This week I’m thrilled to be writing about encouraging your kid’s imagination through storytelling as part of week 4 of the MeMeTales Readathon (on how to join and download this week’s free eBooks read my post on Why You Should Join). After reading this week’s free eBooks, I was inspired to share with you:
10 Tips for Telling Stories that Kids Love.
1. Retell the best stories of all time in your own words.
Fairy tales, myths, and fables all began as oral tradition (meaning that older generations told and re-told these stories perfecting and shaping them for each younger generation.) Revive these stories by telling them to your own children in your own words. Need some inspiration? Try these classics (all available for free though the Kindle app.)
2. Develop a story plot template. Reuse. Reuse. Reuse. Forever.
I have developed several story plots that never fail to entertain my preschooler. One involves a magic fairy that appears right when he drifts off to sleep and transports him to a magical themed land (for example: candy land, glow-in-the-dark land, rubber land). The possibilities are endless, and often I allow him to pick the theme. He also loves stories that have him magically entering fairy tale land or book world and interacting with his favorite characters. Kids never tire of these sorts of stories.
3. Encourage dress-up and pretend play. Let your play develop into a story.
Open ended toys are great for storytelling. Some of our favorites are: play dough, blocks, and sticks from the yard.Toys that encourage pretend play will inspire storytelling too. We love tea sets, paper dolls, stuffed animals and dolls, Fisher Price play sets, trains, and Melissa and Doug wooden toys. Just remember, don’t overload your child with too specific of toys. Encourage your child’s imagination through open ended toys as much as possible. (ex. blocks instead of play food, sticks instead of swords, etc.)
Dress-up clothes are worth the dust, space, and money that they cost. Let your kids dress up and act out a story together.
4. Read books worth rereading. Read authors that know how to speak to children.
Also, don’t forget to read the imaginative eBooks available on MeMeTales this week for free:
5. Encourage participation.
Kids love storytelling. I often will pause and ask my child questions while telling him a story. For example, if I were to tell him about glow-in-the-dark land using our story template, I might ask “What kinds of food do you think you might eat in a glow-in-the-dark land?” “What would your car look like?” When I ask my child questions like these, I watch his eyes grow large with excitement as his imagination carries him to worlds beyond.
6. Use old magazine pictures, free eBooks, and the pictures on your wall (or computer background) to inspire storytelling.
Sometimes we make up new stories to go with the illustrations in the free eBooks we download. (If you are new to No Twiddle Twaddle, you may be interested in my daily list of free picture eBooks that I compile each day.) Even just one photo can provide the inspiration for an entire story though if you take the time to look for it.
7. Watch and mimic your child’s play and talk.
I’ve heard that the best children’s writers know how to talk and think like children. Watch your kid’s pretend play. Who do they dress up like? What do they pretend? How do they describe the worlds in their imagination. Take their ideas and run with them.
8. Tell a story using your children’s artwork. Chances are they already have a story that their art represents that they can’t wait to tell you.
I have a friend who writes books for customers using their kids’ sketches. Check out her work at Happily Ever After Me, it will inspire you!
9. Start your own oral tradition.
Tell your child your family’s history, your ethnic history, and your religious history. Don’t forget to pass on the family’s tall tales. Make up a couple of your own.
10. Make storytelling part of every day. Have a special time when you always take time for stories, whether you spend a couple minutes cuddled up before bedtime in the dark or swap tales while washing the dishes together.
Disclaimer: I am receiving a free copy of the books that I feature from MeMeTales for writing a weekly post highlighting the Readathon.