Get more out of each book with Story Stretchers!

Our Recommended Age:Pre-K, K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Recommended Age:1st, 2nd, and 3rd (Primary) Grades
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Gryphon House has an incredible selection of books and Story Stretchers is just one of them. When we decided to homeschool I knew I would have to find several books to help me with ideas, projects for science and art but I never thought to do projects based on books! So many wonderful books with various activities that add so much more to the story make this a wonderful addition to our curriculum.

Story Stretchers has so many wonderful books listed including some favorites like Oh the Places You’ll Go!, Charlotte’s Web, and The Velveteen Rabbit.   Each story suggestion has 5 activities to choose from. This is fantastic if you want to read the book on a Monday (and again each day or another time during the week) and do a new activity each day!

2015-04-22 15.07.05 copyAll activities show the Title or Category, What the children will learn, Materials, What to do and Something to Think About and cover quite a few subjects. Each book will only have 5 of the following: Music and Movement, Art, Language Arts, Writing, Social Studies, Reading, Drama, Special Project, Classroom Library, Cooking, Creative Dramatics, Science, Mathematics, and Games. SO many different things to do and so many books to choose from.

We LOVE Dr. Seuss in our house so we are super excited to try out the activities for Oh the Places You’ll Go! . They have Art, Language Arts, Music and Movement, Special Project and Writing options for this one. My favorite option we are going to try is the Art one!

I mean I love Art so this makes a bit of sense but in this case you get to make Celebration Banners about YOU! I also love the Music and Movement one where they get to pretend to be in a marching band! I can’t decide which one we want to do so we might do both…though we might do them all!2015-03-15 17.18.01-1 copy

The books we chose for this review were two I have never read but had heard of and wanted to. Perfect opportunity! Flat Stanley was the first one we read and it was a lot of fun. I had heard about the book and how some schools would mail a Flat Stanley or Flat version of themselves to a friend or relative to go on an adventure.

I wanted my son to try this and was so excited when I saw it in there! Here is what was listed…well some of it as I don’t want to include the WHOLE section.

Art: Flat and All That, PaperDolls.

What the children will learn – To follow directions for cutting

He pretty much knew how to cut and to follow instructions for it…he was a tad impatient when we tried explaining it hehe.

2015-03-15 17.11.11-4 copyMaterials you will need – Typing paper, scissors, crayons or colored pencils, optional is lightweight cardboard.

He chose crayons and we used construction paper instead of typing paper. We wanted it to be a bit more sturdy than typing paper…which I think is printing paper. Same thing right?

What to do – Step by step instructions on how to use the book to demonstrate why you are making paper dolls, how to make them and how to teach the children to make them.

We did review in the book how Stanley was flat and then talked about what he would look like flat…which was funny. I found a few templates online for paper dolls and made one from a couple. Printed it and cut it out so he could use it as a template to cut out a paper doll.

The instructions say to draw it but after a couple attempts we decided a template would be best…he is sort of a perfectionist so it was best this way. He traced and cut the doll out and then colored it to be himself.

Something to think about – Put the children’s paper dolls in envelopes and mail them to their homes. List the return address as Flat Stanley, the school street address, city, state and zip code.

In our case he mailed it to his Uncle. He took the Flat Gentleman on an “adventure” and sent him a picture.  His Uncle really just took it to work with him but my son got the biggest kick out of it.

My Diva didn’t really want to do this project but she could have. The book is meant for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades but you could do a lot of these with Pre-K and K grades as well. Maybe not all and they probably won’t understand the Science ones a whole lot but I am sure you could adjust as needed for the younger ones. She DID do the second book we chose. Take a look at the Gentleman’s Flat Stanley adventure!

The Paper Bag Princess was a book I had been meaning and trying to borrow from the library so as soon as I saw it in the Story Stretchers book I knew I had to do it. For this book I chose to do Art (of course!) and Social Studies but there were Drama and Reading as well. Yes, there were 5 like all the others but this book at TWO Art activities.

2015-04-18 17.58.32-2 copyThe categories and Titles were Art: Designing Paper Bag Shirts, Art: Drawings of Major Scenes in The Paper Bag Princess, Drama: Paper Bag Princesses to the Rescue, Reading: Scene Shuffle Game, and Social Studies: Geography: A Map to Find the Dragon.

Designing Paper Bag Shirts just sounded like so much fun and of course making a map is always fun but I wasn’t so sure my daughter would do as well with the other three topics but she did great with the two we chose. She is 4 and loved the story and making her own paper bag shirt and of course making scenes for a map.

The paper bag shirt was of course just like it says. Take a paper bag and cut out the holes for the head and arms and decorate and then wear it. My husband cut the holes for the kids mostly because I didn’t want my daughter to do it…she tends to get a little carried away with scissors and it wouldn’t be fair to let my son do it if she didn’t. I’m sure you’ve had those battles.2015-04-19 13.26.04-2 copy

The instructions say to decorate with shapes and colors which they started to do and then just drew their own things. My son drew a dragon and himself and some shapes while my daughter drew some shapes, herself, some swirls and clouds and a sun. They loved them and loved wearing them even more! In fact they wore them while they did the second project too!

My kids use pretend maps to go on adventures all the time and we have some story dice I made that they use to figure where they go and how they get there so they had ideas already. Once again we didn’t go by the instructions exactly but I feel like the book is great for ideas but it’s point is to get more involved with the stories…so we did.

We used a smaller poster board, construction paper and markers. My husband drew a simple line path and I copied (50% smaller) two scenes from the book. The start of the map was when the Princess is in her paper bag dress about to look for the Dragon and the end was her opening the door to find him. It never says how she finds him or anything in the book so the kids created their own paths.

I think that was the point and it is brilliant. My son had her going through a jungle/forest and over a river while my daughter had her go up a mountain and through a field of flowers…with a sun of course. We cut a piece of construction paper in half and showed them about the size they should try to stick to so it would all fit once cut out….that mostly worked.

After coloring and cutting and gluing they put it all together in the order they wanted and then followed the path saying where she went. Then they wanted to make their own maps for random stories they were making up and adventures they were going on. It was amazing how much one project made them want to expand and add and come up with new things. Check out our Paper Bag Princess activities adventure!

The activities are all outstanding and well thought out. We had so much fun with the two for this review and are planning out one book with activities for each week’s lesson plan. With about 90 books we should be covered for a long long time and with so many books we haven’t read or heard of we will also get a chance to discover new favorites and some classics.

If you are looking to expand on your homeschool curriculum, wanting projects and activities for your class or just want fun things to do with your children that involve books Story Stretchers for the Primary Grades is the perfect way to do any of those things.


We would LOVE to see which books and activities you would choose. Use #StoryStretchers and #MyGeeklings to show us on FB, Twitter or Instagram!

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”
~ Dr. Seuss

Author: sandyz

2 thoughts on “Get more out of each book with Story Stretchers!

  1. Thank you for the review of Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r-s for the Primary Grades: Activities to Expand Children’s Favorite Books. The pictures illustrate well some of the possibilities for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g favorite books like Flat Stanley and the Paper Bag Princess. We hoped that parents, teachers, librarians, after school caregivers and even boys and girls club organizations might capitalize on children’s interest in stories to expand the curriculum.
    We are delighted that you and your home school audience are finding Story S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-r-s great for your children.
    Shirley and Brian

    1. It has been great for our lessons! Thank you so much it is just a wonderful book =D

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