Friday, May 10, 2013

Flannel Friday: Here's My Toolbox

Last week, all of my story times were about construction. I knew this would be a useful theme for me this summer, and I wanted to do a test-run of some of the material to see how it would go over. This toolbox was not in my initial plans, but when inspiration struck on Thursday, I went with it and wound up with one of  the best story time props I have ever used!

Here is the front view of the toolbox.

And here is the back.

To make my set of tools, I first had to track down useful clipart images. This was not easy, and there was no one set that included the tools I wanted that was also not too sloppily drawn, or too small. In the end, I hunted down coloring pages and clipart images for each tool until I was satisfied with what I found.  I don't have the right to share all of the images themselves, but links for the images at the sites on which they are hosted are listed below:
 I gathered all the images into a document in Publisher (I could also have used Word, I just prefer Publisher) and printed them out in black and white. I often color images in Microsoft Paint before printing them, but the color ink in our copy machine has been very streaky and I haven't been satisfied with how it has looked for flannel board pieces. So I did these the old-fashioned way - with Crayola crayons.

When they were all colored, I covered them with Contact paper and attached Velcro to the back, assuming that though they would be lying in a box most of the time, I might someday want to attach them to the flannel board. At this point I thought that the little boxes hiding in my craft closet were actual flat boxes with lids. I didn't necessarily think they would be the ideal shape for a toolbox, but I had less than 24 hours until preschool story time by then, and I figured any box would be better than none.

What I learned, though, upon examining the boxes in my closet, is that they weren't boxes at all, but they were Colorations Sturdy Cardstock Caddies. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized this was a happy accident. The caddies have compartments, just like real toolboxes, and it would be easy to hang the tools inside them with Velcro if I attached Velcro to the box. So I attached one piece of Velcro for each of the larger tools, and then six pieces in one compartment for the nails and screws.

But how to present the tools to my audience? I was still considering putting the pieces on the flannel board, but decided it would be more fun to have the entire toolbox be self-contained. So I attached Velcro to the front of  the box, to which I fastened the "Miss Katie's Toolbox" sign. Then, I removed that sign and practiced putting up and removing the various tools from the same Velcro. I had to add a few more pieces to accomodate discrepancies in the size of the pieces, but otherwise, from there, I was ready to go!

I think the ideal way to use this toolbox is as a means of generating discussion. The only reason I didn't use it that way is because my preschoolers are notoriously quiet and do not answer my questions. I also thought it would be handy to have a song in case I wanted to take this to my rec. center class visit or use it in one my huge story times where having a discussion is virtually impossible.

In any case, the song I wrote goes to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine, and the lyrics are listed with the appropriate pictures below. (I did not make up a verse about nails or screws. I just used them as visuals to help introduce the hammer and screwdriver.) The kids were also invited to make a motion acting out what each tool does - which most of them did enthusiastically. (Credit for the movements made by the tools goes to Sarah from Read it Again!)

Here’s my toolbox, here’s my toolbox
This is where I keep my tools
Here’s my toolbox, trusty toolbox
Take a look at all my tools.

Here’s my hammer, here’s my hammer
See the hammer pound and pound
Here’s my hammer, trusty hammer
Watch me as I pound and pound.

Here’s my screwdriver, here’s my screwdriver
See the screwdriver twist and twist
Here’s my screwdriver, trusty screwdriver
Watch me as I twist and twist

Here’s my pliers, here’s my pliers
See the pliers pinch and pinch
Here’s my pliers, trusty pliers
Watch me as I pinch and pinch

Here’s my wrench, here’s my wrench
See the wrench turn and turn
Here’s my wrench, trusty wrench
Watch me as I turn and turn.
Here’s a saw, here’s a saw
See the saw go see-saw
Here’s my saw, trusty saw
Watch me as I go see-saw.

I am hoping to do more boxes like this in the future - hopefully using the exact same Velcro-covered box with different labels and items inside. I especially want to do a set of gardening tools to use this summer, with my beginning readers as well as my preschoolers. I think it would also be fun to do a first aid kit or doctor bag, a set of supplies used by a hairdresser, or items needed to care for a pet.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Amanda at Trails and Tales. Visit the official Flannel Friday website to learn more about this fun weekly round-up of story time props!


  1. Oh My Goodness! This is genius! I am in LOVE with this set and the concept of the box as the display area too. Thanks for sharing!! The song is awesome! I'm so pumped about this!!

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! I hope you can make one of your own. The kids were so excited!

  2. I might need to make one of these for my girls! Thanks!

  3. Ok, Katie, best.use.of.a sixpack.holder.ever. I have to award you the highest honors in innovation for at least the month, if not the year. I mean really, seriously, unquestionably THE BEST.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...