Importance of Storytelling and activities for Kids
When young children play, they enter a world of their very own, a world where their vivid imagination takes over a world where anything is possible. They make up elaborate story lines, plots and twists, where often laws of nature and physics don’t exist and there is always a perfect ending for them even though it may not make sense to us.
Children use play to make sense of the world around them and as a means to apply what they have learnt. Very often their play sessions have elements of storytelling in it, and with practise their storylines will progress from simple to complex.
Why is storytelling important?
Storytelling is a very beneficial activity for young children especially for their language development. Children are taught and they learn a language in numerous ways, by repeating what is said, listening to it spoken to them, learning the alphabet, phonetics, handwriting practise and so, while the latter three options seem tedious and frustrating to them, they will happily listen to someone talking to them, telling theme a story or may even enthusiastically participate in an conversation.
Storytelling activities for kids removes the stress, frustration, pressure and repetitive nature of academic work while allowing them to explore and learn the language in a fun, exciting and playful manner. These activities are important and essential in the early years because they it –
- Aids in language and communication skills
- Enhances creativity
- Encourages self-expression
- Boosts confidence
- Improves concentration
Storytelling activities like ‘describe your drawing’ or ‘enacting a familiar story’ keeps the children engaged and focused for longer periods of time as they are fully involved in the process and gives them a chance to develop their speaking skills.
Storytelling activities for kids
Here are some tried and tested ways to introduce and practise storytelling –
- Picture or photo stories-
- Describe or tell a story about your drawing or art work.
- Retell a familiar story from a story book.
- Enact a familiar story.
- Make up your own story from a collection of objects.
This activity requires that you make up a story based on a photo or picture that is in front of you. For this activity you’ll need a few photos or pictures from old magazines or newspapers, you can even source some interesting pictures online and print it out, a glue stick, a sheet of paper(plain or lined) or a journal, pencil and eraser.
To begin, spread a few pictures in front of your child and ask them to choose one. Let them stick the picture on the sheet of paper or they can stick the picture on the left side page of the journal, this helps in getting them interested and involved in the process.
Then ask your child to talk about the picture, what they see, what they think is happening, why is it happening and so on, Let your child speak their mind and prompt them only when you feel they are getting stuck, help them with the right words and phrases and encourage them to speak in complete sentences instead of just words.
You can then ask them to repeat what you spoke about and write it down for them. If the story is too long you can paraphrase it, just keeping a gist of the story.
This storytelling activity is very similar to the previous one and has the same advantages, the only difference being instead of using photo and ready pictures your child draws one for themselves. All they need is a sheet of paper, a drawing book or a journal. They can use any type of colours they prefer, colour pencils, colour pens, paints, crayons and so on.
Children love this activity as they get to talk about what they have drawn, since it is their creation they identify with it and will have lots to tell you. However it might just begin with your child just naming what they have drawn, and may require a lot of prompting from you. But once they get a hang of this activity they will come up with surprisingly elaborate stories much to your surprise.
Children love listening to stories, the more they listen to a story the more familiar they get. You will even see their little faces light up when you get to the exciting parts of the story, they will correct you if you miss a part of the story. When this happens, you know that your child knows the story well, use this opportunity to get them to tell you the story. This activity builds self-confidence, develops their English speaking skills and memory.
For children who are not fond of writing, drawing or are not ready to narrate their own story, this activity will prove handy without sacrificing the benefits of storytelling. The activity is a lot of fun as children can either dress up in elaborate costumes or simply put together costumes based on materials available at home.
It is beneficial if you have more than one child at home or you could enact the story as a family or simply have a playdate with a few of your children’s friends, giving each one a character to play from a familiar story. Take a few minutes to run through the story with them and then sit back and enjoy the show. It might take a few turns for them to get a hang of enacting the story without interruptions. This activity promotes creativity, improves memory, builds self-esteem and confidence, and develops listening, cognitive and social skills
This storytelling activity is for slightly older children who are already used to the concept of making up their own stories. Use a basket, box, suitable container and fill with assorted toys like figurines, animals, plastic fruit and vegetable or any other toy food items, cars/ vehicles, maybe even throw in a few random household items like a toothbrush, loofah, a bowl, dusting brush maybe even a large spoon, the more variety of toys the better. Let your child help you collect the items, then give them some time to go through them and select a few. Involving your child in the process will get them thinking as well.
When doing the activity for the first time it may be better for you to choose a few items and make up a story and then put the items back in the container and let your child do the same with their own selection of toys. You can do the activity together forming a story chain where your child starts the story and you make up the next line based on what they have said, and then your child continues with the story based on what you have said and so on till all the items are used up. While doing the activity demonstrate how you have linked the items up to create a story and maybe even add a twist in the storyline as well.
These story activities make great memories, as much as possible write down the stories created, take pictures of the enactments and put it together in a journal or album to look at some other time. The efforts you put in now for the storytelling activities will bear fruit as your child grows older and is able to speak confidently and clearly.
At EuroKids, the teachers are well aware that children love stories and therefore make use of storytelling in a variety of ways to make their lessons interesting. Through stories a variety of concepts can be explained, as well values taught to children in a fun manner. Children listen with full attention and also participate whole heartedly in storytelling activities. Click here to find a centre near you and see for yourself how engaged the children are in the classroom.