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Thread: Story sacks

  1. #1
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    Default Story sacks

    I keep reading about "story sacks" but not sure I know what these are. Are they put together by childminders or bought from suppliers? Do you guys use them? Why are they used, are they any good etc?

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    They can be either. You can buy them but the ones I have seen to buy are very expensive. It is easy to make one.
    It is basically props to go along with a story. Most obviously easy one Is the hungry caterpillar which you could get a little caterpillar and the food that he eats real or fake for the children to play with and act out the story.

    Currently I have been seeing a lot of stones and spoons painted with characters of the Gruffalo so children can act/retell the story.

    I don't use them though I personally think they are more of a large setting thing and well I have enough junk taking up space in my home without adding things like that. Although I do think they are cool. Just not for me

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    You can buy ready made story sacs or put your own together.
    You can often buy story sac bags on eBay that are personalised/themed with a picture for you to fill yourself.
    I tend to use drawstring bags from 'clever baggers'.
    Typically a story sac will have a picture story book and then a non-fiction book related to the story. Then a puppet/soft toy/props to tell the story. I often add a game or an instrument/song sheet. And/or anything else I come across that fits in with the story. (Postcards/photos/toys etc)
    I prefer to make my own as then I can tailor them to my children's interests. I don't use them all the time, just occasionally. I used to have them hanging up and the children would choose one sometimes, but now I keep them in a cupboard and I choose when we have one!
    By using plain bags I can change the contents/story around and it's new and exciting again.

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    I've been puting together a nursery rhyme bag. In it I have put 3 little ducks (went swimming one day) they aren't the same, they are different colours/sizes etc . I have also got 5 little monkeys (bouncing on the bed) a little elephant (nellie the elephant) and so on. Have a good rumage around in the toy box, see what you have got and if you cn find a nursery rhyme to fit.

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    I use them and love them. They are props to enhance the story and games/non fiction books can be added. I have made some (handa's surprise, there was an old lady who swallowed a fly & gruffalo) and have some real storysack ones bought v. cheap off ebay (hungry caterpillar, Winnie the Witch & The big hungry bear) - the children love them.

    I used to live in Harlow and when I first registered in 2001 the Basic Skills Agency had run a huge project and got local companies to make them and they were held at the libraries for childcare providers to use. My LOs loved choosing the next story.

    Story sacks were "invented" by Neil Griffiths and he has a company selling them very expensive, Storysack - Helping you to inspire a lifelong love of reading I do not buy from here but if you look at the contents you can get good ideas

    His website describes them as : "What is a Storysack®?
    A Storysack® is a large cloth bag containing a good-quality young child's picture book with supporting materials to stimulate reading activities. To bring the book to life, soft toys of the main characters, scenery, props relating to items in the story, a non-fiction book relating to the fiction theme, audio and a language game based on the book are all included. In addition, a prompt card of ideas is inserted, suggesting ways in which you may develop listening, reading and writing skills using the contents of the Storysack and a guide for parents. In some of our sacks you will find a CD-ROM containing a bonus selection of extra fun activities to print off and enjoy - making the joy of stories last that bit longer!"

    http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/asse...sack_guide.pdf

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlCgWYk37zI & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEAtSZ4IVyg bit sterile as no children to react
    Last edited by tulip0803; 19-05-2015 at 09:49 PM.

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    I have a huge hungry caterpillar collection. My favourite part is my set of knitted goods that I got from eBay ( look for knitted hungry caterpillar )

    I have added many bits to it over the years. I have added books and puzzles about life cycles.

    For a hungry caterpillar bag, look out for a big board book - as its large, it's brill

    My hungry caterpillar bag is currently out on loan to the school nursery! My gruffalo sack and big puppet often visit the nursery as well!!

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    The concept of a story sack is great- I just have never liked the sack for storage!
    I base my days on stories really, they introduce a focus, they are a starting point for other ideas.
    Having props with a story can bring it alive and allow children to interact with a book, helping them to understand the characters, storyline, where the story takes place etc... Once we have read the story together I will look at the props, or introduce them before the story or during aswell. Then we usually retell the story using figures, setting props key things in the story and the pictures from the story. I then leave these items in the reading corner- in a basket or an interesting container to encourage the LO's to be curious....
    On display in our little reading area will be linked books, a non fiction or if it was about a teddy, other teddy books for example. If I have a game that links I might put that there. Sometimes a book catches the interest and they play with the props or sometimes the props just get taken in to their other play.
    I will in the day read the linked books too to individuals or in a group.....all depending on the children's interest.
    The sack idea is just a way of storing these props that go with a book, I use various containers and have an accessable shelf in the library area ofthe den so the children can easily access them on their own. I also have several cream canvas bags that hang up on a coat rack that I use to put contents of containers in to take home.
    The story sack website gives some good ideas to stimulate planning but you can build up your own story props far cheaper.
    Current story is Jaspers Beanstalk. Props : a Cat, small garden tools, beans, slugs and snails in jars like in the story. Other minibeasts. Days of the week and a picture from each story made like a jigsaw. Non fiction book about beans growing, and slugs and snails , linked books - Jack and the beanstalk, a mini speaker and old iPod with story on, headphones And a bean plant growing that we planted with a block ruler to record height.

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    I love story 'sacks' but like FloraDora I don't use sacks. Mainly because I have never found any cheap enough and just use what I have in the house already. I put mine together myself - I love doing it and it is cheaper. I try to buy generic resources - so I love the Schleich animals and the Schleich bear can be used in a story sack for 'The Three Bears', 'Where's my Teddy?' 'Can't you Sleep Little Bear?' etc etc. If I didn't have a non-fiction book on bears then I would get one from the library. Over the years I have laminated cut out pictures of the characters from popular stories and added magnetic tape to the back. For the three bears bowls I sometimes add a multi-cultural element by using Chinese bowls (an idea I got on a course), different sized blankets from the dolls, a piece of furry fabric, a table cloth etc. I know some people don't like using food for play but I like to set up a sensory tub using porridge oats as the base and add the characters and props to that. For older children I sometimes hide key words or repeated refrains from the story in the sensory tub. Another way into a story is to create a small world activity. I have quite a bit of Sylvanian family furniture that is useful and versatile which I use a lot.

    Have a go at making one - you'll love it and the possibilities are endless once you get started!

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    As the Maza & Floradora say the storysack concept doesn't have to involve a sack. If you want to use a sack they can be made from old pillowcases. I have also used boxes, baskets and those flexi buckets. I once showed a group of parents different ideas for storysacks in a bookstart session at the family centre I worked in. I made several versions of the same sack - one with soft toys (in a pillowcasw), one with masks that the children had made (in a shopping bag), one with hard figures (in a quality street tin) and one where I had photocopied the pictures and laminated (in an plastic envelope) them just to show how that you can do it any way you want.
    Last edited by tulip0803; 20-05-2015 at 01:19 PM.

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    Love story sacks.When I was off work for 3mths due to an op. a couple of years ago I spent my time (couldn't walk) googling free knitted toy patterns and made loads of things- owl babies and mum, caterpillar,cocoon and butterfly and many more animals/items that linked in with some of the books in the home library, really enjoyed my recovery time!

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  13. #11
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    We have lots not always in bags the children are really good at picking resources from our toys to create story sacks, jars, boxes etc. they love re telling the story with props or doing activities linked to the books, such as making and eating porridge when we read the three bears or making fruit skewers when we read the hungry caterpillar. Mine have free access so the resources get spread far and wide and we have a tidy up every now and again to put. Things in the right bags. The children take them home to share and sometimes bring in things from home to use as a prop for a week or so.

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