Story Maps

I was reminded of this project when this photo of my daughter popped up in FB Memories. Somehow six years have passed since this photo was taken but it reminded me of how much enjoyment she got out of having giant “Story Map” to play with. During my daughters preschool years we made several different versions of these and she loved decorating the box, making map features, adding characters and details from a favorite story. She spent so much time creating and playing with these “Story Maps” that I began to use them in my preschool classroom as well.

During this time of year when we see ads and feel pressure to buy more and more things for our kids, lets remember how much fun the box itself can be. It’s an important reminder this time of year when the over-commericialized Christmas Machine begins to rev that we can offer simple props for truly engaging play and creativity.

📦 Directions: Take a giant cardboard box laid flat to inspire children to make simple sketches, models, or pictorial maps to locate objects (which is also perfect for observations for TSG21a).

Connect it to a book that you are reading but have the *children* be the ones in charge of the design. As they want to add elements from a story explore colors and textures. If you keep it 2D at first with just drawing with markers and crayons (or paint) it’s really easy to fold up and store, but children will have all sorts of great ideas and likely want to create 3D objects.

As they want to add characters or buildings or cars or bridges or whatever, bring out loose parts and collage materials to let them create…and resist the urge to control the process to make it look awesome. Children who make their own story map without any pressure of making it Pinterest worthy will engage in such a deeper level than an adult controlled story map. 📦

{Possible learning objectives: TSG 32. Demonstrates simple geographic knowledge / 33. Explores the visual arts / 21A. Understands spatial relationships / 18C. Retells stories & comprehends and responds to booksand other texts}

Materials:

Giant cardboard box, markers, art supplies

Group Management:

Years that I have done this with a full classroom of children, I have offered each child to create their own building with a shoe box. We discussed how the story map was for all of us and hat we didn’t want to draw over other children’s ideas which led to a great conversation about respecting each others artwork. Through group conversations we decided how to create our Story Map which with this group of children was all about “Frozen” and creating Elsa Castles!

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