How To Develop Story Extension Activities for Children

What are Story Extension Activities?

Story extension activities are simply activities, designed for children to participate in, based on the story which has just been read. They are fun activities which may involve art, music, science, technology, cooking, language or even maths! Yes, that's right - maths. The key to story extension activities is that they are based on the story.

Why are Story Extension Activities Valuable?

Story extension activities:

  • expand concepts presented in the story
  • extend on a theme
  • build children's experiences through exploration and participation
  • deepen children's knowledge and expand their skills
  • allow children to explore ideas and try problem solving ideas.
  • Provide a link between the story and real life. They aid in making the story come to life and have meaning in reality.

Sounds too difficult? It isn't!

Sounds like hard work? It's not! In fact, it can be a heap of fun for both yourself and your child!

In reality, extension activities are extremely valuable as they promote children's learning through fun! What could be better than learning when you're enjoying yourself!

You'll quickly discover that developing extension activities is easier than you thought. So read on. But be warned - you'll never view a book as just a story again!

Story Extension Activities Expand Different Interests and Skills.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what sort of extension activities you can plan from a children's story. Often, it's easy to create activities which cover a wide variety of subjects. For example, you may be able to plan activities which focus on:

  • Art
  • Science
  • Maths
  • Language - reading, writing, speaking, comprehension
  • Drama
  • Physical movement
  • Emotional and social development

Don't worry - it's really easy once you start doing it! So don't leave yet. There are so many learning opportunities that you can present to you child. Before you know it, you'll have a million and one ideas and will be having a great time yourself creating extension activities and learning opportunities for your child.

Examples of Story Extension Activities.

Let's come up with some story extension activities for the story of 'Little Red Riding Hood'

Please Note: these are a list of possible ideas but that doesn't mean you'd need to implement them all. When developing story extension activities, you can do one or two or how many you and your child want to participate in.

Story Extension Activities: Art

Draw a map
Make a map. It can be made to look old by dying the paper in a little water stained with tea leaves. Once the paper is dry, draw Little Red Riding Hoods house, Grandma's house, the path connecting the two buildings, the forest, the flowers and the Wolf's den. Add some signs to label each item on the map. How about adding some warning signs along the path (e.g., 'Danger! Look out for the wolf!')?

Make puppets out of cardboard and ice-cream sticks. Use the puppets to tell the story.

Story Extension Activities: Social/Emotional/Moral:

In the story, Little Red Riding Hood took food to her sick grandmother.

1. Encourage you child to think of someone who isn't feeling well or is in need of help.
2. Make a list of things you could do to help them. (Sweep their path/bake them a cake/take them some flowers/ draw them a picture/make them a get-well-soon-car.
3. Choose one of the items from the list and do it.

Little Red Riding Hood also provides the opportunity to talk with your child about stranger danger ( which, unfortunately is a very real threat to our children in this day and age.

This story presents a great opportunity to talk about always staying with a grown up when you go out walking or exploring. Never wander off on your own.

Story Extension Activities: Language

Encourage your child to use the pictures in the book to retell you the story.

After the initial reading, read the story to your child again but this time make glaring errors which your child will need to identify and correct. For example, 'One day, little Red Riding Hood went to visit her cousin who was recovering from dental surgery. As she was walking along the beach, she bumped into a mermaid'.

This activity encourages children to use language to describe what really happened. It also promotes memory recall. The more outrageous the 'errors' in the story, the more your child will like it. Have fun with this activity!

Play with words and change the story. For example, What if the wolf did NOT really try to eat Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother? What if the wolf had caught a cold just like Grandma and was in need of help? How would the story change?

Encourage or help your child to write an apology letter from the wolf stating how sorry he is for scaring both Red Riding Hood and Grandma.

Encourage or help your child to write a newspaper article about what happened from the wolf's point of view or from grandmother's perspective.

Make up riddles about characters in the story. For example,

Who am I? I have grey hair and a big nose and huge feet. I'm very strong. I know the woods very well as I work in there all day long. I can use an axe very well. I don't like wolves but I do like Grandma. I rescued Grandma.' (Answer: the woodcutter).

Keep adding clues until your child guesses the correct answer. Change roles so that your child creates the riddles and you guess the answers.

Create a 'What Happened Next Story?'. This involves making up a story about what the characters do next: i.e., after the story finishes.

For example, the wolf decides that scaring and eating people isn't really a good occupational choice. He decides to change his line of work and opens a shop where he cooks and sells pancakes.

Story Extension Activities: Science/Technology

Make a list of things you know about wolves. Make a second list detailing things you'd like to know about wolves. Visit your local library to look up children's encyclopaedias to find the answers.

Alternatively, use an internet search engine (such as 'Google' ) to research the answers. Some internet sites actually provide video footage or sound files which enable your child to hear a "wolf's howl"

Adapt the articles you find in your internet searches by reading the information for your child that is relevant. Your child may quickly lose interest if an article is read out that is not written for their comprehension level. Just read the information that is relevant to your child's interests and abilities.

Children often enjoy looking at photos of real objects. An image search through a search engine provides a huge number of photos quickly and freely.

You could even use the information you find out to write a short factual book about wolves. Illustrate the factual book with photos printed from your internet image search.

Story Extension Activities: Cooking

Cooking Together
Little Red Riding Hood carried a basket of food to share.

Encourage your child to help put together some food to make a picnic (e.g., sandwiches - which are great for young childen to make by themselves -with supervision, of course). You could also make some 'Lemonade'. Go outside and enjoy it together

Story Extension Activities: Maths

Cook a cake together just like Red Riding Hood did with her mother. Measure the ingredients and the cooking time. While cutting the cake into slices or segments, talk about fractions (e.g., a whole cake, halves, quarters, eighths) and shapes (depending on how you cut the cake and what shape it was baked in - e.g., square, rectangular, circle, etc.)

Play a game such as 'What's The Time Mr Wolf?'

Measure distances in wolf steps. Pretend the wolf took enormous steps. How many 'wolf steps' does it take to move from one side of the room to the other? How many 'wolf steps' to the mail box?

Story Extension Activities: Music

Do you know any songs about wolves? Okay, I confess, I can't think of one at the moment. It would seem there are too many songs about wolves. I wonder why?

Don't let this stop you though. You can always adapt another song to fit in with the topic you want. For example, when you're cooking Red Riding Hood's cake, you could sing a song about cooking such as: “This is the way we cook a cake” (an adaption from the song 'This is the way we brush our hair.').

Some stories are easier to think of relevant songs. For example, if you're reading a story which contains a spider, sing the song 'Incy Wincy Spider'. (I had to put that example in just to show that you can actually match up stories with songs).

Story Extension Activities: Physical Activities

Re-enact the story. Add simple props such as a towel for Red Riding Hood's cape, or a hat for the wood cutter along with a dust pan brush for his axe. This activity will strength and expand memory recall and language skills. It will also encourage the child to take on a role and see the situation through different eyes (e.g., from the wolf's perspective, or Grandma's, or Red Riding Hood's).

Have Fun Developing Your Own Story Extension Activities

Children's stories in themselves are great teaching tools. That learning, however, can be greatly expanded and reinforced when you add story extension activities. The type of extension activities you engage in with children is limited only by your imagination.

Throughout this site, we will endeavour to give you different ideas to try in regards to different stories. We hope these will inspire you so that you come up with amazing story extension activities to try out in regards to the stories you read at home.