Simple Gruffalo Story Basket for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Is your toddler a big fan of The Gruffalo? If so, try this simple Gruffalo story basket. It honestly couldn’t be simpler to put together – especially with all the themed merchandise that is available these days!

We’ve been big fans of The Gruffalo for quite some time now, and when my eldest son (now 14) was small, we had to get creative with our own DIY Gruffalo story basket ideas. Whilst you can absolutely still do that, this post is much, much simpler than that.



What you will need to make a Gruffalo Story Basket

The list below simply shares the resources we used in our own Gruffalo story basket, you don’t have to go out and buy any resources especially for this activity and I always recommend that you use what you have at home first. You might even notice that the characters we used aren’t from the Gruffalo, but The Gruffalo’s Child instead!

  • Gruffalo / Gruffalo’s Child finger puppets*
  • A green playsilk
  • Wooden trees
  • A copy of The Gruffalo
  • Audio copy of the book / Tonies figure
  • Sensory bottles containing elements from the story – e.g. ‘Gruffalo Crumble’

*If you don’t have the puppets, or would prefer not to buy them, here are two other options to try:

  • Print off clip art versions of the characters, laminate and glue to a craft stick
  • Print off clip art versions of the character, apply to a pebble using modge podge

Laminating isn’t essential, but it does help the resource last longer in the hands of enthusiastic toddlers!


Benefits of Creating a Story Basket

Story baskets are a great way to retell favourite tales – whilst they are mainly used in a classroom setting, there’s no reason why they can’t be used at home too. Here are some benefits:

Speech and Language development: Retelling stories helps young children to learn new vocabulary, speak with expression and practise using words in context

Developing empathy: Talking about the characters and how they might be feeling is a good way for children to start labelling and understanding emotions

Reading Comprehension: This skill is often overlooked in pursuit of racing through reading levels (in the primary years), but understanding what has been read – by retelling the story in their own words or explaining how a character might feel – is an important part of the reading process.

Bonding time: This Gruffalo story basket (and indeed any reading you do with your child), is an excellent way to spend time with one another.


How to use this Gruffalo Story Basket

I’d only recommend using this resource if The Gruffalo is a familiar favourite in your house. It won’t really work with children who aren’t familiar with the story.

So start but reading the story often at bedtime (or any other time or day) and listen to the audiobook version too.

Once your child is familiar with the story, you can create your The Gruffalo story basket.

Look in your play space, craft cupboard and recycling box for items you could use to put together your own retelling of the story.

You can leave the basket in the play space for your child to explore independently and also sit down to read the story whilst they explore the basket.

At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

If you enjoyed this Gruffalo story basket post and wanted to find more fun Autumn themed activities, check out the At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp in my membership group. If you would like to access the content, you can check it out here. 

This image shows a timetable for an Autumn art & sensory camp. The pumpkin hammer art is one of the activities included


Autumn Blog posts to read next:

You might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

Farm Playdough Ideas

Sunflower Sensory Play Activity 

Pumpkin Hammer Art 

Pumpkin Gloop 

Simple Autumn Sensory: Pumpkin soup

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed this simple Gruffalo story basket idea and want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.