A Story Cafe | The Day the Crayons Quit

We often get asked "when do I start to teach my child to write?"  So I've been thinking about this - and decided the answer is "Don't", BUT we do need to teach our children the skills they will need to be able to write when they are ready.   So this story cafe is all about skills for writing, and a perfect story to match is "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.

Invitations to Play

All of the invitations to play today are about building skills for writing, so anything to build fine motor development, gross motor development, crossing the midline and dexterity.  So we have pasta threading with pipe cleaners, using tweezers to transfer the pom poms from the basket to the egg boxes, coloured duplo bricks for connecting together and building towers, playdough for squashing, squeezing and rolling.  And lastly, those little plastic toys from a fast food chain - and I don't usually like this sort of thing - but these are really good for hand eye co-ordination and fitting two different shaped pieces together.

Story Props

I made some crayon puppets with lolly sticks and printed out crayons, and made a stack of letters from the crayons just like in the story.

We made some story props to take home and practised skills for writing

Children and families played and talked about colours, squashing and rolling the dough, made pasta bracelets and crayon puppets to help them retell the story at home.

Carpet time at the end

We got out the big red parachute and all my coloured scarves, and we sang "Have you ever seen a _____ scarf go this way and that way...".  Everyone loved it so we went on to sing "Here we go up and down..."and 5 little monkeys and then the children had a few minutes under the parachute until the adults arms were too tired to lift it up and down any longer.

Links to EYFS

Specifically for this story cafe -

C & L - Listening and attention - • Listens to stories with increasing attention and recall. • Joins in with repeated refrains and anticipates key events and phrases in rhymes and stories
Literacy - Reading -  22-36 months * Has some favourite stories, rhymes, songs, poems or jingles. • Repeats words or phrases from familiar stories. • Fills in the missing word or phrase in a known rhyme, story or game, e.g. ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a …’. 30 to 50 months • Enjoys rhyming and rhythmic activities. • Shows awareness of rhyme and alliteration. • Recognises rhythm in spoken words. • Listens to and joins in with stories and poems, one-to-one and also in small groups. • Joins in with repeated refrains and anticipates key events and phrases in rhymes and stories. • Beginning to be aware of the way stories are structured. • Suggests how the story might end. • Listens to stories with increasing attention and recall. • Describes main story settings, events and principal characters. • Shows interest in illustrations and print in books and print in the environment. • Recognises familiar words and signs such as own name and advertising logos. • Looks at books independently.

I know, sharing stories and all the brilliant things we did at story cafe link to many more aspects of the EYFS and especially the characteristics of effective learning (learning dispositions).

Useful links

A nice article about building skills for writing here

The building blocks of reading and writing - here

Development of mark making from Surrey County Council - here

My document with ideas for building skills for writing - here

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