The big kids are in school and the little ones want to learn too! My kids always loved to read, because we made it fun! Creating a book basket for toddlers and preschoolers allows them to interact with the story, keeps their interest longer, develops creativity, and gives them a chance to tell the story in their own words.
Appealing to their sense of sight, touch, and sound will not only make the story more alive to them but it can really help these playful pre-reading exercises stick. They provide countless opportunities for open ended play with your child. You may find your little one is captivated for hours by just one simple book and basket.
Use popular books that your child is familiar with to create your basket. Colorful and fun stories lend themselves well to acting out. Books from your own collection, or even picked up from the library can create fun baskets. Gather items from around the house- Start by thumbing through your book of choice, and choosing items that are important to the story- use your child’s small toys, pictures, nature items from outside and items from around the house to represent characters and props in the story.
Read the story to your child and allow them to play with the items in the basket as you read, the next time ask your child to retell the story using the items. Encouraging your child to retell the story helps them develop a richer vocabulary and strong imagination. To extend the play ask them to tell you what they think happened after the story ends,. After your child is familiar with the basket contents show them 3 or more items, remove one and have them guess which item is missing.
Besides being used at home, story baskets are a great busy activity for; car travel, restaurants, doctors offices, and as an activity to pass on to the babysitter for occupying your child. Make some up to give as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Tuck a classic book, and a handful of story telling elements into a pretty basket for a fun and thoughtful gift. Any size or shape basket will work as long as your book fits inside and a good amount of small items to go along.
These are some of my favorite books for creating great book baskets:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin
- Goodnight Moon
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
- The Gruffalo
- There Was an Old Lady Series
- Planting a Rainbow
- The Carrot Seed
Make Your Own Story
Another great method for story baskets is to simply fill a basket with odds and ends that might be from familiar stories, without any particular book and just make up stories as you go along and have your child to the same. Items like small wooden dolls, plastic colorful bugs, silk flowers, finger puppets, felt pieces, Christmas ornaments, and dollhouse furniture are ideal filler for your story baskets. Start a story using one of the items in the basket, ask your child to continue the story by using something from the basket. Ask open ended questions like.. Where do you think the Grandma is going? What do you see in the forest? What is in her basket? Etc..
Anything that you can do to encourage a child’s love of reading, even if they are not reading yet will go a long way to laying a foundation for a love of learning. Set out story baskets everyday or use them as a special activity once a week.
What is your child’s favorite story? Consider trying a simple story basket to extend play!
Looking for more great educational ideas? Check out my Homeschooling Pinterest Board!