I had been using flannel boards in my classroom to share stories, songs and games for quite a while before I started making actual felt sets for the kids to use. For some reason with the sets I made for the kids, I had limited myself to scanning my story sets, printing them out on card stock, laminating them, and attaching Velcro.
I guess it was probably quicker and easier that way--but those sets were quite limited in that the pieces couldn't be layered, and the kids didn't get to experience the feel of felt, or the problem solving that happens when felt snags slightly on a dry finger, or needs to be pressed a little more firmly to stay on the board...
But finally I realized the error of my ways, and began to make what I call DIY sets for the kids. These sets are kind of amazing in all the skills they enhance--and all simply through play!
Math skills like color sorting, shape naming, counting, one to one correspondence...
Early literacy skills like vocabulary building and labeling happen naturally--and I include a list of awesome books to read as well as several rhymes and songs to use with the kids.
Fine motor skills grow of course, as they pinch and grasp and place/remove/replace the pieces.
And then there's creativity and imagination, as children decide whether to decorate a butterfly's wings with circles or tear drop shapes; to put 1 or 10 leaves on a flower stem; to turn a lady bug into the center of a flower...
The ideas they come up with always make me realize just how limited my own imagination has become!
Do you use felt sets in the classroom, beyond the circle time stories and games you might have? If not, I encourage it! If you're crafty, felt is inexpensive and you can create all kinds of sets around a zillion different topics.
If you're not crafty, come buy some from me ;)