Autumn storytime inspiration
Published on: 03 November 2015 Author: Maria Tumolo
Mum-of-two, Maria Tumolo, shares ideas for cosying up with books.
Autumn is here and hibernation is not an option with my two active children.
Fortunately we have a park and library close by and make full use of them. Lately, I've selected seasonal-inspired books that have sparked ideas to make storytime engaging for restless little ones.
Prep with props
I used the idea of the story-bag, which I got when attending a course called 'Start Learning Together', when Angelo was a toddler. I used to gather toys we had at home (relating to the story), pop them in a bag and use them as props while I read. Now, I've gone bigger. I've brought the outside in by setting a small stage to make storytime more interactive.
Libraries and book shops create great displays for upcoming events and seasons, which can be a source of inspiration to make storytime appealing, even for children who may not like books. Some books I borrowed recently had the scope for creating craft activities. My children and I found leaves, twigs and acorns at our local park, which I used as props and for crafts, as we experimented with etching and leaf rubbing.
Set the scene
On one occasion, I built a den from their bunk bed and we had storytime inside. At night, I select books that foster a feeling of comfort. I've tried soothing music from YouTube to fit the story. Valentina enjoyed it, Angelo didn't. You win some, you lose some.
Four books we enjoyed together
Hodge the Hedgehog by Amy Sparkes, Illustrated by Benji Davies
A tale about the perils of being selfish and the joys of sharing:
- Both children adore furry creatures, so the characters immediately drew them in. However, they did question if Hodge was prickly. I didn't know so I did a quick internet search to answer their question.
- They both liked it when that the animals tidied up Hodge's home.
The Best Gift of All by Jonathan Emmett, Illustrated by Vanessa Cabban
A tale of friendship and acts of kindness with a valuable message about using ingenuity to complete a mission:
- Valentina got into character to be the helpful friend/doctor to look after sick rabbit.
- Angelo liked the gift-giving and the friends caring for rabbit.
Starlight Sailor by James Mayhew, Illustrated by Jackie Morris
A beautiful story. The rhythm and rhyme had a lulling effect. It's filled with imagery that a child's dreams are made of:
- Angelo liked the mermaids and the little boy in the boat.
- Valentina liked the mermaids and the little girl dressed as a princess.
- They also liked the paper boats I made for them. There are instructions in the book.
Little Chick and the Secret of Sleep by Malachy Doyle, Illustrated by Gill McLean
This story helps parents and little ones understand what's at the core of a good night's sleep:
- Angelo said that he feels safe with his parent, so he was happy that Little Chick was safe with hers.
- Valentina liked all the animals, especially Little Chick and Monkey.
I'm having a wonderful time with my children this autumn making stories come alive. The best thing of all is that I'm able to find supplies from amongst their own toys and while on our nature walks