Books are not the only way to share stories

Printable templates for “The Mitten” storytelling props

“The Mitten” shadow puppets

Today is the second installment of my wildly popular Freebie Fridays!  Last Friday I shared a downloadable Valentine’s Desktop.  If you missed it, check it out!  With all the downloading going on it practically crashed my site!


Books are definitely not the only way to share stories.  People have been telling stories much longer than there has been books.
Gifted storytellers are truly amazing to listen to!  They know how to tell a story that inspires rich visuals in our minds as well as keep up captivated waiting for what’s next!

Mommy Labs recently wrote a great article that will inspire you to want to share the magic of storytelling with your children!

I would not classify myself as a “gifted storyteller” but I do sometimes tell my children stories.  Especially as a compromise if we are off to bed too late and I need to get the to sleep fast. Instead of reading books, I turn out the lights and tell them a story.  The stories are usually fairy or folk tales we know or sometimes just made up nonsense.  We all enjoy it and they do get to sleep a little faster.  I like to think it’s because the lights are out and their eyes are already closed and not because my stories are dull!

You can also use props to tell stories which can make it more engaging and a little easier for to stay on track.  A couple Christmases ago my mother gave my kids storytelling dolls including a Little-Red-Riding-Hood topsy-turvy doll, Goldilocks and the Three bears topsy-turvy doll, and a There-Was-an-Old-Lady-Who-Swallowed-a-Fly doll with a big mouth that opens into her body cavity that you can stuff all the animals into!  These are a lot of fun and they even enable and encourage young children to participate in storytelling either by telling the story themselves or manipulating the props as you tell it.

You can use regular dolls and toys as props too.  You can also make your own – I have been so excited to make these storytelling props for The Mitten!

“The Mitten” felt set

You can choose to make a felt set or shadow puppets.  The printable templates work for both.  The Mitten is an old Ukrainian folk tale and is great winter-time story (here are some others).  If you have ever read it you know that it’s also a great “storytelling” story.  It’s repetition makes it easy to recall and there are lots of opportunities to build in anticipation and excitement!

If you need a refresher, the basic story goes something like this…

The story begins with a boy losing his mitten in the forest on a very cold day.  A mouse is the first to take shelter from the cold in the nice warm mitten.  Next comes the frog, then the owl, then the rabbit, then the fox, then the wolf, then the wild boar, and then the bear.  As the mitten gets more and more crowded and the animals more and more large, the inhabitants are hesitant to let in one more but each very cold animal pleads his case so convincingly.  After the bear comes a tiny cricket who squeezes in and finally causes the mitten to bust apart and all the animals go flying!  The mitten is all but gone when the boy comes back to look for it but luckily his grandmother is at home making him a new pair!

Printable templates

What you’ll need for the felt set…


  1. Click on this link to print templates: The Mitten Templates
  2. Cut out and trace onto felt
  3. Cut one each of the felt animals and two of the mitten shapes
  4. Fasten the two mitten shapes together with Velcro dots so that you can easily make the mitten burst open at the end!
  5. add facial and structural details with dimensional fabric paint

“The Mitten” puppet construction

What you’ll need for the shadow puppets…

  • Card-stock for printing
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Tape or glue
  • Scissors


  1. Click on this link to print templates on card-stock: The Mitten Templates
  2. Cut out shapes
  3. tape or glue Popsicle sticks to shapes for handles

Here are two very good picture book adaptations of The Mitten if you want to get a better feel for the story before your storytelling “debut”!  Click on the image to go to Amazon.

Millions of readers have fallen in love with Jan Brett’s The Mitten, and over 2.5 million copies have been sold since publication in 1989. This striking oversized anniversary edition with a silver foil jacket and a fresh image of the woodland animals will attract fans old and new, and adult collectors of Jan Brett’s books.

Set in a snowy forest, the fun begins when, one by one, animals crawl into Nicki’s lost white mitten to get warm until the bear sneezes, sending the animals flying up and out of the mitten. On each turn of the page, Jan hints at what animal is coming next in her signature borders, inspired by Ukrainian folk art (Amazon description).

Deep in the woods on the coldest day of winter a little boy drops his mitten. And that lost mitten stretches and stretches — and stretches — to provide shelter for many woodland creatures. A Ukrainian folk tale (Amazon description).

Just one more great one inspired by “The Mitten” story but with a twist – we love it!

Caught out in the rain, an ant takes shelter under a very tiny mushroom. Soon, a wet butterfly, then a drenched mouse, a dripping sparrow, and even a rain-soaked rabbit each beg to join him under his miniature umbrella. How can the ant let the others in when there is barely room enough for one? But as the rain comes down and down, they all somehow manage to squeeze together and share the tiny shelter. And when the sun finally comes out, the ant discovers a magical secret of just what happens to mushrooms in the rain (Amazon description)!



I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


  1. I’ve never heard of this book before, but it looks fantastic. And there is a reason this series is “wildly popular”. These puppets are just beautiful. How do you do it, lady? Beautiful!

    • I had been planning this post for a little while and when I read yours I though how cool – we are thinking the same! I’m glad you like them!

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