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Creating a story basket with children: using items from your early childhood setting or home.

Updated: May 26, 2023

I have been inspired to start creating story baskets with the children rather than for the children. This came about as children wanted more ownership and began to add items to the story baskets I had created. I was also inspired by another teacher, Katie Blomfield who I saw using the same items I had been using in my own story basket ‘where is the green sheep?’ but with the children to create a story basket.

My version focused on fine motor skills and wrapping wool around the wooden sheep and re-telling the story. Katie had bought the same wooden sheep and instead of wool wrapping she invited the children to colour in the sheep. Great discussion ensued about the colours of the sheep and what they did. The children were engaged and eager to share with others the sheep they had made. I was not there for the sharing of the story basket but I can imagine it was as engaged and connected as they making of it as the children had some ownership in the story.

Now if you did not have the wooden sheep in your setting or at home then you could invite the children to draw or paint the sheep on paper or cardboard. You could gather sheep toys or use peg dolls or ask the children what they would like to use.

When I create a story basket, I think about providing for the HEAD, HEART and HANDs and you can use this to create a story basket with resources you have in your setting or home.

HEAD- thinking and I use curiosity as the foundation in all 3 areas. Asking questions with who? why? which? when? what? where? and how?

To self- Who is interested in this book? What can be learnt from this story? How can I support this interest? How can I extent this interest?

To child/ren - Who is in this book? What happened in the story? What do you need to retell the story?

It may be learning about belonging, identity, numbers, colours, science, working theories the community the list is endless and one story could have more than one area to think or learn from.

HEART- feelings, emotional attachment, motivation, attitude and commitment. This can be the adults or the child/ren.

To self- What feelings are expressed in this story? What feelings are expressed in this story?

To child/ren – How does this story make you feel? What would happen if…?

HANDS- action or play is what makes the story basket meaningful which links to the HEART and feelings.

To self- What do the children need to retell this story? Which items will bring the story alive?

To child/ren- What do we need in this story basket? How will we make the … for the story basket?

By getting the children involved I can see that all 3 of these aspects are included. The children are using their HEADs to decide what they want in the story basket. This shows what they are interested in and it requires them to recall the story and characters. The story selected will be one of interest and this is the HEART of the story basket. Through conversations in making the story basket you discover what the children connect to and makes their HEART sing. Finally, by the children making or selecting the resources they are part of the HANDs in the creating and use of the story basket.

Here are some story baskets that could be easily created with resources in the early childhood setting or your home.

I always start with a basket, cloth and book.

The first story basket could be used for Roadworks or Construction books. It has vehicles from around home, peg dolls, home made signs, napkin rings, dowel, game markers as cones, popsicle sticks and a sushi mat. The Tiger who came to tea is a tea set I like to use a real one but a toy one would be good too. A tiger or 3 and a table cloth and you have a story basket. The last one Whatever next! is made with soft toys (or teapot cozy) , loose parts, a colander from Kmart and stars. The last 2 can be extended into dramatic play with the addition of a table for the Tiger who cane to tea and a box for Whatever next!

I find that if I and /or the children engage our HEADs, HEARTs and HANDs then the learning and teaching is more meaningful and authentic.

I use this technique in storybasketeers and Lynette Lock a member said “ I honestly can't emphasise how much I have got from joining this group. I truly didn't realise how much learning could come from having hands on resources relating to the text in books. I am loving this journey and the children I work with are benefiting greatly from the knowledge I am gaining.” I must say that I am learning and being inspired as much as the members.

I will continue to create story baskets for the children but now I am also excited to create them with the children.

Until next time.


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