Updated: Nov 7, 2021
My favourite suitcase doesn’t take up too much space and it is the perfect size for small world and story centered play, it measures 340 by 430 by 130cm. I got mine from my Nana but you could pick one up second hand.
The first tip is to start with a smaller suitcase and as you become more confident in what to put in it then go bigger. The first suitcase I used in 2018 was probably too big and it took me a few years to return to using one. It looks a bit empty and I should revisit the story Sail away by Mem Fox is a fabulous book and I know have the perfect suitcase.
A suitcase is portable and perfect for in and outdoors. Tip two would be to start indoors, especially if you have children into the transportation schema as it is harder to find items outdoors. I look at a suitcase like a large basket large basket for a story and it has the BONUS of being able to can prop up or frame a book. I use the same process I teach to make a story basket to create a story suitcase.
Here you can see a variety of books from Bug hotel which is a wonderful hands on book to the Grouchy ladybird with bugs. They can be set up under 5 minutes and my storage system speeds this up. The third tip is to store items based on a context or location like 'sea', 'space' and 'farm' in a plastic container. I use a chalk pen on the plastic which identifies the contents making it easy to grab and set up a small world or story basket.
A small word suitcase invites story telling and I have extended on this loose parts in bags, baskets and trays . The key to these is having a variety of loose parts and textures. I have added a basket or bag of items for the children to select from but I find they often will source other items for their play. The fourth tip and a time saver a basket (bag or) of loose parts!
Key items I always have in my basket (or bag) are:
· Wood cookies
· Pine cones
· Bead necklaces
· Cotton or wooden reels
· Wooden pegs
· Peg dolls
· Wooden disks
· Napkin rings
· Craft sticks
I realised that this list is almost the same as my story basket foundation box items in the e-booklet.
A suitcase can offer more space than a basket and certainly more freedom than a table. Here is the same book Where's my teddy? as a story basket and suitcase.
Tip five is that I store the fake green grass which is a table runner from Kmart, a forest shower curtain, black and brown material in the suitcase to save time. I also store my Kmart sticker scene activity book scenes in it. You could also use old calendars with scenic images.
The four new scenes in another Kmart sticker scene activity book (see the others in my blog) are a castle, under the sea, forest and in a bedroom. I have used the forest and under the sea several times and not to sure about the other two yet.
Having played indoors a lot with the small world suitcases we are using the outdoors more. I am also adding a basket of loose parts and a story starter tray for the children to set up their own worlds. If you want to read more on what to include in a story starter tray you can check out my blog. In the basket there are different cloths or material to add texture and animals that would 'fit' in the scene.
The suitcase been great for quiet individual play through to larger groups of up to five.
Until next time.
P.S. there are affiliate links in this post and if you buy anything with them I may get a small amount to buy and share more items with you.