Create a story basket full of storytelling props to retell favourite fairy tales together in a playful way! So easy to set up with items from around the house and beneficial for so many strands of early literacy development.
As part of our on-going Playful Storytelling series, co-hosted with the gorgeous blog, One Perfect Day, we are presenting fun ways to explore fairy tales with kids. My children love traditional tales and they are my favourite type of story too because they can be told without books, thus celebrating and practising the essential art of oral storytelling together.
Being able to tell a story without a book encourages greater eye contact, intonation and variation in voice, use of richer vocabulary and a closer bond during the process. Not to mention the simple fact that it means you can tell the stories wherever you are with no books needed, be it in the car, on a walk or waiting for an appointment!
To make our story telling basket we scoured our toy baskets and small world toy collections for a range of popular characters who turn up frequently in some of the most common fairy tales that we could think of. Grandma and a wolf appear in many, so they were a great first addition, followed by a little boy and girl, some farm animals and a small salt dough gingerbread man we made at Christmas time. We also found some little wooden houses, a glass slipper, a pumpkin and turnip, bowls for the three bears and a red cape, quickly cut and glued together from a scrap of felt.
We have some gorgeous collections of tiny knitted finger puppets (company no longer in business I’m afraid) and these were perfect amongst our other props, especially the three little pigs and the three bears.
I made a really simple beanstalk by twisting some small green felt leaves around a pipe cleaner and popped some coloured pony beads into a tiny velvet pouch to represent magic beans, from the Jack and the Beanstalk story.
We talked about all the different stories that could be told from the figures, animals and props and I used some to tell the story of Cinderella, one of their current favourites, to warm up their own play. They requested lots more then set about selecting their chosen items and beginning to tell their own stories from memory. Cakie told Jack and the Beanstalk and then The Gingerbread Man, in which they both joined in the repeated refrain with huge enthusiasm, “run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” We had great fun setting up all the characters to try and pull the enormous turnip out of the ground (a threading bead stuffed with some felt leaves!)
Then we had a go at mixing up the fairy tales, mixing and matching the elements from the stories to come up with some silly, fun combinations! We had Goldilocks climbing the beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood going into the three bears’ cottage and the wolf and grandma making good friends with each other! The girls went into fits of giggles every time we suggested another silly storyline, and became more confident at making up their own.
Cakie asked to make her stories into a book, so I made her one from simple folded paper and she drew pictures of the funny fairy tales and added her own annotations. We are planning to make some more of these collaboratively as we use the storytelling basket more, and to read them back during story times together.
What stories would you put in your basket? Have you got something similar at home or in your classroom?
What they are learning as they play:
literacy: story telling and sequencing from memory, understanding story structures, joining in with repeated refrains from familiar texts, understanding and describing story book characters, using story book language in play, creating their own stories
creativity: using role play props to tell imaginative stories through play, taking on a role and remaining in character
phse: working collaboratively to retell stories together, turn taking and sharing
Pop: 3. 1
Bean: 14 mos
See our Little Red Riding Hood Dramatic play here!
Check out the Three Little Pigs Dramatic Storytelling from One Perfect Day here!
Follow our Playful Storytelling Pinterest board here to keep up with our on-going early literacy series.