This week in the Burrow I decided to do something different at story time to make it more interesting and engage the children in a new way. Often when we have a bigger group, listening to a story can be tricky for two year olds, so in the Burrow we like to find new ways to capture the children’s interests. From observing the children in their play I knew that they all love playing with the animals, whether they are the farm animals, zoo animals or even the dinosaurs, so I decided to stick to an animal story. I chose to use the story ‘Dear Zoo’ as I knew that many of the children were familiar with this story and we could use it to stimulate our conversations about animals.
I thought it would be a good idea to use some real life images of the animals which are mentioned in the story so the children could look at the pictures and then look at the animals and compare the two. I laminated these and stuck them onto brightly coloured lolly sticks so the children could hold them up and they could also be used as puppets if the children wanted to retell the story themselves.
Once I had sorted out the resources I tested them when we all sat for a story. We sat in a big circle and I put the animal cards in a bag and put it in the middle. I told the children the story and for each animal I chose one child to look through the bag and find the right picture. The first animal in the story is an elephant and we held up the picture and instead of just carrying on with the story, the picture stimulated conversations about elephants. We talked about how elephants are very big, with long trunks and that they wouldn’t be a good pet because they are much too big! A similar thing happened when we talked about the giraffe and its long neck, we pointed to our own necks and talked about what food giraffes could reach with their long necks.
This continued for each animal, with lots of children taking turns and talking about animal noises, what they eat, where they live and these simple cards promoted much more interesting conversations and learning than what might have happened when just listening to the story. It put the story into the children’s hands and they extended their own learning. In this short space of time we discussed different sizes, different noises and the children used really good listening, understanding and communication skills whilst enjoying themselves. I think this just goes to show how much development and learning is happening every day for the 2 year olds and how much fun we can have at story time!
Over the next few weeks I hope to introduce some more props for stories as this was so successful!
Chynna The Burrow