Stuffed animals, or plushies, are a common toy for a child to cherish and play with on a daily basis. Along with purchasing random stuffed animals, you could find specific plushies to match a specific theme. For example, you could purchase a giraffe plushie and children's book set. The plushie isn't just for cuddling while you read to a child.
Learn about three different ways to use a plushie to enhance reading and create some new traditions for you and your child.
1. Go Beyond The Story
A plushie based on a character within a story offers a unique way to expand beyond the story. A child can use their creative thinking to come up with alternative endings or new adventures for the plushie. Incorporate other characters and imagine what the plushie would do next.
Around the holidays, you could imagine what the character is doing to celebrate. Come up with new ideas and see what new ideas your child comes up with as well. You could enhance the adventures further with special costumes, props, or musical elements.
2. The New Narrator
When you have a character from the book, find ways to act out and read the book as the character. Change your voice to have the stuffed animal read the whole book or use the stuffed animal to just read their own dialogue from the book. As a child grows older and learns to read, they could play the part of the stuffed animal and read specific sections.
Encourage your child to use silly voices or talk the way they think the plushie would talk.
3. Acting Out Scenes
As you read along to a book, manually hold the plushie to act out scenes within the story. For example, if a giraffe reaches high up to eat a leaf, then you could crane the neck of the stuffed animal to create the same action. Have the stuffed animal dance, walk, and perform any action showcased in the story.
Acting out scenes can create a lot of comedy and gives your child a chance to do the same. When a child acts out the scenes, you could build their confidence as they learn how to perform and come up with new ideas. Acting out the scenes can also help build empathy and showcase the journey of another character through the child's eyes.
Try out all the ways to enhance reading. Every child is different, so you may find your child prefers one method over another.