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The best ideas come from the children. How the 'tell me a story' invitation was born.

I truly believe the best ideas come from the children and 'Tell me a story' came from being asked this by a child.

There is always a story basket on hand to explore, retell and play with and perhaps this is where ‘Tell me a story’ came from but I do not know for sure.

Jay had begun to use loose parts and resources to create elaborate stories and play. I loved sitting and listening to them. After a couple of weeks I was invited to join them with ‘Tell me a story’. I was excited to be invited into the play and became a play partner as I paused and looked for guidance so that we could tell a story together.

I realised that I used this phrase often with story basket sharing and also in the art area to support and encourage children. I knew it worked but it wasn’t until I was asked it by Jay that I fully appreciated why. In that moment I felt I would be listened to, that I had a voice and was included. This was very powerful and created an open and accepting space to share.

This experience and wanting to support Jay’s interest led to the ‘Tell me a story’ board that has been used on a table, with a suitcase and tuff tray. I have set these up but now the children are doing it independently .

When I first started I had only a few items on the table, a ‘starter’ and loose parts on hand to be added. The ‘starter’ was based on the interests I had observed: Autumn, Matariki, kiwi, farms etc.

I have also used this invitation for special events and language weeks. I have been selling some starter sets on This is why I teach .ec page too as teachers asked for them.

I provide a bag or basket of loose parts as I found children moved away to get items and their 'story' was interrupted. The children still get other items but not as much and I note what they get for next time.

Some of my favourite loose parts are:

Napkin rings


Lace and ribbon


Bead necklaces or chains


Lids (metal)

Preserving lids


Craft sticks




Coconut shells

Wood cookies

Small pine cones

Coasters and table mats


Pegs dolls (rainbow and natural)


Small wooden bowls

Small houses

Tea light battery candle

I decided to try setting up the ‘Tell me a story’ outside as it had been only done inside. I set up a suitcase inside and then took it outside as it would ‘transition’ this activity. I also hoped it would reduce the transporting of items, if only a little.

Next, I used a tuff tray. I wanted to offer more space and opportunities to collaborate.

This requires MORE loose parts, scarves and texture. I also added my fish spoons from the Rainbow fish e-pattern.

Through 'Tell me a story' I have seen learning in:






Working theories

Schema or Urges







I wonder if this was the progression from story basket, to a small world and then the invitation to 'Tell me a story'?

Here you can see my thinking using the Giraffes can't dance e-pattern.

Until next time.


P.S. there are affliate links and if you use them I may get some moolah

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