Make a toddler storytelling basket for the popular story Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell, for meaningful story telling and interaction through play.
I’m starting a new series of simple and engaging storytelling baskets for toddlers and preschoolers, which will focus on using all of the senses and a range of story props to help retell and reenact favourite stories in an active way! We all know that learning through touch and movement is the best way to cement new concepts and help the brain to make sense of the information it is receiving, and the same is true for listing to and then retelling stories.
It’s a great early literacy development tool and makes a lovely way to engage in play with your child too. Having a range of these multi-sensory, storytelling baskets on the classroom shelf would be great for independent play or small group literacy work too. These also make a wonderful DIY gift, along with a new copy of the accompanying book, for a young child’s birthday or Christmas.
We started with Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, which is hands-down one of our absolute favourites and has been much loved by all of mine at toddler age. It has flaps to lift, is a lovely tale about seeking the perfect animal to receive as a gift and encourages lots of participation from its young readers.
It is also very easy to make a story prop basket for, especially if you have a bazillion little Playmobil animals in your home like we do!
[affilate link to one of many similar animal sets to be found!]
Together we took a copy of our book and went on a search around the home for one of each animal to match all of the ones that are featured. Then we simply popped them into a basket, along with the book, and started to read the story together. I asked her to find me the right animal for each page as we went through the story, and she matched them up and named them all.
Later, she came back to this and told the story herself, using just the props as she narrated from memory. She remembered the key elements of the story and invented any parts that she forgot. Reading to her baby dolls or teddies could be a next-step activity, as well as making an animal themed craft to go along with the book or using the animals to set up a small world play scene.
We have already made 3 more of these to match some more favourites, including a couple for the older girls, and I will be sharing them here regularly in our Sensory Storytelling Basket series!
What they are learning as they play:
literacy: retelling familiar texts from memory, using story props to retell stories, using story book language, understanding the key plots and characters from popular texts, handling a book and turning the pages in the correct way
creativity: storytelling, imaginative play
See all our PLAYFUL LITERACY ideas here
[This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.]