One way to mix up storytime is to have the children “choose” what comes next. About 9 years ago I created this reusable board and it has held up amazingly. In addition to storytime, it works well for trivia games, choosing chores, etc.
The board is 18” high x 24” wide.
Materials needed to create a board of your own:
- 1 Blank Corrugated Plastic Board/Sign. (usually available at big box stores/home improvement stores)
- White Sticky Back Velcro (I used ¾ inch, only about 1/3-inch length on each piece)
- Permanent Marker
- Cardstock or Paper
- Lamination (optional but highly recommended)
Step 1: Prepare the corrugated plastic
If you bought the correct size of corrugated plastic, it should be good to go. Pat yourself on the back for completing this step without having to do anything. If you bought the wrong size, you can cut it down to size or just adjust the number of squares you will use or size of squares you will add.
Step 2: Create the squares to add to the storytime board
I created four rows and five columns. To add variety and for versatility purposes, I made all of the columns different colors. My squares were created by making color-outlined “text boxes” in Microsoft Word. Once one is created, you can just copy and paste and then change the inner number on the next box (and the color of the outline, if applicable). When you have them all printed out, cut out the squares. My squares are 3.75” high x 4” wide. Remember to adjust your square size if you decided to go with a different size of board. I used cardstock but you can use regular paper, if you are planning on laminating them.
Also, if Microsoft Word sounds overwhelming or you do not have computer access, it is not necessary. You can make a white 3.75” high x 4” wide square with a ruler, outline it with your chosen color, add a number in the middle and cut it out. Then make 19 more and add numbers.
Step 3: Laminate the squares
Although this step is optional, I highly, highly recommend laminating. The lamination is what makes things last forever. I often say I would laminate my kids if I could.
If you do not currently have a laminator, you can pick one up for about $30. The page-size laminating pouches are about $14 for 100 on Amazon. This is my recommendation, but if it is out-of-reach, consider having a local print shop laminate your squares or you can purchase a roll of contact paper to cover the squares.
Step 4: Add box outlines to the corrugated plastic
For this step, use an extra 3.75” wide x 4 high” square. Try to evenly space the squares. You may want to use a ruler for spacing. I would suggest outlining them in pencil and then tracing over the pencil with permanent marker.
*tip- if you are not happy with a particular permanent marker line, hairspray or hand sanitizer will usually remove the line pretty well.
Step 5: Add Velcro to the story time board
With your ¾” white Velcro, cut strips 1/3-1/2” long. It may not sound like much but it is really sticky stuff. Fair warning here, the Velcro will gum up your scissors, so use scissors you do not love or be prepared to clean them off. Goo Gone works well.
Take the backing off one side and stick it close to the center top of the laminated square then take the back off the other side and place the square down inside the pre-drawn square on the storytime board. Repeat until done.
Step 6: Enjoy!
When preparing the board for storytime, do not feel you have to use all of the squares (or that you have to get through all of them), twenty is a lot for little ones.
Sometimes I will print images to put under the squares, other times I just write out the picture book or song on a small piece of paper. It doesn’t have too be too fancy for the kids. They will love it either way. You can attach the hidden papers with sticky tack or tape.
If you make your own storytime / game board, I would love if you shared a photo. Let me know if you have any questions.
Feel free to take a little time to look around this website. It is dedicated to all things picture books. Check out the “Lists” page to find lists of children’s books relating to specific holidays or themes.