Take it away Kristine:
Shortly after I first found Flannel Friday (that’s a lot of alliteration), I was excited by the folder stories. My excitement came from the absolute favorite prop in my baby story times. Years ago, I found a pattern for a folder version of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep in Dr. Jean Feldman’s book The Best of Dr. Jean: Puppets & Storytime, 2005. I’ve had families ask to copy the image to go home and make their own, and if we don’t sing the song for a couple weeks, I often hear requests to bring it back.
When I originally created mine, I just used the colors of paper that were in the magic story time closet. Somewhere along the way I discovered that I had created an order for them which helped me remember what was coming up even if I was holding the prop in front of my body. I live in Wisconsin, so this order is skewed toward our major sports teams. Black is of course first. Following is white because high contrast is the first sort of colors babies can see. Next is red (white and red for the Wisconsin Badgers.) We slide along to green in a bit of a Christmas color connection. Green is, of course, followed by yellow when in Packer land. Yellow then matches with blue for the Milwaukee Brewers. Blue is followed by pink in the traditional baby color frame of mind. Finally, we have purple, just because I like it. I don’t believe I have ever shared the reasoning behind my color order before, but it just works for me. I highly suggest laminating that little sheep to within an inch of its life. If you do not, you’ll have to remember where to find the pattern when an overzealous little hand gets hold of it.
This rhyme is not relegated solely to baby story time. Toddlers and preschoolers also enjoy having this taste of their early library memories return for any farm themed day. It’s also fun to pair this with books like:
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
Time to sleep, sheep the sheep by Mo Willems
In the spring, see if a local farmer has a lamb that is being bottle fed. If so, he/she might be willing to bring it to story time.
Find a local fiber artist who works with wool. If you know someone who spins, you might get to feel the wool in many stages, freshly sheared, cleaned, carded, spun, etc.
If you do not have access to actual sheep and wool, use cotton balls during craft time. You can work on the kids’ fine motor skills by allowing them to pick up the cotton with clothespins.
Early literacy tip:
Aside from being fun, singing songs with your baby/ toddler helps them hear words being broken up into smaller sounds. This helps them later when trying to sound out words in the early stages of reading.