Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Bring Favourite Children's Stories to Life

Do your children have a favourite book? I'm a big believer in 'if children have an interest, follow it, extend it and challenge them.' It probably comes from my background in Child Development, but I love finding ways to extend their interests, especially with things like stories and movies. 

I call it 'story-stretching'.


children stories, Julia Donaldson, story stretching, A stretch and a squeeze


Over the years, I've been a huge fan of Julia Donaldson's books. 
I mean, who doesn't love The Gruffalo?? 

My eldest really loved Stick Man when he was little, and Monkey Puzzle was one of my favourite stories to read to the children when I was an Early Years Teacher. 
So it's no surprise I love sharing them with my youngest now too.
children stories, Julia Donaldson,monkey puzzle, reading


There is a world of possibilities to bring the magic of a story to life, here are a few we've tried recently:

Extend their Imaginations 

After reading A Squash and A Squeeze, a rhyming story involving farm animals, it led to lots of chat about animals; where they lived, what noises they made etc so I created this farmyard small world play in the tuft spot using cereals. Taylor loves imaginative role play, so he really enjoyed playing with the animals. He enjoyed setting it up with me, crunching up the Weetabix and then stamping the animals through the cereal. Sensory play is crucial to brain development so I love finding new ideas to explore different textures through play.
children stories, Julia Donaldson, story stretching, sensory play, farm, small world
children stories, Julia Donaldson, sensory play, farmyard small world,

Play Games

We love The Gruffalo, so when I found this Pairs Card Game, I snapped it up (no pun intended!) as knew the familiar characters would help keep Taylor's concentration. The cards contain lots of different animals from the story so it was fantastic for building on his knowledge and understanding of animals as well as improving memory skills.
children stories, Julia Donaldson, memory game, gruffalo
children stories, Julia Donaldson, gruffalo, memory game


Go See it Live!

We recently visited our local theatre, the Curve, to watch Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, a live adaptation of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler favourites ‘Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town & A Squash and a Squeeze.' 

Taylor had previously visited the theatre before, to see another Julia Donaldson show, What the Ladybird Heard which had a bright and colourful backdrop that really kept his attention. So seeing the simple set up of two step ladders, a plank of wood and a table, I was intrigued by how it would develop into a highly visual production for little ones. But as soon as the three actors, Anna Larkin, Alex Tosh and Maryam Grace (images are of previous cast) entered the stage with bags stuffed with props which were to be bought to life throughout the performance, the fast-paced show quickly pulled us in. 


children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,
children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,



With everyday items being transformed into animals, very inventive staging and a little imagination, the stories are recreated perfectly and the whole production is very cleverly put together from start to finish. 

The cast are truly talented; singing, dancing, playing instruments, storytelling with clever puppetry and generally keeping the whole family entertained and transfixed throughout the whole 60 minutes. Everything was so professionally done, from the quick costume changes and how they used the props to change up the set whilst moving into different stories and scenes. Changing biscuit tins and books on a table into little houses in a clever switch up of stories. And the underwater scenes using torches, shadows and waterproof coats were beautiful, but I won't ruin it for you, you need to see it to believe!


children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,

children stories, Julia Donaldson, tiddler live, tiddler and other terrific tales,


Taylor loves being on Mini Blogger duty, and when asked for his thoughts following the show, he said: 'My favourite part was when the Monkey found his Mummy... and I loved when the Giant's trousers fell down and we could see his pants, that was funny!'

We really loved it, we sat together dancing along, gasping as random items were turned into animals, giggling at the funny parts and ... seeing your children smiling away, singing along to the repetitive and catchy rhymes (which he's still singing now, a week later!) is just magical!


Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales is on tour until the end of August, check out the tour dates at tiddlerlive.com, and if you're local to Leicester, check out the Curve for some fantastic family favourites this Summer.



We received complimentary tickets to see the performance

Please Note: The current cast members are not of those in the press images included




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