myNDNA: Early years and childcare activities

View our latest childcare activity guide below, written by early years experts.

Login or create a free myNDNA account to see our full bank of activity guides, from SEND and creativity in early years to maths, communications and more here.

Coronavirus disclaimer - Legislation and policy guidance change regularly. It is the responsibility of the setting to review the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Government when undertaking these activities.

Creating story boxes


Learning aims

  • Develop children’s storytelling skills
  • Introduce and develop vocabulary
  • Support children’s personal, social and emotional development.


  • Shoe boxes or similar sized boxes
  • Paints and paint brushes
  • Selection of natural materials to match your story theme e.g. sand, soil or grit, wallpaper or natural foliage  
  • Card, glue and scissors
  • Chosen story book (if creating specific story scene)
  • Small world characters, animals etc. and other items related to your story scene.
Activity outline


  1. Story boxes are a great resource for developing children’s storytelling skills. Use an empty shoebox to decorate a scene from a specific book or create a general background scene, for example jungle, desert, under-the-sea etc
  2. Cut one side of the box so that it lies flat and provides an entrance into the new world you have created and paint the background to match your chosen story. Try and make the story box multi-sensory; you may want to add some sand, grit or soil to the base and think about the materials you are using to create your story box props e.g. trees, buildings
  3. Once you have your story box and story props ready, tell a story to the children
  4. Offer the story boxes to the children to inspire them to re-tell a familiar story or to develop their own story adventures.
Extending the activity


  • You can work with the children to create more personal story boxes from their recent events or family experiences or from experience in your setting; including visitors and special celebrations.

NDNA Resources

Publication: Art of Expression and Creativity