The Snail and the Whale- Virtual Book Club

It’s time for the Virtual Book Club.  Each month a different author is featured.  Everyone participating then selects a book by the chosen author and creates an activity to accompany the book.  The featured author for March is Julia Donaldson.  I have to admit this was a new author for me. There were a number of books for us to choose from and we finally landed on The Snail and the Whale.

the snail and the whale, sensory bins

The Snail and the Whale is a rhyming tale about a snail that sets sail with a whale. They see many sights along the way including penguins, a volcano and a bear. Along the way, the whale becomes beached and the snail sets off to save it. After being rescued, the two return to the other snails and gather them to take along on another journey.

My son fell in love with this book. His favorite part was when the firetrucks came to spray water on the beached whale.

Literacy Extension

To extend the story, we decided to create a snail and whale sensory bin. Utilizing sensory bins in this way allows children to act out the story and expand on it. Both comprehension and language skills are developed during this play.

sensory bin, The Snail and the Whale book and activity

Our sensory bin included:

  • sand
  • water (tinted blue with food coloring)
  • black rock
  • whale (bathtub toy)
  • snail (can’t see in this picture)
  • penguin (bathtub toy)
  • fire truck
  • shovel
  • students (plastic Little People)

There were many other characters and setting props that could have been utilized.  I just used what I had on hand and the things that interested my son the most.  Other optional items that would work well with the story include:  volcano, bear, boats, birds and trees.

Have you used sensory bins to extend stories?  This was our first time.  I’d love to gather more ideas.  Please share below in the comments.

Below are other wonderful bloggers who have also selected a book from the featured author and created an activity to accompany their book choice.  Please visit each one!  Also, link up your post about your favorite featured author book too.

Toddler ApprovedRainy Day MumAdventures in Reading with Kids3 DinosaursRoyal BalooThe Educators’ Spin On ItInspiration LaboratoriesPleasantest Thing Edventures with Kids Two Big Two Little Playing With Words 365Kitchen Counter ChroniclesOutlaw MomMommy and Me Book ClubCrafty Moms ShareNo Twiddle TwaddleThe Good Long Road Ready. Set. Read 2 MeReading Confetti Mama SmilesJuggling with KidsMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasCreekside LearningCreative Family FunThe Usual MayhemTeach PreschoolPlayDrMomCraftoArtHere Come the GirlsBeing a Conscious ParentSmiling like SunshineCrayon FrecklesTrain Up a ChildSmile Play LearnEnchanted Homeschooling MomCoffee Cups and CrayonsHaving Fun at Chelle’s House– Love, Play, Learn – Juggling With KidsMotherhood on a DimeGrowing Book By BookThis Reading MamaFantastic Fun and Learning


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About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 18 years of experience. Jodie's passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing our youngest readers.


  1. I love this series! What charming activities you came up with for such a lovely book! All the elements of fun for kids: water, sand and toys!!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing such an adorable extention to The Snail and th Whale, I love story boxes. We actually having a Google Hangout Live on Wednesday night to talk about story boxes. I’ve featured you on our facebook page today.