I thought of this great activity. It took so much prep but it was so fun to do. AND it was supremely educational. AND it lasted all week!
We made key chains that re-tell the story of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Which is, in my opinion, one of the most fabulous preschool books out there. It has all the essential elements of a pre-literacy book, it is beautiful and it has a great little dig about eating what you are supposed to eat.
Retelling a story in your own words is an essential preschool literacy skill. It is a good thing for all kids to do, even after they are reading well. For a preschooler, re-telling helps them explore the elements of story. It builds comprehension, verbal skills and confidence around expression and drama.
Our key chains were very simple – two pipe cleaners twisted around one another with a small craft pom-pom with google eyes. I cut plain shapes out of construction paper to represent each element of the story – a leaf upon which we drew an egg, a sunshine, apples, pears, plums, etc. The pièce de résistance was the set of wings we decorated for the final element in the chain. If you wanted to make a more durable version, felt cut-outs would be amazing… but each chain takes quite a few pieces. Imagine yourself snipping felt in the wee hours of the morning…
It is important to note that the re-telling of the story does not require much accuracy, but once children are familiar with the story they can re-tell quite well. They may need to stop and count their strawberries, but they will have a successful rendition of the plot if they flip through the key chain.
This story reinforces numeracy, too! We counted, organized and made patterns as we built our key chains, then we told the story to one another and those girls were so smart by the time they were done that they didn’t know what to do with themselves.
So, I sent them off to practise neurosurgery on one another.