15 Children’s books that are perfect for story play

Story play
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Tomorrow is World Book Day (5.03.2020) so I wanted to share our 15 favourite books for story play. Reading is so important for kids and it can really help to improve communication skills. I have written about how to get kids interested in reading in the past as my eldest was very hard to engage with books.

Whilst we share stories every day at bedtime we also read and use our favourite books for story play throughout the day. Kids love to be involved and have a job as you read a story, give them a role to play. Children learn best through play and having fun so here are some ideas to bring books alive.

1: Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Perfect for playing along on the Witches journey.

We like to add the characters onto the broom as we tell the story. Either with teddies or laminated pictures with Velcro to stick them onto the broom. The pictures are a bit easier to take flying round the room, trying to keep all the toys on the broom as it goes flying can be a challenge!

Casting the witches spell by finding the objects and throwing them in the caldron for a good stir.

sharing stories
Making spells

Dressing up as the witch and / or using props for the hat, wand and bow to lose and search for them.

2: Squash and a Squeeze

A Squash and a Squeeze also by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. This is another story with a great sequence to follow.

This one is great to play with some toys and have the animals enter the house as you read the story.

Squash and Squeeze Play
Squash and Squeeze Play

Lots of children are very visual so giving them pictures to match as you go through the story is great. It helps to keep them looking at the book too.

Squash and a Squeeze picture
visual matching

3: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr was a story I loved growing up and can now share with my kids.

Perfect for having a tea party.

The Tiger who came to tea

Great fun to do some baking or cake decorating with the kids followed by a tea party.

Cooking with Kids

4: What the Ladybird Heard

What the ladybird heard
What the ladybird heard

Setting up a farmyard for your animals at home or some animal matching with the pictures. This is also a great book for going through animal sounds.

5: Zog

Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schelffler is a big favourite in our house. Who wouldn’t want to go to Dragon School?

Zog for Christmas 2018

Have fun playing Zog with toys, matching pictures or role play. You can attend dragon school and lean how to roar, fly and capture princesses.

Find out more about Zog here.

6: Dear Zoo

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a book every child should own. I like to have toys or teddies to pull out of a box for this one.

Dear Zoo story
Dear Zoo Toys

If your child likes art they can help you make a special Dear Zoo box for the animals to hide in (the one below was made by our Sounds Right Phonics teacher). This is a brilliant book for commenting with PECS.

7: Stick Man

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is great for some outdoor fun finding Y shaped sticks to make your own stick man.

stick man

8: Ten Little Pirates

Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty is for number fans as well as pirate fans.

Ten Little Pirates PECS, commenting with PECs

Again using toys or pictures to follow the story are both great options.

9: Sharing a Shell

Sharing a shell by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks is great for some shell and water play.

Sharing a shell play
Sensory play

A great place to get visuals you can print out is Twinkle.

sharing a shell story
Pictures from Twinkle

10: Monkey Puzzle

Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is another great story for pulling the animals out of a box or bag as you go.

Monkey Puzzle story
Monkey Puzzle

11: Shark in the Park

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt is great for encouraging speech.

Use a toy telescope to act out the story and see if you can find any sharks.

Shark in the Park
Shark in the Park

12: Handa’s Surprise

Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne is full of fruity fun. See if you can encourage your little one to try the fruits in the story.

You can use toy animals and fruit to act out the story or have a fruit tasting session.

Handa's Surprise
Handa’s Surprise

13: The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is great for kids to join in with the story.

We also had great fun creating our own Gruffalo wood.

This is another one we play with laminated pictures and use with PECS.

14: The Smartest Giant in Town

Make up a giant so you can dress him up as you read the story.

15: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is another classic from my childhood. Try making a caterpillar and feeding it pictures of the food from the story.

Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar

As you can see from the list above we are Julia Donldson fans. The sequencing of her stories make them really great for acting out or joining in with the story.

Commenting with PECS

If your child is a PECS user commenting on books is a brilliant activity. It is great for other kids too, I know any little visitors at our house are always keen to try out any commenting activities I have set up for my boys.

For more stories to share you might want to check out my post on our top 100 books for under 5’s. If you want some tips on laminating and making up cards see my post on PECS cards.

Pinterest is a great source for inspiration when it comes to story play. It always amazes me how many stories we can play with using toys and things we already have around the house. Having said that you can often borrow story sacks that are already set up from local libraries, schools and nurseries so it is worth asking.

I like to use story play in our play routine that is really helpful for children who need to develop interaction and communication skills.

What are your favourite books for story play? Let me know in the comments. If you have pictures of your story play I would love to see them and you can share them with me over on social media.

Spectrum Sunday
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***This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase from these links I may recieve a small commisson. This is at no additional cost to you and it supports my blog.***


    • admin
      5th March 2020 / 7:44 pm

      Thanks Mark we love these books.

  1. 3rd April 2020 / 8:52 am

    We’ve got room on the broom puppets, but David finds it hard to play and connect with the story. Need some work on it I think. #spectrumsunday

    • admin
      3rd April 2020 / 9:35 am

      It helps that books are my boys favourite thing. It took eldest a bit longer to engage but loves it with books he is familiar with now.

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