Covered in colored cloth, a flannel board is a beautiful way to teach very young children about the alphabet, allegorical tales and more. A flannel board, or felt board, helps a child explore stories, use their imagination, improve fine motor skills and open up their creativity with shapes, colors and objects. Sturdy but covered in soft cloth, a flannel board is a benefit to small children as well as teachers who are looking for a way to change up typical teachable moments.
Flannel Board Ideas
Made for retelling simple stories from classic books such as Mother Goose or the Brothers Grimm, flannel boards are fun on many levels. Add googly eyes, buttons and other craft items to increase the level of play on a flannel board. Get creative.
For counting, cut out tan triangles and use them for cones and add up the scoops of ice cream or semicircle shapes in a wide variety of colors. Make monsters by trimming the corner on one side of a square and add hair, eyes, mustaches and more. Have a competition as to who can come up with the scariest, most colorful or decorated monster on a flannel board.
Flannel Board for Education
Teachers often reach for the flannel board to assist children with learning fables, the alphabet and how to count to 10 as well as by 10, the basics of a young child’s curriculum. The visual aid assists with fine motor skills as well as increases the child’s learning abilities. It can be used as a counting board, alphabet board, sorting shapes space and more. Little hands can manipulate the soft fabric easily on the flannel board.
DIY Felt Board
You can buy a flannel board on Amazon or at big box craft and toy stores, but you can also make your own for a fairly low price and finish it in a small amount of time. Choose flannel that will make a fun and interesting background for storytelling. A pale green one can double as grass or a field. A blue background makes for beautiful skies, and beige backgrounds can let a child’s imagination soar with the possibilities.
Buy a sturdy wooden board that is not too heavy or awkward to hold and is big enough for children to manipulate characters on the felt background. Glue or a staple gun will affix the flannel securely to the board. Although staples can eventually tear at the flannel, so be careful in your stapling and position of the staples so that they don’t catch on tiny fingers.
A canvas for painting can also serve as a handy board to adhere the flannel to with glue or Modge Podge. A large canvas can work for teaching, while small, handheld ones can be used by individual children in a group. After the flannel is fixed on the board or canvas, trim any excess so that it won’t easily be torn by tiny hands. Etsy flannel characters can add to your stable of flannel fun shapes.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.