Story Bag Ideas that are easy to find and use! If you tell Bible Stories in a Toddler Group setting or with young children in Sunday School you will probably have used a Story Bag. (It’s slightly different from providing a Story Bag for sharing in a small group or one to one as you will probably be telling the story rather than reading it from a book. In a large group the storyteller should be in charge of the props, make sure everyone can see them. Also there is no need to include a copy of a book!)
A Story Bag is a very useful tool in keeping children engaged with a story. Items appear from the bag throughout the story. These items can aid understanding; an unfamiliar object is often easier to show than to explain.
Easy Story Bag Ideas for the beginning of the story
Taking things out of a bag can build excitement and anticipation. When I begin a story I often start by introducing the main character…for example
I’ve bought someone with me today who is in our story. Are you ready to say hello to Mary? Let’s practice.. ‘Hello Mary’. I’m not sure she can hear you! Let’s try again, ‘Hello Mary’. (I take Mary from the story bag)
This makes a good start to the story. Everyone has joined in with saying hello to the main character. Children (and adults) are waiting to see what happens next.
Another way to begin is by taking an object out of the bag that is central to your story such as a model of a Bible time house or a boat. You could begin story time like this…
Today in our story bag is somewhere that Jesus often visited! Let’s find out where? (Take the house from the bag) It’s a house! It’s where his friends Mary and Martha lived. One day they invited Jesus to come and see them…
Story bag Ideas for the middle of the story
If you have started your story by introducing the main character or place then the next items in the story bag should help the story move along.
For example – having said hello to Mary you could help the children think about what she was doing..
Mary was having an ordinary day – she might have been cleaning (take a duster from the bag and pretend to dust and a brush and brushpan and pretend to sweep)..
There are lots of things that people in Bible Stories do that are ordinary and every day like cooking and eating so you can include everyday items in the story bag to help children understand the story.
Here’s a list of items I’ve used
- Bread rolls
- Purple cloth (Story about Lydia)
- Large blue cloth (Sea, lake)
- Play boat
- Sewing supplies (Tabitha/Dorcas)
- Fruit/Veg (Harvest)
- Pringle carton characters
- Knitted dolls
- Toy camels
- Knitted donkey
- Toy sheep
- Model of flat roofed house (Make your own from a cardboard box or use duplo)
- Mat – for man to lie on (Man with four friends)
- Toy animals
- Model of Noah’s Ark
- Large leaves (Palm Sunday)
- An apple
- A toy snake
- A crown
- Toy boat
- Toy building tools (useful for lots of stories – Tower of Babel, Noah, Building the Temple, Nehemiah, Parable of the Builders)
- Red cord/yarn (Rahab rescues the spies)
- Cushion/Pillow (Jesus asleep in the storm)
- Characters made from wooden spoons
- Concertina people (great for crowds – Feeding of 5,000)
- Paper plate faces (use to explain feelings)
- Puppets – bought or make your own by adding a lollipop stick to a cut out character
- Paper plate angels/shepherds – How to make a paper plate shepherd instructions and paper plate angel instructions
- A Bible
There are so many things you can use in a story bag to help bring the story to life.
At the end of the story
Finishing a story well can be more difficult than getting started. So it’s worth thinking through an ending that is clear. If you know how to finish your story it won’t just trail off…
A Story bag is really useful at the end of a story. If you have used a character then you can end with ..
Mary had an amazing day. Let’s say goodbye .. (and everyone joins in with )’Goodbye Mary’, as you place her in the story bag
If you have used an object like a model of a house you could end the story something like this..
Jesus had been to visit the house. (Put it back in the bag) I wonder where he will go next?
You don’t have to use a story bag every week but it is a great way to keep children and adults listening to your story. Choose a bag that you like and that will be easy to take items from. A basket works well – you can cover items with a cloth to hide them.
My Story Basket!
My Story Bags!
Here’s a Bible Story using props –
Here’s a collection of Story bag Prop Ideas on Pinterest