For this story time I used the latest paperback addition to the Claire Freedman Pants series but to be honest, any piratical story will work for this story time craft. I just chose this one for my story time because 1) I like the cover, 2) the story really is excellent rhyming fun and 3) I love saying the word ‘pants’ out loud.
Seriously, try it next time you need to swear! Surprisingly satisfying, especially when you get really worked up and move on to using different types of pants to express your growing frustration. ‘Knickerbockers’ has been my best so far…
Ahem. Anyway, back off the tangent and you’ll find you do need to do a fair amount of prep for this story time. You will need:
- A lot of corks (you can buy cheap packs of unused ones online or from Lakeland, or you could have fun draining wine bottles of course 🙂 )
- elastic bands
- straws, some cut in half
- plain white paper cut into triangles roughly a quarter or an A4 page size.
- a large clear tub filled with a few inches with water
But what did we make to go with our story? Well, these:
I got the idea from this Flikr image and swapped out some of the more dangerous components (toothpicks) for more toddler-friendly ones. You can make them using juice boxes too but since there was no way I was going to drink enough juice boxes in the time I had I decided on the corks instead. I elastic banded three corks together and then elastic banded two groups of three together to make little mini rafts (if your corks are bigger you could just stick to three). Whilst the kids were all busy decorating their sails I started shoving straws in between the corks for masts and then, once the sails were decorated and stuck on the straw masts, the little ships were all ready to be blown about
on the high seas the tub of water with straws!
Tip: Take care lifting the tub of water since it does get surprisingly heavy. I’d also make sure the table was covered with old newspapers or something absorbent as I (stupidly) forgot and had a few puddles to clean up afterwards. The kids will inevitably try to touch, drink or blow bubbles in the water so it’s probably best to make sure the tub and the water are clean beforehand too. I used one of those large plastic see-through crate things that usually get used for storage and the high sides and small amount of water inside made sure I had less spilled water to clear up at the end than I probably would have done with a shorter-sided tub. It also helped put paid any fears of children drowning themselves if I turned away for ten seconds.
The kids loved the story and they loved this craft. They were kept busy well past the end of story time blowing thier ships about and blowing bubbly ‘sea monsters’ in the water with their straws. It’s a lot to set up but a whole lot of fun! I wonder if next time I should include some baby bubble bath to give our little boats something more fun to sail on?