Literacy Learning in a Box: Lakeshore Learning Say & Play Storytelling Boxes

The Lakeshore Learning Say & Play Storytelling Boxes offer a fun, hands-on way to learn classic fairy tales and practice storytelling, sequencing and other literacy skills. The set we looked at featured The Gingerbread Man, The Little Red Hen and The Ugly Duckling.

What’s a Storytelling Box?

Each storybook is actually a rugged cardboard box that opens up into a story setting and a background. Inside the box, there are three laminated story cards that tell a condensed version of the classic fairy tale and each box also includes  a set of sturdy plastic manipulatives that can be used as props to retell and act out the story.

Lakeshore Learning Say & Play Storytelling Boxes in Action

Gingerbread Man (2)Kid Tester #1 and I decided to read and retell The Gingerbread Man first. We set up the characters in their “starting positions” in the box. Then, using the story card, I told the story to KT #1, moving the characters along the storybox setting to act it out. After I was done reading, we did it a second time, but this time KT #1 was in charge of the manipulatives.

On the third reading, he not only acted out  the story of The Gingerbread Man, but also told the story as he was acting it (as best as he could remember it). He was able to recall most of the events in the correct sequence and was so excited at getting it right that he wanted to do it again! We moved through The Ugly Duckling and The Little Red Hen in the same manner, having a great time with each one.

Even the “Play” is Learning Time

When the storytelling was over, KT #1 “just played” with the settings and characters. He spent at least 45 minutes moving the manipulatives from box to box, making up his own plot with the combined characters. The Gingerbread Man was the favorite of the day, and it wasn’t long before every character from all three stories were chasing that poor Gingerbread Man down the road.

Playing (2)What KT #1 doesn’t know, but I do, is that even as he was simply playing he was learning, too. He knew which characters went with each story and was able to not only incorporate components of each story into his play, but also was practicing storytelling language and sequencing as he went along.

And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination practice he was getting by moving the manipulatives and keeping track of all their positions!

The Bottom Line: Let StoryTelling Begin!

There’s not much we did not like about the Say & Play Storytelling Boxes. The one minor flaw we found, which may not bother your child, but bothered KT #1, was that a few of the plastic characters (mostly the turkey) did not stand up well without bending the legs a bit. Luckily, the plastic is soft enough to give a little so they could be bent without breaking.
As with other Lakeshore Learning products we have reviewed, the quality and construction of the Say & Play Storytelling Boxes is excellent. It is a true classroom-grade set. The three included storybook boxes come in a heavy-duty display container for shelf storage.  These  Lakeshore Learning Say & Play Storytelling Boxes will  make a terrific addition to your classroom or household.


Disclosure: The Learning Treehouse was provided with a free sample product to facilitate this review, but all opinions and thoughts are our own.

About Amanda

Amanda Morin is author of The Everything Kids' Learning Activities Book, a former teacher/early intervention specialist and mother of three. She is the writer and editor for’s Kids’ Learning Activities site, a regular contributor to PopSugar Moms and her parenting articles have been featured on and, among other sites. Amanda knows that hands-on, fun activities are the best way to promote learning and wants to provide parents with the information they need to find products that promote fun learning.

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