Wednesday 23 April 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Felt Board

I am always looking for fun ways to work storytelling into our homeschool. A great way to do this is to make props for children to use to retell some of their favourite stories. We often use puppets to retell stories and you can see this article for details of how to make your own.

Storytelling is important for so many reasons. Here are some of the benefits.

Benefits of storytelling

Learn about the world and relationships

Storytelling is a way children can learn about the world and relationships. Stories are a way of talking about your own experiences as well as the experiences of others. Well-told stories, with the help of eye-catching pictures, are particularly engaging for younger children and if they are interesting children will no doubt learn from them. Therefore, stories are an excellent way of introducing children to new ideas and concepts.

Improves social interaction

The act of storytelling provides great opportunities for social interaction. Nowadays, with the development of new technology such as computers, opportunities for social interaction are, unfortunately, becoming rarer. People are spending more time in front of a screen and less time interacting with one another. Not only does storytelling provide an opportunity for children to interact with each other and adults, children can also learn about social relationships through hearing and understanding about the relationships the characters of the story have with each other.

Learn new skills

Storytelling can teach them many skills. When they listen to a story being told they become aware of what a narrative is and learn the skills they will need to tell a story. Also, listening and attention skills are being practised and developed when a child listens to a story being told. Literacy skills are another area of development if they are looking at a story in a book. Another advantage of storytelling is that it teaches organisation skills. Through listening to a story, children are not only learning about the structure of a narrative, but also about how to sequence events in order to produce a story themselves.

Encourages creativity and imagination

Finally, storytelling, quite simply, encourages creativity and imagination!


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a wonderful story about the life cycle of a caterpillar. It teaches children how the caterpillar comes from an egg and, after eating lots of food, eventually builds a cocoon and stays there until finally emerging as a butterfly. It also teaches the days of the week, counting and vocabulary. My children love to look through the book, poking their fingers into the little holes the caterpillar makes in all the pieces of food. So, I thought this story would be perfect for a felt board.

I had a pack of felt in the cupboard which I bought from a local supermarket and cut it up to make the pieces for the caterpillar and all the goodies he eats by using the pictures in the book for inspiration. The children were so eager to play with it that they couldn't wait for me to finish before starting to arrange the pieces of felt onto the board.

They played with the board for some time and it was wonderful to hear D retelling the story to R who listened attentively. The board serves as a wonderful prop that encourages the development of storytelling and narrative skills.


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