Storytelling, reading stories and acting out known stories has quickly become one of our favourite pastimes as a family since Ellie arrived. Her love for books, nursery rhymes and everything literature has brought out a passion in me I haven’t had since I stopped reading a few years back.
Every night Ellie asks for a minimum of 3 stories, one read by me and two read by her Dad. She seems to obsess over certain ones for a while before going back to others but she listens intently until she is able to join in and pretty much tell the story herself. Recently we have been encouraging her to “read” books to herself, I know this is something a lot of EYFS children (reception/aged 4-5) can struggle with when learning to read and I want her to be able to use the pictures and tell the story in whatever way works for her. She has started reading stories to her favourite soft toys and loves flicking through the pages.
More recently she has been obsessed with acting out the traditional tale “The 3 Little Pigs”, she runs around building each house and waiting for the big bad wold (usually me ¬_¬) to come blow the house down. Her imagination is incredible and she will use whatever is around her to pretend. I recently aquired some masks from a teacher at work who doesn’t need them and it made me wonder what else was available to really help Ellie’s imagination and storytelling develop through her love of stories and play.
I came across a lovely lady called Sian who runs her own small business StoryProps.
Sian is an EYFS teacher and has used her knowledge and passion for learning to create props that children can use when reading or telling stories. StoryProps provides handpainted items that help to ” develop a young child’s communication, language & literacy skills, and creative & imaginative development whilst increasing a love for stories, rhymes, characters and books ” (taken from the StoryProp website) and I completely agree. Each item is beautifully handpainted to a great standard. My favourite is the Story Spoons which are perfect for enabling Ellie to create her own story around the characters. I can’t wait to order a set!
Follow StoryProps on Instagram and Facebook To purchase your own set of wonderful StoryProps whether they are spoons, stones or cubes then head on over to their Etsy Shop 🙂
For a while now I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring Ellie’s love of nursery rhymes in to her play. She sings all day long and knows so many nursery rhymes, more than I know and verses I’ve never even heard of. I’ve always been envious of those parents who have the time to pre-plan activities for their babies and toddlers because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do with Ellie. Being a teaching assistant and working in a school based nursery during my pregnancy with Jason makes me even more aware of all the things that will give Ellie an advantage when she starts nursery and I am always surprised by the amount of children who grow up not knowing their basic nursery rhymes! I asked a child in my class the other day (year 2) about one of Ellie’s favourites and they didn’t know it. I find it really sad that children aren’t given the opportunities to learn them (I’m not judging or criticising…just makes me a bit sad).
I got in touch with Dee who runs The Little Sensory Box about one of her subscription boxes that will be released soon; I loved one of the items (I loved them all but one in particular) and wanted to know where she got it from and whether I could purchase one from her for Ellie. She very kindly offered to send us one to test out for her and I jumped at the chance to work with such a wonderful small business again that I definitely said yes please!
**FYI – Our review of The Percussion Box is available to read here**
This is where I finally let my creative juices flow. I wanted to build a themed activity around one product and I am so pleased with the outcome that I wanted to share it with you all. Please be nice as this is the first themed activity I’ve ever really done but I would love more ideas if people want to share!
I based the activities around the nursery rhyme 5 Currant Buns and focused on the different activities Ellie would enjoy doing. I tried to make it fun and create something we could revisit too. I had planned so many different things that I decided to run with this over the weekend as Ellie’s attention span isn’t very long and I didn’t want to force her to take part for too long as I knew she’d never come back to it otherwise.
Again, working in a school has encouraged me to fit in some type of learning and 5 Currant Buns is a great rhyme for counting forwards and backwards and we have even looked at matching numbers and missing numbers while messing around too. The first thing we did was explore the glove we were gifted from The Little Sensory Box Ellie already knew the song so she was keen to sing it as soon as I introduced the glove to her. She counted the numbers, pretended to eat the buns off my fingers and joined in with singing. We used the puppet alongside some pictures I printed off Twinkl and laminated so that I could write the numbers on to help with Ellie’s number recognition.
Ellie is confident in recognising numbers to 10 so I knew she would find this easy however I know that constant repetition in mathematics is a good thing so I decided to do this anyway. Eventually my aim is to use the cards but have Ellie write the numbers.
We also used the puppet and the laminated bun cards to role play the rhyme. I laminated a penny coin that I also printed off the internet and everytime someone pays with a penny Ellie would role play it and take her bun away. We later developed this again and used playdough to make the currant buns for her to take away too. She loved adding the playdough and cupcake cases as it gave her something else and encouraged her play to last longer.
Another activity I printed off was some colouring sheets that linked to the rhyme; Ellie loves colouring so I knew this would be a hit for her. She recognised the currant buns and the penny and started singing it again, asking for me to sit with the glove while she coloured. It was a lovely, calm activity before her bedtime that really helped settle her (and wasn’t messy which was a win for me too!)
We came back to the rhyme the next day and did some baking. I had planned on making actual currant buns but as I don’t like them I decided on biscuits instead. It would have been a waste and I found a Paw Patrol Biscuit kit for 85p in our local Home Bargains which persuaded me and we all love chocolate biscuits in this house. Ellie really enjoys baking but it feels really stressful while she is still so little so it’s something I tend to try and do as little as possible which I hate as I love baking too. I hope that it will be one of our mummy-daughter things when she gets a bit older that we enjoy doing together as I’ve dreamt of baking with my children for so long. I found the biscuit kit was probably aimed at just the right timing for Ellie as she was engaged right up until the end where she almost launched herself off the worktop giving me a heart attack and never wanting to bake again! LOL! All was fine and Ellie helped mix, pour and squish the biscuits. Double bonus points for the fact that they have Paw Patrol on them and she couldn’t wait to put the edible stickers on the top and eat them.
We’ve had such a lovely weekend and I know it is something I definitely want to do again. Having a plan has helped us all this weekend and I’ve felt that Ellie has enjoyed playing more. We have also dodged our Saturday meltdown sessions YAY!!
The Nursery Rhyme Glove will be available in The Birthday Box (available soon!!) and can be added to the Subscription Boxes which are already available to purchase. The baby’s first year subscription boxes focuses on key development stages and will arrive in four boxes throughout the first year and the Birthday Box can be added to finish the years subscription off perfectly!
To find out more about the subscription boxes and The Birthday Box, subscribe to The Little Sensory Box or follow them on Instagram 💖
If anyone has any other ideas for nursery rhymes/story play that doesn’t cost the earth please share them!! All my ideas would cost me more than I get paid unfortunately.
Disclaimer - I was gifted the 5 Currant Bun hand glove from The Little Sensory Box but was in no obligation to promote. All views and opinions are my own.
Recently I have been so excited for the launch of a new small business on Instagram, The Little Sensory Box, a sensory box designed mainly for babies up to the age of 12 months. Or I was excited until I realised Ellie was quite a bit older than 12 months! I love supporting small businesses though, it is something I have wanted to do for some time and never had the confidence to even think about setting up. I am a firm believer in sensory play and that it gives babies (toddlers and those with additional needs!) a fantastic way to boost their own development which has meant I have been keen to support Dee and her new business.
Ellie (and Mummy!) was so excited when our box arrived!
Dee, the creator of The Little Sensory Box, contacted me as she was hoping to make these boxes as toddler-friendly as possible, offering parents of toddlers the option to still create the magic of sensory play at home and so sent us one of her Percussion Boxes to test out and review.
Before I continue I must tell you this was a gifted collaboration with the Little Sensory Box however this review is completely my own thoughts and opinions based on Ellie’s play/enjoyment.
The Percussion Box (which is specified as being suitable for up to 18 months however Ellie is 27 months old and loves it!) has a variety of items which dominantly develops hand-eye coordination, sense of rhythm and listening skills. For Ellie, this was definitely true, she loved dancing around and making her own music with the large Handbell and even recreated her favourite songs from our local Hartbeeps class with the Egg Shaker.
We experimented with different sounds, the handbell is much louder than the maracas which meant we could play around and encourage/teach Ellie the idea of loud and quiet using the instruments. Of cause she much preferred the louder sounds but focused so well on listening for the quietness of the maracas.
Ellie is keen to make music and is always running around with her flute (which is loud, plastic, blue and REALLY annoying!) so I loved that these were beautifully decorated with bright colours and I can control the volume by encouraging quiet play which I can’t do with the flute. I also liked that each instrument was wooden and not plastic, they are robust so I know Ellie isn’t going to break them easily.
The Percussion Box is just £8.99 which in my opinion is a great price for the items we received and will continue to entertain Ellie for a long time.
You can purchase The Percussion Box from here Or you could have a look at the other two boxes available to buy, although we haven’t tested out The Ultimate Box or The Look and Feel Sensory Box, I am sure both have items that would still be suitable for toddlers too