When I got out my file for my “Summer” baby storytime theme this week, I found notes for a shapes flannelboard in the margins that I never got around to finishing last year. My notes had little shape doodles with the words “Summer shapes–sun–popsicle.” Once I started thinking about it I realized why I abandoned it–I couldn’t think of any other objects to use! So I asked on Twitter and got some great ideas. Thanks! Here’s what everyone came up with and how I’ll use it in storytime.
I’ve been using clip art more and more for my flannel board images, because I like the variety of pictures available and how professional they can look to our media-savvy storytime kids. But for this one I wanted to be able to flip over the shapes and have them stick to the board on both sides, so I used good old felt.
I’ll put them up on the board like this:
Then I’ll say, “Summer is a good time to look for shapes! Let’s think about the sun. What shape is the sun? Is the sun a rectangle? [point to one of the rectangles] Is the sun a square? [point to the square] No! The sun is a circle! [point to the yellow circle, then flip it over to reveal details on other side.] Here’s a yellow sun. Sometimes we wear sunglasses in the summer because the light is so bright! OK, let’s think about a picnic blanket. What shape is a picnic blanket? Is it a circle?” etc.
Here’s all the shapes flipped over: An orange and blue beach towel, red and white picnic blanket, yellow sun, white ice cream scoop and tan cone, and green popsicle. [The popsicle stick is tucked behind the shape--instead of flipping this shape over, you untuck the stick. The ice cream cone has colored sprinkles and black "waffle cone" lines drawn on with markers.]
The pinwheel I will try like this: after we’ve done all the other shapes, I’ll ask what the purple triangle could be. Then I’ll add the other three purple triangles and the red stick and show off the pinwheel.
In baby storytime, I’m less concerned with “teaching” the babies their shapes or colors or eliciting verbal responses from them than I am in modeling for the parents how to talk with their babies: Go ahead and ask questions, and wait for answers, even though babies aren’t likely to respond verbally. Give babies a simple answer, then expand on that answer…you’re introducing your baby to how conversations work and giving them lots of words to soak up!
If you have toddler or preschool storytime & try this, let me know how it goes with the “big kids”!