You’ve heard of busy bags, but do you also know about literacy book bags? These are bags with a picture book and playful toys, games, or other related hands-on activities to do. And you can easily make your own!
Literacy book bags help children go deeper into the story. The bags encourage a child to retell (reenact) the story. This helps with sequencing as well as understanding story structure. The toys will prompt kids use the new vocabulary from the story as they pretend play something from the story. Not only that, the bag’s items can also be a jumping off point for children to tell their OWN version of the story — maybe with a different ending.
The toys and activities enrich the story experience. Not to mention it’s lots of fun for children — no matter what skills are being gained or reinforced.
The good news is you can easily make your own literacy book bags.
Easily Make Your Own Literacy Book Bags
First, you need a wonderful picture book.
Next, you’ll want to find related toys, games, or activities. Look for what you already own. Pilfer through the kids stuff to see if you already own what you need. If you don’t, either try a different picture book, or check Target’s dollar section or the Dollar Store itself.
I just reviewed a delightful counting book called The Pickwicks’ Picnic A Counting Adventure by Carol Brendler, illustrated by Renee Kurilla. Here’s my review:
Since I loved this book so much, I thought it would be a fun literacy bag book.
We already had lots of cars and some number clothespins. I figured that with very minimal directions from me, kids could use the cars to count and match up with the written numbers.
After I gathered my supplies, I stuck everything in a gallon plastic bag. That won’t work for all literacy bags though due to size. Use a favorite tote bag or buy a special new one.
6 More Literacy Book Bag Ideas
Here are six more ideas for book bags you can put together yourself. They’re appropriate for preschool through first grade — about 4 to 6 years old.
Also, you may be able to get these picture books on CD or iPod download which can make this even easier for you to let your child be independent with the literacy bag.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom:
Preschool STEAM shares an activity where kids build their own alphabet tree with just a few the supplies. Directions here.
Or you can simply add magnetic letters and a cookie tray for a letter play literacy bag.
Is Your Mama a Llama:
Add plastic animals to the bag with two bowls or small buckets for the kids to sort which animals do and do not appear in the story. Be sure to include a bat, a seal, a llama, and a kangaroo.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt:
Provide blank paper and markers so the kids can draw all the settings in the story. Add puppets or small toys to represent the family. (This also works for The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.)
Harold and the Purple Crayon:
You already know this, right? A purple crayon and paper are all you need for this particular literacy bag. I wonder what your kids will draw?
Caps for Sale:
Hope you don’t mind the mess but for this one, you’ll need all the hats or caps you have and a barrel of monkeys or monkeys from a game like Tumblin’ Monkeys.
(Keep the monkeys out and later add them to the picture book Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.)
Now you’re practically an expert on this!
Soon you’ll be seeing toys and finding picture books to match and vice-versa.
I hope you and your children have lots of enriching reading experiences.
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Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
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