Beyond Storytime: June 15-19

We are delighted to bring you some extra activities you can add to your day to get more out of our Storytimes! Each Friday we’ll be bringing you a preview of the themes for the next week and suggestions for ways to build extra learning and fun into each day.

Here’s a reminder on how to access Tumblebooks before we get started.

Monday June 15:

Theme: Gender Stereotypes
Activity: Gender Stereotype Detective
Extra Story: “I Love My Purse” by Belle DeMont on Tumblebooks

The purpose of this activity is to practice using non-binary pronouns and to help your child take a look at the gender stereotypes that are present in the world around them. Play is one of the ways children learn and try out new concepts, so it’s great to approach these ideas through play. It also creates a space for both you and your child to feel comfortable making mistakes as you learn!

Step 1: Have your child pick one of their toys to be the Gender Stereotype Detective. Talk with them about the variety of pronouns that people use, and explain that this toy, as the Gender Stereotype Detective, is going to use a non-binary pronoun.

To learn more about non-binary pronouns, check out this article by author Sassafras Lowrey: A Guide to Non-Binary Pronouns and Why They Matter. (We have hir book Lost Boi in our collection if you want to read it!)

Step 2: Practice using the pronouns through play. Start by asking the Detective what pronouns they would like to use, and having them answer. This is an important first step! As you play, you may trip up a few times, but that is okay! Correct yourself or your child and try again. This will encourage children to learn how to manage their own gender-labeling mistakes.

Step 3: Go on an adventure with the Detective! Your mission is to find the gender stereotypes all around you. These can be particularly evident in children’s toys. You can start in your own home, look through catalogues, peruse a store’s website on the computer, or head to a store. Point out a few toys and ask your child who they think is “supposed to” play with that toy. Ask them why they think that? Was it the colour of the packaging? The type of toy? The pictures of children playing with the toy on the packaging?

Ask other questions, like:

  • Which toys encourage being active or outside?
  • Which toys encourage being inside and playing quietly?
  • Which toys are encouraging playing house, cooking, or taking care of babies?
  • Which toys encourage building things or fixing things?
  • Which toys encourage making art?
  • Which toys encourage playing with weapons like swords or guns?
  • Which toys include girls or boys on the packaging?
  • How many include both boys and girls?

Then discuss with your child(ren):

  • Do they think the stereotypes of the toys were true?
  • Is it fair that they show only girls or only boys taking part in some activities?
  • How does it make them feel that toys are so strongly stereotyped?
  • Where else do they notice these stereotypes? Are they around us in ways outside of toys?

Tuesday June 16, 2020

Theme: Forest Animals
Activity: Alphabet Forest
Extra Story: “Bears!” Playlist on Tumblebooks


  • Woodland A-Z printout
  • Scissors
  • Toothpicks
  • Playdough


Step 1: Print out the woodland creatures and alphabet trees from our attached printable.

Step 2: Tape each tree to a tooth pick. Set a little ball of playdough out for each tree. With the toothpick, poke the tree into the playdough so that the tree is standing upright with the letter facing in the child’s direction.

Step 3: Lay all of the alphabet cards (creatures from A-Z) face down on the table so you can’t see which card is which. Have the kids flip the card over and find it’s corresponding letter of the alphabet! Example: Child flips over “A for Acorn” they now locate the tree with the letter A and match it to that tree.

Variation: Use the alphabet cards to instead create a story! Flip up a card at random to create a storyline until you run out of cards. Example: the “S is for Squirrel” card is flipped so you start your story as “Once upon a time there was a little squirrel who loved to eat acorns!” then you flip over another card and have the story continue with the squirrel coming in contact with whatever animal you flip next!

Wednesday June 17, 2020

Theme: Jungle
Activity: Going on a Lion Hunt
Extra Story: “What a Hippopota-Mess!” by Pat Skene on Tumblebooks

Play a game of hide and seek using the lion you create! Create a lion however you would like: draw it, craft it, or turn a stuffie into a lion! We made our lion out of scrap papers and a paper plate.

Materials (paper plate lion):

  • Paper plate
  • Scrap yellow and orange papers cut into strips
  • One yellow construction paper circle
  • One heart shape made of construction paper
  • Glue
  • Felt pen
  • Googly eyes (optional)

Step 1: Cut up a bunch of strips of yellow/orange paper for the mane, then cut out a yellow circle that will fit the inside of your paper plate and a heart from construction paper.

Step 2: Glue the yellow circle onto your plate, then begin gluing the strips of paper all around the paper plate to create the mane!

Step 3: Glue the heart on as the nose, then add on your eyes (draw them or use googly eyes).

Step 4: As a final step, draw on the smile and whiskers.

Step 5: Going on the lion hunt. Take turns hiding the lion around the house for each other to find. Much like hide and seek, whoever is NOT hiding the lion must close their eyes and count to 10 (or more). The object of the game is to find the lion!

Variation: Create obstacles in your house that the kids need to go through to get to the lion each time. Pillows on the floor can be rocks you need to hop along over a river, cushions are logs you have to jump over, etc.

Thursday June 18, 2020

Theme: Sea Creatures
Activity: Paper Plate Jellyfish
Extra Story: “Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen on Tumblebooks


  • Paper plate (cut in half)
  • Hole punch (or scissors)
  • Scrap ribbon, yarn or paper cut into assorted sized strips (all roughly 5-8 inches long)
  • Felt pens or other scrap materials for decorating

Pro-tip: Tissue gift wrap is an awesome material for decorating crafts!

Step 1: Cut your paper plate in half so it looks like a semi-circle.

Step 2: Along the straight edge of the paper plate, punch in some holes (we used a hole punch but this can also be done using sharp scissors by an adult). Alternatively this craft could be done with strips of paper and no holes added to the bottom!

Step 3: Tie the ribbons through the holes in the paper plate (adults may need to help with this but let the children play around with it for a bit first – lacing ribbon through holes is a great activity for fine motor skill development).

Step 4: Decorate the top of the jellyfish! Let your child colour it, paste scrap materials onto it, etc. When they are finished, get them to draw on eyes or add googly eyes.

Friday June 19, 2020

Theme: Bugs
Activity: Playdough Bugs
Extra Story: “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!” by Bob Barner on Tumblebooks

This is a simple and very engaging activity for children. By playing with the playdough, looking at photos of the insects, and talking about them, children will form tactile, visual, and auditory memory associated with “insects”! As a bonus, this activity is also fun and calming.


  • Playdough
  • Insect Printable
  • Assorted craft supplies/odds and ends
    • Buttons
    • Beads
    • Pipe cleaner
    • Ribbon
    • Rocks
    • Leaves
    • Flowers
  • Bug and flower cookie cutters (optional)


Step 1: Make playdough/ gather playdough and assorted decorating supplies. Check out this previous post for a link to a homemade playdough recipe Beyond Storytime: May 25 – 29.

Step 2: Print off our insect printable or look at pictures of insects in books, magazines, etc and talk about them with your child. This step is optional but taking this step will help to boost the amount of learning in this activity.

Step 3: Lay out all of the materials in a nice open space and let the children create! Try coming up with stories and playing out those stories with the playdough creations. Talk about the insects they have created and let them make up new ones.

That’s all for this week! Join us again next week for more Storytime fun.

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