Engaging children during virtual story time can be challenging. An individual story time prop kit for each student can boost the engagement level and encourage active listening during a read-aloud. Here are some inexpensive ideas to help you build monthly prop kits.
Making Individual Story Time Prop Kit
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All of the kits and components are inexpensive enough that students wouldn’t need to return them to school. Each month, pass out a new kit to students for the upcoming month filled with items that will go with your read-alouds for the month.
A simple quart-sized plastic bag with a zip top works perfectly for these kits. The Dollar Store is your friend for bags and various supplies to go inside the bags.
Here are some basic supplies that lend themselves to working with multiple different stories. I have detailed pairings below in the month by month suggestions. Remember to think about items that could be a choking hazard for younger children.
- play dough
- lids (applesauce pouches, juice lids, milk containers, etc.)
- cupcake toppers
- Wikki Stix
- paper puppets
- craft sticks
- pom poms
- mini erasers
Fall Month by Month Individual Story Time Prop Kit Ideas
These kit ideas will take you through the fall. Each month provides eight read-aloud suggestions (two per week) along with appropriate props and ideas for using those props.
September- My Family, Friends, and Me
I Can Be Anything by Jerry Spinelli- Two icons with a thumbs up and thumbs down sign or students can use their own thumbs. As each activity is read, students can give a thumbs up or thumbs down if they would be interested in doing the activity.
ABC I Like Me by Nancy Carlson- Use an alphabet letter (plastic or paper) which students can hold up when their letter is called during the story.
Full, Full, Full of Love by Trisha Cooke- Include a plastic spoon, small piece of candy, and small toy car. Students can find each item in their prop kit when it is mentioned in the story.
Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino- Black and white images of each animal in the story so that students can locate each of them and hold them up during the story.
Dog’s Noisy Day by Emma Dodd- Include a paper microphone or one made with a cardboard roll and ball of aluminum foil. Students can repeat the sounds the animals make in each part of the story.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle- Use an old long sock becomes a caterpillar when placed on the arm.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev- Invite each student to bring their own animal or stuffed animal to listen to the story. Alternatively, you could include a small toy animal in each bag.
Crunch The Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap- Include a small green piece of paper shaped like a bush for students to hide and peek around during the story.
October- Community Helpers
Dylan the Doctor by Guy Parker-Rees- Give each student a pointer so that they can point to Dotty Bug on each page spread.
Nurse Clementineby Simon James- Include a bandaid for each student to wear during the story.
Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton- Create a water hose with a cardboard roll and blue tissue paper at one end for students to wave during the story.
Firefighter Frank by Monica Wellington- Include an image of a tool from the story in each child’s bag. Have each student be on the lookout for their tool in the story and hold it up when they see it in the book.
Good-bye, Curtis by Kevin Henkes- Put a SASE in each child’s bag and encourage the students to each send you a note or drawing after you read for the mail carrier to deliver to you.
Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier- Include an uplifting note in an envelope addressed to each child that can be read after the story.
Police Officers on Patrol by Kersten Hamilton- Include an image of a badge on gold paper for each student to wear.
I’m a Police Officer by Brian Biggs- Students can also wear their badge for this story.
Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie dePaola- Place a small packet of seeds students can plant inside.
Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky- Include a different shape in each bag. Students can hold their shape during the part of the story where it is mentioned.
Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer- Use a yellow paper leaf for students to wave.
Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk- Include paper cards with the numbers one to ten for students to find and hold for each part of the story.
The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri- Use a real (freeze first) acorn or pretend acorn to hide.
Ol’Mama Squirrelby David Ezra Stein- Acorn can be used again to toss during the story.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan- Include a glow stick or necklace for students to wear during the story.
I’ve designed these story time prop kits to pair beautifully with our Preschool Literacy Units if you are using them. And, they also are in align with our Book Based Activity Calendars. I do love consistency.