Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Do It Yourself Flannel Board Stories

Do It Yourself Flannel Board StoriesJumping right into my summer crafts series, today I'm giving you an activity that has provided hours of quiet entertainment around here: Flannel board stories.

Now you can of course buy cute little pre-made sets of flannel figures or spend hours cutting out pieces of felt to save some money but I've got a cheap way to quickly make your own. You can have a set made in no time--or you can put your children to work making their own.

Look around for coloring books or activity books on a subject your child likes. I think I used Winnie the Pooh at one time though you could use anything from Disney princesses to Spiderman to a generic coloring book about ponies.

If the pictures are too large you can always make them smaller by shrinking the images on a copier or scanner. But whatever size, color the pictures using colored pencils (not markers or crayons that might bleed over time) then cut them out, laminate them in contact paper and stick either a magnetic strip on the back (for use on a white eraser board) or the loopy side of a piece of adhesive Velcro (for use on flannel).

Do It Yourself Flannel Board StoriesWhen I made my sets, which I keep labeled in manila envelopes, I used a Winnie the Pooh coloring book but I also found a generic coloring book that had large pictures of all sorts of household items: toys, pets, clothing, tools, playground equipment, food, furniture, school supplies, etc. I also found a booklet at the local teaching supply store that had creative writing prompts with pictures on various themes: the circus, a farm, the wild west, under the sea, fairy tales, etc. These worked great and the kids have spent hours making up their own flannel board stories using these cute little figures (you can see some of the examples on the left here).

If you don't have a flannel board the easiest way to get one is to make one. Cut two sides off of a large box so you have a large hinged piece of cardboard shaped rather like a large book that can open and close, then cover the outside in contact paper. Hot glue a large piece of felt to the inside and stick a couple of rope handles on it and you've got a portable, lightweight flannel board--you can see my blue board in the top picture where it's standing up in the open position.

Kids can easily make their own characters up or find their favorites. You could cut out letters or number or maps. You might also look through discarded book bins at your local library for picture books that can be cut up to make figures, that would be even faster than coloring your own.

Not only does it entertain, it's a good creative play tool that can grow with your child.

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30 comments:

Mrs. Organic said...

This is such a gerat idea! And one that will keep my kids busy for hours.

Jen @ JenuineJen said...

I really love this idea. I know my children would have so much fun helping color the images. I think they would have fun making up stories about them as well.

ttelroc said...

I am visiting my niece in a few weeks and I am going to present her (and her mother) with one of these. I live 1200 miles from her and happen to be driving to visit this time, so taking something bulky isn't going to be a problem. I have been wanting to do something crafty and I thank you (THANK YOU!) for a winning idea!

Kristin

Cocoa said...

There's just something about kids being able to create their own story that makes flannel boards so fun. I've also heard that you can print off computer images right onto the thinnest sheets of pellon. I haven't tried it though. Voldemort (Wal-Mart) only sells the medium thickness.

Melodieann said...

What a great idea! I know my grandchildren would love this. I am going to email it to my daughter. She is very crafty and I know she would love to do this with her kids.

Lightening said...

My kids LOVE this kind of thing as well. Another thing I used for their flannel board was cutting out some pictures from some leftover fleece material I had. I had some with different coloured cars and some with airplanes. They were great and stuck to the board without having to do anything other than cut them out!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Cool! But if you have a 5-year-old like mine, emphasize that you can't just cut out pictures from any book you like...

Marcus said...

Great idea - thanks!

Liisa said...

I love this idea and will be making one for my little monkeys!

Blessings,
Liisa

Barbie said...

This is a very cute idea... I'm thinking of homeschooling next year, and I think this could be incorporated into our day. We could add new characters to the story each day. Love it...

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I also cut out basic shapes and tanagram shapes from felt and they keep my son busy for hours. I need to make a bigger flannel board like the one you have.

Chris said...

Cute!

Did you know you made Blogs of Note this week? Congrats!

Phyllis Sommer said...

very cool. i'll have to try this one out.

Shelley said...

Great idea, Michelle. Thanks for adding another really awesome idea to the ever-growing file of totally cool things I'll probably never find the time to do with/for my kids. But I'll move it to the front, cause I really love it!

amy t sharp said...

love this!

Traci said...

This is perfect! I can see my little kids busy with this for hours...What a simple thing for a quiet activity. Thanks!

Linds said...

Great tip! We have some childrens books with ripped out pages, but great pictures. I've been having trouble just getting rid of them, I might use the pictures from them for a project like this. Thanks!
Linds

Killlashandra said...

What a neat idea. I like the idea of making one with felt and then sticking the cut out pieces to it by recycling images you already have at home.

laughingatchaos said...

Excellent! A project for the summer that the boys will enjoy! Because the TV is going to mysteriously "break" come June 1. ;)

April ~ Living the Sweet Life said...

You truly make me laugh. I think sometimes we are on the same wave length or is it the same upbringing lol. I have been thinking about posting on flannel boards. I remember my grandma making them every week for her Sunbeams lesson when I was little. :)
April

AlaneM said...

What a cool idea...this will be great for when Sam gets out of school for the summer.

Richelle said...

What a great idea! I never thought of using pictures from coloring books. My son will love this.

Wild Squirrel said...

I really like The flannel board storytelling book by Judy Sierra. I found it at our local library and got some great ideas from it.

Heffalump said...

Using pics of family members would be great too! Then your kids could incorporate themselves into the stories.

Archit said...

i will try this.

Antoinette said...

I have wanted to create a flannel board for my son but wasn't sure how to go about it. Thanks for the great idea!

Heffalump, I love the idea of adding photos. My son loves looking at pictures of family and friends.

JMC said...

I love this idea! My kids love those create-a-scene things, so this is PERFECT!

nottryingforaboy said...

This is such a great idea! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is great! We did this today with the freebie advertising magnets that come in the mail or on the phone books. Cut up an old book that had some torn pages, put the contact paper on and glued the magnets on with a glue stick. Thanks so much for the inspiration. :-)

Anonymous said...

LOVE this idea..........thank you for much for sharing it.

Tasha
new4younow@hotmail.com