Friday, 14 June 2013

What shall we sing?

We made a song or story board.

For those who do not know what a song board is, it is a felt board to which you attach pictures to help lead you in a song or story session. It can be a useful tool with small children for focusing attention or choosing which songs to sing, particularly if you have several children to engage with.

In our house of course, we only have one small person, but M does love singing and always has. We sing a lot in our house as will as when out and about -- yes, I am the mother who will walk down the street hand in hand with my daughter belting out some nursery rhyme or other. M loves making up songs about her favourite books/toys/what she is up to (or getting us to), which can make keeping up with her musical needs challenging, but we do our best. Not too surprisingly, M also enjoys the singing aspect of Rhyme Time at the library or various parent/toddler groups we've tried and so we thought we'd bring that into our home.

The first thing I needed was a board.

We used an off cut piece of mounting card,which is usually used for framing photographs. It was fairly heavy weight cardboard so unlikely to bend accidentally, but being approx A3 sized wasn't too big for M (who is nearly three) to carry.

I covered the board in felt, blue on one side and green on the other.

Having never worked with crafting felt before, I'd assumed it was pretty much all the same. I was wrong. Felt can vary a lot in thickness and 'hand' or how it feels when you touch it.

The first lot of felt I bought on the internet was quite frankly rubbish. It was stiff, not very fluffy and thin. It was described as being suitable for craft and board covering, which to me meant it should be ideal for what I had in mind, but apparently not. I ended up using it as a base layer and then covering it with more expensive felt I'd bought from our local market. The advantage of the market was I could feel the felt, assess it for fluff and thickness and check it wasn't going to crease like paper if M picked it up or tear on its first contact with velcro!

This was very much a joint project with M, so we used PVA to glue the felt to the board, I trimmed it and then we added a second layer of felt to the first. We used pegs to hold the felt in place whilst it dried, then once it was done I trimmed it again and we stuck down the edges with heavy duty double sided sticky tape.

M applies PVA for a second layer of felt.

All pegged down and left to dry...

To finish, I added some fabric tape to cover up the rough edges.

It is not as neat as it could be, but I was making it up as I went along and acting in a fast, decisive fashion is essential when you're being assisted by a nearly three year old who might otherwise take matters into her own hands!

Once the board was complete M and I compiled a list of songs we'd like to sing. Once we had a few, I drew pictures which might represent those songs with the exception of a suitable guardsman for 'The Grand Old Duke of York' or 'Soldier, Soldier' where I faced a mental blank so Dave stepped in.

I cut the pictures out and stuck them onto cardboard. In our case, I reused empty cereal boxes and for my first batch used PVA to glue them down.

PVA turned out to be a mistake, water based glue and non-permanent marker just don't mix well with the ink on the paper running quite badly, hence for my second batch I used good old glue stick. Ideally, I think I'd laminate the pictures to make them wipe clean and durable, but I do not have a laminator and to be honest, when the pictures wear out we'll just make some more which will be fun.

Pictures glued to cardboard - PVA is a bad choice!

I re-inked the pictures then cut them out before passing them to M who coloured them in. Once she was done, M stuck the hook part of velcro dots to the back of each picture and stuck it on the board.

Finished song board, complete with first batch of pictures to choose from.
At last - a song board or as M says, a choosing board.

What shall we sing when we sing together?
What shall we sing when we sing together?
What shall we sing when we sing together?
Would you like to choose?

For the uninitiated, the idea is to take turns in choosing a song. Everyone sings the choosing song and then one person (or toy in our case) chooses a picture from the board. The board is turned over and the picture is stuck on the back. The person who chose then tells everyone what song they'd like to sing as represented by the picture. There are no hard and fast rules tying picture to song, providing the chooser knows the song and can loosely associate it with the picture, all is good.


  1. What a lovely concept above Julie! Lovely blog too. And I wanted to thank you for all the shares you do on Google...when I work out what I'm doing with it I'll return the support! All the best. x

  2. Hi Ross! Thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed reading my blog. Alas I don't get an opportunity to post here as often as I used to, so your comment was particularly heartening. I've enjoyed your blog for a number of years and naturally share my favourite posts, and undoubtedly will continue to do so :-)