Storytelling Ideas

Just  tell stories

For children, the best stories are the ones that you make up yourself. These made-up stories are truly alive with imagination. Please do not worry: it is like singing, you need no previous experience. Just give it a go, that’s all. Why not have a special rug in your home, sit on it with your child and ask her to say where the magic rug will go, to start your story…

Stories can be spontaneous: if a little bird appears in a tree in your garden, make up a story of his home and life. If your cat comes in after a day outside, wonder what has he been doing? Tell stories when the mood and inspiration takes you. It is fun to have a family theme – one that is unique to your children. It may be a rabbit, or a cheeky bird from your garden. In my case it was a dog called ‘Bingo’ as my children had just sung the song at school.

Bingo entertains my children on long car journeys and tiring walks. He helps to heal their hearts when they are upset or scared. He makes them laugh, helps them to count (there are lots of things to plant on a farm) and he displays the lovely qualities of good manners and respect for all people and the earth. He walks alongside their childhood, making it magical. He is a lifelong friend. And yes, he is a story!

How do you become a story teller?

It is easy, just begin! Try using something from nature – see what inspires. Keep the beginning of the story the same each time. This provides safety, anticipation and enjoyment… “On the farm each morning Farmer Jo’s alarm clock went off at seven o’clock. Bingo reached out his left paw and hit the snooze button”…. You can then make up the story as you go along. I usually start with a general theme in my head and then go with the flow. I often choose the theme by copying the actual events or issues that are affecting my children at the time (adding morals or a lesson that requires teaching from time to time). The children often call out and add to the story along the way, because it is alive and magical.

When I was a little girl…

Another story that children love to hear is “When I was a little girl…” They enjoy listening to your childhood adventures. This type of story is very useful if children are worried or if something unpleasant has happened to them. For example, “Did you know when I was a little girl I cut my knee? I cried and there was a lot of blood but my Mummy gave me a band-aid. On the Band-aid, she drew a picture with a pen that made me feel better. Shall I draw you one too?”

In our extended families we have ample story telling material. Encourage Grandpa and Nana to tell of their lives as children and their adventures.

Birth and baby stories

Young children also love, “When you were a baby – or little girl’ stories. Children growing up love to hear about their own tales – especially funny ones! Children love to hear loving stories of their own birth, how their parents felt when they first saw them and their baby adventures. “When you were a baby, you…” This is especially important with a new sibling; tell stories of the older child’s birth and babyhood.

This again can provide many moments of connection, love and fun (and decrease jealousy).