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Friday 28 September 2018

Enhancing imaginative play with personalised books - Librio - The Tree, The Key and Me

 For this activity post, we will be using Librio’s beautiful, personalised book - The Tree, The Key and Me. The book tells the story of a little girl or boy who finds a key in their garden leading them on an awesome adventure. You can find out more about Librio and their personalised books here: Facebook​ | ​Instagram​ | ​Twitter​ | ​YouTube​ | ​Librio Blog​

Enhancing imaginative play with Librio personalised book the tree the key and me

If you follow me on social media, then you will know just how much Arthur loves imaginative play. Whether he is playing alone with his toys, or alongside others, he will usually be taking on the role of a character he has read about or seen on TV and encouraging others to join in his role play ideas.

Books are a great way to help children to build up ‘story language’ when taking on a role, and what better way to encourage this level of imaginative play than with a personalised book where your child is the main character?!

To make this story especially engaging, I put together some story props to use while reading and retelling the story, alongside some activities to really make the story come to life....

Enhancing imaginative play with personalised books - Librio - The Tree, The Key and Me

Arthur next to the character from the personalised book the tree the key and me

One of the great things about this book is that the personalisation for Arthur came out looking quite a lot like him, so it is really easy to imagine him as a character within the story! The book can be personalised in six ways: gender, skin tone, hair and eye colour, hairstyle and colour of glasses (if applicable) - Arthur helped me to choose the right hair colour and when the book arrived, he ran upstairs to collect some clothes to put on (including his blue slap-band watch) so that he could look exactly like Arthur in the book!

  story props for the personalised book the tree the key and me

I had previously read through the book and put together some story props ready for a special story time when we were ready to sit down and read...

A tree/branch/twigs which had lost its colour
A bear
A squirrel
A jar with a tiny key inside
A larger key for independent play
A wand
A witch’s hat
Some black glasses
A couldron and spoon
Potion ingredients from the book
A tiny door


miniature key and squirrel story props for the tree the key and me personalised bookwitch glasses, wand and hat story props for the tree the key and me personalised book

I was desperately trying to locate a small shovel for Arthur to ‘dig’ with but I just couldn’t find one in time!

Arthur with miniature key and the personalised book the tree the key and me

Arthur was really intrigued by the props and started to guess what the story could be about. He was desperate to explore the objects and I could see him scanning the set up as we were reading, trying to predict what we may use next! Being able to act out parts of the story using the props, such as opening the jar and using the small key to open the door - just like in the story - helps young children to understand and also immerse themselves in the story line. Arthur started to repeat the phrases within the book that his character used, such as “I will do my best!” Acting out the story as we went along.

story props for imaginative learning with personalised book the tree the key and me

The story line in this book is great for asking questions and making predictions, Arthur was intrigued as to why the forest was losing its colour and he loved the idea that he could be the one to help!

   a natural branch woth no colour for the personalised book the tree the key and me

The book includes opportunities for discussing and recognising rhyming words when the witch is casting her magic spells and there is a wonderful, double page illustration which allows for your child to really scan the page and try to notice just why “everything was not quite right.”

Arthur really enjoyed the detail in the illustrations, he looked carefully at the pictures as we were reading and asked questions and made comments as we went along. The handwritten ingredients for the spell offered a nice listening and attention opportunity for Arthur to not only point out the ingredients on the page, but also to find the ingredients within our story props and add them to our pot to make the spell ourselves!

potion ingredients for the spell in the book the tree the key and me
Here are our 'bouncing blackberries' about to bounce right out of the spell pot!!

bouncing blackberries in the couldron for personalised story book the tree the key and me

Other activities to try with The Tree, The Key and Me:

Painting branches that have lost their colour:

We used the plain branches from our props as part of an activity to add colour, using the idea from the bear that Arthur could help in some way! This activity is great for an individual, or as a collaboration within a group, allowing for lots of language around  colour and colour mixing, talking about nature and noticing similarities and differences. Of course, it also leaves a wonderful object to display afterwards!

painting a natural branch for an activity for the tree the key and me story

activity painting a tree branch for the tree the key and me personalised book

 Name Recognition - spotting your own name:

Personalised books are great for helping children to spot and recognise their own name and this book has LOTS of opportunities! For this reading activity I used these wax covered bendable strings to make a hoop which Arthur could use to find and circle his name. The wax means they stick to the page and can be reused over and over again. You can also chop the string to underline things like tricky words (in different colours if you wish) when reading with a child or a group of children in a setting.

using personalised books to help with name recognition - wikki stix

 Potion play and colour mixing with water:

This is an activity we have undertaken previously but it would work really well as a follow on activity with The Tree, The Key and Me, for children to make their own potions and colours using coloured water, pippettes, potion bottles and rainbow test tubes...

Clearly we are a little obsessed by the rainbow test tubes! Arthur loved filling them up using a pipette for our Rose activity (see previous) and he was desperate to do this again. I ordered a few extra bits to extend this activity, including these coloured pipettes and these plastic potion/mixology jars (great for spell making or perfume making activities too!!) . Today's #activityoftheday was to transfer the water from one coloured test tube to the same coloured test tube (we have 2 sets) using the right coloured pipette. Once this was complete he was then able to either use the pipettes to fill the jars or carefully pour the water from a test tube into a jar. . Great for motor control by attempting filling and pouring without spilling any (we've yet to master this!). Also really good for colour matching and really concentrating on the task, selecting and using the right equipment. . . The test tubes were an amazon purchase available here (al): http://amzn.to/2iHt3Ym and the pipettes and jars are both recommended products to go alongside the test tubes, so easy to find using this link. . If you are trying this activity yourself don't forget to model the language as you show your child how to do the activity...tiny minds take in this kind of information better when they are having fun and are stimulated to learn 😊 . . . #tuffspotideas #tuffspotactivity #invitationtoplay #stimulatinglearning #kcacols #pblogger #watchthemlearn #Learningathome #learningthroughplay #earlyyearsideas #eyfsideas #learningbydoing #playideas #importanceofplay #earlyyears #eyfs #activityideas #toddleractivity #toddlerplay #messyplayideas #sensoryplayideas #childdevelopment #playingtolearn #importanceofplay #earlyyearsteacher #pretendplay #teachersofinstagram #earlyyearseducation #teacherblogger #waterplay
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Adding colour to plain flowers -  experiment:

Again, this is an activity we have done in the past, but it would tie in with the personalised story of The Tree, The Key and Me by using science (or magic spells!) to give nature some colour! Have a look below at how we did this....

If you saw our video of our activity a few days ago you will know that we attempted to change the colour of our white roses...well I am pleased to say it was a success! (For most of the colours!). Arthur was really proud of his rainbow roses and is desperate to repeat this activity. We used Wilton gel colours to get this result. . #watchthemlearn #Learningathome #learningthroughplay #earlyyearsideas #eyfsideas #learningbydoing #playideas #importanceofplay #earlyyears #eyfs #activityideas #toddleractivity #toddlerplay #messyplayideas #sensoryplayideas #childdevelopment #playingtolearn #importanceofplay #earlyyearsteacher #pretendplay #teachersofinstagram #earlyyearseducation #teacherblogger #teachershare #teachersfollowteachers #invitationtoplay #stimulatinglearning #kcacols #pblogger #rainbowroses
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Today's #activityoftheday involved those fab plastic coloured test tubes again (buy here - http://amzn.to/2iHt3Ym ) . Arthur practised his fine motor skills and coordination by using a pipette to fill up the test tubes with water before adding in food colouring. His first challenge was to name and match the correct food colouring to the right pipette before adding it to the water and finally putting a white rose into each. . We used language such as: 'swirling, mixing, fill, pour, more, less, then, next, into, add, squeeze, squash' when talking about the activity. . Arthur sat for a good ten minutes after this activity waiting to see if the roses changed colour. We can't wait to see if anything has changed tomorrow! . #watchthemlearn #Learningathome #learningthroughplay #earlyyearsideas #eyfsideas #learningbydoing #playideas #importanceofplay #earlyyears #eyfs #activityideas #toddleractivity #toddlerplay #messyplayideas #sensoryplayideas #childdevelopment #playingtolearn #importanceofplay #earlyyearsteacher #teachersofinstagram #earlyyearseducation #teacherblogger #teachershare #teachersfollowteachers #invitationtoplay #stimulatinglearning #kcacols #pblogger #ukparentbloggers
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arthur and the story props ready to read the personalised book from Librio the tree the key and me

A little more about Librio and their books:

- Books are printed in the UK, posted worldwide, and despatched within three working days.

- Books are printed on high quality 100% recycled FSC certified paper. Printed with award-winning sustainable printers the ​Pureprint Group​.

- For every book sold, Librio plant a tree with ​Trees for the Future​.

- For every book sold, Librio donate £1 to literacy charities. They do so much more than “just” donate money. - Super easy and efficient ordering process.

- The book is currently available in 18 languages and dialects, including UK and US English, French, German, Swiss, Italian, Spanish and Welsh.

- 15% discount when ordering two or more books using the code ​YAY15

Enhancing imaginative play with Librio personalised book the tree the key and me

We absolutely loved this personalised book from Librio - The Tree, The Key and Me, and I hope we have given you some useful ideas of how to use story props and activities to bring the story to life! I'd love to hear whether you have used this book too and how you get on?

Sarah x

Disclosure: We were given a code for this book and compensated for our time. All words, ideas, opinions and activities are our own. 


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