Use Props To Tell Stories – And See Where They’ll Take You!

When you think about a child’s learning, “props” may not be the first word that comes to mind. But think about how many different ways there are for children to become engaged with education that include props: puppet shows, songs, dress-up, blocks, and art.

The list goes on and on. Props promote storytelling, imagination, and creativity. In fact, an article that scholastic.com recently published, titled “The Importance of Pretend Play,” discusses how imagination-driven play builds a child’s developmental skills. It suggests using props such as clothing, cardboard boxes, stuffed animals, and cooking utensils, among many other items, as items to use to stir your child’s imagination.

Well, you know me by now…imagination is very important to me, and learning while imagining is even better. In the introduction for my book, Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! I have a section about activities that reads:

“What unusual things can you think of that could make an imaginative story? Ideas can make impossible things seem real. New thoughts are interesting for others to read, and drawings can make them seem real. What unusual ideas do you have that would be fun to write about and draw for others to enjoy?”

 There’s a very popular game out right now called “What’s in the Box?” It’s a game that has one child or parent place an unknown item in a big, plastic box, which has one armhole on either side. Another child places his/her arms into the holes and feels the item with his/her hands and tries to guess what it is. This game inspired me to think of a way for children to play it and learn from it!

I suggest placing four or five items in a row into the box, having the child guess what each item is, and then place them all in a row once they’re done guessing all of the items. Then, have your children write a story and draw pictures about those items.

The granddaughter of one of my friend’s recently played this game, and my friend placed a cup inside the box, and then a spoon, some tissue paper, an orange, and a feather. Oh, the stories she came up with! They involved the orange growing feathered wings and flying to the moon in a “rocket spoon”! Another one she told involved a game of carrying the orange on the spoon across the room and back to see how long she could keep it balanced.

That activity led to her writing an instruction manual for her friends about how to balance an orange on a spoon…and she include beautiful, colorful floating feathers all around the picture. This is exactly what I intended Reading Is Fun! Imagine That! to be: A fun way for kids to learn, while making art projects, props, poems, etc.

So, please, before your kids head back to school, put this on your list of one more thing to do! Use the game, read the book, and create ways to learn with any opportunity you can find. I hope this helps get those creative juices flowing!

Sincerely,

Ruth A. Radmore

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