OK, so again with the non-flannel Flannel Friday. But this is a very simple idea, and super fun, too.
Folder stories are so easy to make. The most basic version (of which mine are) consists of colored pieces of construction paper placed inside a manila folder. On one side of the manila folder, a basic shape is cut out to reveal the colored paper inside the folder. The paper can be switched out, which makes the shape “turn” different colors. I’m not sure where I came across the idea of folder stories, but it was many years ago. Over time, I have adapted stories and picture books into folder stories, and written my own stories, as well. Folder stories work well for most ages, and with large groups, which makes them ideal for summer reading storytimes. A coworker adapted Eric Carle’s The Mixed Up Chameleon into a folder story for one of her upcoming summer storytimes, which normally attract over 150 kids.
Folder Story #1: Polar Bear, Polar Bear
I found this story in (I believe) Copy Cat magazine (does anyone remember that magazine? I loved it so). It was actually meant to be a prop story, but it works well as a folder story. I would be happy to send you the whole story if you like, but really you can make up a good story on the basic structure. Cut out a polar bear shape from one side on the mamila folder and place white, pieces of paper inside. The story: A beautiful white polar bear lives in the zoo, and loves performing for the children who visit him each day. One day the polar bear sees some cans of paint left behind by workmen. That night he dips his big paw into the first can of paint and paints himself red. At this point, pull out the piece of white paper to reveal the red one, and the polar bear turns red. The children rather surprisingly do not approve and say “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, your color’s too bright/we liked you best when your fur was white!” Each night the Polar Bear paints himself another color, to the children’s deep disapproval, until he gives into peer pressure, jumps into the water, swims deep, deep, deep where no one can see him, and climbs out with white fur intact. The children say “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, your color’s just right/We love your fur, so pretty and white”.
Folder Story #2: Gail the Whale
Gail the Whale also has the interesting habit of changing colors. I would be happy to send you the story, but again, it’s easy to make up your own version. You need a manila folder with a whale shape cut out of one side and an assortment of colored construction paper. Gail is a blue whale with a special talent. She says “I’m Gail the whale/below the waves I sail/I can change colors/with the swish of my tail.” She spots a lobster and decides she would like to be red. Say the magic words and pull out the blue paper to reveal the red one. The lobster doesn’t care for this and says “I’m the only creature that’s red around these waves. I’ll snap at you!” So Gail turns yellow, but the starfish threatens to prickle her, orange but the fish threatens to slime her, etc. Finally, Gail turns back into her blue self because being yourself “is the best thing you can be”.
tip: if you are forgetful like I am, tape the story onto the side of the manila folder that is closest to you. Instant cheat sheet!
Folder story #3: Old McDonald’s New Truck
I wrote this one, and sometimes I switch it up and have Mrs. McDonald buy the truck. Either way, she always accompanies Old McDonald on their buying spree, which amuses the parents to no end. You need a manila folder with a truck shape cut out of one side, and an assortment of colored construction paper. I would be happy to send you the story, but feel free to elaborate on the theme and make up your own. Old McDonald decides he needs a new truck because his old one is too small for all the animals to fit in. So he and Mrs. McDonald go truck shopping. The sales person brings out different colors of trucks, but they are never quite right. “Oh no, that won’t do, please bring me a truck that is blue”, ” no no, you are being mean, please bring me a truck that is green”, ” no no said Old McDonald with a gurgle, please bring me a truck that is purple”. You get the picture. Reveal a new color of paper with each oh so silly rhyme, and be sure to have the kids guess the color before you reveal it. Finally, one color is perfect (in my story, it’s red, which is the first and last color that the sales person brings out), and The McDonalds drive back to the farm in their new truck.