Virtual Storytime Spotlight: Forts, Fall Leaves & Other Red Things

It’s One Book Colorado Time! Usually released in April, this year’s free book for four year olds across the state was delayed by pandemic problems until fall. This recent virtual storytime plan celebrated the winner (The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier and Sonia Sánchez) and other red things – like fall leaves and apples in trees! Highlights below; full script available by clicking here.

Sing: Hi, Hello and How Are You?*


Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story…*

Read: The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier and Sonia Sánchez

“There are so many different kinds of forts! You can build pillow or blanket forts inside the house. When it snows in winter, you can make snow forts outside. When a fort is built in a tree, it’s called a treehouse. This tree on my flannelboard doesn’t have a treehouse… but it DOES have some delicious red apples growing on it!”


Photograph: A flannel tree against a blue flannel background. The tree has a brown trunk, bushy green top and four red apples.

Math Talk: Fair Sharing

It’s a lot easier to demonstrate this math talk rather than write about it, so I made a short video:

Flannel Rhyme: Four Red Apples Growing in a Tree

Four red apples growing in a tree.

Two for you and two for me!

Help me shake the tree just so,

And all the apples will fall below!


credit: adapted from Ten Red Apples (Johnson County Library)

Tell: Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley (Flannel)


Photograph: A flannel tree with a brown trunk and orange treetop. The orange treetop has a jack-o-lantern face.

This classic tale of a confused fall tree is always a crowd pleaser! I paused between each change and asked the virtual audience if the tree turned the right colors; then I asked them to help the tree figure things out once and for all. “No?! Maybe it would help if you told the tree what colors to change its leaves…”

But by the time the poor tree gets its colors figured out, fall is over and its branches are bare again! 🤣


Photograph: A flannel tree with a brown trunk and bare branches. Four leaves have fallen to the base of the tree. The leaves are red, yellow, orange and purple.

Notice how I use individual leaves for the final fall tree colors instead of one multicolored busy treetop – you’ll see why later!

Then we sang some leafy scarf songs and rhymes:

Sing: We Wave Our Scarves Together… (scarves)

Rhyme: Once I Was a Seed… (scarves) x2

Once I was a seed and I was small, small, small.

(scrunch scarves into ball and crouch)

I grew into a tree and now I’m tall, tall, tall!

(stand up and stretch out arms like branches)

My branches sway in the breeze so soft.

(sway and wave scarves like a leaf)

And when it’s autumn, all my leaves fall off!

(drop scarves)


credit: original

Sing: Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down (scarves)

“Our last book today is about a squirrel getting ready for winter. I’m going to need your help making lots of animal noises in the story. Let’s practice making animal noises with this song before we read!”

Sing: The Owl Says, “Whoo”

Tune: The Farmer in the Dell

The owl says “whoo!”

The owl says “whoo!”

Heigh-ho, the dairy-o,

The owl says “whoo!”

Repeat with other animals in the story: mouse, bird, frog, cat and dog

Read: The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri

“Oh no! My squirrel friend lost one of the nuts he was hiding for winter. Maybe he dropped it in the leaves that fell off the tree earlier. Can you help us look for it? What color leaf should we look under first?”

Rhyme: Little Nut, Little Nut (flannel)


Photograph: A brown flannel tree with bare branches. A squirrel puppet looks under each leaf at the base of the tree for the nut they misplaced. The nut is hiding underneath the red leaf!

Remember how I used individual leaves at the end of my Fall Is Not Easy flannel? I do this so we can look for the acorn I sneak under one of the leaves!

Little nut, little nut,

Where could you be?

Are you under the YELLOW leaf?

Let’s look and see!

(repeat with other colors)


credit: original

Sing: Goodbye, Goodbye, We’ll See You Soon*

*Please visit this page to learn more about my regular storytime songs and routines.

I was so worried about including my One Book Colorado announcement that I COMPLETELY FORGOT to do a literary message! Oops.

As I was brainstorming and writing this script out, it also struck me what a perfect addition a treehouse would make to my Mouse House flannel… Mouse could be hiding inside the (red) barnhouse, which would set the stage well for another one of my favorite storytime books featuring the color red – Duck On a (Red) Bike! You know what else is red on the farm? Little red wagons! Red hens! And who likes red hens? One (Red) Fox: A Counting Book Thriller!

Next time! I sure miss the days when I did multiple storytimes a week so I could try out ALL THE IDEAS at once… *sigh*

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