Stories extend a child’s knowledge and understanding of their world and can challenge their imagination, extend their vocabulary and help develop listening and perception skills.
There are wonderful stories that can help children cope with new, often worrying situations, such as a visit to the doctor, the death of a pet or the arrival of a new baby.
But most of all, story sharing is fun.
To get lost together in the language, action, colour and humour of a good story can be a wonderful experience for a parent and child.
One way to make stories part of the playgroup experience is to set up a comfortable book reading area in a quiet corner.
The area can be made warm and inviting by having a large rug or cushions or quilts.
If possible – a couch could provide a nice place for a mother feeding a baby to cuddle up with an older child and share a story.
Books can be stored on a low shelf or in crates so they can be easily reached by children.
During your playgroup session, a special time can be set aside (such as after fruit time or at the end of a session) when all parents and children can sit together on a mat around a pile of books to share stories.
Babies, toddlers and small children love sitting close to an adult, either in little groups, or just cuddling their own parent to listen to a story.
They also like to choose their own book, touching and pointing to pictures and talking about what is happening in the story!
A short session like this can provide a time of warmth, enjoyment and quiet intimacy for the group.
It can also be a welcome break from the busy, sometimes noisy playgroup activities.
Reading with your little one provides many important developmental benefits that are crucial during the early years. From early language skills to developing hand-eye coordination, when you sit and read to your child they’re gaining so much more than enjoying a fun story. To learn more about the benefits read our blog here.
Books with simple themes are best for children in the early years and can help them to better understand the world.