You know how some people, when they hear “tell me a story”, can rattle one off instantly? With no preparation, no outline, nothing? I am definitely not one of those people. When August asked me recently to tell him a story, I had no idea where to begin (or end). I stammered and said, “I don’t know any stories.” Lame, right? Well, I accepted long ago that I’m one of those people who desperately needs boundaries, rules, or limitations to even get started on a creative project, even one as simple as telling a child a story.
One day, while standing in line at the post office, I found these cute cards for free. I picked up two, one for each boy, and tucked them in my bag. At home, I set them on a counter and forgot about them until one afternoon, August picked them up and said, “Read this story, Mama.”
“There aren’t any words August, it’s just a picture.”
“Read this story, Mama!”
“But August, there aren’t any words!”
At which point I finally realized that I needed to stop being so literal and tell him a story about the bear and the fox. And it was easy! I was able to make up three stories about how the fox and the bear came to be sitting together, hugging, in the middle of a snowy wood. August asked me to tell the stories several more times over the next few days.
It made me want to rush out and find more cards so I could tell more stories! I did a quick search on Amazon and found these Animal Village Tell Me a Story cards, and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there (share a link if you find some!). At this time of year you could probably even use Christmas cards to make up stories with your kids.
August has started telling stories of his own, which usually involve a boy going for a walk in the forest and encountering a wild pig who eats him up. (!)
Are you a natural storyteller? Can you invent characters and plots on the spot? Or do you need a little prompting, like me? If you have any resources to suggest, please do so in the comments.
Photo by me.