I started this small felt board several years ago as a disciplinary tool. I was struggling with how to communicate good and bad behavior to my toddlers, you know the terrible twos and threes. I thought why re-invent the wheel, eh? So we developed a sort of gold star chart - only its a flannel board with hearts. Good behaviors were rewarded with hearts, and bad behaviors got a black square on the board. [See how I made my felt boards here.]
It was amazing how effective this was at that time. The girls were not catching on to the idea of consequences when I gave them warnings - and lecturing wasn't working, of course. But seeing a heart or a black spot on the chart sort of became a consequence they could understand.
When the girls did something kind, or obeyed without arguing or said please and thank you - I let them pick out a heart to put on the board. (Each girl had a side of the board, identified this day by their little dress.)
When their behavior was not so good I put a black mark up. Really, the square is totally arbitrary. But it made the bad behavior visible - and they didn't like that. [side note: Black is one of J's favorite colors, so we recently added black hearts as well - which was a little confusing for John, but the rest of us were cool with it.]
When they apologized, or corrected the behavior, they got another heart and they could cover the black mark. They loved that. And so did I. Honestly, I was surprised how easily and quickly this worked. And its been fun to talk about colors and see how the girls arrange their hearts.
Now that the girls are a little older, consequences come a little more easily for all of us. Bad attitudes mean quiet time, fighting over a toy means losing the toy, etc. So I don't really use the black marks anymore. Instead, we made a little felt tree trunk and we started putting all of our hearts together, in one big family love tree - to continue reinforcing good behavior.
They love giving hearts to each other when they are kind to one another. And its good for me, too, to remember to look for those things instead of always pointing out their bad behavior. Sometimes they even give me hearts when I'm kind. works for me, too.
The little felt board used to sit on the windowsill, but recently I took it apart and put it inside a large picture frame with the glass removed. I just used the cardboard already in the frame - which made this the easiest felt board I've ever made. (I did include a layer of batting between the felt and cardboard, but I didn't glue it or anything - the frame holds it together.)
Our entryway table has become a little collection of school things, which I'm kind of digging. We refer to the globe and abacus quite a bit now that they are accessible - and kind of pretty, too. We have made other felt board projects for school or fun over the years, so I like having this accessible in the living room too, for a quick school-ish felt-play time. More felt to come, I'm sure.