It ain’t Christmas if you don’t have a … story… basket!
My memories of Christmas are around stories, from books and that were told by family. There is also the food, music and smells! What about you?
At Christmas time I try to focus on the magic and wonder and intentionally create this for children. We are making memories for children! A story basket gives ample opportunity to do this through texture, sparkle and Christmas characters or traditions.
A story basket gives a child or children an opportunity to retell and explore Christmas and its meaning for them, their family and community. They also offer cognitive (memory, language etc.) and non cognitive skills (dispositions).
This year my Storybaskteers group want to focus on kindness rather than Santa and I will be doing a blog and baskets on this soon. This shift is due to the needs in the community and that gifts are more than material objects. More and more they are hearing "Santa doesn't come to our house" or a desire to focus on family. In my setting story baskets and Christmas are still a focus but I am reflecting on these shifts.
I often start a story basket with the book. Got a favourite Christmas book? One that without FAIL the children love and want to hear over and over again? I have included some of the BEST books and baskets from last year and added some new ones that I think they will LOVE for this year.
So, grab the book, a basket and a Christmas napkin or material and as you can see from the photos RED is often my first colour choice.
Next are the items that well bring the story to life and help in the retelling. I always look at the characters, texture and base the items on interests or an extension of an interest. I try and buy these on SALE or after Christmas, but be careful because if you are anything like me you forget what you have!
Let’s start with story baskets that were popular last year:
I did add this year popular counting sticks to the very hungry caterpillars Christmas 1-2-3! I see there is a new Happy Christmas book which i will NEED to get for next Christmas!!
The 12 dogs were popular due to the small dogs and counting. I had the 12 cats Christmas with wooden cats but the soft dogs were most asked for (and cared for). However the wooden cats were popular with the Christmas tree tangle as there was fine motor skills used to get them on the tree with the rubber bands. The dinosaurs were are great way to invite some reluctant boys to read as they were dinosaur mad!
New ones this year (2021) are sure to be enjoyed as they are based on books we have been reading all year but with a Christmas theme: That’s not my…. Elf, Santa and I am working on angel.
During the year we have enjoyed That’s not my puppy, dinosaur and truck to name the top three.
Counting is BIG at the moment and often is at the end of the year! For this interest I created 10 little elves from Mike Brownlow who has written 10 little dinosaurs, pirates and aliens to name a few.
This is a hands-on creative basket for children to create their own elves. The people craft sticks are from Kmart and cheap enough that every child could create one.
A more traditional story basket is Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs who also wrote the snowman (which was a story basket last year). This is also a book without words that shares a story of Father Christmas. It is based on a wintry Northern hemisphere Christmas but the openness of the book to any story being seen or told by the reader is magical.
The littlest Christmas tree is a heart warming story of a tree left till last but loved by a mouse family despite its size.
I am working on some Christmas rhymes now and if I have time I will put a blog together for them. Time is flying!!!