Ok, let me start by saying that this is totally over the top. BUT SO WORTH IT!
It started when I was at a bookstore and I found the fabulous over-sized board book version of Ellen Stoll Walsh's "Mouse Count." I already loved "Mouse Paint" but "Mouse Count" immediately inspired me. I wanted to create props that we could use to act out the story.
I made the snake using one of my father-in-law's old ties. I used stuffing and a wire coat hanger to fill it out and make it 3D. I stitched it closed, added a flannel tongue and glued on some eyes to create a great big snake that kids are just fascinated by. I stuffed it pretty firm, so he extends out when I hold him--it definitely makes him more animated.
I made the rock 'mouse' using a chunk of homemade clay--flour, salt, oil and food coloring. I made it vaguely mouse-shaped and let it dry solid.
For the little mousies, I made a paper pattern by folding a piece of cardstock and cutting out a cone shape. Then I whipstitched the long edges to make a felt cone, and then stitched a circle on to close it--mostly remembering to add the tails and fill them with rice before totally closing the opening.
I added pinched circles for the ears, googly eyes, and little bells for noses. I found a jar at Goodwill and that was all!
Sometimes I hand the mice out if I have a small enough crowd, otherwise I just hide the mice around the front of the room--including the rock 'mouse'--before we start storytime. I show the book, but usually I just tell the story and move around with the snake and the jar collecting all the mice.
It's a labor-intensive one, for sure, but as I said in the beginning, it is completely worth it. I'd really like to make another set that's sturdier and put it together as a kit for kids to check out. It's amazing watching them act out the story on their own terms!
This is just above and beyond! Amazing!ReplyDelete
You really are a library superhero! This is so awesome!ReplyDelete
you're a wild woman! this is so awesome. and when a kid lights up like a x-man tree when they see it, i bet you'll feel pretty terrific.ReplyDelete
Holy awesome-sauce, Batman! This is utterly fantastic! I'm pretty much speechless at this point, haha.ReplyDelete
These are superb! I think you could sell these on etsy! Really, they put my folkmanis mice to shame. Nice work.ReplyDelete
Hi, I have the books Mouse Paint and Mouse Shapes ready in my pile to make into flannel stories. Now you have blown me away with Mouse Count - must order this right away!ReplyDelete
Oooh, oooh, OOOH!ReplyDelete
I am going to make a set of these and use them with Te Ata's "Baby Rattlesnake" story and "The Boa Constrictor" song for a cool snake program some time!
I have "Mouse Paint" foam puppets that I made, but I think I'll have to try your techniques to make the mice for this one. Bravo, Anna!
LOVE this story and your idea for the snake and mice is so cute!! I used to use kitty toy mice and a jar but I'll definitely add the snake now!! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!ReplyDelete
I LOVE story baskets!! I teach 2nd grade now but when I taught 6th grade our big project for the year was creating these when we had our "sequencing" unit. The students were grouped and created these baskets for the kindergarten classes. So much better than a book report that would just be thrown away after the project was done. My students were super engaged and the kindergartners were so excited! Your students will love your hard work!ReplyDelete