This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Coolabi. All opinions are my own.
Summer is here and with it come hours of free time for the kids and that means finding activities to keep them entertained in ways that foster their creativity and imaginative play. A great idea is to create a schedule for them, you can put different activities into the schedule including games, play time, chores and TV and computer time (or time in any other device like an iPad). This will help you make sure that the kids don’t spend too much time in front of the screen. When TV time comes around it’s important to pick programs that are not just fun and age appropriate but that also keep your kids’ minds active and one of these programs is Poppy Cat: a colorful and adventure-filled preschool series on Sprout, based on the international award-winning books by British author Lara Jones.
About Poppy Cat
The Poppy Cat series focuses on making everyday adventures extraordinary. Poppy Cat is a celebration of imaginative play — the series encourages preschoolers to use their imaginations to solve problems and discover the world around them. Seen through the eyes of Poppy’s young owner, a little girl named Lara, each Poppy Cat episode tells the tale of a very special cat, her colorful band of friends and their extraordinary travels through fantastical lands in airplanes, pirate ships, hot air balloons and rockets. I really loved the characters and their fun and positive personalities but I specially like that the show uses a lot of imagination and and teaching kids that any “normal” activity can become a wonderful adventure if you use your imagination and if you enjoy it with friend.
Episodes air on Sprout seven days a week at 7:00 pm. The series also airs Saturday mornings on the NBC Kids block, which is programmed by Sprout.
We used the fun and lovable characters from Poppy Cat to create story seashells. You’ve probably heard about story stones, but we decided to make our own version with seashells since we have been going to the beach so much and we thought this would be a great way to incorporate those seashells that the kids have picked on our summer travels into a fun game. Also river stones are really hard to come by in Florida!
The story seashells can be used in fun games that stimulate your kid’s creativity, teach them to share and play together and can also improve language skills. Playing with these story seashells is something that even adults will enjoy doing with the kids.
Making Poppy Cat Story Shells (or Story Stones)
- 10-15 big seashells (or river stones)
- Poppy Cat images printed on white paper
- X-acto knife
- Mod Podge
- The next time you go to the beach pick up 10 or 15 big seashells, you can also go outside and find some rocks if that is easier. This will be a fun activity in itself and will get everyone moving and exploring outdoors.
- Wash the shells (or rocks) in the sink, this can also be a fun activity for the kids. I know my kids always jump at any opportunity to play with water!
- Find some Poppy Cat images online, pick your favorite ones and print them (make sure they are small or large enough so that they fit onto your shells).
- Print the images and cut them with an X-acto knife. Make sure to include different characters and different actions as well as different settings. I included Poppy Cat and friends doing things like riding a car, on a boat or dressed as royalty.
- Using Mod Podge glue the images on to the shells.
How To Play With Your Story Shells or Story Stones
There are many ways to play with story shells or story stones and you can make up your own as well but here are three of my favorite ones just to give you an idea. All of this can be played solo or in a group that can include both kids and adults. I will explain all of these played in a group as this is the way we like to play with our story shells at home. Each one is a different way to play with them.
1. Put all the story shells face down. A child or adult starts by turning the first shell and starting a story weaving the image on the story stone. After playing this a couple of times we realized we needed a timer as my little guy would go on and on forever telling his part of the story. So we set 30 seconds or one minute for each turn. As each player gets a turn they turn another shell revealing a character, action or place and they have to continue the story the player before them was telling and weave whatever is in the story shell into the story.
2. The child chooses three shells randomly. You can either put the shells in a bag and have the child put their hand in the bag to get the shells or put all the shells face down like the option above and have them turn three random shells. The child or player has to come up with a story that incorporates what is in the three shells.
3. As above but instead of choosing the shells randomly the child chooses threes shells they like and creates a story. This is best for smaller children or children that are playing this for the first time as it is easier to create a story with the shells they choose. The next player can either start a story with their three shells or use the shells to continue the story that the first player started.
Because I am always looking for ways to increase the amount of time the kids speak Spanish at home we like playing with our story shells in Spanish, this really helps the kids increase their vocabulary in Spanish!