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Helping Kids Become Storytellers
Earlier last month we talked about the importance of storytelling for children and how it teaches many lessons. Not only does it promote brain development and imagination, language skills, emotions and personal relationships1, storytime together is also essential for the development of early literacy skills.

We often think of storytelling as an adult-led activity, especially with pre-school aged children. But just imagine if we flipped it round and encouraged kids to create their own stories and become the storytellers? This turnaround gives kids a chance to delve deep into their own imaginations, to invent character names and personalities and not only wonder but decide ‘what happens next’. They can imagine the story how ever they want in their own heads.

And the magical thing about oral storytelling is that young children can do it themselves, long before they can read and write.

Here's how to get young ones started with their own storytelling!

“It’s easier for children to tell a story if you give them a subject,” says Jean Ciborowski Fahey, Ph.D., author and early literacy specialist. This is where Tiger Tribe’s Magna Carry and Moveable Playbooks are the ideal kickoff point for encouraging child-led storytelling. By providing a range of ‘kids favourite’ themes, along with movable magnetic or silicon sticker characters and objects, kids can create their own stories across subjects including, Animals, Fairies, Dinosaurs, Building Construction, Emergency Rescues, Mermaids and Magical Worlds, to name but a few.

Magna Carry and Moveable Playbooks provide kids with a backdrop, themes and a bunch of movable characters and props to set the scene. For example Dino World. takes kids back in time, on a big adventure through the Jurassic world. Dinosaur characters can ride the waterfall, explore the erupting volcano, or look after the dino egg. Or Magical World where a posse of intrepid female characters (inspired by traditional fairytales but with no prince in sight), can and will rescue themselves by riding mythical creatures or leading the quest to the dragon’s cave and casting powerful spells.

Children are encouraged to discover their own inner author by using the re-usable stickers or magnets to bring a story to life on the fold-out play scene.  And the best part is that kids can create a new story every time they play.

Hot Tip

If your youngster needs a little help moving forward with their storyline, we recommend introducing the awesome Story Spine exercise2. Developed by theatre educator Kenn Adams, the story spine formula is used by both Disney and Pixar and pretty much every fairytale ever told from the Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson. 

Like its name suggests, Story Spine is a tool that supports a story. Using a series of ‘lead in’ words designed to help drive the action forward, the child completes the sentence and in doing so creates a story. The beauty of this technique is that the ‘spine’ only provides structural prompts; the creative ideas all come from the child.

 

Story Spine is also a great way to make storytelling a collaborative process, by taking it in turns to complete the lines. For example, your child completes the first line, “Once upon a time, there was a family of dinosaurs that lived near a big volcano.” Then you can follow: “And every day the dinosaurs would go for a swim in the big swamp.” The child responds, “But, one day the mummy triceratops realised her egg was missing.”

In no time at all you’ll have an inspired mini storyteller creating their own imaginative stories of fun and adventure.

Check out our entire range of Magna Carry and Movable Playbooks here.

 

 

References:

  1. https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/play-learning/literacy-reading-stories/reading-storytelling
  2. https://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/06/05/back-to-the-story-spine/

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