One of the children’s favourite stories, one they have loved since its first outing, is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. Owl Babies is the story of three baby owls who wake up one night to find their owl mummy is gone. The three owls try to think where she might be, and decide to sit together on a branch, close their owl eyes, and wish for their mummy to come home. Which she does, thank goodness.
My two especially love the repeated refrain of the littlest owl, Bill: “I want my mummy!” and at the end, “I love my mummy!”
One of their birthday presents from us was a puppet set of owls; three babies and a mummy. They have been quite interested in them, but when I introduced this Owl Babies Storyscape it took their interest, and their engagement with the story, to a new level.
In the morning I set up a sheet of hessian with some leaves we had collected earlier in the Autumn, some natural craft feathers, pine cones and some sticks. I wanted them to explore these things first, before I introduced the owls themselves.
They were fascinated by the feathers and we watched them sailing through the air when we dropped them. They also loved the sticks, and had a great time banging them together and making lots of noise!
We then went into the kitchen for a mid-morning snack and read the Owl Babies story together. When we went back into the playroom I brought out the owls and they immediately made the connection with the story. We acted out the story, using the book to refer to. They were able to use the owls to help tell the story and loved balancing them together on the biggest stick when they were waiting for their mummy.
Here’s the owl mummy flying home
When the owl mummy came back she gave the baby owls big kisses, so we had some embellishments on the story, too!
There are lots of stories that lend themselves to this sort of activity and I’m planning to do some more in the future. It becomes a multi-sensory activity, helps them to gain a greater understanding of the themes in the story, and really brings the book to life.
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