Today I’d like to take a break from the usual book review and introduce a few story ideas with a difference. Storytime is not just about reading books!
First up, there’s story stones. The idea behind this is to have a stock of self decorated stones that represent things. This could be animals, like ladybirds, bees, foxes, plants, and other things that can be found in nature. Other stones may represent actions, or even abstract things, it’s really all up to you. It’s ok to start with a limited repertory and then expand with time. And then, with the stones, the children can tell stories and let their imagination flow. Without noticing or effort, it’s a great tool to encourage literacy development (like words, the stones represent something and thus work on the same principle as language) and narrative communication. Plus it’s fun to paint them!
Or how about making your own book with cardboard and string and keeping a diary of your nature adventures? You could add photos, or items found in nature, or draw what you saw on your last day spent outdoors. Once the child can write, language can be added. A great way to keep memories.
Similarly, you could create a book about a topic. As it’s autumn, it could be a leaf or tree book: each page is dedicated to a tree and the task is to find a leaf, do a bark rubbing and find the seeds of the tree. The same would work with wildflowers (and at home, you can identify them and give them names). Literacy can be developed here too, by naming the trees and writing down the name.
Something that my 4 year old loves to do is to act out familiar fairy tales outdoors with a group of friends or just the family. The 3 little pigs are a favourite. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but re-enacting any story that was enjoyed at home is great fun for everyone involved.