The Gruffalo

Video Courtesy of PBS Kids & Penguin Random House

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”

Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry, scary sounding gruffalo . . .

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo has become a bestselling phenomenon across the world. This rhyming story of  a mouse and a monster is now a modern classic and beloved by young and old alike.

Each week we’ll be exploring one of Julia Donaldson’s picture books and bringing it to life with ideas for family fun, educational activities, art ideas and make believe.

You can also watch the cartoon of The Gruffalo for free, on BBC iPlayer here.

Activity 1 – Make A Story Sack

Story sacks are a great way to bring stories to life and hold a child’s concentration as they listen.

They contain a collection of props to help children progress through the story and promote imaginative play.

Creating a story sack is the perfect activity for when you cannot go far, as you can utilise a whole host of objects from within your house and garden; from paper, to satsumas, to sticks from the ground.

Each item represents an object in the story, and supports the children in their processing of the words. We chose our objects to be sensory to add an extra element to the engagement.

You could hold you own Gruffalo hunt to find the objects, and use any box or bag to gather them that you have to hand – ours is a PE bag.

Prickles on the Gruffalo’s back are represented by this pinecone, if you wanted to be more accurate, you could also paint it purple.

Satsumas make perfect big orange eyes, although bottle tops, balls or pieces of card would also work.

The big black tongue is simply piece of black paper cut to shape.

We chose two sticks from the garden for our knobbly knees and our turned out toes were a simple shape made from a piece of craft foam.

For the big green wart on the end of his nose we wound some green pipe cleaners into a ball.

We also made a snake out of paper.

We wanted to make a mouse to use as a pointer for the words and we read through the story and drew one on paper.

The terrible tusks, and claws were all pieces of stone chosen for their appropriate size and shape.

Clothing pegs made excellent teeth – they made a great biting sound.

We were lucky enough to find a feather on our daily exercise which made a great owl, the finishing touch for our sack.

Once you’ve made a Gruffalo story sack the best thing to do it to take it into the garden and tell the story. Let the little ones look through the objects and choose which one they’d like to use with each description. Take it slowly add in extra items and then let their imaginations run.