Friday, April 13, 2012

Five Fish feltboard

I'm really excited about this new storytime rhyme, which I love because it's an anything rhyme. You can have five of anything, and the rhyme still works.

One problem that I have with a lot of rhymes with five of anything is that they can be fairly tricky to remember. For example:

Five little seashells lying on the shore;
Swish! went the waves, and then there were four.
Four little seashells, cozy as could be;
Swish! went the waves, and then there were three.
Three little seashells, all pearly new;
Swish! went the waves, and then there were two.
Two little seashells sleeping in the sun;
Swish! went the waves, and then there was one.
One little seashell left all alone;
I picked it up and took it home.

See, you've got to remember all these things that rhyme with four, three, two and one. And what if you don't have 5 seashells? (Okay, I know you could always just use your hand, like a fingerplay) but say you wanted to do 5 flowers, or 5 cookies, or 5 elephants? Now all the stuff about the waves doesn't make any sense.

This rhyme featured on the amazing blog Mel's Desk is what we'd call "extensible," you can pop anything in there and it still makes sense.

The "original" version, as near as I can make out goes like this,

Five little cupcakes in the bakery shop.
Five little cupcakes with sprinkles on top.
Along came someone with a nickel to pay,
And one of those cupcakes went away!

If you can't think of anything that would logically go "on top" of your item, you can use this version:

Five little _________ at the _________ store.
Five little _________ and not one more.
Along came someone with a nickel to pay,
And one of those _________ went away!
(and so on, with four, three, two, one, etc.)

Here we go! I did a version with five fish. I made the nickels perfectly round by tracing around a bottle cap - they're a little bigger than real nickels. Someone suggested the technique of stippling with a marker onto the felt - it works like a charm! Clear, and easy to read the 5's on those nickels. I'm still kind of debating if I want to add eyes on the fish.

I finished out like this:

Five fish! Five nickels!
My tale is at an end.
Now, tell me children, how much money do we have to spend?
Five! Ten! Fifteen! Twenty!! Twenty-five cents!!!

I shout the last part with as much enthusiasm as if I was saying "A million dollars!" The kids in my storytime love counting by fives, so this one was a real hit.


  1. I love this! It's clam-digging time in Japan so I'll use your seashell rhyme at the seashore with my kids. Thanks for sharing (and I love those fish lips!)

  2. This is a lovely example of how to use the "extensible" rhyme. I'll have to tweak it a bit for my Scottish audience (a little currency exchange is in order - penny, pound, or get more extravagant (and colloquial) with a fiver or a tenner!

    1. Yes! Like a St. Patrick's Day version that goes:
      5 little rainbows in the weather store,
      5 little rainbows and not one more.
      Along came a leprechaun with a pot of gold to pay,
      And one of those rainbows, went away!

      You could put anything in there. ANYTHING! The possibilities are thrilling.

  3. Wonderful rhyme and I love how you've made it so versatile!!

  4. Smart! So very smart! And beautiful colors on the fish! thanks for making life easier!

  5. I have to say you can never go wrong putting on googly eyes, it gives everything more character. Maureen



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