“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” – Albert Einstein
Storytelling can take many forms. It can be the act of writing a creative story on paper or typing it on the computer. It can be telling a story aloud in the car, at dinnertime, or even in front of campfire. It can be writing a script or improvising in the form of skits and puppet shows. And it can take shape in drawings and comics.
I find that storytelling nurtures creativity in my son (and in me, too). I’m often amazed at the twists and turns he creates in the stories he writes and tells.
He usually embraces the act of the storytelling with eagerness. It’s playtime. It’s fun.
Not only does storytelling cultivate creativity, but it deepens relationships. When my son and I make up stories together, we laugh and encourage each other. And we learn new things about one another.
So each month, I will be posting storytelling prompts and activities for you to share with your kids.
Click here for a PDF-friendly version of the storytelling prompts:
What do you do with these prompts?
For starters, you can jot them down on a piece of paper or on a craft stick and store them in a container of your choosing (e.g., a mason jar, a coffee cup, etc.). Ask your child to draw a prompt from the container and then choose one of the activities listed below to set sail on a storytelling adventure.
Pencil to Paper
With the selected prompt, ask your child to write a story. Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling or even sentence structure. Just let your child “play” with writing and storytelling. When your child is done, ask her to read the story to you. Applaud her for writing a story. That’s a big accomplishment. One of the most difficult parts of storytelling is coming up with ideas and getting them down on paper. Many writers struggle to do this (me included :0). Rewriting and refining will come later. First, you have to get the story on paper.
Interact: Parents, as your child is writing a story, grab a piece of paper and write your own story using the same prompt. Share your story with your child. It’s amazing how one story prompt can go in many different directions.
For More Fun: Write a story using chalk on a chalkboard or on a sidewalk. Or using window markers, write a story on a sliding glass door or a window.
Tell Me a Story
Ask your child to tell you a story aloud using the prompt selected. Or tell a story together using one of the prompts listed above or by creating your own. This is a popular storytelling activity in my home and car.
Here’s how it works:
Either you or your child will start off telling the story. My son and I often begin with “Once upon a time…” About a minute or so into the story, the storyteller turns it over to the other participant. So if I (the parent) starts the story, then I will turn it over to my child to tell the next segment of the story. Continue taking turns until the story ends.
You can learn a lot about your child through this storytelling activity. When my son was younger, if I created any conflict in a story, he would resolve that conflict quickly when it was his turn to tell the story. Now, as a nine-year-old, he loves adding conflict and challenges to the stories. He’s not afraid to raise the stakes for his characters.
Illustrate a Story
With the selected prompt, ask your child to draw the events that happen in the story. When he is done, ask him to tell you the story aloud using the illustrations.
My son loves to draw. When he shared with me the first comic strip he created on his own, I realized how entertaining storytelling can be through the use of illustrations and added this to my storytelling activities.
Write a Script
Ask your child to write a skit using one of the prompts. Your child can write the skit on her own or you both can write it together. Then read it aloud, and if desired, act it out.
For More Fun: Make paper or felt puppets and put on a puppet show for your family and friends using the script your child wrote.
Most importantly, have fun
on your storytelling adventures!!