Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Story Sacks: Testing the Water

After thinking about story sacks at the weekend, I decided to dip a toe in with Cherub yesterday. We had a clear morning and I wanted to do some activities with her, but I am not good at getting myself organised in advance so it needed to be something I could pull together easily. I am gradually building up a list of simple ideas for celebrating different feasts and seasons. Checking that, I found sun-related ideas for June 21st I could use for the beginning of summer and threw together a story sack and a craft activity tray.

Into the story sack (a cloth bag that once contained a set of bed linen) went:

  • The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
  • Skip Through the Seasons by Stella Blackstone
  • Summer Story (Brambly Hedge) by Jill Barklem
  • Flower Fairies of the Summer by Cicely Mary Barker
  • This sun colouring page
  • A sun rubber stamp
Onto the tray (a small wooden one I found when clearing out the kitchen) went:
  • Coloured paper
  • A paper plate
  • Yellow paint and paintbrush
  • Bottle of glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
... to make this handprint sun. In my experience doing any sort of structured craft with a toddler or preschooler goes much more smoothly if everything is ready to hand before getting the child involved - otherwise you can guarantee that things will take an interesting turn in your absence collecting missing items! Trays are a great way to get everything together and have endless possibilities. (Theresa at LaPaz Home Learning is the queen of activity trays ... check out some of her ideas here, and here, and here for inspiration.)

Cherub was very pleased to get a bag "like N's" and loved digging through it to see what was inside. We looked at the summer months in Skip Through The Seasons (a simple book with a double-page picture for each month, with items to spot), read The Sun Egg and looked at a couple of flower fairies before she wanted to move on to playing with the stamp. I have dangled Brambly Hedge books at her a couple of times but she hasn't been ready to bite yet, and obviously wasn't this time either. With hindsight I realised it would have been fun to put an orange and a small carton of orange juice in the bag to go with The Sun Egg.

After stamping we moved away from the bag and on to the craft tray. We drew round her hands, then I cut out hand shapes while she painted the paper plate yellow. When that was done she painted the colouring page and her stamped suns, then we turned to making "sunny" fairy cakes (yellow food colouring and yellow icing). Altogether we probably got about two hours of happy, focused activity out in return for a few minutes preparation, using books and other bits that I already had to hand.

I think for now I am going to put together other random bags as the fancy takes me, with the aim of having one ready to produce whenever she wants something to do and I don't have any other ideas. In the longer term I have - as Blackadder would say - a cunning plan. Letter bags. More on that later.

PS. I was a bad blogger and didn't remember to take any photos.

1 comment:

Gae said...

I love this idea and have tried to do it before. Yes, you do have to have everyting on hand to do this well.
WOW 2 hours of activities.
You have inspired me to try this again. I just have to remember where I put the bag after last time.
God Bless