Fiber Arts in Story

This week I decided to share The Cloud Spinner and Extra Yarn with the preschool storytime kids. See reviews in my previous post. We turned it into a fiber arts storytime!

green sheepI also added a third book to the mix, Where is the Green Sheep?  written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Judy Horacek (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004) so we could talk about where the wool comes from that is used to make all of the hats and mittens we wear for much of the year. It’s a silly book that includes lots of opposites and great opportunities for color recognition and vocabulary practice.  It’s a fun book to improvise with or read the text as is.

Before I read Where is the Green Sheep? I taught the group the old song, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, using the felt board. Most kids had never heard the song before and sat intently as I sang.  After the story, I brought out my colored sheep so the kids could really learn the song and continue practicing their colors.  The visual of the felt sheep and three bags of wool helped the kids learn this song. By the fifth time around, those little ones were singing their hearts out.  At the end of storytime, when everyone was getting their boots and coats on, a two year old started singing “Baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa.” Her mom was amazed, telling me that her daughter had never heard the song before. The mom then started singing the rest of the song to her. It put a smile on my face!

Baa Baa Black SheepBaa, baa Black Sheep felt
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy, who lives down the lane.
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

Credit: King County Library System

Cloud AnimalsWe worked on a couple of projects during craft time today. Some kids made cloud animals similar to some of the cloud creatures we identified in The Cloud Spinner.  Feel free to download the templates for the cloud fish and the cloud bunny.  The cloud sheep craft and template I found at All Kids Network. I had a teen volunteer help me cut out the templates for each so the kids could focus on gluing the cotton balls in place.

STEAM moment: While this storytime focused on fiber arts, we also spent time talking about the clouds in the story. It offered me an opportunity to introduce the water cycle and the story’s message of conservation.

The other project we tried is paper weaving. I found a great example at Art Projects Paper Weavingfor Kids. This was popular with the older kids who sat and really focused on weaving the paper strips over and under. Some kids alternated the weft (or warp?) and some only did one pattern. You could see the mental wheels spinning! It was a great project for adults and kids to do together and the parents were very patient.  One parent even commented that it would make a great project to do at home (it requires very little in the way of materials).

Paper cut for weavingI used one sheet of cardstock for each child and cut eight lines from one end to within an inch of the other end. Having one end free helped the kids maneuver the strips more easily. I found colorful scrapbook paper for the strips the kids wove into the cardstock. The contrasts were beautiful and easy for the kids to see their progress.  Paper strips for weavingWhen the weavers were all done, we taped the back of the cardstock where needed so the strips wouldn’t move around.

A note for next time- I’ll make the strips a little longer than the 8″ strips I used this time and have parents trim the hanging edges. The paper fit well, but it would have been easier for kids to handle if it was a bit longer.

With a little more lead time, I’d also have a weaver come to storytime and demonstrate on a loom so kids could see weaving in action.


Hop! HoEaster Eggsp! Hop! Watching children hop around the children’s library looking for Easter eggs is hysterical! I love to get kids moving during storytime.

You guessed it. We had an Easter egg hunt this week in anticipation of the upcoming holiday.

Before children arrived, I hid colored plastic eggs filled with stickers in easy-to-find and hard-to-find nooks and crannies. (At the outreach program I also added goldfish crackers since clean-up is easier there.)  Kids immediately saw the eggs, but we were able to convince them to sit down for storytime anyway. The anticipation grew and grew and grew throughout the stories and songs included this week. Kids were spotting eggs and proclaiming “I see one!” at every opportunity.

20130403-125559.jpgWith some help from my rabbit puppet, I began storytime with the finger rhyme:

The Rabbit
I saw a little rabbit come
Hop, hop, hop!
I saw his two long ears go
flop, flop, flop!
I saw his little nose go
Twink, twink, twink!
I saw his little eyes go
Wink, wink, wink!
I said “little rabbit, won’t you stay?”
Then he looked at me
And hopped away.
Credit: Artfelt (for link to free pdf of rhymes)

The first story I read was Jan Brett’s The Easter Egg filled with elaborate eggs, kind bunnies, and detailed illustrations on each page in classic Brett style.easter_egg_brett

I followed up with The Black Rabbit by Phillipa Leathers a sweet little tale about a bunny afraid of his shadow (the black rabbit) who just won’t quit following him.  The rabbit tries to shake the stalking black bunny through the early pages until that black shadow eventually scares off a predatory wolf just in the nick of time. The kids easily understood that the black rabbit was a shadow so the story was less scary than it could have been.the black rabbit

Next up was Little Bunny Foo Foo with the help of my magic wand. I modify some of the words as I go if there are any scared faces in the crowd and I explain that a goon is a useless monster that can’t do anything (including scare little children) to diffuse initial fears.

Little Bunny Foo Foo
Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head
And down came the Good Fairy
And she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t like you’re attitude
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head”

I’ll give you 3 chances.
Then I’ll turn you into a goon!
The next day…
(Repeat two more verses with 2 and 1 chances_
3. “I gave you two chances.
Now I’ll turn you into a goon!”
And the moral of the story is:
Hare today, goon tomorrow!
Credit: Scout Songs

Our last book was Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is a fun story both if you read all of the text or if you improvise. I did both depending on the general age and interest of the group.  As you can see, it’s tricky to decide if the image is a duck or a rabbit!duck rabbit  One of the pages features a scene which relates nicely to the craft we did- a rabbit hiding in the grass. But, before craft time, it was time to be bunnies and hop around.  The last song for storytime was:

If You’re Hoppy and You Know It
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
If you’re hoppy and you know it, then your face will surely show it,
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
…swish your tail
…flop your ears
…wiggle your nose


At this point the kids were up and ready to grab for the first egg they saw. To slow the older kids down, I told them this egg hunt was special because they had to jump like bunnies to find eggs and once they found one they could then help someone else find an egg (I had just enough). Off they hopped and the adults couldn’t help but laugh.

I then met the families at the craft table to help them sort out the easy bunny in the grass project I found at Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

The materials needed:

1 paper plate
2 strips of colored card stock, approximately 3 inches wide
three pieces of green construction paper big enough to trace a hand
2 eyes
glue (for eyes)

Bunny EarsAt the last minute, I decided I needed bunny ears for storytime. I made these right before everyone arrived and then cut some extra strips for anyone who might want a matching set. Almost every one of the 25 kids walked out with bunny ears. Simple and fun! All you need is one sheet of pink construction paper (cut into four strips), a pair of scissors and a stapler. Staple two strips together to make a band that fits around your head and then 20130403-125534.jpgcut the other two in the shape of ears to staple on the band. Some little ones colored their ears to make them extra special.

This marked the last week of storytime on the road, a three month pilot project which allowed me to visit rural community meeting places and a school approximately twenty-five miles from our library. The grant funded storytimes were definitely successful and we hope to continue them again in the future when funds allow.

Thanks to a visit from a local public radio reporter, the program received some great publicity. The radio story and the beautiful photos were heartwarming. I highly recommend letting local news media know about your outreach projects. It’s a great opportunity for advocacy!


Here is the slideshow from the reporter’s visit: