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7 ways to transform a wooden spoon into a story spoon for story baskets.

Updated: May 26, 2023

The good ole wooden spoon!

There are the 3 wooden spoons in the ‘story basket foundation box’ and I have transformed them into story spoons. Once you have seen the 7 ways you may want to have more than 3 wooden spoons!

ALL of the ideas are for people like me who can’t really paint or sew! For those of you who can you will LOVE some of the painting alternatives and so will the children.

The 7 ways I have transformed wooden spoons are:

· Velcro dots and images (cardboard, foam or material)

· ‘Spoon hoods’ like puppet for a spoon

· Stickers

· Transfer whole image

· Transfer outline and paint

· Chalk paint

· Spray paint, felt and buttons

Before I fell in LOVE with using the wooden spoon in my story baskets, I was hesitant. I had 2 reasons to be hesitant and 1 was from my childhood and the other was with tikanga (protocol or rules Māori have around life and living).

If you are around my age, you will understand my reluctance to ‘use’ the wooden spoon’ as I did have it used on me. I think this is less common today and the negative association I had with a wooden spoon has since disappeared through the magi of story baskets. I saw them being used with young children to see a nursery rhyme and the delight to choose a spoon soon won me over to try them in story baskets.

The second reason was a question to ask my cultural advisor who said it would be OK to use if they had not been used for kai (food), even in play. With this in mind I keep my story spoons separate from dramatic play spoons. Before using them, you may need to check what the tikanga is where you live as it may be different where you live.

Initially I did not paint my spoons. I wasn’t good at painting and I wanted to be able to reuse them and be more sustainable. My first spoons used Velcro dots. I was able to fasten shapes (foam stars where the most popular) and then fabric butterfly patches.

I liked the changeability and this led to new idea, ‘spoon hoods’. A felt puppet for a spoon rather than fingers or hands. The first ones were made for baby shark and a friend helped me out.

When I shared the ‘spoon hoods’ for baby shark Lee kept hitting Mummy shark on baby shark saying “wack, wack, wack” and I was like ‘uh oh’. I asked why Mummy shark was saying “wack, wack, wack” without showing my own bias and the concern I had for their use. Lee said “Mummy is happy to see baby and is wacking here tail”. It was hard not to grin at this and that is all I did. In this moment I could have seen what was happening through my own childhood but was able to step back and learn about hers. I knew from her stories and adventures that her Grandad had a dog who liked to wag her tail when Lee went to visit.

The sharks led to fish and the fish to octopus which were perfect for rainbow fish. You can see trusty pompoms from the story basket foundation box included.

I have also created weather spoons for Tāwhiri, Te Rā and te Marama and these are perfect for movement. The sun and moon can go up and down and the wind can blow all around.

I still wanted to try painting BUT was not brave enough and then I stumbled upon a sticker book! This was a fabulous way to avoid painting. I found them for We’re going on a bear hunt, the monkey puzzle tree, Room on and broom and snail and the whale

We’re going on a bear hunt and Room on and broom were a good match for spoons. The others I thought were better for story disks which I will blog about next.

OK, so the time to paint was here! But I found yet another technique to stall. The transfer technique where you use mod podge and a photo copy of an image. It is a simple method and the longest time is in waiting for the mod podge to dry.

I was delighted with the results and it meant no painting. You will find my FREE pattern for Jack and the beanstalk uses this technique as does the 3 little pigs which is also a FREE resource.

BUT I was almost ready to paint! I used the transfer technique to make an outline that I just needed to colour or paint in. You can do this for the 3 little pigs too. You can see the items I used from the 'story basket foundation box' with sticks, mini red blocks added. I have used the craft sticks to make houses (more on those in another blog soon.

I used this method for little red riding hood story spoons and was delighted with my painting. Is it really painting? Maybe colouring in!

OK, so I did kinda paint the 3 little pigs and wolf with spray paint and added a button for a nose, wobbly eyes, felt ears and pipe cleaner tails!

Today I used my *new* chalk painted spoons! You paint the spoons with chalk paint and the children can decorate them. I found a fabulous book The Midnight adventures of Ruru and Kiwi which is a kiwi version of the owl and the pussy cat. When I put the spoons out with the chalk I wondered what they would do with them. I was initially going to put 2 wood buddies out but decided not to and see what they did.

The children made the forest in the dark (on the chalk paint) and then they made the spoons into the birds. I think I need a bit more texture and items for the story basket but you can see the foundation items used here.

I am not sure it is and maybe time I need to try and paint them! BUT with so many other options do I really need to?

In writing this blog I realised I need to try and use the transfer technique for people or animals that are not fairy tales and stick to using only 3 spoons as that is the number in the ‘story basket foundation box’.

My journey and discoveries also come from my 7 day challenge where I support others to make and share a story basket in 7 days. In the challenge I see new books and inspiring ideas and this helps me create and support others.

Until next time


P.S. if you missed my blog on using the wood buddies it is here.

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