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.
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 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!
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