Monday, June 19, 2017

parent workshop: make your own felt board!

last weekend, I had a wonderful parent workshop to teach my neighborhood moms about flannel boards.

many MANY years ago, when i attended library school, no one EVER mentioned flannel boards as far as i can remember. the children's librarian who trained me right after i was hired for my first job also did not use one. I was shocked when a local preschool director called to book a visit with me and asked "You do flannel boards, right?" 

Needless to say, my first flannel board was an 8 1/2 X 11" piece of cardboard with sheets of felt glued to it; one side was black and the other was pale blue. not very pretty but it did the job. i actually purchased my first felt sets online or thru ebay because i had no idea how to make my own. lucky for me, a few years later I discovered Flannel Friday, and the world of librarian blogs. These things have totally changed my life!

But back to the workshop...

first, i introduced the Five Early Literacy Practices: Read, Write, Play, Talk and Sing. After a brief intro to each practice, we focused on why SINGING to your baby or child is so important. I also emphasized that you don't need to be an amazing singer or a contestant on The Voice! Your baby loves the sound of your voice no matter what!

Then, I demonstrated several songs about shapes that you can use with felt boards. There were a couple of kids enjoying playtime on the rug while the mothers listened and they really responded to the songs and colorful felt pieces. Now, everyone wanted a felt board of their own, so the moms moved from the rug to chairs & tables to make their own very simple flannel boards to bring home.

I passed out "2 pocket" folders and we removed ONE pocket with our scissors. We glued a sheet of white felt on that side of the folder. Then, i passed out smaller felt pieces (quarter sheets) and everyone cut out the shapes.

I gave everyone a little bear with velcro on the back for our hide and seek rhyme. The felt shapes and handouts can be conveniently stored in the remaining pocket when they are not in use.

the finished product!

All the moms were so excited about their new felt board folders! They all commented how relaxing it was to sit and chat while they cut their felt shapes and that it was better than a day at the spa, LOL! 

One mom later sent our branch a photo on Instagram to show how much her son was loving his new felt shapes! They all wanted to know when our next felt board workshop would be! A couple even took extra kits to give to their friends. 

It made me so happy to think of all these kids and moms singing their shape songs together! I promised the mothers that I would offer another felt board workshop in the fall, maybe about leaves or another easy autumn theme. I am also considering doing workshops on the other four practices and offering some kind of easy "take home" activity that they can make to use at home with their little ones so stay tuned!

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