Story building with children brings imagination, creativity, and exploration into your family life. Childhood is full of these things! As a parent, you want to facilitate more of them for your child, and you want their world to be magical.
Stories are fertile ground for nurturing imagination and creativity. The shows your child watches and the books they read provide building materials for their inner worlds.
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Another way to help them out is to story build together. Storytelling might use a story your child already knows. Story building with children starts from nothing and grows into a story.
You don’t need any tools to start story building with your child. You can start with “Once upon a time…” and go from there, using only your imaginations. You can ask your child questions to help guide the way, like:
- Who is this story about?
- Where does this story take place?
- When does this story take place?
- What happens next?
You can try different methods to share in the story building.
- Your child adds a details, and then you do, and then they do, back and forth.
- Each of you could play a different character in the story, making the story decisions for your character.
- You could do the scary parts while your child writes the jokes.
Using Story Stones or Story Cubes
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If you are a little bit crafty, you can make story stones to aid in your storytelling and story building. Story stones are small rocks that have an image painted on them. Collaborate with your child to choose images for the stones. Perhaps magical elements will work for the kinds of stories you want to tell, or perhaps you’ll use imagery from your real lives. Find hand-painted story stones on Etsy or on Amazon.
For the non-crafty version, try Rory’s Story Cubes. These come in 3 different sets. 9 cubes per set, 6 images a cube, and you’ve got 162 images to help inspire your story building with children.
You can use story stones or story cubes in creative ways:
- Lay out 10 images and try to rearrange them into an interesting story.
- Pull one image at a time from a bag and figure out how to incorporate the new image into the story.
- Lay out all of your images and try to group them into themes, then tell the same story but with each different theme.
The Versatility of Stories
Use stories to problem solve – When a discipline issue or conflict arises, invite your child to story build with you. Tell a tale about someone in a similar but fantastical situation. What solutions can you come up with together for the hero of your story?
Use stories for transitions – Tell stories during the times you have to get through to get to something else – driving in the car, waiting in line, gathering gear to leave the house.
Use stories to connect – Share stories together during regular connecting moments like bedtime or dinnertime.