I first came across Story Rangers on Instagram, and my interest was immediately piqued. I quickly booked my son a place and our Story Rangers adventure began in January 2020, when Fionn was just two years old. Not long after, we were joined by his little sister, Rosa, after her birth in the spring of 2020.
Books have been a constant feature in my life. At an early age, I fell in love with Enid Blyton stories – my absolute favourite being The Magic Faraway Tree. I was particularly fond of her magical tales involving mystical creatures such as pixies and fairies but was also a keen reader of her adventure stories, such as The Famous Five. Of course, these days, Blyton is a somewhat controversial figure – although children can still delight in her stories that have been edited to reflect modern day views.
Nurturing my children’s love of books has always been important to me. As soon as my son and daughter were born, I read to them, and I’ve watched with escalating joy as their enthusiasm has grown and grown. Story Rangers has been the perfect accompaniment to their reading journeys.
What does a Story Rangers session look like?
Jam-packed with storytelling, toys, singing and dancing, craft and sensory play, every story ranger will find fun activities through which to channel their creative energy. Story Rangers leader, Emma, has fostered an environment that is warm and welcoming, a place where children are invited into magical worlds and are free to learn through play.
What makes Story Rangers so special is that the book selection is wonderfully varied, catering for a wide range of tastes and interests – from classic tales such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr, to modern masterpieces like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and the superhero adventures of Supertato by Sue Hendra. You can expect your children’s favourites but also to be introduced to new authors and discover new gems – just as we did with the hilarious Poo in the Zoo by Steve Smallman. We now have our very own well-thumbed copy sitting on our bookshelf.
The week’s story is read by Emma, with everyone sat around in a circle. Afterwards, each child is invited by their grown up to retell the story in their own words or describe what might happen next – or even make up their very own version. These are then written down, ready to be shared later with the rest of the group. I’ve found that my two children are very different – Fionn always wanted to tell his own story, but Rosa is less communicative and prefers the other activities. The beauty of Story Rangers is that there’s absolutely no pressure, so children can be as involved as much or as little as they like.
What will children gain from becoming a Story Ranger?
Story Rangers is all about inspiration and exploration. Each little story ranger is invited to unleash the power of their imagination and set off on a magical adventure. I have loved watching Fionn and Rosa’s confidence grow week after week as they interact in a safe, relaxed setting. Storytelling is a great way of encouraging communication, whether it be using language, drawing, acting, or whatever medium a child is most comfortable with. It infuses children with the understanding that learning doesn’t have to be boring and that reading is also for pleasure.
With children becoming slaves to television and tablet screens, Story Rangers offers up something much more fun and stimulating, a place where exciting new worlds can be accessed simply by using their imagination. There’s no YouTube Kids here!
But it’s not just the children who benefit from the group. Having young children can sometimes feel quite isolating so this is a wonderful way for parents and carers to get out and socialise, in a way that’s enjoyable for both them and the children. An added bonus for me is that Story Rangers is local to us so we’re able to get some fresh air and exercise by walking to the hall.
I really can’t recommend Story Rangers enough – and the passion that Emma has for early years education is clear for all to see. We’ve had so much fun over the last few years, and it’s been lovely to watch the organisation evolve and grow. I hope that children will continue to find joy in Emma’s sessions for many years to come.