Friday, January 15, 2016

Flannel Friday - Mittens

These could go with any winter/snow themed program, and especially with a reading of Jan Brett's classic, The Mitten.  I initially inherited a small batch of embellished foam mittens, but whoever made them forgot to turn one of each set over, so I had 6 pairs of right-handed mittens and no left-handed mittens!  First I set about peeling the stickers off half of them and re-attaching on the other side to make proper pairs.  Then I added several additional colors using whatever foam stickers we had handy to end up with a full baker's dozen, and added magnets to the backs:

I knew these would be great for various matching/sorting activities, but also wanted to find at least one or two rhymes/songs that could be used with them as well (when I take the time and trouble to make props and flannel boards, I like them to be multi-purpose!).  I found this one at "Mrs. Jones' Room" that uses rhyming words and colors: 

Colorful Mittens

Colorful mittens for me and you,
Red ones, yellow ones, blue ones, too.
But the one pair of mittens that rhymes with ____,
They're my favorite mittens, and they are ____!

Suggested pairs:  sled/red, fellow/yellow, shoe/blue, bean/green, crown/brown,
                   Jack/black, sink/pink, kite/white, cold/gold, and fan/tan.

I like that this rhyme works on both color recognition and rhyming words, and you can do as many or few verses as you want.  I give each child a mitten, making sure I only use the colors that I have rhyming words for.  Then when their color is guessed, they bring it up and put it on the board.

I also found this simple song at "Storytime Secrets", sung to the tune of "Skip to My Lou":

What'll I Do?
One red mitten, what'll I do?
One red mitten, what'll I do?
One red mitten, what'll I do?
I'll find the other one, then there'll be two!

This song will work with all colors, and again, I pass one of each pair of mittens out so they can bring them up as I get to each of their mates.

Matching & Sorting

Frequently I just use these for matching and sorting, discussing the different attributes of each mitten.  First, I pass out one of each pair.  Then I will hold one mitten up and ask the group what color it is, next I ask what the design on the front is (it's interesting to see what the kids come up with for some of them, like the peace sign, which they often call a pretzel), and what color the design is.  Then I will ask if anyone else has a "red mitten with a blue flower", for example, and if they do, they bring it up and put it on the board beside mine.  I find that most kids really like activities where they get their own piece to contribute later.

Sometimes, I may do more broad categories, like "Does anyone else have a mitten with an animal on it" and group them based on type of design, color of design, etc.  Sorting and grouping is both an early literacy skill and a pre-math skill.  Plus it allows for a lot of interaction with the kids.  Another option with a larger group is to pass out all the mittens, and let them find the person who has their mate.  You could make it more challenging for the older kids by having pairs of the same color, but with different designs.

These are quick and easy to make, and the kids really seem to enjoy the activities.  One word of caution, for some reason some of them are compelled to (1) try to pick the stickers and magnets off as soon as they get them, or (2) put them all over their mouths & noses, so be sure to give explicit instructions NOT to do those things before you begin passing them out.

To see more Flannel Friday posts from other bloggers, go to this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up hosted by Lauren at "The Dilley Dally", or visit the Flannel Friday Pinterest board for tons of inspiration.  For more information about Flannel Friday and how to participate, visit the Flannel Friday site.

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