Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tot School [Tuesday] Volume 4

Felt, felt, and more felt.

I have such fond memories of playing with the felt board at Vacation Bible School as a child. When I happened upon the blog, One Mom Five Boys recently, Sara mentioned creating her own. Immediately intrigued [smacking my forhead V-8 style - 'Of course! Why hadn't *I* thought of that?!']. I requested and graciously recieved her source for instructions (Thank you, Sara!), and promptly groaned within myself again. SO simple is the construction of a felt board that I laugh at the price tags I've since since! You can access these instructions as well, at this site, or, stay tuned. :)

A foam board, found very inexpensively at your local discount store, a 1/2 a yard of felt from the fabric department bolt, and either a glue gun and/or stapler is all you'll need to make your own. I made a full size board, but one could easily create two boards by halving the foam board and covering them, respectively.

I seized upon the idea of adding a felt board to our Tot School in such fashion that I began an intensive search high and low for ideas, materials, templates, and the like. I purchased an introductory pre-made set, which Keller took to immediately.

My forward motion plan will rely heavily on creating our own felts, though. Screen-printed felts are nice, but pricey. Over a period of a few years, I hope to have a nice collection of purchased and homemade, thus creating a timeless resource for imaginitive play for our family.

As one of my first homemade sets, I tried my hand at creating felt pieces with iron-on transfer paper. Carisa's "Color Cards" from her "Finding Nemo" Tot Book net some colorful cards, but I found the iron on paper a bit maddening to use.

The pre-iron backing didn't want to come loose easily, hence some ragged edges in the finished product. I plan on attempting the iron-ons again, with a different brand of iron on paper.

Also, as I continued to experiment with home-created felts, I re-issued our "Five Little Monkeys" into service at the felt board. Since they had already been created and laminated, I simply added a small section of adhesive-backed velcro on the underside of a monkey. (I velcro-ed the Size Sequence Monkeys, and the Character Set that retells the story only.)

The result of this experiment was a working felt board character, yet I didn't like how much "pull" the velcro placed upon the felt itself. In the future, I'll use this method as a last resort, so as to keep the felt board from 'pilling' over time.

Finally (since I've felt as though I've talked a long time on this subject! Ha!) our upcoming Tot School week will focus on Body Parts, thanks to this wonderful toddler-geared 'unit study' put together by Basia at

United Teaching

Basia's site is a treasure house of resources and ideas ~ a MUST SEE for all hands-on, Montesorri-styled approach Moms of toddlers! I've checked the books out from the library, created our felts to accompany, and we're ready to roll!

If you are not already using felts and a felt board in your Tot School, I encourage it. At 18 months, Keller was keenly interested in the 'stick on, stick off' action. I have his full attention because of the visual/kinesthetic approach.

Have an awesome Tot School week, Gang! :D


~Sara said...

I am so glad this worked for you. It looks like you did a great job. I am sure your little tot will have many enjoyable moments with this. I know my boys both love our felt board. I just need to get on the ball and make some more items for it.

Christy said...

My children love felt boards. I purchased some great story felt pieces on Etsy; they are handmade and much nicer than anything I could make myself because felt just doesn't seem to like me!

Bernadete said...

I have to thought about making a felt board, thanks for the inspiration and resources!

TheRockerMom said...

I have a small felt board that I made with shapes and letters I cut out. I really do need to make a larger felt board for RockerTot... thanks for the instructions!!

TheRockerMom said...

... also, thanks for the iron-on idea. I think that's awesome!!

Sharon said...

such a great idea! I'll keep my eyes open for materials for you. :)

K, @ Heart said...

What a great idea, I love how you really customized it for your needs. I will have to keep this in mind.

Traci said...

Thanks for the great links. I know my preK sunday school loves the Betty Luken felt story time. I forgot how much fun felt "friends" can be.

Basia said...

Angi thanks for the compliments about my blog United Teaching. I hope the Body Parts unit works out for you as well as it did for Connor!

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