Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been working on a series on helping our children and students learn to love Reading and Writing. This has included the initial post as well an article about helping your kids (of all ages!) write creatively – for fun! and more ideas for easily working in some creative writing exercises throughout your day, which includes a free printable for some storytelling prompts / story formulas that I made for my own kids and wanted to share with my readers.
In this post I wanted to share some more storytelling activities that are fun for all ages.
Classic Storytelling Activities
I have great memories of long road trips with friends and family. We would often pass the time by making up stories (or listening to books on tape [a lot of Hank the Cowdog!] or listen to my mom read books to us [usually biographies – and we loved them!]).
Here’s some classic (and a few random) story-telling themes that were a fun part of my own childhood, and could be enjoyed by groups of kids and adults in a variety of settings. As an added bonus, these non-worksheet-based storytelling activities are a great way to help reluctant writers break out of their “anxiety zone” and just enjoy the storytelling process.
- My aunt went to Alaska and she took with her … (Then you go through the alphabet, naming something she packed. Each person has to remember all the items that had already been listed and add the next item to the list. There’s unlimited variations on this theme and the rules.)
- Add a sentence. (Someone starts a story and then everyone goes around the group saying the next line. Sometimes we would end in the middle of a sentence, or say a few lines but end on a cliffhanger. If people weren’t totally getting into it, we would let volunteers jump in whenever inspiration struck. It was surprisingly difficult to keep the characters from getting killed off in the first few rounds!)
- Word Association. The first person starts by saying a word and the next person has to say the first word they think of. Then the next person does the same, but it has to be based on what they just heard, not the word before that. We often called each other out on completely weird words and then the person who said it had to explain their train of thought — if we didn’t judge it to be logical enough, they were out. If you stalled too long, or repeated a word you were out as well. Everybody was a word police in this game. 😉
- This one is not a story, but it was a fun creative exercise. Someone would pick a random tune and try to sing it using only words they saw as they were driving — without pausing to think about what made sense. I think I just made that game up at one point; I’m not sure if it’s a legit road-trip game or not.
- One of my favorite games as a kid (probably much to everyone else’s chagrin) was to just Not Stop Talking. Lol, I honestly thought it was a fun game 0_o. I have to say though, it sure is an intense mental exercise to keep talking stream-of-consciousness for as long as possible!
- Fortunately/Unfortunately. This is pretty much what it sounds like. Someone starts a story then the next person says “fortunately, …” and makes up the next event, followed by “unfortunately …,” etc. This one also tends to spin out of control really fast with all kinds of terrible things happening to the poor characters, unless you have an M.C. to moderate and keep the story slightly on track and somewhat intelligent.
Try using some of these storytelling activities during your next family road trip, or kid’s birthday party, or actual real-live school time. I’d love to hear how it goes! 🙂
In the past two posts I mentioned a set of creative writing story templates that I made for you to use with your own children or students. This set includes the “mystery story” form that I mentioned in the first post, an imaginary science experiment (no scientific principles need apply!) and a story starter for “A Trip to Outer Space” that I wrote about in the second post, and this Fortunately/Unfortunately story form.
Fortunately/Unfortunately Story Form
I made this one into an accordian-style mini-book that drops down into a column-shaped story; it gives kids practice with fine motor skills like cutting and folding as well, so we’ll call it a complete unit! 😉
One day … (choose a main character and describe something crazy that happened to him.) Bob disappeared.Fortunately … he was actually just invisible.Unfortunately … now none of his friends could see him so they couldn’t play with him.Fortunately … he found some other invisible friends to play with.Unfortunately … they disappeared because they turned VISIBLE.Fortunately … Bob turned visible too.Unfortunately … his leg was itchy.Fortunately … it was just a spider crawling up his leg.The moral of the story is … You would never turn invisible because life is not magic.
This is a fun story form for older kids (and adults!) too. No need to write it down – just pass the story around with a group of people and see where it goes! 🙂
These story formats provide students a little bit of structure and fuel for more ideas, and could be used purely for fun or in writing centers or as an extension activity with any writing program.
I have a lot more ideas to share regarding helping older kids (2nd grade and up) learn to write effectively as well as a planned series on helping kids learn to read without a curriculum and minimal direct instruction … so stay tuned for that! Or sign up for my newsletter so you get those series (I will probably include free printables in those as well) straight to your inbox as soon as they’re ready for you!
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