Being a teacher I love to take a story book, read it and then create an array of activities that all link back to the story.
Here are some great activities, for children aged 1- 3, for the story ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson.
1. Read the story together
- Sit down and read the story. Over a week, read it a couple of times and also point out the other creatures that live in the woods; for example, the kingfisher, the squirrel and the frog. Talk about how we can find all these creatures in any woods nearby.
- Using Gruffalo teddies or finger puppets (click here to print) act out the story.
2. Make a Gruffalo/woodland Den
- Take any large cardboard box or play pen and turn it into a Gruffalo/ woodland Den.
- Inside place any Gruffalo toys they may have. If they do not have any why not put in a fox puppet or any woodland creature teddies that you can get your hands on.
- Put in a copy of the storybook for your toddler to pick up and flick through at any time. TIP: Buy a hard board book for those children that rip pages.
- Throw in some comfy pillows or a small chair (if it will fit) so they can snuggle down and read their story independently.
3. Use Flashcards
- Print out images of woodland creatures: Click here and laminate if you happen to have a laminator.
- When reading the story pick up images and peg them on a simple washing line.
- For older children ask them to point to the ‘the fox’ or even peg it up themselves.
- For older children print out two copies and play a simple matching card game or snap.
4. Go on a woodland walk
- Take your Gruffalo teddy (if you have one) and go on a Gruffalo hunt.
- Walk along a woodland trail and point out any animals you may see. Hopefully you will see birds and squirrels. You may even get lucky and see an owl or a rabbit, or get really lucky and see a fox or a deer.
- Point out the different trees and collect some leaves and pine cones to take home. These will be used for an art project later.
- For older children ask them to close their eyes and then hide The Gruffalo (or favourite teddy) in a nearby bush and let them play hide and seek.
- Don’t forget to wear wellies and old clothes. Let them get dirty so they can crawl about and enjoy the experience.
5. Create some Woodland Art
- Let your child explore the leaves and pine cones they collected from the forest.
- Give them paint and see if they will paint around the leaves as a template.
- You could also get them to use glue and make a collage of the leaves.
- Peg up their finished art for them to see on their peg flashcard line.
6. Make a sensory woodland habitat play bin
- Using my plastic play tray, I put together some moon sand, chunks of wood from our fireplace stash, freshly cut grass, flowers, lavender, leaves, pine cones and some Gruffalo toys.
- These sensory trays allow your child to explore all their senses. This one focuses on: Touch-the textures of the different materials and Smell: from the flowers and lavender.
- We also spent time using our motor skills to build Jenga houses from the kindling I had laid out.
- We also spent 20 mins making mini sand castles and covered them in flowers and leaves. She then spent 2 minutes knocking them down.
7. Listen to the story in the car
- Buy the audio version from Itunes or Amazon and put it onto a CD for car journeys. Click Here to buy
8. Read other stories about woodland creatures.
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Micheal Rosen
- Guess how much I love you by Sam McBratney
- Bear and Hare by Emily Gravett
- Foxes in the snow by Johnathon Emmett
- Fox in the Dark by Alison Green
- That’s not my Fox by Fiona Watt
- The owl who was afraid of the dark by Jill Tomlinson
- The rhyming rabbit by Julia Donaldson
- Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
- Play ‘Where’s Squirrel’. Many of Julia Donaldson books show a character more than once in other stories and the squirrel is one that is repeated in many. You can find it in ‘Stick Man’, ‘The Highway Rat’ and many others.
7. Snuggle up together and watch the movie