Kids Nook Loves: Storytelling

This week we’re sharing some thoughts on one of our favorite activities at Kids Nook: Storytelling!

In today’s world when kids know how to operate an iPad before they can even walk, storytelling is an important tool in helping develop a child’s imagination and play. Imagining a magical world of stories and fighting with witches, giants and pirates is something attractive and fun for all children. Through oral storytelling, parents can not only engage a child’s mind through listening and imagination, but they can create a special memory that their children will always treasure.

Like with most activities, children respond well to rituals and structure. Taking care to create an atmosphere for storytelling will go a long way in making this time with your children a special one. For example, use an old carpet or a blanket to “fly” to story land. Make horse noises or clap when the character in the story is walking or running. At Kids Nook we use sticks to create rhythms for silly songs we make up, but clapping can also do the trick.

If you don’t have a lot of faith in your storytelling abilities, then get your kids involved! They probably have a lot of ideas about what an elephant or a snake sounds like, and you can ask them for their help in telling the story. For example, whenever you mention a Big Bad Wolf, ask them to make some kind of noise or motion that goes with it. That keeps them involved while you’re talking.

Another tool is to break up the story into different parts. Most traditional stories can be divided into three parts (check out Jim Henson’s The Storyteller for examples), and you can use these natural cliffhangers to your advantage. In Cinderella, when you reach the part where the evil stepsisters go off to the ball and leave Cinderella alone… stop. Ask your kids if they want to hear the rest of the story, or if they just want to leave it at that. Most children will want to continue.

Some parents might be concerned with how scary some of these old stories can be. They’re worried that their children will be scared by the things they hear. This is a valid concern of course, and you can choose stories at your discretion. However one way of handling this is to give your child an “invisibility cloak.” Give them a special blanket that they can wrap around themselves, and tell them it will keep them safe from any bad guys they might meet in the story. This way the children can listen to the story safely, as an observer.

Storytelling is a fun activity for both parents and children. It gives children the attention they crave from their parents, and it creates special memories for them. In today’s culture, when it’s easier to hand your child a tablet, taking some time to explore magical worlds and having daring adventures together will have a huge impact on your children and your relationship to them.

kids nook logo -m

Re-Post: Happy Holidays from Kids Nook

Note: This is a repost of our super fun Christmas party activities from last year. They included lots of food, awesome pajamas, and toilet paper games 🙂 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Kids Nook! To celebrate the occassion we hosted a very special pajama holiday party, featuring the classic story The Polar Express! 

Of course we ate too much food…

DSC_0023And played in the snow…

DSC_0018

Made our own special Christmas pillow buddies…

DSC_0036

And of course, drank hot chocolate!

DSC_0034

DSC_0045

Have a great year!

kids nook logo -m

Story Gardens meet Mole and Ant

One of our wonderful new programs at Kids Nook is Story Gardens (Masal Bahçe), where we read wonderful stories about exploring the world with the kids, then make our very own gardens, little things we can take with us when we have to live in a big city. This week’s story was Bahçıvan Köstebek ve Uçan Karınca Kıvırcık, a cute story about a mole who makes a wonderful home for his new little ant friend.

Afterwards we made our own garden homes for our wild friends. We started with some dirt and moss.

mole and ant5

Then we added things like flowers, a miniature home, and pretty rocks to decorate it.

mole and ant7

mole and ant4

mole and ant8

Last but not least, we added a very special friend… a real life snail!

mole and ant2

mole and ant1

What a wonderful little project, don’t you agree? And the kids loved it as well!

mole and ant3

Happy gardening friends!

kids nook logo -m

 

Story Shirts

If you’ve ever read Robert Munch’s The Paper-bag Princess, then you’re probably already familiar with the idea of a paper-bag dress. We took our girls this week and had them decorate their own paper-bag dresses with pictures from their favorite fairy tales (kind of killing two birds with one stone!)

The girls used markers and different colored papers to tell the story of their favorite fairy tale.

storytelling shirt-3

storytelling shirt-4

Büşra’s favorite story was Little Red Riding Hood.

storytelling shirt-2

The finished products were amazing!

storytelling shirt-9

storytelling shirt-8

storytelling shirt-6

storytelling shirt-5

storytelling shirt-7

It was such a simple project, but the girls had so much fun!

What story would you put on your paper bag dress? Let us know in the comments below!

kids nook logo -m

Reading with Little Kids

DSC_0012We talk a lot on this blog about stories and how we try to bring these lovely classics into our kids lives. But the best and most direct way to bring a story to life is to read books with your kids.

Now, I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve actually had time to sit down and read a story to a child. I don’t have any children of my own, but I’m lucky to work in an environment where I can “borrow” a few minutes with other people’s kids. However, after a lovely Saturday playing with everyone who visited us at the store, one little boy asked us to give him some English book recommendations. Everything I gave him, he would collect, and then we would sit down so I could read him the story.

At first, I was concerned: would he be able to understand my English? How about the English story? And he seemed to be fidgeting in his chair a lot…

But after a few stories, I relaxed enough to remember a few key things about reading to little kids.

Continue reading

Pretty Princesses and Apple Cookies

How was everyone’s weekend? Did you get to go outside and explore? Make any cool crafts?

Well this weekend at Kids Nook, we were soooo lucky to have a visit from our favorite child friendly baker Yasemin!

pamuk prenses 2

With a few key ingredients…

pp7

We sifted…

pp8

Mixed…

pamuk prenses

And ate our lovely snacks during story time!

pp6

Thank you for coming Yasemin!  And thanks for all the delicious food!

kids nook logo -m

Pinocchio and Me

This Saturday we got a real treat: Turkish actress Beste Bereket came to our storytime and told us about the adventures of Pinocchio!

p6

There were lots of fun moments…

p3

Some classic scenes…

p2

And even some dancing at the end!

p5

Afterwards we made our own little Pinocchio puppets!

p4

p1

What a fun time!

kids nook logo -m

Kids Nook Presents: It’s Very Hard to be an Octopus!

This weekend we had a very special visit from our friend Sara Sahinkanat, award winning author of many different childrens books here in Turkey. For our storytelling, she told us the story of “Yavru Ahtapot Cok Zor!” also known as “It’s Very Hard to be an Octopus!” Afterwards we made some beautiful mirrors with seashells and Jumping Clay.

yac4

yac3

yac7

 

yac11

Check out some more great photos after the cut!

Continue reading

Jumping Clay: A Great Addition to Your Classroom

You may have been on our site before and wondered “How did they make such cute animals and accessories for their activities?” I’ll let you in on the secret… it’s Jumping Clay! We’ve been using it at Kids Nook for a few months now and let me tell you: it’s amazing!

jc1

Jumping Clay is a modeling clay that molds easily, cleans up quickly, and naturally hardens if left out for a few hours so you can have professional looking clay models without having to bake them.

jc4

Jumping Clay is non-toxic, comes in many different colors, and is lots of fun to play with!

jc6

Click through to see some more examples (and a tutorial video)!

Continue reading