Baby Storytime: Sleepy Sleepy

Earlier this week I tweeted about using the This is Big Big Big rhyme for the baby storytime I was subbing for, which prompted this discovery:

10 years! OK, even if 5 of those years have been rather dusty that’s still a pretty cool anniversary.

I would love to start posting regularly again, but can’t yet make any commitments to a schedule. However in honor of my milestone, I thought I would post the plan for the storytime I did this week!

OPENING SONG: Good Morning*


BOOK: Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
Lift the flaps are always great for baby storytime. I also appreciate the less-usual animals like peacock, hedgehog, and moose (excellent for Colorado babies!)
Tuck Me In by Hacohen and Scharschmidt

LITERACY TIP: Print Motivation
Learning to read is hard work! When we read books with lift the flap or touch and feel pages with our babies, we help pique their interest in and enjoyment of books. This enjoyment is important because the more they love reading, the easier it will be to stay motivated while learning to read.

SONG: When Pigs Get Up in the Morning
Fitting that I’ve been singing this song for 10 years too. It’s from Seattle children’s musician Nancy Stewart and you can listen to it on her site. I started with pigs because there was a baby pig in our book, then we did other familiar animals like ducks, dogs, and cats.

Now that we’re all awake let’s roll out of bed!

There were three in the bed and the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out!

There were two in the bed…”

FLANNEL SONG: A Hunting We Will Go*
I desperately need to print and laminate a new set of my animal pairs. Usually I try to match the animals with our theme somehow, but today we used a really random selection that I have in my storytime bag…bear/chair, hen/pen, crow/snow, and duck/truck.

BOOK: Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
One of those precious non-board book picture books that work perfectly for baby storytime. With the babies and the toddlers, I like to help hint at what animal we’re going to see next, and point to the clues in the illustrations. “We’re going to see an animal that stands on two feet and waddles.” Since this is a sleepy storytime, on the last page I asked, “How do we know she’s asleep? Right, her eyes are closed and she’s not moving around like an animal!”
Monkey and Me by Gravett

ACTION SONG: If You’re Sleepy and You Know It
Sing to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I have become more and more fond of using simple piggyback songs that are easy for grownups to jump right in and sing with me without a lot of set up or explanation. I had us pause after singing each line to give the babies plenty of time to watch us yawn, stretch, and close our eyes, and time to organize their bodies to do the actions with us if they could.

If you’re sleepy and you know it, give a yawn
If you’re sleepy and you know it, give a yawn
If you’re sleepy and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re sleepy and you know it, give a yawn.

If you’re sleepy and you know it, stretch your arms…

If you’re sleepy and you know it, close your eyes…

ACTION SONG: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Now that we’re all quiet let’s sing a quiet song.

ACTION RHYME: This is Big Big Big*

CLOSING SONG: Sneeze Game*

*Check out the My Baby Storytime page for the words and/or citations for these weekly activities!

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Flannel Friday: Big Ol Tree

Recently the amazing Amy at Catch the Possibilities posted a pic of her Valentine Tree (you can see versions on the Flannel Friday Pinterest here and here) and I just fell in love with the shape of her tree and branches, and immediately started thinking (during a two-hour meeting, natch) of different versions that would be fun to make.

Tree Ideas

Amy kindly sent a photo of her tree and I made a pattern copying hers as closely as possible. I had found packages of 1-yard lengths of felt at Michael’s and bought them for another project, but I cut off an 18″ x 18″ section of the brown felt and made my tree from that.


Then for my first round I just made simple leaf shapes in the different colors of green I had on hand. Our largest storytime is capped at 25 kids, and sometimes big siblings are along for the ride, so I made 8 of each color (except that second-lightest green, I only had one scrap of that! I’ll go buy another sheet and add more) so I would have 32 leaves in all, plenty for everyone to have one plus a few special guests to have one, too.


I won’t necessarily use this with a rhyme, but will probably put up the tree shape, talk about some vocabulary (trunk, branch, limb, twig, roots), and hand out a leaf to each child. Sometimes when I do things like this I call the kids to the board in groups (all the red pieces, or all the stars) but I think for a lot of kids it would be tricky to ask them to distinguish between these shades of green in the same shape, so instead I will probably just have them bring them to the board as I hand them out. (“Here’s your leaf, go put it on the tree!”)


BUT this is just a starter pack! Obviously I need to do hearts for a Valentine Tree, and Amy suggested a Jellybean Tree would be a fabulous way to use up our felt scrap piles! I also want to make a set of leaves for fall: more yellows, some tans, browns, and reds. We’ll see what else I decide to add!

Here’s a sneak peak for springtime:


Don’t forget you can add your Flannel Friday post to the new Tumblr submissions page, and you can see all the most current posts on the This Week in Flannel Friday Pinterest board

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Flannel Friday News!

Hi all!

Here is a super long repost of the announcement I placed on Facebook at the beginning of the month!

tl;dr: Flannel Friday is transitioning to a new method for collecting and sharing ideas!

Believe it or not, Flannel Friday is turning seven years old this year! That’s about five more years of storytime ideas than I ever expected us to gather and I’m incredibly grateful to each and every member of this community who has helped keep us together for so long.

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a Round Up schedule for January or February. That’s been deliberate on my part while I have been consulting with our Flannel Friday Fairy Godmothers–our moderators, schedulers, and question-answerers. Our anniversary seemed like a good time to take a look at where we are and to think about what’s next.

Don’t worry, Flannel Friday isn’t going anywhere! But changing patterns of engagement both within FF and in the larger social media world have meant that it is a good time to adapt our process a bit. We still have a group of regular volunteers to host Round Ups, but fewer folks are able to serve as Fairy Godmother. We still have entries (almost) every week for the Round Ups, but smaller Round Ups every week than in the past. In the big picture, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook remain very active platforms, while blogs in general have become a little less central to the social media universe.

We very much want to keep this amazing community going! We want to keep supporting our Flannel Friday bloggers, and we want to make it easier for those of you who don’t have blogs to share your ideas, and also make it a little easier on our Fairy Godmothers to stay on top of things week to week.

So I’ve decided to run with an idea of Anne’s, and replace the weekly blog-based Round Ups with a rolling submissions form on Tumblr. You don’t have to have a Tumblr to participate! You don’t even have to have a blog to participate!

Instead, we will pin a link to a Tumblr submissions form to our Facebook page and the Flannel Friday website. When you have an idea to share with Flannel Friday–at any time, not just on Friday–all you have to do is click on the link and fill out the form. You’ll be able to choose to share a link to a Flannel Friday post on your blog, as we do now, OR you’ll be able to choose to just upload a photo of your flannelboard, and add a caption with any info you’d like to share.

The Fairy Godmothers will take turns keeping an eye on the Flannel Friday Tumblr, approving the posts, and sending them to Pinterest (which just takes a couple clicks right from Tumblr). You’ll be able to scroll through the Tumblr to look at ideas, or browse Pinterest as usual. Instead of a “This Week” board, we’ll have a “This Month” board, so you can check all the newest pins as they come in. And of course, we’ll pin to the theme boards as well.

Again, you won’t need a blog OR a Tumblr account to do this. You won’t need to wait for the Placeholder post to go live, and the Fairy Godmothers won’t have to organize hosts and pinners. My plan is to continue the Round Ups as usual for another month or so, to give everyone a chance to find this message and get ready for the transition. We’ll have plenty of time to try the new form and ask questions before we bring an end to the weekly Round Ups.

I think this will be a great way to include even more Flannel Friday-ers, while still supporting our regular bloggers.

Let me know what your thoughts and questions are! Just comment or ask questions here on this post, or on this announcement on our Facebook page, or send a message to flannelboardfriday @ If you want to jump right in and test out the new system, here’s the link to our Tumblr and here’s the link to our new submissions form.

I’m posting a Round Up Placeholder for this week here.

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Flannel Friday Round Up Placeholder 2/16/18

Placeholder is here! Add a link in the comments for this week’s ideas.

If you want to try the new submissions process for Flannel Friday, read about it here or test it out: here’s the link to our Tumblr and here’s the link to our new submissions form.

Thank you!

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Flannel Friday Round Up January 5, 2018

Happy New Year!

Here are a few ideas to start off another awesome year of storytimes:

Look ahead to Valentines Day already with Storytime with Miss Tara! She has a set to go with Love Monster and the Last Chocolate. Now I’m hungry!

Fun with Friends at Storytime digs out an old pattern of mine and makes a train set. Great idea to number them, which I never thought of! I also love how she put them on a backing layer of felt–mine can be floppy and I bet this helps a lot.

A Little Miss Muffet vignette from FlannelBoard Fun! Nursery rhymes are great for background knowledge and vocabulary and this makes me want to up my Mother Goose game this year!

I didn’t pull together a flannelboard for this week, but I do have a Happy New Year card for you.

Thanks for kicking off the year with Flannel Friday!

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New Year Wishes and Plans

Hey team, here we are in another year together, how awesome is that?

As you can tell, Mel’s Desk has been pretty much in mothballs since I became a supervisor three years ago. I miss it so much but it’s been smarter to let it go while I’ve tackled the steepest learning curve of my career.

I haven’t done any updates, I haven’t checked comments, I haven’t answered questions…but more than once over the past couple of months, totally out of the blue, I’ve been blessed to hear from friends and readers that Mel’s Desk is still serving as a resource and reference even in its cobwebby state. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that this is the case and I appreciate each of you who checks in from time to time and looks up a post or a pattern.

Looking ahead, I feel that I am approaching a cruising altitude again at work and I am hoping to take steps back into blogging over the spring and summer. I can’t wait to share my storytime experiences again and to hear what you’ve been thinking and learning over the last little while.

In the meantime:

[image of a light blue card with black lettering reading "here's to many wonderful moments in 2018" above two banners of triangular pennants cut out of colored felt]

[image of a light blue card with black lettering reading “here’s to many wonderful moments in 2018” above two banners of triangular pennants cut out of colored felt]

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Flannel Friday Round Up August 4, 2017


Hi team! It’s been so long since I was able to help out with Flannel Friday I am super happy to host this week!

Three cheers for our three entries:

As Kathryn says, “Not every child has a teddy bear as their lovey” so she made a flannelboard with lots of stuffed friends instead.

Speaking of Kathryn! Laura made a turtle set inspired by a post on Fun with Friends in Storytime!

ROBOTS! Robots are always a win. Combine that with Mouse in the House and you have Heather’s entry!

And my sea monsters are here!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Flannel Friday: 5 Sea Monsters

I’m hosting Flannel Friday this week so wanted to create something for the round up!

Awhile ago I made a set of Aliens to go with my Outer Space Set. I love them and the kids think they are silly, so I’ve been meaning to make a set of sea monsters I could use with my Ocean Set.

I loved that my aliens all had different number of eyes, so I wanted to duplicate that with the sea monsters, but instead of the mostly straight lines and angles, I wanted to have all rounded curvy shapes for squishy sea creatures.

So here they are!


I will probably sing this:

“One monster went out to play
In the ocean waves one day
It had such enormous fun
That it called for another sea monster to come.


Two monsters….”

I have the round up over here!

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Suggest a Book to the Bells!

I’m taking the easy way out and just reposting a CLEL email about the Bell Awards! There’s still time to let the Selection Committee know about great picture books that support early literacy for the 2017 awards!

“The CLEL Bell Award committee has been hard at work searching for the best books published this year that support the early literacy practices. Take a look at all the amazing titles that have been nominated so far! There are still new books hitting our shelves and the deadline to nominate is approaching. We need your help to make sure that no great book is missed! If you’ve read a fabulous picture book this year that encourages families to Read, Write, Sing, Talk or Play that you don’t see on our nominations page, please suggest it. The final day to suggest a title is November 30th!

We would also love to hear about your experience reading the nominated books in your storytimes, classrooms, or with your own children. Join the conversation on Goodreads by joining the Bell Awards for Early Literacy Discussion Group.”

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Last Night’s Storytime

I had just three families, four kids who were probably 3-6 years old. They were a little active, and a lot talkative, and I was still (am still) struggling with this week’s news, and I wound things up a little early and got out our toys for play time.

As I put away my storytime books, they played with different toys, paired up in different combinations, and I heard one girl come over to another and say, “Can we share?” and the answer was, “Yes.”

I heard the older boy who was playing with the Wedgit blocks call to me, “Look! Look what she figured out! Now we can build like this!” And he went back to playing with the younger girl, taking turns stacking and building together.

As I was packing up the toys, I saw the three moms, one Asian-American, one Black, one white, huddled with their kids at the back of the room, ask each other their children’s names, and say to their kids, “Josh, this is Stephanie. Let’s say hello!” and “Stephanie, say hi to Lucia!”

It is not inconsequential that a mom is raising her daughter to ask to join in rather than take what she wants.

It is not inconsequential that a mom has taught her child to say, “Yes!” when someone else wants to play.

It is not inconsequential that a mom is raising her son to be excited about a younger girl’s discovery or to give credit for that discovery to her.

It is not inconsequential that we, libraries, offer a safe place for all families to come together and be community to each other. To raise up our children together.

These children are our future, this is true, but they are also each other’s present, each other’s NOW.

That’s not inconsequential, either.

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