Kids love hearing the same stories over and over again. They love it even more if you tell the same story in different ways, using different kinds of props. The possibilities are endless. This week, we created a Three Billy Goats Gruff invitation to tell the story with play dough and props. Scroll on down to get the details!
How we Set Up our Three Billy Goats Gruff Invitation
Setting up an invitation to tell or recreate a story is easy. You grab the book and go through the pages looking for items the children would want to use to play with. The main characters are a good place to start, then something that represents the scenery, a couple of props, perhaps a few other essential items from the story and a sensory element.
For the Three Billy Goats Gruff invitation we looked for animals and figurines that would closely resemble the ones pictured in the book. We happened to have a couple of goats in our Playmobil box. And by pure accident our teenage mutant ninja turtle matched the troll perfectly!
The story describes a mountain scene, where the goats are coming from and a meadow scene, where they want to go to find food. We used play dough as a sensory element to represent the snow in the mountains, the grass in the meadow and the river going under the bridge. For the bridge we used one element of our Grimm’s flower puzzle, and the trees and mountains were handmade by My Big World on Etsy.
I know my kids love to play around with little loose parts, especially when there’s also play dough on the table. So I added a little dish with Playmobil flowers and added a handful of chickpeas from our winter sensory box for them to use as rocks or whatever. And then I sprinkled a bit of glitter over the play dough. I simply couldn’t resist. My kids love such details, I’m sure yours will too!
Three Billy Goats Gruff Invitation to Recreate the Story
Kids will naturally want to engage with any invitation that looks inviting and has a good variety of sensory elements. Most kids will know the story too so they might just jump in straight away. I grabbed the opportunity myself to start reading and pointing out things that happened or asking questions.
An activity like this is very grateful since you simply can not go wrong. Any kind of engagement is great. Kids will just naturally do what they’re meant to do.
For example Miss Glitter (6) is learning to read and was naturally more interested in reading the story or recognizing words and letters. She also likes to ‘make things pretty’ so after the story she spent quite a bit of time organizing the play scene as she thought it had to be set up to recreate the story.
Mister T (3,5) on the other hand played out some interesting arguments between the goats and the troll. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and goats flying around or trying to bite the troll’s head off. Yes, that happened. He was also very interested in pushing the flowers and chickpeas into the play dough, looking for that sensory experience.
There you have it, two children at two different stages of development exploring the same invitation in completely different ways.
I tend to leave an invitation out for a couple of days (I sometimes reset it when it looks all over the place) so the children can come back to it and continue exploring, playing, recreating or expanding (and here come the dinosaurs!)
Invitations, Creative Storytelling and Sensory Play
An activity like this combines four of my favorite great creative play mediums: invitations to play, small worlds, creative storytelling and sensory play.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, have a look at our other book related play ideas, all of our small world ideas, our play dough invitations and sensory play ideas. You’ll be planning out great activities for the rest of the year! Have fun!
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