Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miniature Storytelling Props

The rain is POURING over Manila, and my heart goes out to those who are affected by the floods. We are on guard ourselves, not knowing if history will repeat itself, when tropical storm Ondoy ravaged homes in our area almost three years ago.

When grownups worry, though, children can’t help but feel the tension and the fear. The mother hen in me comes to the fore and makes me want to just snuggle with my chicks, to protect them just by keeping them close to me.

So we stay in bed, this long dark, rainy day. We read to our hearts’ content as I try to keep my mind off the gushing danger outside. We’re reading with the fireplace blazing by our side. Ffff- fireplace? In Manila? Oh, it’s our miniature fireplace!

I recently wrote about making stories come alive with various storytelling devices, and the use of props was on my list. I forgot to mention though about miniature props, those cute and tiny things that you can hold and play with while reading a book.

A miniature prop makes a story element literally jump out of the page, a 3D presence if you will. Here are other great benefits.

Supports Playacting

During the Christmas sale season last year, I hunted down Forest in My Pocket animal sets. If I were not actively seeking for things to make our book-reading fun and interesting, I would have thought the toys useless and obscenely expensive.

I got excited though at the prospect of having all the animals mentioned in Katy No-Pocket, a wonderful Before Five in a Row Book, and other animal-themed books. We set up scenes from books and make our own storyline. It is highly engaging when the animals you’re reading about are hopping around the pages!

You may also use the plastic animal sets easily available in the department stores, or better yet, go to Divisoria and create your animal collection inexpensively. Let me know please if you find some? :) 

Highlights A Story Element

When we read Down, Down The Mountain two weeks ago, I took out as a surprise the fireplace (first picture on this post) that I bought in a curio shop. Little T and I turned off the lights, curled up together, and read the book in front of it.

I was surprised when she brought her cooking pots and pretended to cook on it just like Hank and Hetty’s Mammy in the book. The miniature fireplace highlighted a story element that we previously did not notice at all. It was a wonderful surprise to see Little T latch on to the idea of fireplaces just because she was able to see and hold a miniature version

Provides Tactile Experience

The Five in a Row books give us the opportunity to read about stories set in well-known landmarks.  So while reading Madeline, we hold a replica of the Eiffel Tower. When we read Tomie dePaola's Big Anthony: His Story, we hold the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's like holding the world in our hands!

Using props in moderation can enhance a storytelling experience, but also has the tendency to just distract your child. I personally find letting my children clutch one or two miniatures to be a good way to make a story more real and tangible. 

The rains that continue to pour into the streets of Manila keep us from going out. After everyone's safety has been assured though, we can comfort our children with books and props, and most of all with our warm presence.

Make magic!

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Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

We did! Thank you so much! :)

themommist said...

Hope you got through the whole thing safely. That's a very way to entertain the kids during Habagat. Lovely post. :-)

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Hope you're all OK, dear. Replied to your text. Sanne, we love Ikea finger puppets, too! Stay safe, ladies and God bless and have mercy on us all!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

haha what happy meal toys? you too, sanne, stay safe!!!

sanne said...

Play With Me came alive with the help of Ikea finger puppets and those Happy Meal toys! :) stay safe!