In my first post about Story Telling Shelves I wanted to show how easy it really is to grab bits and bobs and make a Story Telling Shelf. They’re something I continue to put together, and every one I’ve done has been a hit with my kids and provided a great play time return on the set up time invested.
My original shelf was this Stick Man shelf, which was met with absolute delight:
Since then, I’ve done a range of shelves, my favourite of which have been this How to Catch A Star shelf with its jetty, rocket, tree, disinterested bird, lifebelt, sandwich, shell, paper sand and sea…oh, and a star, of course:
And this Paddington shelf complete with bath, mirror, brush, toast, train station and cakes:
If you decide to give it a go, enjoy!
Where the Wild Things Are is a classic children’s book and one I’ve enjoyed rediscovering as an adult. My two little book squirms and I had a lovely creative half an hour followed by a chaotic ‘wild rumpus’ thanks to Maurice Sendak’s enduring tale.
Written and illustrated by Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are was first published in Great Britain in 1967, making it far older than I had realised. In the story, after behaving like a ‘wild thing’, Max is sent to his bedroom without any food, only to sail from his room in a boat ‘to where the wild things are’ and be crowned their king. This culminates in a ‘wild rumpus’ before he returns to his room to the inviting supper he has been left. The distinctive pictures loom large in my childhood book memories and the giant heads of the wild things gave me an idea for an activity I knew my girls would love.
What did we do?
The simple but very enriching activity we completed based on Where the Wild Things Are was to make our very own ‘wild things’ masks. Much like our Snortle mask, not much preparation was required, just a quick raid of the ‘making’ box and a bit of work on my part cutting circular masks and eyeholes. I explained what we were making and got the book out so we could get a little inspiration from the ‘wild things’ and then the girls were off, sticking and ripping and drawing as happily as can be.
I made one too and thoroughly enjoyed myself! It was worth getting involved as my ‘design ideas’ (I use that term very loosely) made the girls branch out in their own decorations and I loved seeing them get so creative. My eldest using a flower for a nose was one of my favourite details, although I also thought the circle of eyes around one mask was fantastically creepy.
Later, we got our masks, put on some music and had our very own ‘wild rumpus’, which involved leaping around to the music, growling, roaring and generally making a racket. This would suit even the most energetic, book resistant little ones and we were all suitably tired out by the end.
The girls loved the masks and we kept swapping masks throughout. They were suitably bent and battered by the end and the eye mask was missing quite a few eyes, but they served their purpose. I’ve now reclaimed all manner of buttons, feathers, eyes and shapes from the masks to be reused.
How can you use these ideas?
- Enact parts of the book you are reading, especially if they’re a bit wild and crazy. The girls loved the ‘wild rumpus’, especially with me getting involved and hyping them up.
- Use music to set the mood. I knew they wouldn’t really engage in the ‘rumpus’ without a bit of something to prompt them.
- Sound effects are great. Use them. Now when we read this book, we RRROOOOAAAAARRRRR.
- Masks – make them. My eldest loves this idea and has since made a Gruffalo mask at her own request. They’re great for livening up story time and acting out exciting parts.