DIY Storytelling Tree with Story Baskets

A while ago we shared our Jack & the Beanstalk Story Basket, since then we've created several more to explore. These Story Baskets are a neat way to investigate familiar (& new) stories using a selection of props. They're great for encouraging recall skills, sequencing, language, storytelling, creativity, imagination, & so much more.

Here are a few story baskets we've created recently with props from around our house

The Three Little Pigs Story Basket
3 toy pigs
Lego bricks
Lolly sticks
Straw & raffia
Toy dog - wolf

The Little Red Hen Story Basket
Small toy Hen, Rat, Cat, & Dog
Small toy spade
A few shafts of wheat
Bowl & spoon - to make the bread
Loaf of bread (we used a plastic toy loaf, but you could use a real bread roll)

Owl Babies Story Basket
3 toy or puppet Owls (here are our owl stick puppets & peg puppets)
A small tree branch or cardboard tube

The Gingerbread Man Story Basket
Wooden figure - Gingerbread man
Small metal frying pan
Fox glove puppet
Blue cloth - to represent the river
(Optional: add small world figures to represent the characters the Gingerbread Man meets along the way)

I was thinking of a way to display these baskets & remembered how much fun Minnie had had outside with them. I think there's something special about sharing stories in a natural environment, & these baskets are ideal to hook on your arm (or bike) to take somewhere & explore!

So how to display them? Well how about a Story Tree! Simply hang the Story baskets over the lower branches of a tree (so they're easily within reach) & wait for them to be discovered. We picked up this selection of baskets from a number charity stores.

The baskets could be used to tell different stories, or each contain similar props, so a number of children could explore the same story in their own way at the same time. The magical thing about these baskets is that children can freely explore a familiar story, adapt or extend it, or create their own narratives as they play with the props.

I love the idea of using this natural living object as a way of displaying stories for children to pick & discover.

If you have no nearby trees, how about hooking the baskets over fence panels, or leave them dotted around an outside area.

When creating Story Baskets it's of course important to think of the age range of the children, & which props would be appropriate / safe to use. For example if I were creating a story basket for babies I would use larger items which offered a selection of textures, colours, & sounds etc. 

These Story Baskets have been a big hit in our house, & sparked much imaginative play & storytelling, with the basket itself featuring in many of the tales! We're looking forward to making many more of these so we can step inside even more of our favourite stories.


  1. This is so much fun! My imagination is sparked just looking at your pictures. I'm going to be on the look out for some more baskets with handles at the thrift stores. Thanks! And I'll be sharing this in my next newsletter which comes out this Friday.

  2. I love this post! What a wonderful idea! We will definitely be finding our own story tree.

  3. This looks so much - I love the idea of story baskets - I've been doing some story bins but the baskets are so much more pleasing to the eyes.

  4. These look so lovely. A great way to link books to play, think we might need to give these a go.

  5. Catherine - I love your ideas so much! I have featured your little doors as my favourite post in the last outdoor play link up! Now you have come up with another fab idea, I have used story sacks in school but just love this idea of baskets.

  6. Hi Catherine! I am always SO delighted when I take the time to stop by your blog. You always have such great ideas!! Just this morning I did a Donuts and Lemonade Reading Party with my kids. I wish I had seen your post earlier!! We also talked about props for a Mo Willems book we read and this would have been perfect!! I will definitely be doing this with my kids! Thank you again for always inspiring me!! Brooke

  7. Oh, Catherine, those are so wonderful! I keep meaning to make some kind of story bags (though I like your baskets better), and never get around to it. I really, really, must do this ASAP. And putting them out on the tree to be discovered is such a lovely touch - creating some additional magic!

  8. Oh thank you for this wonderful idea! My little girl is very fond of the three little pigs, we've tried this idea , but we had difficulties with stacking the paper pigs to toilet paper tubes, so this idea of yours seems much better to me. Thank you again, I'll let you know once we try it.

  9. Love this idea! Sharing later this week.