DIY Flannelboard

It’s not very often that I pull off a “Martha Stewart,” yet today I created a flannelboard that I’m totally excited about. I was inspired after a visit to the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, TN. If you haven’t had a chance to vacation in Chattanooga (or nearby Cloudland Canyon), it is well worth the trip!

Creative Discovery Museum is one of the top children’s museums in the country and when they say “hands-on” they mean it. Everything can be manipulated, explored and experimented with in ways only kids can imagine.  In the lobby my kids were drawn to a large flannelboard and they immediately set to work creating these elaborate stories.

We spent our first hour (of eight total!) playing with this simple tool.

Homeschool Help Desk DIY Flannelboard City Landscape

French fry truck exhaust!

On this rainy Sunday, I created our own, smaller flannelboard to pass the time and quite honestly, I could barely cut out shapes and figures fast enough as my kids barked out their desired patterns. “We need a volcano!” they shrieked. “More rain clouds and lightening!” my older son bellowed. “Mom, I think we need more coconuts for the palm tree!” squeaked the younger one.

I cut shapes freehand as fast as I could for over an hour.

To replicate the museum flannelboard I bought an inexpensive 24×36 framed cork board at Walmart. I also found a neutral flannel remnant for a couple bucks.

I later read in The Flannel Board Storytelling Book that it’s best to use a dark fabric, so I’ll remedy that with felt from Michaels using my 15% teachers discount.

Homeschool Egypt DIY Flannelboard

Homeschool friend plays Egypt

I already had a bunch of felt fabric squares from a “felt pizza” I made my youngest son last year. I cut patterns from the felt squares in response to the boys’ ideas.

I used a permanent marker to sketch in some details if the shape looked too plain.

What I love about this tool is that the boys and I can use it for so many learning applications. My oldest loves ancient civilizations, so as we learn about them I can cut out related figures and he can create his own stories to reinforce his learning. Or you can cut out numbers and letters, a whole slew of items related to nature or airplanes or famous storybook characters, etc. The possibilities are endless!

I found these inexpensive pre-cut themes, which help in a pinch: Dinosaurs Felt Figures $8.95Rainforest Feltboard Figures $4.95, or check these out Human Body Flannelboard Figures $21.75.



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4 comments on “DIY Flannelboard

  • Amandine Hom says:

    I always loved the idea of a felt board as an educational tool for its versatility, its compact size and easy to carry around. I never took the time to sit down and make one yet but your post revamped my intention to do so. My son is also obsessed with ancient civilizations and human body parts so your links will make it easy on me and so inspiring. Thank you for your insights!

    • KateB

      Thanks, Amandine! I’d love to know what you come up with and learn how you guys are incorporating the felt board into your at-home learning-play. Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂


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