Crafts bring the pages of your preschooler’s favorite books to life. Extension activities like crafts push your everyday story time into an explosion of literary connections. Several general craft projects are adaptable for any children’s book so you don’t need to come up with something new each time. Channel your creativity at your next story time and start crafting.
Dramatic Play Props
Acting out a story after you’ve read it helps your preschooler understand what she just read. She works on sequencing of events by performing the story in order and realizes the words on the page connect to a story line and actions. To add a crafty component to story time dramatic play, whip up your own props related to the story. If you read “Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type,” you might make a headband with cow ears on it so your preschooler can pretend to be a cow from the story. When reading a story about firefighters, make a firefighter’s hat from a paper plate that your preschooler can wear. The dramatic play props help her get into character to retell the story but also encourage her to make up her own related stories as she plays.
Some paper and paints are all you need for this literacy craft. Have your preschooler choose at least one aspect of the story to paint. For example, she might paint her favorite part of the story or all of the characters. Another option is to paint different parts of the story so she can use the pictures as a sequencing activity. For example, in the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” paint a picture of each of the animals listed in the book. Once the paint dries, your preschooler organizes the images in order based on how they appeared in the book. You can also turn those paintings into your own book based on the original. Staple her paintings together in book form and let her “read” her own version.
Paper lunch bags work well as a simple base for puppets related to a story you read to your preschooler. After you finish the story, turn the paper bags into the character puppets. Yarn for hair, googly eyes and construction paper for the other details transforms your paper bag into a puppet. Let your preschooler use her homemade puppets to put on her own show related to the story. She doesn’t have to retell it exactly as it happened. Encourage her to make up her own new story lines or new characters to practice the idea of storytelling.
Children’s stories usually have several themes or key components to them that translate well into kids’ crafts. Use the ideas from the book to come up with your own creative projects, like dioramas, edible crafts and clay sculptures. For the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” use a paper towel tube and green construction paper leaves to create your own three-dimensional tree. After reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” mold the foods in the story from clay. In autumn, make a collage of fall leaves after reading “Read Leaf, Yellow Leaf.”
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