When a Book Comes to Life…

Story telling and developing an understanding of story language at a young age WILL, without doubt, make a huge difference to the vocabulary your child uses on an everyday basis and in their future Literacy development, whether spoken or written.  Immersing children in stories and following up those stories with play is one of the best things you, as a parent, can do to support your child’s education.  This activity can be used for ANY book (fiction or non-fiction) as it simply gives the child an opportunity to rehearse, re-enact, role play what they have just heard.  This is the first exemplification of this activity but there will be more over the next few weeks.  This activity is also suitable for children up to the age of around six or seven.  So, for those looking for something to do this summer with older siblings, this activity is a great one.

I had been planning to do this for a while and wanted to find a suitable ‘home’/ box for the activity.  When shopping in ‘Homesense,’ I nearly jumped for joy when I saw a whole range of boxes that look like a book.  This was perfect for my activity … ‘When a Book comes to life!’  This time I used the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’

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Inside the box is some scenery and characters from the story.

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For Little Red Riding Hood, I wrapped some red tissue paper around a play mobil figure to look like her cape and rolled some up for the apples. The scenery was green tissue paper and sugar paper and the house was part lego and part an empty Gaviscon box!

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Before J was allowed to open the book box we needed to make the ‘magic’ happen to bring the story to life! To do that, you have to hear the story together and have a lovely cuddle! J was SO excited to open it and let out a huge ‘WOW’ as he did!

When a story comes to life

As J started to look at the box, he told me that it was far too hot for Little Red to be wearing a cape and ripped the tissue paper off! So for J’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, she is in a red bikini! HAHAHA!

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As J went through the role play of his story, he kept referring back to the book, looking at the pictures to remind himself what happened next and to see where the ‘stuff should go!’  Teaching children to go back into the text when they can’t remember something, is surprisingly something lots of children need! To adults that may seem so basic, but it genuinely is an area ALL teachers have to teach children to do! Children are more willing to guess than find and retrieve the correct information.  So J is starting to do this (independently) in his play!

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Handling the small world toys and props (tiny red apples) is fab for fine motor development.

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As J’s play went on, he began to change the story from the original and he suddenly needed more space! By the end of the play, the wood cutter was a bad man who liked stealing apples and the big, bad, wolf was no longer part of the story! Little Red still wore her bikini though!

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What did J learn?

  • Retelling a story in the correct sequence
  • Using story language and vocabulary
  • Developed fine motor skills
  • Developed creativity and imagination (making up his own story)
  • Was able to use a book to find information (what happened next!)


  1. We do this a lot for my daughter (3 years 8 months) and she loves it. We also spend time making alternative endings which always fascinates me as her imagination is incredible! Today we read a book about the weather and she along with her friend, crafted a weather prop for each page – was fantastic! Love your page!

  2. Wow! She sounds pretty fantastic! Children’s imaginations are just remarkable aren’t they! It’s the world around them that can spoil that! It’s our job to keep it there and stimulate it through play! Thank you for following and thanks for saying you like the page! 🙂

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