Children love to hear stories.
They help to develop a child’s imagination by introducing new ideas into their world.
Ideas about fantastical worlds, other planets, mythical creatures, different points in time, things that have happened to them and invented characters or superheroes.
Stories can open a child’s mind and encourage them to realise that they can, and should, imagine anything they want.
Regular story telling
A designated story area is a key element of your continuous provision.
Reading stories aloud to children regularly throughout the day spontaneously – not just at designated ‘story-time’ will help to embed a love of books and stories in the children in your setting.
Talking with the children about what happened during their day or retelling stories about things you have done in your setting recently, can be lots of fun and develops children’s memories and sequencing skills.
In a world where technology has influenced every aspect of our lives, one of children’s first educators we should encourage children to embrace their inner author and make up their own stories too.
Encouraging eco ideas
So maybe older children could tell a story about saving the planet and make up a ‘green’ superhero.
They could design the superhero’s outfit and think about all the superpowers they would need.
You can encourage them to make posters about saving the planet, or recycling or any activities you have in your setting.
Perhaps you can make a ‘mascot’ from a soft toy or doll, who can be the ‘eco-warrior’ and together the stories of their adventures in saving the planet will build children’s understanding of these important issues.
Or maybe they could draw Earth if there was no water left, think about what would be the biggest animal if there were no elephants, or if all the fishes in the world got tanked up in discarded plastic netting…. there needs to be no limit to the imagination!!
This gives you a chance to talk to them about what difference they would make to the planet, why it is important etc., and follow the conversation on to what you could do yourself in your setting to save the planet.
Telling their own stories
So how do you get your children to start telling their own stories?
Here are a few tips:
Incorporate story time into your daily routine. Start by telling the children a story related to something that has happened recently and then ask them to tell you one.
Don’t be afraid to give prompts, ideas or suggestions. Every story starts with an idea.
#photos are a wonderful starting point for a story, and can spark a child’s imagination, recall and storytelling skills.
Pictures that they find interesting in magazines or talking about their favourite superheroes, on TV or in a book, things they have done at home, will all help spark their imagination and recall memories. You can also ask them to talk about the things that make them happy, scared, or sad.
Ask them where the story is going to take place, will the story be now? In the future? In the past? Ask about the characters, their feelings, their motivations, their actions, what will happen next.
Maybe they can draw the characters – or you can help them make sock puppets or props for the story.
Make it fun! Creating stories shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something children look forward to doing.
Children will enjoy stories more if you are there experiencing the journey alongside them, so let’s encourage a new generation of authors who will in turn inspire and encourage a love of reading in future children – and maybe help to save the planet too!
Children are often visual learners and process things best through images, so it is always nice to encourage them to draw out the things they see in their imagination or in a story, especially if they can’t find the words to describe them. So get the paper and crayons ready and encourage them to draw characters or scenery, or just one important bit of the story, or to make props from resources around the setting, indoors and outdoors.
This blog was published as part of the Alliance's National Week of Play.
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