Crafts and Stories: pairing them together

After telling a story to children, consider following up with a craft on the same theme. This helps children sink further into the story ideas and piques children’s interest in the craft as well!

This foot-painting craft activity was planned after telling the story, Carolinda Clatter, based on the picture-book by Mordicai Gerstein.

The story is about a giant who falls in love with the moon. While gazing at the moon, the giant falls into a timeless slumber, and over the ages, his gargantuan body turns into mountains, forests, and plains. Soon people and animals come to live on him.

For this craft, I wanted the children to physically experience walking over the giant’s form and simultaneously create with their steps the grasslands that became his body.

So, I took an old sheet and with a heavy marker, drew the silhouette of the giant’s body based on the storybook image. I didn’t color it in… not yet, as that was for the children to do. Here is the picture from the story book that I based the silhouette on:

Children dipped their feet in the paint: brown, white, and green tempera that we mixed together.

They needed support as the paint was very slippery.

The feel of the gushy paint on the feet added to the interest and novelty.

Then we let the children loose on the sheet to run about. Ideally, I wanted them to walk on the giant’s silhouette, but that didn’t always happen, and so there was a bit of running in the “sky” part as well.

Nevertheless, it was a fun experience and I hope it made the story a bit more meaningful for them.

If you do this, don’t forget to keep a bucket of soapy water and towels ready to plunge their feet in so you don’t have interesting artwork all over the floor!

Why story crafts?

Working on a craft activity related to a story gives more time for children to reflect on the story images.

If an unrelated activity follows a story, children could easily forget…

The more the story images sink into their minds, the more the story will speak to them and hold meaning for them in their lives.

Have you done story crafts before?  Share your favorite story crafts with us!

More from an Academic Perspective

The California Department of Education [CDE] (2011) has set forth guidelines for integrating multiple domains (i.e. physical, language, health, mathematics, etc.) when developing educational curricula.  “The fact that many strategies overlap across domains reflects the integrated nature of young children’s learning” (p. 10).  This is also a key principle of holistic education.  CDE (2011) concurs with the holistic approach as well, “Because children learn holistically, the arts should be presented in a way that is integrated with other domains of learning” (p. 44).  In this project we connected the craft to the story – children paint-walked on the giant’s image with their feet just as the villagers in Gerstein’s book did.  And so the story, rooted as it is in the language domain, expanded in this way to include fuller learning experiences for the children.

But the project went further than art and language.  And so too does the California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Vol. 2 (2011) when it states “the physical development chapter recommends the general strategy of reading stories to children and then inviting them to act out the stories in ways that incorporate challenges to balance their bodies in different positions and to move from position to position.” (p. 10).

In fact, each and every domain can be linked to a story, and every story can be linked to multiple domains.  Our craft activity included the physical domain in addition to the arts because it challenged the children to balance on slippery paint, then paint with their feet, requiring both balance and locomotion.

California Department of Education. (2011). California preschool curriculum framework, Volume 2. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.

 

 

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