Storytelling with Kids – Make Writing Fun!
Last week, as part of my series on helping our children and students learn to love Reading and Writing, I wrote a post about helping your kids (of all ages!) write creatively – for fun! In this post I will share more ideas for easily working in some creative writing exercises throughout your day. I’m also including a free printable for some storytelling prompts / story formulas that I made for my own kids and wanted to share with my readers.
Storytelling is an integral part of a child’s play. With a little encouragement from us, kids can develop a strong literacy base by simply building on what they do naturally – make believe. 🙂
Last week I wrote about helping kids write mystery stories. (It definitely helps get them in the right mindset if you read them books like Boxcar Children, Hardy Boys, Cam Jansen, … etc.)
This week I wanted to share our experience with a few other simple story formulas that I made based on our own kids’ experiences with story reading and story telling.
An Imaginary Science Experiment
My (then) 3 year-old son inspired me to write up this science experiment story template. One day, after we had spent the past week doing a few simple science experiments, he told me he had a science experiment we should do. I asked him about it and got the following:
We will need a blue plastic bowl and hot water and an egg. Then we will need to break pieces of glass and put it in and wait and see if something amazing happens — like a rainbow!
Lol! I figured older kids might also have a fun time with this idea, so I outlined a pretend science experiment with blanks for kids to fill in.
Here’s an example of what he came up with more recently following this story script:
Title: What Could Explode and Make a Mess?
What do you think will happen? Watermelons and ice will explode when we put them on fire in a glass bottle.
Supplies needed: A hammer, wrench, and screwdriver, because I don’t want my hands to get burned up.
Instructions for the experiment: Get a pan. Put it on fire. Get a glass cup. Put it in the pan. Cut up the watermelon and put it in the glass. Put a piece of ice and put it in the bottle too.
Did anything go wrong? No. It definitely exploded. It made a mess on Mommy.
How did you fix it? Cleaned you up with water.
What did you learn? Never make something explode again!
All of these “formula stories” could be adapted as needed, and older kids could use these as a jumping-off point for writing full stories. I plan to write more in the future about ways to help older students (2nd grade and up) write effectively, so stay tuned for that :).
A Trip To Outer Space
I wrote up another story prompt to help my four year old write a simple story that stayed focused on one main event (no small feat!). He loves Outer Space (it used to terrify him though — and I can’t hardly blame him!) so I asked him to tell me a story about a trip in a rocket ship. We got the following:
If you could go on a trip to outer space, who would you take with you? Me and my brother and Mommy and a pet. And Daddy.
What would you bring with you on your trip? A rocket ship, rocket clothes, and flashlight because it’s dark … and maybe a snack.
What would your spaceship look like? A normal rocket ship with fire and controls and engine.
What would you see while you float around in space? A satellite and other spaceships and aliens and astronauts that got owies because they bumped into the moon.
What would you bring home with you? Space bubbles and a space rock.
Do you think that anything exciting might happen while you’re in outer space? I will see lots of birds flying around, and someone with a skateboard that could go on Mars and the moon.
Would you encourage other people to go on a trip to outer space? Why or why not? Yes, because I’m scared going alone in outer space.
Then, since little dude (2 years old) wants to do EVERYTHING his big brother (Superman) is doing, I interviewed him as well.
If you could go on a trip to outer space, who would you take with you? My brother on outer space. (What about Mommy?) Ya, that’d be nice.
What would you bring with you on your trip? Stuff. French fries.
What would your spaceship look like? blue pencil
What would you see while you float around in space? A fireman Sam (this is their latest favorite show on Amazon Prime)
What would you bring home with you? french fries
Do you think that anything exciting might happen while you’re in outer space? No.
Would you encourage other people to go on a trip to outer space? Why or why not? No.
If for no other reason (but there are plenty!) than the cute factor, I would encourage all parents to do these storytelling exercises with their kids just for the opportunity to see life through their child’s eyes. 🙂 It’s so fun to listen to them explain things according to their developing understanding of the world!
More to come …
In the next post I will explain the fourth storytelling prompt in this set, as well as a list of classic storytelling themes that can be used in group settings for fun or for brainstorming creative ideas for writing short stories.
Download your free copy of Creative Writing Story Prompts
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Learning Resources for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents
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And a bonus: As I was looking for a link to share with you for the Boxcar Children books, I ran across this treasure. (From the description: “It includes tips and tricks for mystery solving (how to make invisible ink and create secret codes), travel (how to pack a suitcase; how to take great snapshots), and enjoying the great outdoors. Each of the four Boxcar Children has their own section—practical advice from Jessie, a “roughing it” guide from Henry, crafts and art projects from Violet, and recipes from Benny! A great gift for Boxcar fans.”)