It's never too early to encourage children to be creative thinkers, and storytelling is a great place to start. Reading stories to your child is great, but telling stories to your kids and bringing them in on the process is even more creative, interactive, and fun. Ask them what they think happens next or even what they think the characters in your story are dressed like. If reading stories is more comfortable for you, try And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss. The book is about a child's imagination and his story of what he sees on his walk to and from school. It's silly and over the top and will provide inspiration to both you and your child. Here are some other storytelling activities that are sure to be fun:
Story Starter Cards: Each set contains 36 visual cards which can be arranged to tell a story in pictures. This pre-reading activity helps kids learn the order of events. Help them by asking "What do you think happens FIRST?" "What do you think happens NEXT?" There's no right or wrong answers. Each set comes with directions for a variety of games and activities.
Story Stones: Using the same concept as the story starter cards, children can create their own story stones (or you can create them if you have younger kids). Pick a couple of stones and base your story around their images.
Mix-it-Up Storytelling: Perfect for long car rides, each family member takes turns starting a story then adding to it. For example, one person would start with "Once upon a time there were two princesses. They lived in a castle in the woods. The loved playing and dancing. One day in the forest they discovered..." and the next person would add to the story. "...a locked wooden box. But the key was no where to be found so they..." so on and so forth.
Story Boards: Use old magazines and ask your child to tell a story in pictures by cutting out different things and gluing them in sequential order on a large piece of paper. If your child can't find the perfect picture in a magazine, she can draw her own. Older children can work on their writing skills by writing blurbs, à la comic books, under each photo.
Three Objects: Give your child three small objects and ask him to tell you a story incorporating all three items. For small children, you might pick three things that are closely related, like a stuffed bear, a plastic tree, and a doll. But for older children, you can challenge their creative thinking skills by giving them three things that are unrelated, like a stuffed bear, an ice skate, and a Power Rangers action figure.
Creative thinking is an important skill to work on with your children. Use your imagination and let the world around you inspire new activities for you and your child to engage in together.
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