Chattersacks and storysacks
A chattersack is a sack/bag containing a range of resources to support a theme or particular interest of a child.
For example astronaut figures, planets and a rocket to enrich children’s experiences, speech, language and communication.
If you made a chatterbox you could design and paint a landscape onto a shoe box (or similar) to compliment your space resources.
Why not encourage the child/ren to help find toys to add to the sack or bag? In this way they will be more eager to talk and discuss the contents of the sack!
A storysack is usually a drawstring type bag that contains a range of items specifically related to a certain book.
It usually contains at least one copy of the focus book, perhaps you could include a DVD or CD of the story (you could record yourself telling the story).
You may then choose to add soft toys, toy animals, figures/characters and props to encourage the children to re-enact the story in their own way. Here are some ideas...
You will need:
- A book: for example a car, bus or train journey
- Toys/resources: toy vehicles and any other objects which can be associated with the story
- Puzzles: a transport themed jigsaw puzzle
- A CD: a rhyme or song CD to support your theme, e.g. The Wheels on The Bus
- Make up a bag or box (chatter-box!) with favourite vehicles, chosen by the child/ren.
- Take the items out of the bag one at a time and talk about them. E.g. name each one so that they know what they are called.
- Then ask your child to find one that you name, eg “where is the bus” and “where is the car”.
- Perhaps your child can ‘post it’ the items back into the sack or box when they get it right.
- Any attempts the child/ren make to name the vehicles deserves praise and encouragement.
- If a word is mispronounced by a child repeat the word modelling the correct pronunciation for the child to hear. Perhaps the children already know what each one is called, so can be encouraged to name the vehicles or talk about some of their features.
- Talk about the different parts of each item as you play, e.g “the aeroplane is flying using his wings”. “The car has four wheels”. Model and listen for key words, e.g. car, bus, bike, train, boat, wheel, horn, steering.
- Why not use some maths related words to see which is the biggest, smallest, longest, and shortest? Which goes fastest and which is slower? Which is their favourite vehicle? Why?
- Join in ‘driving games’ using the bus, lorry, car etc. Talk about the places the people might drive to, e.g, “we’re going to the shop to get some food”, or “we are going to the seaside to play in the sand”.
An extension idea:
Reinforce new words that the child/ren has learned when out and about, encouraging your own words and open ended questions to source new letters and words.
Why not try a Shopping Chattersack?
You will need:
- Play food items
- Sock for a ‘make believe’ puppet or plates for role play tea party
- Shopping bag or basket
- Find some play fruit or food of the child or children’s choice. Name the items for the child/ren, then place two or three in a row asking them to find one named item at a time.
- These could be fed to a toy or puppet, or a tea party could be set up and the food items added to plates in readiness to ‘share’ in the party food.
- Lay some of the toy food on the floor or table and pretend it is a shop. Ask the child to go to the shop and get one or two items that you name, e.g “I would like soup and pasta”.
- See if they can get the things in the basket and bring them to you. Take turns so the child gets the chance to tell you what they want from the shop and you go and get it too!
Use these ideas to build on the child’s vocabulary around a particular topic.
These are just a few which may be of interest, but topics and themes could include a visit to the zoo or beach, or even use a recent outing or experience to reinforce new words that your child has learned. This will help the child/ren to link words to objects and actions and will help them to generalise the words they learn into everyday life.