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Using "You Choose" by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt, as a Focus for Activities


"You Choose" offers lots of starting points for learning and is the perfect book for following the children's lead in the activities you do. "You Choose" is the sort of book you could focus on for a week or two, followed by another couple of weeks on just one aspect of the book that the children really showed an interest in, like animals or transport. There is something in here for everyone -so go ahead and let them choose!

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Choices - this book is all about choosing between things. Sometimes it can be quite hard to make up your mind. Do some circle times on choosing things. For example, have two toys that the children have to choose between and say why they chose the one they did.
  • Have a day when the children choose everything that goes out - or just in one area of the setting. This will require some negotiation and turn taking - all important skills!
  • Emphasise choice in everyday situations - e.g. which colour apron would you like/would you like milk or water to drink/shall we read this book or this one?
  • Homes - the book has pictures of different kinds of homes - talk with the children about the kind of home they live in. Look at the similarities and differences.
  • Friends - there is another section with pictures of all sorts of people to have as family or friends. You could have fun picking out some of the pictures and asking why the person would make a good friend - e.g. the superhero, the princess, or the alien! Think about friends and why they are important.
  • Take photos of the children and make frames for them together, just like the pictures in the book. Display them with some of the children's ideas about friends.

Communication, Language and Literacy

  • Choosing a book - let the children experience choosing by giving them a choice of books at story time. Can they say why they want that book?
  • Make a book - You Choose begins with 'Imagine you could have anything you wanted!' Collect the children's ideas about what they would choose if they could have anything they wanted and put their ideas in a book with photos and pictures.
  • I would wear... - get out the dressing up clothes and invite the children to choose what they would wear to a party. Take a photo of each child and make a book of them all dressed up, with captions: 'Jordan would wear a bear suit'.
  • Tell a story together - a hot air balloon features a bit in the book. Make a story together about travelling in a hot air balloon - what can you see/how do you feel/what happens when a storm comes/how will you get down? You could use props as a support. Let the children guide the story as much as possible. You could tell the same sort of story about a journey in a rocket - be guided by the children's interests.
  • Read John Burningham's "Would You Rather..." and have fun making up really tricky choices. The children could act some if these out, e.g. eating yucky things!
  • Rhyming words and alliteration - have fun thinking of words that rhyme with choose (lose, snooze - include nonsense words). Try and think of words that begin with the same sound as something in the book - e.g. 'bed' - bus, banana, bear, bangle- are any of these things in the pictures in the book?
  • What's behind the secret door? - on the page of things to put in your house there is a secret door. You could make a cardboard secret door and go through it together using your imaginations to say what's on the other side. You could be outside and find a 'natural' doorway in a hedge/the bars of a climbing frame and do a similar thing. Or you could make a door in a large box, and put a selection of things inside it for the children to feel and describe.
  • Collect together all sorts of small world animals (see the pets page) - include wild, safari, farm, domestic, and dragons! Put them in the sand tray/ tray with wood chips. The children can choose the ones they like as they play and talk.
  • The book provides lots of opportunities to talk about things children have done/seen/got. See if you can spot the cat on each page! And don't forget puppets, storyboards, props, role play and other books by the same author and illustrator.

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

  • Take a vote - the children can make choices from the book (which bed would they choose?) or from everyday life (what shall we have for our snack tomorrow?). Show them simple ways to record how many people choose each item, with tally marks, bar charts, pictures in pictograms etc. If they enjoy doing this, provide clip boards and paper and let the children go around on their own asking who likes what and making marks as part of their play.
  • Which outfit? - there are lots of games available that involve putting together a head, body and legs in different ways to make up different outfits.
  • Sorting - use a doll's house and furniture as an opportunity to talk about sorting into rooms, counting and organising.
  • Cooking - choose some things from the page about food to make and eat together. Talk about whether they would actually want to eat some of the things! Opportunities for measuring, estimating, counting and sharing fairly.
  • The odd one out - there is a page about pets, with some very odd choices! Have a selection of small world animals in the sand tray or with woodchips. Make sure there is an odd one out to find - e.g. wild animals and then a cow, or farm animals and a lion, or zoo animals and a dragon etc. Can the children explain why the odd one out is odd?
  • Counting - make sets of things from the book (vehicles/clothes/animals) and play some counting games.

Knowledge and Understanding of the World

  • Jobs - let the children talk about all the pictures on this page. Are there any they seem really interested in - car mechanic/scientist/superhero! Follow their lead and try to get some information on their favourites - a parent/visitor who does that job; books about it; role play resources etc.
  • What do we do for fun? - this page is full of ideas. Again, let the children show you what they are interested in. Use everyone's imaginations! For example, if the children really like the idea of ice skating, ask them to help you make a pretend ice rink with a large sheet. Wrap up warm in hats and gloves and have a go at skating over the 'ice'. Playing with clay is a simple one. Get the hobby horses out for horse riding. There are also opportunities to talk about activities it is not possible to do at the setting - like bungie jumping!
  • Transport -the children may have a form of transport they are interested in - train/plane/rocket. Collect resources to support them - books, tickets, small world space play. Or you could ask them to find the best way to travel to the moon/the shops/France? Make maps of the way children come to the setting. How do they travel there (walk, bus, car?).
  • Small world - dolls house, car mat and vehicles, airport, castle, farm, zoo - all fit in here.
  • Bubbles/boats in the water tray
  • Camping - one of the choices for a place to live is a tent. You could pitch a tent outside with the children's help. What would they need to make it comfortable - collect sleeping bags, cushions, torches etc. Have any of the children been camping? What do they like about it? Would they like to live in a tent all the time? Share a camp snack and sing some songs in the tent. Or make a tent indoors with the children's help.
  • Make boats - there are lots of different kinds of boats on the page about travel. Collect together all sorts of materials (egg boxes/sticks/corks/plastic cups) that can be used to be boats. Use plasticine and sticks and triangles of coloured paper to make sails. Put them in the water tray. Will they float?

Creative Development

  • Dressing Up - have a selection of all sorts of outfits, including hats and shoes, to dress up in. Give the children things to dress up for - a fancy dress party, a ball, going to work etc.
  • Make some hats - make simple cone shaped hats and let the children decorate them however they like, or give them the choice of transforming it into a clown's hat or a princess's.
  • Clay - make some thumb pots.
  • Make a kite - and then take them outside to see if they will fly.
  • Junk models - use different sized and shaped boxes glued together to make all sorts of houses.
  • Listen to music - use headphones like the picture in the book.
  • Sing songs that involve choosing - they may need to make a rhythm pattern, or choose a character.

Physical Development

  • Wooden bricks - build towers, houses or caves.
  • Travelling - can the children pretend to roller skate, fly on a broomstick, skateboard or canoe?
  • Ball games - practice ball skills outside with bats and balls - hitting, kicking, throwing, catching.
  • Climbing - use a climbing frame to pretend to be a rock climber. Do you have a safe hand hold/foot hold? Are you tied on securely? Don't look down!
  • Blowing bubbles - ask the children to help make big bubble wands out of wire and fill up some washing up bowls with bubble mixture and blow big bubbles outside.
  • Disco dancing - in the section on what you would choose to put in your house there is a glitter ball and a lava lamp. Try to get hold of these, put on some music and have a dance!

Role Play

Here are some ideas for role play areas that link with the book:

  • A wardrobe - create a space separated by curtains. Include mirrors - full length and small. Have rails to hang the clothes on, as well as dressing up boxes. Try to get hold of some hat boxes for a selection of hats. Add a shoe rack for all sorts of shoes. Then add the clothes. The children might want to sort the clothes - everyday/party/superhero/work (doctor, nurse, fireman etc). Make some picture and word labels with them. You could give the children a theme to dress up for - a party, going to the shops, going to work etc. What will they choose?
  • Travel Agents - here the children can choose where they would like to go on holiday. Provide a table and chairs, phone, keyboard, paper, pens, old tickets. Ask a Travel Agent's for some posters and brochures. Include some books about other countries, guide books, and some postcards on the walls. You could also include pictures and books about different ways to travel.


  • Transport - Make a display of how children travel to the setting. This could be a winding road, with the setting at one end. Lay this flat on the ground. The children who walk could do their foot prints on the road, the children who go by car could roll a toy car dipped in paint, and the children who go by bus could find a larger vehicle with bigger wheels to make tracks with. If they come by bike they could find a round lid to roll along like bike wheel tracks. Take photos of the children and put them next to their prints. You could extend this by asking the children to choose how they would really like to travel to the setting (boat, helicopter, spaceship...). Add their ideas in thought bubbles to their photos (e.g. 'Marnie travels by car, but she would like to come in a helicopter!').
  • Odd one out - Invite the children to make an interactive 'odd one out' display, using all sorts of groups of animals, with an odd one out. Use hoops, boxes and baskets to display the groups in. The children could have fun mixing up the groups and changing the odd one out.
  • Follow the children's interests - there may be a part of the book the children show a particular interest in, such as animals or hats. The children could make some animal tails (fluffy bunny/stripy zebra/swishy horse/curly pig etc) for a 'guess whose tail this is?' display. Or they could decorate hats for a hanging display.

Book List

Books related by theme:

Would You Rather by John Burningham

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Choose Some Food (Ladybird baby and toddler series)

Bath or Bed? (Pick and Choose) by Anthony Lewis

Wind or Rain? (Pick and Choose) by Anthony Lewis

Teddy or Train? (Pick and Choose) by Anthony Lewis

Carrots or Peas? (Pick and Choose) by Anthony Lewis

You Choose by Mary Murphy

Which Shoes Would You Choose? By Susan Hoe and Mircea Catusame

New Shoes, Blue Shoes by Shirley Hughes

Books by Nick Sharratt

Ketchup on Your Cornflakes?

Mixed up Fairy Tales

Don't Put Your Finger in the Jelly Nelly

The Big Book of Crazy Mix Ups

Octopus Stocktopus

What's in the Witch's Kitchen?

Books by Pippa Goodhart

What's in Store?

Three Little Ghosties


Arthur's Tractor

Juliet Mickelburgh
After doing her PGCE, more years ago than she’d care to mention, Juliet taught in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 classes in South London and East Sussex. She has also worked as a Learning Mentor. She was originally a freelance writer for the FSF and had a children’s picture book published. Juliet is now officially employed by the FSF and Tapestry, working in product support and as an Education Advisor. Along the way she has accumulated a husband, some children and way too many pets!

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