino is still inside. We talk about what kinds of things could be inside the egg, and then he comes out and gives his tiny “raaahr!” and shows off his two teeth.  Then we settle in for some books:


  • Waddell, Martin. The Super Hungry Dinosaur. A new title that I adore. Hal and his dog, Billy, are set upon in their backyard by a Super Hungry Dinosaur who threatens to eat them. Hal bravely stands up to the dinosaur, and in the end they are able to satisfy his hunger and make him promise never to eat people or dogs again.  A few almost-wordless pages allow the kids to describe what’s happening, broadening their vocabularies. For example: what does Hal use to tie the dinosaur up? Not a rope…
  • Stickland, Paul.  Dinosaur Roar!.  A CLASSIC. Another vocabulary builder, with opposites like sweet and grumpy.
  • Flannelboard/Song: Thanks to MelissaZD for this one! I printed an image of each dino and stuck them to felt (with their names typed underneath for added print awareness).  We talked about what each one was, and some characteristics (lots of them knew quite a bit about the dinos!). Then we sang each dinosaur’s verse:

The Tyrannosaurus Rex goes grr grr grr


grr grr grr, grr grr grr

 The Tyrannosaurus Rex goes grr grr grr…

All through the swamp.

The Triceratops’ horns go poke poke poke…(etc.)

The Stegosaurus tail goes spike, spike, spike…(etc.)

The Apatasaurus mouth goes munch, munch, munch…(etc.)

The Pteranodon’s wings go flap flap flap…(etc.)

  • Shea, Bob. Dinosaur vs. Bedtime.  I read this in a monster-truck-announcer voice. “DINOSAUR VERSUS….A BOWL OF SPAGHETTI! WHO WILL WIN??” We guess who’s going to win. Bedtime always wins.
  • Song/Action Rhyme!: “Dinosaurs in Cars.”  WAY fun. Teachers always want to know where I found it, and I have Krista P., a former co-worker, to thank for directing me to Nancy Stewart’s website. It’s gold!
  • Other book possibilities:
    • Gurney, John Steven.  Dinosaur Train. Did you know there’s now a TV show called Dinosaur Train? I sure didn’t, until the kids alerted me to that fact. This book long predates the show, and has always been a winner. We even talk about what Jesse means when he tells the dinos to “duck!”, and why the train falls over.
    • McMullan, Kate. I’m Bad!  Are YOU bad? I’m REALLY bad.” T-Rex thinks he’s pretty tough, but he still needs some help. Lots of great sounds in this one!
    • Gall, Chris. Dinotrux. A new favorite! Did you know that trucks were once dinosaurs? Me neither!

I have learned SO much doing this storytime. Did you know that if a creature swam or flew, it was NOT a dinosaur? It was simply something that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.  And can you tell the difference between a pteranodon and a pterodactyl? I can.  And what is it with dinosaurs and spaghetti?

Before they hibernate, let’s have a bear storytime!

21 Oct

My lovely grizzly bear puppet, Grizzwold (named by a co-worker), comes out to introduce our theme.  He tells us he’s getting ready to go to sleep for the winter (ta da! We introduce a new vocabulary word: “hibernate!”).  I ask if he’d like to hear some bear bedtime stories.  Here’s what Grizz and I share:

  • Teckentrup, Britta.  Big Smelly Bear.  Love it, love it, love it.  Especially when I get to shout: “because you [big dramatic pause] stink!”
  • Wood, Audrey.  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear=El ratoncito, la fresa roja y madura, y el gran oso hambriento. Okay, technically, there’s no bear in this story.  Pictured, at least.  But the bear is implied, and therefore, very important to the plot.  Plus, the kids love it.
  • Flannelboard: Best Dressed Bear.  There is a story that originally went with this one (about a bear who goes to a store and asks what he needs to buy to be the best-dressed bear), but my version has just become having the kids tell me what the bear needs to put on in order to be ready to go to the dance.  We have underwear (which I made after so many kids told me he had to have it before he put on his pants), pants, shirt, socks, shoes, jacket, top hat, and mittens (again, something I made because the kids insisted).
  • Rosen, Michael.  Bear’s Day Out.  A new favorite by the author of another bear favorite, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!  This story has a great beat, and you can tap your toe along with it.  The kids can help!  Plus I love the illustrations by Adrian Reynolds, who also illustrated Harry and the Dinosaurs.
  • Hest, Amy.  Don’t You Feel Well, Sam?=¿No te sientes bien, Sam? VERY appropriate, given how we’re all trying to avoid certain nasty viruses right now…
  • Wilson, Karma.  Bear Snores On, or  Bear Feels Scared.  Bear’s got some awesome friends, and the repeated refrain is easy for the kids to pick up and help out with (building narrative skills!).
  • Martin, Bill.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? or Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (both available en espanol) or Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? These all have a rhythm to them, and the kids probably know Brown Bear so well they can recite it with you.  I like Baby Bear because many of the animals included we find here in Colorado.
  • Song: “The Other Day I Met a Bear” – a fun “echo song” (a new term for me — means you say one line, and then the kids repeat it, like an…um, echo), with lyrics that easily lend themselves to making up motions.  The teachers have enjoyed helping out with this one and have been singing along with gusto!  We may just have to take our show on the road.  Find the lyrics here, and the tune here (sung by one of my fave bands, btw).  The original version has a verse about a gun, but I omit it simply because I know the preschools I visit don’t allow any play with simulated weapons (or real ones for that matter!), so it seems to make sense not to sing about them.  The song still works without that verse, I think.

Obviously I have more books than time.  Again, I like to have options.  I choose based on time, kids’ ages and attention spans, and what I’m in the mood to perform.

What stories can’t you “bear” to do without?  Heh heh.  Bear hugs all around!

When caring for books, hold the fruit.

16 Sep

At the start of each school year, I begin my first storytime with each class by talking about how we take care of our books.  I try to make it fun and interactive, and not just me “lecturing” the kids, because even I would get bored listening to that.  This year my blue-haired puppet Zeke is introducing the subject by taking out his favorite book, a miniature copy of How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food,  that he keeps in his sweatshirt (it’s to big for his pocket).  He tells us that he takes good care of his book, because he wants to be able to read it forever (and ever and ever and ever and ever).  He then tells us HOW he takes care of his book: He doesn’t bend it, or rip the pages, or color in it with his crayons.  He gets upset when I pretend to put it in my mouth, and he and the kids tell me why it’s not okay to do that.  I ask if we’re allowed to sit on or stand on our books (“Nooooooo!!!!”), or throw them at our friends (“you might break something!” or “you might hit someone in the eye!”).  I think the message is a lot more effective if the kids can take ownership of it, and tell ME how we take care of our books.

Today, when Zeke metioned that he doesn’t color in his book with crayons, the kids started yelling out other things we don’t use to color in books:  “paint!”  “pencils!” “markers!”  “pineapple!”


Okay, technically, she’s right, we don’t want to get food on our books, but what made her think of PINEAPPLE??

Because I am.

24 Aug

Preschooler, speaking to my blue-haired boy puppet Zeke:  “Why are you wearing pants?” 

Me/Zeke [thinking quickly for a good answer… “Because otherwise I’d be in my underwear?” No, that won’t fly.  “Because I like pants?” Meh.  Oh!  Answer with a question for them. That usually works.]:  “Why are you wearing shorts?”

Preschooler: “Because I am.”

Can’t argue with that logic! Later…

Same Preschooler, to Zeke: “Why do you have eyes?”

Zeke: “Why do you have eyes?”

Preschooler: “Because I do.”

Good answers.

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