The Elves and the Shoemaker

Traditional tales work really well with the 0-5 age group.  As story tellers we can use picture books, tell the story without a book, or use a story map to prompt ourselves.  If we have a basket or bag filled with appropriate props, the children will become instantly engaged in the story, excited to see what's in the bag and what's coming out next.  Children who have a more kinaesthetic learning style are able to use more physical representations of the story, and may remember it and carry it on in their play afterwards.  Whereas, those with a more visual learning style may like to look at the pictures in the book as well.

So, this week we looked at The Elves and the Shoemaker.  I have a lovely Ladybird version with touchy, feely items on each page.

The Story - this is a really simple re-telling of the traditional tale.  The old shoemaker runs out of leather and money, and mysteriously, new shoes appear in the morning when he and his wife get up...

Story Props - I found an old man and an old woman in the doll's house box - those little wooden people that come with doll's house furniture sets.  The three elves were my own creation.  Little wooden people from Crafty Crocodiles online, their hats made from a tiny scrap of felt, cut to the circumference of the head and pointed as much as you want at the top.  I stitched the hats along the long edge and glued them onto the elves heads with superglue.  I drew the faces on with a pen.

Story Telling - So we tell the story using the pages in the book as a guide and the props to help us.  The children feel the different textures on the pages of the book, leather shoes and scratchy basket.  As an afterthought, I realized it would be nice to have a small piece of real leather to touch, and some little shoes, perhaps a pair of second hand baby shoes.

Story Activities - The children experienced lots of other "shoe - related" activities this week too.  We took them to the local museum, where they have a room dedicated to the shoe industry, with displays of shoes over time, machines that were used to cut the leather and stitch the shoes, and lots of different shoes to try on - red sparkly high heels, clown shoes, wellies...

In the setting, the children find a box full of different types of shoes which they can try on, match into pairs and decide which shoes they think will fit which child.  This is a big hit and they play with it all week.

Links to the EYFS - as well as all the story-related  child development outcomes (Communication & Language, listening, and Literacy, listening to, understanding and using stories), this covers Mathematics (Shape, Space & Measure), categorizing objects according to size, and using the language of size.  Understanding the World, The World - visiting the museum where the children notice features of the environment around them like the shoe making machines, and the shoes in the display.  The children are using language to describe what they see, and can ask questions and talk about what they have seen later.

More Shoe stories - here are some other ideas for stories about shoes to carry on the learning and extend the children's interests.

For more story ideas and inspiration:

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