I didn't use flannel boards for the first 10 or so years of teaching. I can barely remember that time of my life! Thank goodness I was introduced to them--they added so much to my circle times, making them WAY more fun and engaging for both the children and me.
Here's an example of a perfect little flannel board game (and I got this pig version of the idea from the amazing Kathryn!) This can be played with toddlers up to five year olds, or even older, I'm sure. The original version of this game that most people know is called Little Mouse, and it features a mouse and several houses of various colors. I've got a post on it here and for lots more variations and explanations of how to play, click right here!
But for this version, we're using pigs. And yes, a stack of pancakes. I love both of those things, but I only eat one of them ;)
Watch them in action below :)
**Before I go further, you might be asking "Why should I play this game? What's the value? Sure, it's cute, but is it worthwhile?"
Well of course it is! As you play the game, kids are either learning colors, or their color knowledge is being reinforced. Count how many pigs you have left to guess, and you're adding even more math into the mix! You're exposing them to rhyme and rhythm. Critical thinking and observation skills abound! They're building language skills as they chant along or simply listen. And very importantly, they are having fun!**
Here are various chants you can use with this game:
*Purple pig, purple pig, let me see...
Do YOU have some yummy pancakes for me??
*Pancakes, pancakes, playing hide and seek...
Are you under the purple pig?
Let's take a peek!
*Pancakes, pancakes, not very big...
Are you under the purple pig??
Kids love guessing where those pancakes are hiding. You can make this super simple by having a bit of the pancakes sticking out from behind whichever pig you've hidden them under. This is great for toddlers just getting used to the game. But they catch on quickly! You can have the kids cover their eyes as you hide the pancakes, or turn your flannel board around so they can't see your tricky methods...
Have you played this game or another version of Little Mouse/Little Pig? Drop your ideas in the comments--I'd love to know!
(Below is my original set. Cute--but oh so labor intensive! I've since come up with the adorable set above, with the laminated pancakes that don't cause eye and hand strain to create!)