I've always absolutely loved the idea of Story Sacks. The idea is that instead of just having a simple story to read, you make the process of experiencing a story more interactive for a child. As well as a copy of the book, you include in the cloth sack a toy based on the book, a board game to play with themes relevant to the book, a science-y type game to play (again based on the book), and a non-fiction text which builds on some of the themes in the fictional book (or vice versa if the book you are basing the Story Sack is non-fiction).
I used the guide here to show me how to put together my Story Sack.
I chose to create mine based on The Three Little Pigs, since I was absolutely sure we had a copy of said text lying around somewhere. After all, I have three children, the eldest of whom is 10, and I am a total bibliophile, therefore I must have a copy, surely. Hmmmm. The longest single task in the creation of this Story Sack was looking for the blasted book, which it turns out I didn't have anyway! I ended up ordering the Nick Sharratt lift-the-flap version from Amazon, which turned out to be very satisfactory indeed.
Then, there was the task of finding other items for the sack. Happily, I did have all of these things lying around, more or less. This was very satisfying - to make something more concrete somehow, more enriching than they were when scattered around random rooms in my house.
First of all I had, from years ago, a wooden puppet version of the story from the Early Learning Centre. The kids refused to let me get rid of this, thankfully, and used to use it to act out the story and put on little shows.
For the game, I used a Nursery Rhyme sequencing board game which was another old favourite. The aim of the game is to get all of the elements of a famous fairy tale in the correct order, by throwing the dice and picking up cards with parts of the story on them. The Three Little Pigs is one of the eight stories included.
The science game was fun to create :) My friend kindly donated some large stones from her garden, I harvested some sticks from a tree in my garden and found some raffia in the garden shed to act as straw. I then put them all in a Lock n Lock box and added a card to the top asking several questions about the properties of the different materials in the box, and which one would be the best to make a house out of.
Finally I chose Home Around the World by Kate Petty and From Mudhuts to Skyscrapers by Christine Paxmann to act as non-fiction texts about buildings and safe places to live. One for BabyM, and one for the others, should they choose to get involved in the Story Sack action.
BabyM just wanted to eat the Story Sack, although the others were interested. In fairness, BabyM is far, far too young for the idea, I just got a little over-excited about it. I am looking forward to sharing it with him when he's big enough not to try and eat the raffia, and chuck the three little pig figures across the room...