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The Benefits of Bookish Play and using Story Sacks

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The Benefits of Bookish Play and using Story Sacks

Written by Sheila O’Reilly

Bookish play is a wonderful way of introducing books to your little one and will generally keep their attention for much longer than just reading the story.  Children love to play! Fun and interactive activities based on their story book can spark their imagination and really bring a story to life.


Story sacks are multi-sensory in nature and children are much more engaged and integral to the story by being involved in book related activities, rather than passively listening. 
There are lots of opportunities to develop language and literacy skills, through discussions and play based on the story.  Children have the opportunity to see from another character’s perspective, thus developing empathy and emotional literacy skills, talking about their own feelings and emotions. Retelling stories is a great way of developing oral language skills and increasing vocabulary.  Through discussions and asking questions you are developing your child’s comprehension skills too. 


Creating a story sack is very easy to do. You choose a story book that your child enjoys and add lots of related props such as wooden animals/figures, puppets, sensory elements such as playdough or loose parts etc. Allow your child to explore the props as you read the story, encouraging discussion about characters, plots and settings for example. You can also include art and craft activities.  To extend your child’s story telling skills, you could encourage them to create a different ending to the story using their props or create the story by reversing character roles. This works well with traditional fairy tales.


I have included some examples of our bookish play. Using props isn’t limited to fictional stories. I often use non-fiction books about animals, nature, places, festivals and I love to use poetry in story sacks too.  ‘Social’ stories can be useful teaching tools also.  For example, stories teaching your child about crossing the road safely or what happens when you visit the dentist etc.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas for incorporating bookish play into your set ups. Don’t forget to use and follow  #wpdbookishplay so we can inspire each other!

You can buy Story Sacks at The Wooden Play Den here, or find inspirations here to create your own. 

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