Tag Archives: flannels

Storytime: Flannel and Magnet Activities

Flannel and magnet activities are a staple of storytimes–especially my virtual storytimes! While I’ve always enjoyed these activities, we typically had very large in-person storytime audiences. I’ve never had the best vision, and I was always the kid (and adult) who was stuck in the back of a crowded room and who couldn’t see the tiny shapes on a flannel board or magnet board. I have some tricks to still make flannel and magnet activities work in a large crowd–mostly giant magnet and flannel pieces on a board I’m holding up high–but I like the intimacy of a virtual storytime where everyone can see everything I am doing.

While I love the cuteness of a high quality flannel set (Mister Keith is the flannel making king), I personally lean more towards magnet sets. I can stumble my way through making a nice flannel set I am happy with, but more often I try to find high quality images to create my own magnet sets. These can be printed over and over and laminated for reuse. Magnets stick a bit better for me (on a cookie sheet I hold up) are are generally less likely to fall off than flannel board pieces.

Looking for more flannel and magnet activities for your storytimes? Your one stop shop is Flannel Friday. Their Pinterest boards are regularly updated and filled with a world of cuteness.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Flannel and Magnet Activities

Animal Guessing Game (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)


B-I-N-G-O

There was a farmer who had a dog
And BINGO was his name-o
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
B-I-N-G-O
And BINGO was his name-o


Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?

Retelling of Brown Owl, Brown Owl, What Do You See?, a spooky book adaptation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Retelling of the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.


Count the Balloons (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Red Balloons, red balloons, how many do we see?
Red balloons, red balloons, count them now with me!


Dear Zoo

Retelling of the book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.


Dog’s Colorful Day

Retelling of the book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd.


Down Around the Corner

Down around the corner at the bakery shop
Were five yummy/fancy cupcakes with sprinkles on top.
Along comes a….
With a dollar to pay.
She picks out a cupcake and takes it away.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1
Pink Animals: pig, flamingo, blobfish, axolotl, dragon
Fancy Animals: poodle, unicorn, dragon, ballerina hippo, peacock


Fancy Nancy Playing Hide and Seek

Fancy Nancy, Fancy Nancy
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ teacup?
Let’s take a peek!


Fancy Words (Fancy Nancy)

Paired Words:

  • Hello – Bonjour
  • Great – Fantastique
  • Sad – Crestfallen
  • Pretty – Glamorous
  • Thank You – Merci
  • Goodbye – Au Revoir

Five Fancy Peacocks

One fancy peacock feeling mighty fine
Spreading his tail in the bright sunshine.
Another peacock has come to play.
Now two fancy peacocks have a great day.

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


Five Ferocious Lions

Deep in the jungle, what did I hear?
Five ferocious lions roaring loud and clear.
ROAR! said the lions.
SCAT! said I.
And one ferocious lion ran away…
Goodbye!

4, 3, 2, 1…


Five in the Bed

There were five in the bed,
And the little llama said
“Roll over! Roll over!”
And they all rolled over
And one fell out.


Five Little Bats

Five little bats sleeping in a tree
Hanging upside down
Where no one else can see.
The sun sets and the moon shines bright,
And one little bat flies out of sight.


Five Little Ducks

Five little ducks went out one day.
Over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said
QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!
But only four little ducks came back.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Eggs

Give it a whack, (clap)
Hear it crack, (hand behind ear)
Drop it in the middle, (pat hands on your lap)
One egg frying on the griddle.


Five Little Fishies

Five little fishies, swimming in the sea
Teasing Baby Shark – “You Can’t Catch Me!”
Along comes Baby Shark, as quiet as can be…
And SNAPS that fishy right out of the sea!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Owls

Five little owls sitting in a tree
Shouting “hoo, hoo, hoo”
As loud as can be!

One flew away,
And then there were…
1, 2, 3, 4!


Five Little Penguins

Five little penguins playing in the snow,
Slipping and sliding to and fro.

One looked up and yelled “Oh no!”
“I see a great big ball of snow!”

Rolling down the hill it stopped with a splat,
All that’s left is a fuzzy hat.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Five big snowballs wearing fuzzy hats,
Rolled back home dressed just like that!


Five Little Pigeons

Five little pigeons jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head!
The driver called the doctor, and the doctor said
No more pigeons jumping on the bed!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Sharks in the Bathtub

Five sharks in the bathtub,
Going for a swim.
Knock, knock.
Splash, splash.
Come on in!


Froggy Gets Dressed

Retelling of the book Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London.


Get Dressed Fancy (Fancy Nancy)

It’s time to put our dress on,
Dress on,
Dress on,
It’s time to put our dress on 1, 2, 3!

Continue with: shoes, gloves, glasses, crown

Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Now that we’re all dressed!
Let’s be FANCY!


Go Away Big Green Monster

Retelling of book Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.


Goodnight Moon

Retelling of the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Retelling of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Retelling of the book I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.


Is Your Mama a Llama?

Retelling of the book Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino.


The Little Old Lady Who Was NOT Afraid of Anything

Retelling of the book The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.


L-L-A-M-A

There was a llama who wore pajamas,
And Llama was his name-o!
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
L-L-A-M-A
And Llama was his name-o!


Llama Llama Playing Hide and Seek

Little Llama, Little Llama
Playing hide and seek.
Are you behind the __ bed?
Let’s take a peek!


Letter Matching (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood)

Oh, have you seen the letter W
The letter W, the letter W
Oh, have you seen the letter W?
It makes the sound wuh-wuh-wuh


Little Crab, Little Crab

Little crab, little crab,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the…shell?
Let’s look inside!


Little Fox, Little Fox

Little fox, little fox
Are you in the YELLOW box?


Little Monster, Little Monster

Little monster, little monster
Playing hide and seek!

Are you behind the __ door?
Let’s take a peak!


Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Little mouse, little mouse,
Are you in the….
RED house?


Little Snail, Little Snail

Little snail, little snail,
Are you in the _ pail?


Little Spider, Little Spider

Little spider, little spider,
Playing hide and seek!

Is spider behind the __ leaf?
Let’s take a peak!


Magic Butterflies

Five fuzzy caterpillars spinning cocoons
Hoping spring will come real soon!
With a little bit of magic
And the warm sunshine–
Clap, clap, clap, there’s a butterfly!


Marco the Polar Bear

Marco the polar bear
As white as the snow
Sat on the ice
Where the cold waters flow

“Lunch! I need lunch!” he said.
“I’ll make a wish!”
He stuck out his paw
And came up with a fish!

What color is it?


Move Over, Rover

Retelling of the book Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont.


N-A-N-C-Y

I know a girl who is so fancy,
Nancy is her name-o!
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
N-A-N-C-Y
And Nancy is her name-o!


Old Brass Wagon

Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Circle to the side, old brass wagon.
Now there’s one my darling!

Continue with:
Oval to the side
Square in the middle
Triangle up high
Rectangle down low
Heart to the back
We’ll stop at six my darling!


One Dinosaur Went Out to Play

One dinosaur went out to play,
On a giant fern one day.
She had such enormous fun,
That she called for a friend to come…
OH DINOSAUR!!


One Elephant in the Bathtub

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim,
Knock, knock (clap)
Splash, splash (slap knees)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3 – all fell in!


One Elephant in the Bathtub (Elephant & Piggie)

One elephant in the bathtub,
Going for a swim!
Knock, knock! (clap, clap)
Splash, splash! (slap legs)
Come on in! (wave)

Continue with: 2, 3, 4


One Red Sock

Retelling of the book One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler.


Our Friend Rocky Has Some Tools

Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O.
And with those tools he had a hammer, E-I-E-I-O.
With a bang, bang here and a bang, bang there.
Here a bang, there a bang, everywhere a bang, bang.
Our friend Rocky has some tools, E-I-E-I-O!

Continue with:
Saw…see-saw
Wrench…turn-turn
Screwdriver…twist-twist
Pliers…pinch-pinch
Drill…zzzz-zzzz


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Retelling of the book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean.


Pete the Cat Playing Hide and Seek

Pete the Cat, Pete the Cat,
Playing hide and seek.
Is Pete behind the __ shoe?
Let’s take a peek!


Piggie, Are You in a Book?

Piggie, piggie, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ book?
Let’s look inside!


Pinkalicious, Where Do You Hide?

Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious,
Where do you hide?
Are you in the pink __?
Let’s look inside!


Polar Bear’s Underwear

Retelling of the book Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera.


Snowball Hide and Seek

Snowball, snowball
Cold and round!
Behind which mitten,
Can you be found?


Tickle Monster

Retelling of the book Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau.


Tip Tip Dig Dig

Retelling of the book Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia.


Very Hungry Caterpillar

Retelling of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.


Walking Through The Jungle

Walking through the jungle,
What do I see?
I think it was a….elephant!
Trumpeting at me!


We’re Going on a Bug Hunt

We’re going on a bug hunt!
We’re gonna catch a bug one!
What a sunny day.
Are you ready?
Okay!

Oh my! A ladybug!
A red and black ladybug.
Crawling on a leaf.
Crawl, crawl, crawl, crawl.

Continue with:
Bumblebee…buzzing through the air
Grasshopper…hopping through the grass
Dragonfly…darting across the sky
Butterfly…fluttering through the air
Spider…spinning its web
Time to go home…Goodbye!


Who Stole the Cookies

Cat stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
Who me?
Let’s see!

Couldn’t be!
Then who?


Zuma, Are You in a Boat?

Zuma, Zuma, where so you hide?
Are you in the __ boat?
Let’s look inside!

Storytime: Book Retellings

We are on a brief live storytime hiatus as we re-adjust for whatever the fall will bring, so I thought I would highlight one of my favorite storytelling tools: Book Retellings! (Post updated 11/8/20.)

Book retellings were a part of my storytimes well before COVID and the move to virtual programs, though I’ve been happy to dig into them more since I am presenting more storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers. I sometimes use a book retelling element for babies with puppets, but mostly any “story” element is for the caregivers, with me focusing on and emphasizing the puppet reveal and animal sound for the babies.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Book Retellings Pros and Cons

Book retellings allow you to:

  • appeal to visual or action-based learners and listeners (so, most toddlers)
  • make things larger–puppets are often bigger than the pictures on a page, especially when presenting to a large in-person crowd (this distinction isn’t such a big deal behind a camera)
  • include more repetition – a book you read earlier in storytime or the week before could be used as a flannel or puppet activity
  • give caregivers ideas for ways to get excited about familiar stories that might be read over and over and over again at home
  • include props, puppets, and other manipulatives in your program

On the other hand, book retellings put more pressure on you as a presenter. Reading the words on a page with the proper inflection, emotion, timing, and engagement is a challenge on its own. Pulling that off without exact words to guide you can be more challenging. However, I also like to think of book retellings as more freeing–viewers can’t see the words, so if I mix up an animal or two, or intentionally skip an entire portion of the story or rearrange something to make more sense visually, as long as I keep my cool, the audience doesn’t have to know. (I think there is a better word than “audience” here. Storytimes are presentations, in a way, but there is a back and forth–what is the word for an engaged, participating audience? Is that still audience? I’m digressing.)

To Memorize or Not To Memorize

I’m going to say something here that may make some library folks cringe–yell in the comments. Please. I know this is my opinion, and it isn’t a popular one, but I still feel strongly about it, so: it is better if you memorize.

Yes, we aren’t actors. Yes, our caregivers know this. No, most kids don’t really notice if we read. But there are kids that do, and there are adults who also notice, and…well I was that totally judge-y preschooler who really didn’t know any better, and compared you (rightfully or not) to Barney and Sesame Street and the Wiggles, and those real people aren’t reading off of a page or constantly glancing off screen to read their next line.

Yes, there will be mistakes, and no, you shouldn’t refilm a 30-minute pre-recorded storytime 17 times because of one error toward the end. Have a cheat sheet somewhere but don’t make it a script and don’t rely on it. I normally put a list of key words taped either directly below my camera on my tripod or right beside the location where I am hiding the puppets or flannel pieces. If I decide to do a dramatic reveal and look back and forth a few times with fun facial expressions–I’m probably re-reading the next line.

I know this isn’t the way most librarians view or encourage this type of storytime experience, especially because it can make it harder or scarier to jump into something like this. But…I do, personally, feel like it makes it a little better. The storytelling experience is stronger and less stilted. But if you need that script, try it with the script. With time and repetition, you’ll know the story so well that you may be able to stop relying on the piece of paper. (End of Annamarie being rude and judge-y. Please berate me in the comments.)

How to Make Props and Flannels

I steal. I am not as creative as some of my coworkers. Do not be fooled by awesome flannel sets in videos. Some of these things are made by them. Other things are designed based off of me seeing someone else’s work online and remaking piece by piece. Other selections are my personally owned purchased sets, made by awesomely talented people who are not me.

I am not going to continue rambling here because my skills are not great or varied. My one tip, which is obvious to regular crafters but not to those of us new to this domain: get. scissors. just. for. felt. Use for nothing else. The world is a much, much more magical place.

Book Retellings Examples

There are so many great ways to retell stories, but now that I’ve made so many videos for our patrons to watch online, I decided to collect some of my favorites below, in alphabetical order by book title.

Bark George by Jules Feiffer (prop & puppets)
Learn about how I made George in this blog post.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. (puppets)
Change to whatever animals you have on hand. I tried to select stuffed animals that were different colors to continue the color emphasis from the physical book.


Brown Owl, Brown Owl What Do You See? (Adapted from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.) (flannel)


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (flannel)
Abbreviated because you don’t realize how long this book is, and how many letters there really are, until you are halfway through.


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (flannel)


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (puppets)


Do Cows Meow? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Do Crocs Kiss? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Do Sharks Bark? by Salina Yoon (puppets)


Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (flannel)
I’ve also seen this done as a really cool dry-erase marker activity. I was going to do this on a physical stuffed dog with flannel dots, but my velcro dots didn’t work the way I imagined. Still curious about doing this with a stuffed animal though!


Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London (flannel)
Filming this was the worst because socks kept falling off the flannel board. Something to keep in mind during creation or execution–so many small parts.


Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley (magnet)
Download the printable template from Kizclub.


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (flannel)
I re-wrote part of the story to create the all-items-enter and all-items-exit effect.


I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs (puppets)
I made an I Spy window with a piece of cardboard hanging from a floor lamp. Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand.


I Went Walking by Sue Williams (puppets)
Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand. I focused on having animals of different colors.


If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (flannel)


I’m the Biggest Thing in the Oceanb by Kevin Sherry (magnet)
Download magnet template from Kizclub.


Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino (Llama Llama Red Pajama edition) (magnet)


Jump! by Scott Fischer (puppets)


The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams


Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont (magnet)


One Red Sock by Jennifer Sattler (flannel)


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (flannel)


Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean (flannel)


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. (puppets)
Change out the animals to whatever you have on hand.


Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera (flannel)


Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera (puppets)


The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort (puppets)


Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau (flannel)
If you want to try retelling, this is the story for you. The set is super easy to make, and the order of body parts really isn’t that important. Caregivers can tickle little ones throughout.


Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia (magnet)


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (flannel)
This is a great example of a story where you don’t need to memorize or have a script–just have your flannel pieces in the order you need them. The words are essentially the foods that you are adding to your board.


White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker (props)

I am always, always looking for more books to retell, especially stories that are about diverse characters or by diverse authors. This video list is very white, and and in storytimes I try to balance that, at least a little, with diversity in my physical book for the week. What are some of your favorite stories to retell?