I love using flannel boards in my storytimes. For some reason, no matter how old the child- the simple act of placing items on a flannel board seems to keep their attention.
The most common flannel boards seem to be those that fall into the category of what I like to call “Five Little Whatevers.” These get old after a while, so I recently started making flannel boards based on books again.
While making pieces from scratch makes the stories appealing, it can be time consuming. So I have turned to sticky felt and my color printer. I pick out the colored pictures from clip art or actual pictures, print them, cut them out, laminate them, cut them out again, and then add the sticky felt to the back. If you order sticky felt from a library company like Brodart, it can be expensive. I recently ordered three square feet for $9.99 from Amazon. If you want to go the cheaper route, you can always glue regular felt on to the back of your pieces.
About two years ago I was surfing the web looking for some new storytime rhymes to spice up my same old routine and I came across this great resource called “Flannel Friday.” Librarians across the country take turns hosting a weekly roundup of flannel board stories they have created. You must have a blog to participate and sometimes they repeat each others' ideas with some tweaks. One of my favorite things about Flannel Friday is that they do holiday specific and summer reading specific posts. Since so many of us librarians like to plan way ahead of time, you can actually find flannel boards here way before summer comes!
An all time MAPL favorite is Little Mouse. We set up seven different colored houses and try to figure out which house the mouse is hiding. Kids love it, and so do the librarians!
Two of my most recent flannel boards are The Mouse and the Wind by Arnold Lobel and You Look Ridiculous Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus by Bernard Waber.
In The Mouse and the Wind, I used a combination of pieces that were cut out and made strictly from felt, colored pictures with sticky felt, and the boat was cut from our Ellison machine.
In You Look Ridiculous Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus, I used colored pictures and sticky felt. Since the premise is that each of the hippopotamus' animal friends think he looks ridiculous without their own unique feature (the leopard's spots, the lion's mane, the turtle's shell), it was easier to find a picture of each animal.
You can see the sticky felt on the back of the elephant.
At the end of the story the hippopotamus has a dream that he has all of the unique features of his animal friends and that's when he thinks he looks ridiculous! It was easier to cut out the features and piece them together than recreating them on my own.
And here's an entirely all felt flannel board of "Five Little Owls" where each owl has a different colored eyes.
Do you have a favorite resource for flannel board stories? Please share as I'm always looking for new ideas!