Storytelling through bookish play

Want to bring a book to life for your little learners? Well give bookish play a go. Simply centre any play activity around a book, add the matching Tonie for them to listen along to, and voila, that’s bookish play!

Published 31/01/24 by Amy Blanchard

Storytelling through bookish play

Reading is much more than just being able to recognise letters and sounds. And when you combine listening to audiobooks, exploring written words and engaging with items from a story, you pave the way for your littles’ exploration and learning. 

In fact, it’s been proven by the clever folks at The Literacy Trust, that the more words a child is exposed to, in written or spoken format, the bigger their vocabulary will be and the easier they’ll find learning to read. 

So, what are you waiting for? Here’s an easy step by step guide on how to get set up…

  • Step 1: 

  • Choose the book and the matching Tonie

  • Step 2: 

  • Collect some related props to encourage play and invite imagination

  • Step 3:

  • Set up your bookish play and watch the play unfold

Let’s see bookish play in action

We’ve got @life.with.the.holmes here to show us some of the fun bookish play set ups she has created for her little one, Alfie…

The Gruffalo:

"I popped the Gruffalo Tonie on his Toniebox, set up a play tray complete with woodland materials and the Gruffalo book. I also added some Gruffalo themed word cards to help Alfie along with his word memory."


The Snail and the Whale:

"I added these wooden ocean animals to some coloured rice and ribbons for a great but quick sensory set up. I then finished off with a book about the ocean and the Snail and the Whale Tonie for him to listen along to."


The Stick Man:

"Simply scatter woodland materials like bark, sticks and leaves into the tray along with some sensory items. I then added the Toniebox with the Stick Man Tonie playing and opened up the Stick Man book to begin this bookish play."


We're Going on a Bear Hunt:

"For this play set up, I used desiccated coconut for the snow, food colouring and water for the river, cocoa powder and cornflour with water for the mud and dyed rice for the grass. Pop on the We're Going on a Bear Hunt Tonie and read along with the book."


We know the benefits of play are no secret, so combining play with books is bound to be a real match made in heaven. If you try some bookish play activities at home with their Tonies, snap a picture and share it with us on Instagram, tagging @tonies_uk, we can’t wait to see!

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About Amy Blanchard

Amy Blanchard
Amy’s favourite Tonie is Matilda. From a very young age, she was utterly obsessed with Matilda. She watched and read it so many times that she practically had the whole script memorised. As she grew older, she remained just like Matilda, a bookworm, a trickster, and a dreamer!