Lockdown Storytime: homeschool activities for preschoolers

My granddaughter Daisy has several storytimes throughout her busy day. 

Storytime is an integral part of a young child’s day, one that helps to develop their creativity and imagination, especially for preschool learners. Parents very quickly discover that young children have their favourite stories, which they enjoy listening to over and over again – these will be mixed in with their other books, other non-fiction books and books that you may have borrowed from your local library before Lockdown started. 

Reading and enjoying favourite storybooks can also provide inspiration for homeschooling activities as UK parents, grandparents and Early Year carers contend with another lockdown. You can use the story to inspire associated activity ideas! 

These activities give children an opportunity to develop their observation skills, extend their vocabulary, be creative, enjoy practical experiences and much more.

Hey, Tiger!

A lot of Daisy’s imaginary play involves her small world animals, particularly her extensive collection of toy cats, and one of her favourite story books is Judith Kerr’s 1968 classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which Daisy frequently listens to, clutching her own tiger. That’s the story I’ll focus on in this blog, although I’ll also cover plenty of resources for other books and characters later in the blog – the possibilities are plentiful here!

If you don’t own a copy of the book, don’t worry! The Tiger Who Came To Tea is available on YouTube, with all of the text visible on screen. If you prefer to read the book yourself you could mute the sound and pause to read the book at a pace to suit your child. 

This version also includes a final page with some ideas for things to talk about with your young reader and ideas of ways to extend the story and develop a child’s creativity and imagination.

A child dressed as Sophie standing next to a copy of the Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Bringing the story to life

Using the different categories of Early Years framework I made a list of different activity ideas based on prompts from The Tiger Who Came To Tea and picked out and prepared a couple of the activities to do with Daisy. The rest are there for another time…

‘Once there was a little girl called Sophie’

What does Sophie’s world look like? You could construct her fa1mily’s kitchen, house or street using Lego bricks, Duplo bricks, or any other kind of construction toy.

‘Suddenly there was a ring at the door’

The tiger must be let into the house, but first you need to open the door. Why not take the opportunity to learn about keys and door locks – how do they work? Is there a bunch of keys to hand – how many are there on the keyring? You can even have fun drawing around them to explore their interesting differences in shape and size.

‘A big, furry, stripy tiger’

Why don’t we make the tiger? You can explore by doing some primary colour mixing and painting your own tiger stripes orange paint and painting black and orange tiger stripes 

‘The tiger drank all the tea in the teapot’

Ask your child to set the table for the two of you, and that extra, unexpected guest. How many chairs, cups, plates are needed? If you have a play tea set available you can practise pouring from a play teapot or a play jug.

A child's table is set with pretend crockery, cutlery and food, as well as a copy of Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea and a cuddly toy version of the eponymous tiger
All ready for the tiger to visit…

“Would you like a sandwich?”

Time to prepare a feast for this famously hungry tiger! You can use pretend food for your tea, you can make some sandwiches together or even bake some buns together. The easy step-by-step process of making a sandwich teaches children about sequencing and builds confidence in food preparation, while more complex baking is a great activity to share with your grandchild.

“We’ll put on our coats and go to a cafe”

After the tiger has left, with no food left for dinner, Sophie and her parents visit a cafe for their evening meal. If you have access to some play kitchen items, why not set up a café with a table and even draw a menu card together?

‘Sophie and her Mummy went shopping and they bought lots more things to eat’

Sophie and her Mummy need to replenish their store cupboards after the tiger’s visit, but what ingredients and items do they need to make a nice spread? Why not make a shopping list together?

The internet also provides plenty of crafting ideas to go with popular children’s storybooks – here are just a few resources I rounded up from Pinterest:

Granny Smith Says…

I know that during Lockdown 3 it can be difficult to access a wide variety of storybooks, especially if you use your local libraries, which will now be closed. I’ve had a browse around the internet and have found a few options that you might consider.

  • Usborne Books have an Activities section for children which has a ‘Listen to a Story’ option, activity sheets and ideas for the weekend.
  • World Book Day website has accessible ‘Share a Story Corner’ videos.
  • And YouTube also has a range of different books that are read aloud, which can be discovered with a quick search. 
A young girl enjoys the 2019 Tiger Who Came To Tea exhibition at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, sitting at the table with the tiger from Judith Kerr's 1968 classic children's book
Following in Sophie’s footsteps, Daisy has tea with the tiger at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s