The magic of books just doesn’t finish when the book ends. There is a world of possibilities to bring those much adored favourite children’s books to life. I love coming up with ways to extend a book that really sparks those imaginations and makes them fall in love with the book all over again.

This year Little Tiger Press turns 30 and to celebrate they are publishing a host of wacky and wonderful picture books to entertain, engage and stimulate your little ones. From a band of hairy monsters to a lonely panda bear, fairy tale babysitters and blanket-loving babies, these vibrant and original picture books are the perfect way to adventure through the land of imagination with your children this summer.

To join in the celebrations Little Tiger Press sent us 4 beautiful, newly released, books and a party pack so we could have fun with some book themed activities and really bring these books to life.

Out of the 4 books we were sent I think The Only Lonely Panda was by far my favourite, the illustrations are gorgeous and the story follows a lonely panda who tries so hard to make friends but in the end, he makes one by just being himself.

Georgia’s favourite of the bunch was Fairy Tale Pets which tells the story of Bob who decides to be a pet sitter but it doesn’t go to plan. There’s chaos when all sorts of animals from fairy tales turn up and she loved the ending (which I’ll keep a secret!).

We had fun spotting characters from our favourite fairy tales in this book which had all the children laughing at the craziness that goes on when the pets misbehave.

Tiny Tantrum is a book I’m sure most toddlers (and parents) can relate to. When Tiny is asked to every day things such as getting dressed or eat her vegetables she throws a wobbler…but some big hairy monsters come along and show her how much fun can be had if you don’t throw a tantrum.

The last book we received was That is actually MY blanket, Baby! When Bella’s baby sibling arrives it won’t stop crying, until it gets hold of Bella’s favourite blanket. Bella’s blanket is smelly and dirty and not all like baby’s lovely new clean blanket, so Bella shows the baby how to make its blanket just like hers.

This is a lovely book that shows the bond between siblings and a perfect one to share with children who have a new baby brother or sister on the way.

So, now I’m sharing with you some of my favourite ways to bring the magic of children’s books to life with 10 really simple activities, including how we brought the above 4 books to life.

10 ways to bring children’s books to life:

1. Story telling basket

Grab some props that are related to your favourite stories and place in a basket along with your chosen book. Having themed props available whilst telling a story really helps to hold the attention of younger children. I usually have a basket set out each week like this that the children keep coming back to and love to play with it independently.

The book That is actually MY blanket, Baby! was a fun one to have a baby doll and blanket available for during the story telling and they loved to act out the story at the same time as me reading it.

2. Dressing up

Dressing up as characters in the book allows children to actually become the characters on the pages of a book. If you don’t have any suitable fancy dress costumes then why not make your own? Or a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll find lots of masks to print out from your favourite children’s story books.

These tiger masks and tiger kigu were part of our party pack from Little Tiger Press and the children loved pretending to be tigers and scaring each other (very loudly!).

3. Baking

I love to get the kids in the kitchen and have fun coming up with simple recipes that they can get involved with as much as possible. Decorating biscuits or cupcakes is something even the smallest of hands can join in with and you get a yummy treat at the end of it as well!

Previously, we have baked some delicious Bear Paw Cookies after reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and these Ladybird Cookies to go with book What the Ladybird Heard.

4. Acting out the story

At the end of the book Tiny Tantrum there is a silly song and dance the monsters encourage Tiny to sing when she’s feeling angry. We made up our own tune and added in the dance moves which they found hilarious.

Older children can enjoy acting out parts of their favourite stories using fancy dress or props and even put on a play about the book.

5. Create a story book small world

Creating a small world set up based on a book literally allows children to dive into the pages of the book and let their imaginations run wild. One of our favourites was our We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Tuff Tray where the children could act out the story over and over again by having their own mini version of it.

6. Create an alternative ending

Get those creative juices going and ask children to come up with their own ending to the book. If they aren’t writing yet they can tell you how they think it could end verbally or in the past, they have asked me to write down their ideas which they then added their own marks and drawings too.

Discussing alternative endings is also a fascinating way to find out how the children interpreted the book as it can sometimes be very different to how I interpreted them, which can lead to lots more discussions.

7. Story themed craft

This is probably the simplest way to extend a book and the possibilities are endless. After reading The Only Loney Panda we made some really simple paper plate pandas using a paper plate, black card, googley eyes and glue.

Once dry they used the masks to pretend to be pandas, which mostly involved running around and trying to scare each other.

8. Drawing

Often after reading a book I then set out some paper and pencils and we have a go at drawing some of the things we liked about the book. This really gets their imaginations going and encourages them to explore the themes in the book further. The internet is also full of book related colouring sheets which are a great alternative.

9. Playdough

Playdough is such a fab open-ended tool and one of my favourite sensory mediums. I often set up playdough trays that are book themed and sit back and watch as their play either mimics the themes in the book or turns into something else entirely.

This Under the Sea Playdough made a perfect accompaniment to the book Commotion in the Ocean.

10. Sensory Play

After reading the book That is actually MY blanket, Baby! I set up a tuff spot so we could get our own blankets dirty just like in the book and then have fun cleaning them. This was definitely one to take outside. I set out paints and mud which are just some of the things the blankets in the story get covered in and a tub of soapy bubbles.

You could also create a story themed sensory bin using a base such as rice or pasta and add some of the characters from the book such as small animals or people if you have them.

Do you children have a favourite book? Have you ever tried out any ideas to extend the book and bring it to life? Let me know in the comments below.

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