Sunday, February 10, 2013

Does Your Play Tell The Whole Story?

Dramatic play happens all day long in our house; when action figures and stuffed animals have battles, when vehicles zoom down ramps of blocks for flight to an alien planet, and when my son shapes his sandwiches with each bite he takes, telling me "It looks like a turtle," as if he were cloud watching.

If my son isn't gathering and searching for items to facilitate his spontaneous pretend play, I try to set up an invitation to play that tells a story.  They aren't stories from a book necessarily, but stories that make up part of our everyday lives; cooking, grocery shopping, getting a haircut, or taking the family pet to the veterinarian.

I've written about playing out the story before, highlighting a great example I saw from another blogger.  Play set up in this particular way is greatly engaging to a child when they have all the steps in the process available to them.  It aides in the action of completing a task from beginning to end, and understanding the sequence, or order to a story.

Acting out a story from a favorite book is just as engaging.  Stories with a repeating pattern are less complex and therefore best for this type of play.  Examples of stories with a repeating pattern are; The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

One of our most recent stories starts with a busy little boy who wanted to bake cookies all day.

The boy helped gather items for cookies so he could bake to his heart's content.

 The items were laid out in order from left to right so the boy could follow the order of his cookie baking story.

He baked for hours as the scent of the dough filled the kitchen; scooping, measuring, testing different sizes, and timing them just right in his box oven.

He passed out samples to his family and made more at their request.  When he was done he hung his apron and hat and went to find where he left his cars at!

So now that you know the whole story, what are you going to play?

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  1. I love the idea of setting up play invitations based on children's everyday lives- we've based play on story books but I had never thought about doing it this way. Thanks for the great idea:)

    1. "We are the hero of our own story."
      -Mary McCarthy

  2. Yes to this! My son loves storytelling during play, and I've noticed he really likes it if when I tell him a story I go into the details of every day actions (buying pet food at the store, for instance). We really like playing out books we read, too, like the one we did for Valentine's Day...first we turned it into a wooden train layout ( and then into a counting activity from the story (

  3. I just discovered your blog via messforless. I love this take on story-telling/theatre. I do a lot of story-telling an acting out stories as part of childminding. I'll definitely try this one out.

    1. Thanks for commenting, I love hearing how people find my little blog :)


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