|source of original photo|
Telling family stories is powerful in many ways. It helps children learn their family history. It introduces them to the idea that things change over time (how did we live without the internet?? Without blogs even?). It gives them a sense of belonging. A place, if you will, and a feeling of being special. Just a few weeks ago my husband and I were telling stories about my oldest son when he was a baby. The next day when we drove past his school, my younger son commented that he wished he was his brother. I thought he meant he wanted to go to school, but then he clarified, "No, when he was a baby." I realized then that we hadn't told any stories of him as a baby the previous evening, and that he wanted to hear some. Several stories later, which he repeated to his father and brother as soon as he had the chance, he was happy being himself again.
|Aw, sweet baby! Of course I will tell stories about you!|
I have very clear memories of my mother telling us stories in the car. She made up a whole series about these crazy creatures called Boogoogles. Apparently there were tall, and yellow, and skinny - and they lived underneath sidewalk grates. Before the days of DVD players in cars, this was what kept us entertained when my Dad inevitably chose the slowest line at the Canadian border crossing (but that's another story!). You may decide to make something up, or choose a story you know well to dramatically relate. You can also try a round robin story, where each person makes up part and then passes it off to another family member. That's a great opportunity for children to express their creativity, and for adults to model good storytelling techniques, which brings me to my next point.
Use those toys!
Of course I understand that we all have things to do, but taking a few minutes to play with your kids may be a way to model something they would not have thought of themselves. When my oldest son first became interested in Legos, all he wanted to do was build things using the instructions. No creativity allowed!!! Finally one day I showed him that you could use your imagination to build a house and a yard, and then walk a little man around and make him do stuff. He was resistant at first but part way through he looked up at me and said, "You know, this is actually fun!" (I loved how that was such a big surprise to him - crazy mommy not following the directions). I have encouraged my kids to tell stories with their toys, and I modeled it myself when I played with them, and now most days they can entertain themselves for hours!
|My son put on a show for us complete with tickets, special seating, and a well thought|
out plot that even included dramatic lighting!
We have two types of toys specifically that my boys often use for storytelling. The first is a Melissa and Doug reusable sticker pad that came with five different animal environments and lots of animals. They love to get these out and make up a story for me to listen to, moving the pieces around and sticking them in different places to tell the story. Sometimes I sit and listen exclusively, and other times they tell me a story while I'm working on something else (I think when I took this picture I was making dinner, which is why my son in sitting on the kitchen floor). When the kids are done with their story, I make sure to give specific compliments. Rather than "good job", I say "I liked how the farmer got all the animals out of the field so he could plant his crops", or "It was was funny when the pig invited the chicken to splash with him in the mud". We also have a set of house themed stickers.
Tell Me a Story Cards
The second is a set of cards that are made specifically to use in storytelling, and I pleased to say that this is the item we are giving away. The Tell Me a Story cards are made by Eeboo. Each package of cards has a certain theme, with characters (and objects) that repeat on different cards doing different things. My boys like to look through the stack of cards and then line up the cards they want to use for their story. My younger son tends to line a bunch of cards up and then make up the story as he goes through them, and my older son plans the story out as he chooses which cards to line up. When it's my turn, I have a chance to model telling a story that includes a simple problem and solution, something I'll often ask about when the story is over.
|Time for another great story!|
If you've missed any of the other posts in our Tell Me a Story series, you'll find them here.:
Part 1 - The Jesus Storybook Bible
Part 2 - DIY storytelling discs and cubes
Part 3 - Maple syrup candy
Part 4 - Tiger lollipops
Part 5 - A family story worth living