Toddler Storytelling Activities and Keepsakes

June 24th, 2010 by Dionna | 11 Comments
Posted in Children, Eclectic Learning, My Family, Preschoolers, Toddlers

2010-01-17 03

Kieran reading to his then newborn cousin, Rhonin

When we were first dating, I would often cuddle up to Tom and implore, “tell me a story!” Telling stories was a fun way to get to know each other, and later it could break up the monotony of a busy week or provide entertainment for one of our many road trips.

Kieran, too, has the storytelling gene. Even before he was sitting up on his own, we regularly captured his attention with a good picture book. The word “book” was one of his first signs before he could talk. Once he started walking he didn’t have to wait for us to bring him a book, he could pick out his favorites and bring them to us. And now, although he much prefers to have books read to him, he has been known to sit and flip through books on his own.

Aside from books, he loves for us to tell him stories. Stories we’ve read, stories we make up, and his favorite – stories that feature Kieran as a character. But the best part? Now that he has an active imagination and a firm grip on what “pretend” means, he loves to make up stories of his own.

One of the best potty learning tools we stumbled on is to help Kieran tell stories while he is using the potty chair. As he tells the story, I write it down in a notebook, and then I read it back to him after he says “The End.” He loves that his stories are physically on the page. He gets a kick out of me telling the stories back to him. We’ve also gotten him to tell a few stories on camera, which he loves to watch.

Kieran Story #1
Nemo, Nemo’s Papa, Kieran Shark, and Baba Shark all went swimming. Nemo went first. He swam. It was dark. Baba Shark and Nemo’s Papa swam too. Kieran Shark was writing and drawing. Kieran Shark was writing a story about Nemo being lost and Nemo’s Papa finding him.

The End.

Here are a few ideas to help encourage your toddler to tell her own stories:

Tell plenty of your own made-up stories: don’t rely on books for storytelling, use your imagination! Toddlers don’t care much about plot or character development, so pick a simple storyline and go for it. I’ve told stories about crocodiles flying, aliens landing at the playground, fish playing hide and seek, and the sun being too tired to rise in the morning.

Read story books without words: sit with your toddler and look at books without words – you can both make up a story as you flip through the pages.

Use Props: bring out some stuffed animals, puppets, or toys and start a dialogue between them. Hand one to your toddler and help her join in the fun.

Ask questions: it is a rare (and very short) story if Kieran tells it without some prompting questions from me. When he first started telling stories, I would ask questions like “who is the story about?” “where were they?” “what were they doing?” “and then what happened?” (I ask this one a lot).

Write the stories down: like I said, part of the allure of storytelling for Kieran is the fact that I am recording his stories and retelling them. It makes them just as important as the books we borrow from the library or buy from the store.

Kieran Story #2
Kieran Alligator bit Mama Alligator. Mama Alligator said “wooo!” Papa Alligator played with Kieran’s toys. Kieran Alligator took turns with Papa Alligator. Mama Alligator had an “ouchie”. Kieran Alligator gave her a band-aid.

The End.

Ways to preserve your child’s stories:

Create a Construction Paper Book: use construction paper, a hole punch, and yarn to create a keepsake story collection. Each time your toddler tells a story, record it in her book. Let her get it out and read the stories together

Create a “Real” Book: if you have a bit more money to spend, use an online program to create your own hardback or paperback book of your child’s stories.

Keep a Notebook: your toddler probably won’t care how you keep his stories, so at the very least just keep a notebook handy to record them. When you have a few extra minutes, you can type them up and save them electronically.

Illustrate/Frame a Picture: ask your child if she would like to draw a picture to illustrate one of her stories. Alternatively, type the story and print it out, and have your toddler color on the paper. Display the story and picture on your bulletin board or in a frame.

Record a Video: grab a camcorder and let your toddler narrate a few stories on video.

Do you encourage your toddler to tell stories? What is your favorite story that your toddler has told?

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11 Responses to:
"Toddler Storytelling Activities and Keepsakes"

  1. HFH

    sooo cute. can’t wait to record my little’s stories. thanx

  2. pshouseblog   Rainbowsouffle

    T watched it w/ me w/ this huge expression of delight on her face and is now running around the office yelling RAAAWR!!

  3. DTizzle

    That was awesome. The part after the credits made me die laughing.

  4. Marilyn   ALotofLoves

    Great stories!

    I really like the idea of writing down the stories that our kids say. I do write down the funny things my son says (my daughter is still too young) but I haven’t thought of trying to get me to tell him a story. When he gets up from his nap I think I’ll see if he has a story to tell.

  5. Catherine   adventureskids

    These ideas would make a beautiful keepsake for you child as they get older. I wish I had a storytelling gene, but I’m trying.

  6. I love how you are capturing the thinking and imagination of your son. Recently my son found the app on my phone to record his own voice. He came out the with most surprising stories.

  7. daisy   TooTooDaisy

    LOVE! I will definitely start writing down Bear’s stories. ( I do have the first “book” he wrote me — a composition pad with a quick scribble on each page.). He’s keeping my storytelling skills sharp these days as we’re in the exhausting “why” phase!

  8. great ideas. my son is 2.5 and he has a great imagination. I was shocked a few weeks ago reading online somewhere that kids don’t develop their imagination or have imaginative play until age 4. what!? I thought! my son and I write every night about the day and after his writing he tells me what it is and I write it down and repeat to him. but I think that potty idea is great. he loves for me to make up stories and tell him them as we drive places or shop. and he can hear the same ridiculous one over and over again.

  9. Dadda is the storyteller in our house, but I have been getting “lessons” on how to make up stories from Princess. She makes up a story featuring our bedtime story friend, Ollie Owl, and then it is my turn. I much prefer to read a story, as at the end of a long day my brain is usual quite worn out, but Ollie is a great way for us to express issues we might be experiencing (like trying to get the knots out of Ollie’s feathers).

    I’m very keen to give some worldless books a go too as I have seen a few lovely looking ones via the “Playing by the Book” blog. I just need to see if they are available at the library as I think they would be a wonderful way to encourage imagination and story telling.

    Great post :)

  10. Christie - Childhood 101   childhood101

    I love the idea of writing down their stories. Immy’s are always a bit hit and miss and interspersed with, “No, you tell the story now!” but I will definitely be giving it a go.

    Your list of ideas is priceless. Thank you once again for sharing such great ideas.

  11. I love this! I stumbled upon your website when looking up some “new” ideas for an early childhood course I’m taking. My son James and I tell stories all the time, but I guess I didn’t put a label to it. Our stories sound very much like Kieran’s and usually involve some kind of car, or animal, or place that we’ve been. He loves it when I tell him a “James story” and make up nonsense about the things that he did “once upon a time”. Yay for imaginations!

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