Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week Four: Woodpeckers and Beaks

While all birds have beaks, not all beaks are the same.  This week we learned about different beaks and how they are amazingly good at getting the food the bird needs. 

As on each week, we started with reviewing the parts of the bird, focusing on beaks. 
We followed with our bird song.  This week I added a version about a woodpecker:
This is the way we hammer a tree, hammer a tree, hammer a tree.  This is the way we hammer a tree, just like a woodpecker!
To learn more about beaks, we skimmed through "Beaks" by Sneed B. Collard III. 
Stabbing "fish" with her
Great Blue Heron Beak
For activities this week, we did three different stations that our friends rotated through. 
1:  Beak activity:  In this activity children simulate different beaks by using a hammer and chisle, tweezers, mesh strainer, nutcaker and a spear-like chopstick. 
2.  Woodpecker craft:  We had this free printable paper woodpecker toy cut out and ready for our friends to assemble. 
3.  Bird Seed buffet:  Different birds eat different things.  At our bird seed buffet, each friend took a scoop of each of our options including black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts in the shell and dried cranberries to make a bird feed mix to take home. 
We did this rhyme to come back to the circle: 
“Fly with the Birds”
Fly high, fly low
Fly fast, fly slow
Let’s dive for a drink
Let’s rest on a hill
Fly high, fly low
Fly fast, fly slow
Up, up and away!

Next we listened to a Five Little Woodpeckers song by Pam Donkin with the help of our tree trunk and woodpeckers. 
We closed with The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward and beautifully illustrated by Lisa Falkenstern.  This is a wonderful book that easily shows how much each tree means to the world. 
We didn't have time for this rhyme, but it is a cute one: 
Tap Tap Tap
Tap, tap, tap goes the woodpecker (tap wrist)
As he pecks a hole in a tree. (make hole with pointer finger and thumb)
He is making a house with a window
To peep at you and me. (hold hole in front of eye)
Next week:  Turkeys!

Anna at Future Librarian Super Hero is hosting this week's Flannel Friday Round-Up. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Flannel Friday Round-Up

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the Flannel Friday Round-Up!  We have quite the felt feast for you, so without further ado: 

As a guest on Trails & Tales, Kathryn shares two delicious PIE flannels with us. 

Anne at So Tomorrow shares two with us!  She tells a turkey tale while drawing one and shows us some beautiful silly sharks from a new storytime book by Judy Sierra
Lisa at Libraryland brings us a wonderful audience participation flannel in Turkey Feathers

Though not a Thanksgiving story, Kelly shares her co-worker Lou's Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash which is an amazing felt tour de force! 

Miss. Courtney shares with us her Turkey Wore a Red Feather.  As you can imagine, he ends us with feathers of many colors! 

We have Five Fat Turkeys on a clothesline at Sandy's Storytime Sparks and,

Five more Fat Turkeys are at Sarah's Ram Sam Storytime.

Dorothy at The Wielded Pen - Children's Corner shares a felt version of the poem "The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven" by Jack Prelutsk. 

Sarah at Read It Again shares her Thanksgiving storytime including a flannel board song about a turkey with some pretty amazing feathers!

Amy at Catch the Possibilities shares with us a cute Turkey Number Matching Game.  I'm making this one for my girls tomorrow!

Kay at Storytime ABC's shows us just how cute Little Owls can be with her rhyme and game.

Andrea shares the Thanksgiving story with us through a bracelet at rovingfiddlehead kidlit. 

Finally, I share my Thanksgiving retelling of a classic in The Very Hungry Pilgrims

And that's it!  Thanks to all for contributing.  If you are new to the round-up, learn more about Flannel Friday and join us! 

Thanksgiving Flannel Friday: The Very Hungry Pilgrims

Inspired by yet another childrens' book classic, I decided to put together a flannel story Thanksgiving retelling of Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  I think it is important to teach kids the actual history of events and people in addition to the mythical stories that have develped over centuries.  I use this story as a way to share with kids that the first Thanksgiving was very different from what we know today, including the food! 

The Very Hungry Pilgrims
The heads are felt stickers from Michaels,
the bodies and clothes from die cut.
Nearly 400 years ago on a fall day in 1621 pilgrims began preparing for a harvest feast. 
Wompanoag bodies by die cut, clothes free-hand. 
Hearing the commotion, their neighbors, the Wompanoag came by to see what was going on. What they found were some busy and very hungry pilgrims.

So together they began to gather food for the feast.

Clam from a Michael's Createtology set; corn, duck and
turnips free-hand, squash a felt sticker from Hobby Lobby.
On Monday they gathered clams, but they still wanted more.

On Tuesday they gathered corn, but they still wanted more.

On Wednesday they gathered ducks, but they still wanted more.

On Thursday they gathered turnips, but they still wanted more.

On Friday they gathered squash, but they still wanted more.

Crab and fish from Createtology set, spinach, onions
 and bowls of beans and nuts free-hand 
On Saturday they gathered
fruit, and
And FIVE Deer! 

Goose and eel free hand, apple from die cut,
deer are felt stickers from Hobby Lobby
Then they finally had enough.  The pilgrims and the Wompanoag feasted for three days eating three meals a day together and playing games and having contests in between meals. 

Now the pilgrims weren’t hungry anymore and their neighbors, the Wampanoag weren’t just neighbors anymore.  They were good friends. 

The End
Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm proud to be hosting the Flannel Friday Round-Up this week.  See the entire round-up here or learn more about Flannel Friday here

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flannel Friday Guest Post: PIE!

Trails & Tales is proud to host Kathryn Roach, Wendell Library, Wendell NC; part of the Wake County Library system of Wake County NC with her Thanksgiving Pie Flannel Friday. 
For Thanksgiving I like to present a  program about food, mainly pie!  I like to read, The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson, and All For Pie, Pie For All by David Martin. I use several flannel board rhymes too.  I’m not sure where I found this rhyme originally.  It was a very long time ago.  I take a piece off and pretend to eat it…they always think this is hilarious! 


One whole pie

Set by the door,

Cut into pieces,

 I count four.

Four pieces of pie

All for me,

I ate one piece,

Now there are three.   

Three pieces of pie

For me too,

I ate another piece,

Now there are two.
Two pieces of pie

Oh! What fun!

I ate another piece,

Now there is one.

One piece of pie

I can’t wait!

I ate that last piece,

 Empty plate!                      


Another rhyme that I use and then play a game with is Yummy Pies.     

After I sing the song and put up the flannel pieces, we talk about the different colors of the pies and we play “Which One Did Miss Kathy Eat?”  The children close their eyes, I remove one piece and they guess.  When they guess correctly, I show them the piece and pretend to gobble it up!  Laughter ensues! We play several times.

Yummy Pies
Tune: "Three Blind Mice"

By Jean Warren -  Adapted by Kathy Roach

Pies, pies, pies,
Pies, pies, pies.
Yummy pies,
Yummy pies.
Strawberry, blueberry, and cherry, too.
Apple and Key lime to name a few.
Chocolate, lemon, how about you?
I love pie!
That's no lie!

To make the pie pieces, I used a Google image, deconstructed it and used that as a pattern. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 
Amanda at Trails & Tales is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group. 

Thanksgiving Flannel Friday Round-Up Place Holder

Hello all!  Welcome to the place holder for the special THANKSGIVING edition of the Flannel Friday Round-Up!  Once again, I am so very thankful to be your host this week.  I can't wait to feast on this week's flannel!

Please leave a link to your Flannel Friday ENTRY (not your main blog site, but the specific entry url) in the comment section below.  Thanks! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week 3: Raptors

They are birds of prey.  Birds that hunt other animals with their sharp talons are curved beaks.  This week we learned about raptors with a special focus on owls, just in time for Halloween. 

Ollie the Owl met everyone by singing this song to each one of our friends: 
Owl in the Tree
(Sung To: Skip to my Lou)

Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Owl in the tree says, who, who, who
Who, who, are you? (point to a child and have them say their name)
To learn more about raptors specifically, we read About Raptors: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill and illustrated by John Sill.  This is an excellent book for the young ones.  It keeps the text simple and has beautiful pictures of various raptors living their lives.

We then had a visit from Wesselman resident, Otis the screech owl.  Naturalist Neal showed us his talons and beak and eye and described how this type, and most types of owls live. 
We had been listening so well for so long, we got up and sored like an eagle to “Eagles” by Terri Hendrix from the CD Animal Playground
Next we did a flannel board rhyme:
Five Little Owls
Five little owls on a moonlit night
Five little owls are quite a sight.
Five little owls Are you keeping score?
One flew away! And then there were Four.
Four little owls happy as can be,
One flew away then there were Three.
Three little owls calling Who, Who
One flew away and that left two.
Two little owls having lots of fun.
One flew away and that left One.
One little owl we are almost done
He flew away and that leaves none.

I don't remember where I got this rhyme, so
if I took it from you, let me know and I
will give you due credit! 

Next we read "Whoo Goes There?" by Jennifer A. Ericsson and illustrated by Bert Kitchen.  This is an excellent book for THREE reasons.  1) It teaches children what different animals owls eat.  2) It teaches them what animals are up and active at night (nocturnal), and 3) It will well written with repetition that captures the attention of even young readers.

Poor little mouse fell prey to my little hawk!

After the story, I pulled out several small stuffed animals representing "prey" and gave each child a chance with sugar cube tongs that is like a raptor talon.  Each of my "hawks" took turns capturing prey.  This was a very popular activity and promotes gross motor skills.   If you don't happen to have these thongs, any tongs would do.   

We now took a break to make our pine cone owl craft.  Each child did their own type of owl and they all turned out beautifully. 
To bring everyone back to the circle, we played a game of “Mouse, Mouse, HAWK!”  The kids quickly moved around the room as I said, “mouse, mouse…HAWK!” At which point Ernie the Eagle puppet would swoop down on any “mouse” that didn’t freeze when I said “hawk.”  
With Halloween just around the corner, I couldn't let it go unacknowledged.  Using our Haunted House Playmat, I told them them story of "Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, What do you see?"

Lisa at Libraryland is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Week 2: Water Birds

Geese, swans, grebes, loons and DUCKS!  What do they have in common?  They live a good chunk of their lives on the water and today, we learned all about them. 

After a review of what makes a bird, we focused on the duck's webbed feet.  Each child had the chance to pull a large fork (regular foot) and a spatula (webbed foot) through a tub of water.  The kids were able to feel the difference it makes to have webbed feet to make water move. 

Then we settled in to listen to a flannel board rhyme about five little ducks swimming in a pond.

Five Little Ducks Swimming in a Pond
One little duck was swimming in a pond and then she saw a friend.
Now two little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now three little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now four little ducks were swimming in a pond and then they saw a friend.
Now how many ducks are swimming in the pond?
1-2-3-4-5 Little Ducks!
We did two crafts this week.  The first was a duck paper bag puppet and the other was painting duck feet of lengths of roll paper using fly swatters cut to look like duck feet. 

The kids were also given the chance to try on swimming flippers to see what it is like to have duck feet. 

Painting with fly swatters cut to look like duck feet.
A big mess but SO fun!
Next we were little ducks going out one day over the hills and far away. I sang "Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day" and I carried with me five toy ducks (everything from a pink rubber duck to a life-like stuffed animal female mallard).  At each verse I hid one of the ducks, counting down to none, then brought them all back. We did the same song again back in the classroom with the ducks in the parachute.  The song, as always, was a big hit! 

To close our day, we read one our family's favorites Little Quack by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Derek Anderson.  Our friends enjoyed it as much as our family does. 
E put her top bill on upside down,
but he's still cute as can be!
We finished up by dancing to "Six Little Ducks" with our paper bag suck puppets being sure to shake our tail feathers as we sang "quack, quack, quack!"
Each family was given a copy of this free Five Little Ducks stick puppet printable to relive the fun at home.

Lisa at Libraryland is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 1: Introduction and Songbirds

Welcome to Trails & Tales!  We are looking forward to six weeks together learning all about our Feathered Friends! 

We began by learning all of our names and our favorite bird.  Maybe of our friends don't have a favorite bird yet so we decided our goal was to get everyone a favorite bird by the end of our six weeks. 

Then we learned what makes a bird.  All birds have wings, feathers, a beak, hollow bones and two legs.  We also learned that not all birds can fly. 

Then we used what we learned to sing this song, which we will sing all six weeks:

The Bird Song

This is the way we flap our wings, flap our wings, flap our wings.  This is the way we flap our wings just like a dove.
...Peck at a worm, just like a robin
...Use our talons, just like an owl
...Paddle our feet, just like a duck
...Drink nectar, just like a hummingbird
...Catch insects, just like a swallow
...Crack seeds, just like a finch
Next we observed birds through the window in the nature center.  We saw several different types and even heard a few.  Then we headed back to to the classroom to paint what we saw using feathers as paint brushes. 
After we were finished painting, we came back to the circle with this fun rhyme:
“Fly with the Birds”
Fly high, fly low
Fly fast, fly slow
Let’s dive for a drink
Let’s rest on a hill
We then got to play some music to Lisa Monet’s Five Little Chickadees I learned about from Flannel Friday friends Andrea at Rovingfiddlehead Kidlit and  Katie at Storytime Secrets introduced me to. 

I printed these Chickadee tags onto milk paper to put on the flannel board and as I removed them from the board during the song, I put them into my nest puppet I had hidden behind my back.  When the birds came back to build the nest in my hair at the end of the song, the nest went on top of my head! 

Then we sang this fun little rhyme:
Finger rhyme:  Five Little Birds
Five little birds who have no home (hold up five fingers)
Five little trees in a row (arms up like a tree)
Come build your nests in our branches tall (cup hands to form nest)
We’ll rock you to and fro (rock hands)
We then read the board-book version of Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman and played a game where each person got a shaker made from a 35 mm flim canister filled with different items.  Each canister had a pair in the group and we took turned "chirpping" and finding our "mothers."  The kids did great! 
To learn a little about nests, we read My Baby Blue Jays by John Berendt.  A cute little story of a Blue Jay family from the balcony of a New York City townhouse. 
Lastly, we went on a hike to gather nesting material.  The kids found convinient piles of leaves, grass, yarn, feathers and twigs along the trial to put in their bags.  We headed back to the classroom to make nests with playdough and their found objects. 
A very busy day, but fun was had by all!
Read Sarah Read is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, What Do You See?

No, this post has nothing to do with nature (though an owl and a bat do make appearances), but I couldn't pass up the chance to participate in Flannel Friday's Halloween Extravaganza!  When I found out they were planning a special Halloween edition of Flannel Friday I thought about what I could do to add to the fun.

I came up with a haunted house play mat with Halloween friends behind the doors and windows.  I made it to go along with a Halloween version of Bill Martin, Jr.'s classic "Brown Bear, Brown Bear." 

Let me give you a tour of our haunted house! 

Jack O'Lantern, Jack O'Lantern, what do you see? 

I see a green monster looking at me. 

Green Monster, Green Monster, What do you see?

I see a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater looking at me.

People Eater, People Eater, What do you see?

I see a black cat looking at me.

Black Cat, Black Cat, What do you see? 

I see a white ghost looking at me.

White Ghost, White Ghost, What do you see? 

I see a yellow owl looking at me.

Yellow Owl, Yellow Owl, What do you see? 

I see red eyes looking at me.

Red Eyes, Red Eyes What do you see? 

I see a brown bat looking at me.

Brown Bat, Brown Bat, What do you see? 

I see a blue moon looking at me.

Blue Moon, Blue Moon, What do you see? 

I see a witch looking at me.

Witch, Witch, What do you see? 

I see trick-or-treaters looking at me!

Trick-or-Treaters are modeled after my girls
who are going to be Minnie Mouse
and Ariel this year

Trick-or-Treaters, Trick-or-Treaters, What do you see? 

We see a jack o'lantern, a green monster, a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater, a black cat, a white ghost, a yellow owl, red eyes, a brown bat, a blue moon and a witch looking at us.  That's what we see.

All the Halloween friends except the eyes are finger puppets and can be taken off the play mat.  Some of the finger puppets I picked up from the Target dollar spot, some are made for felt cut with a die cut machine and others I just did on my own. 

Happy Haunting all!

Miss Mary Liberry is hosting this week's Flannel Friday. Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Habitats Play Mat

When I saw this idea from one of the master naturalists who works with the nature center, I took a bunch of pictures and had to make one of my own.  It is a simple project to help little ones learn who lives where in nature. 

The play mat is made of felt.  It is simply what leftover from other projects.  I sewed the scene onto the large piece of green felt including the sky with clouds, a pond and shore, and a large tree as part of the forest.

The rest is up to the kids.  The images are all pre-painted wood pieces from various crafts stores.  We enjoy checking out the selection in any store we are in and add to our menagerie. 

The forest section includes additional trees, a bear, an owl and bird in the sky. 

The prairie portion has a flower, insects and a bunny. 

The wetlands include a duck, fish, salamander and turtle. 

The woman who gave me the idea actually had the outlines of each piece Sharpied onto the play mat more like a puzzle, but I wanted to leave it a little more creative by allowing the kids to decide where things should go. 

When we are finished, all the pieces go into the large pocket on the back

And the entire mat tri-folds closed and is easily stored.  It is held closed with a simple button and elastic system. 

It is a really fun piece we enjoy at home and with our friends at nature class and preschool. 

Storytime Katie is hosting this week's Flannel Friday.  Visit the Flannel Friday blog for more information on our group.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Fly Butterflies, Fly!  We had a blast learning about caterpillars and butterflies!  There are so many fun things to do with butterflies it was hard to choose, but these are the ones we did.

First we learned the basics of butterflies including their lifecycles from egg to caterpillars to chrysalis to butterfly.  I used the images provided by Preschool Post to illustrate the stages for the kids. 

The kids got to see a simulation of the last stage (chrysalis to butterfly) first-hand with my tissue paper chrysalis and Folkmanis monarchbutterfly finger puppet .  I got the idea from Classic Play.   It took a week’s prep leaving dry time between each coat of tissue and Modge Podge, but I was well worth it when I saw the look of wonder and amazement on those kids’ faces when they tore open the chrysalis and a butterfly came out!  It still gives me goose bumps!    

Next we practiced being butterflies with our new friend using dancing scarves and dancing to “Butterfly” on Mary Jo Huff’s Chicken Fun CD.  Mary Jo is from our town and if you haven’t had the pleasure of her various CDs and DVDs, please check her out.  She is just wonderful!

Next we read “TenLittle Caterpillars” Bill Martin Jr. (Author), Lois Ehlert (Illustrator).  Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar” would have also been good, but I think most kids have read that one and I wanted to introduce them to a different one.  The kids loved it.

Finally I ended with a flannel board rhyme I discovered (and copied!) from Flannel Friday friend Miss. Mary at Miss Mary Liberry .  The rhyme can be found in “StorytimeMagic: 400 Fingerplays, Flannelboards, and Other Activities”  by Kathy Macmillan and Christine Kirker.  

I love it because it moves through caterpillars (I used a die cut for the shapes) ...

to chrysalis (I copied the shape from Miss. Mary) ...

and butterflies (I got them from Michael’s end-of-summer clearance).  

After they were done with their craft, the kids were invited to act out the stages of a butterfly’s life using a small white sheet (for the egg stage); striped sheet (for the caterpillar); green sheet for the chrysalis stage and butterfly wings.  The kids took turns being each stage by wrapping themselves in a sheet and acting it out.  We had quite a few butterflies flying around by morning’s end!
Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce is hosting Flannel Friday this week. Stop by and check out more great flannel fun! 
Sources:  http://www.preschool-plan-it.com/caterpillars-and-butterflies.html