Storytelling with children

Story telling with children
Put down your books! You don’t often hear me actively encouraging children not to read but have you ever tried oral story telling with your children and having them make the story up? Children most often have stories told to them, so let them be the story teller for a change.

Help them stretch their imaginations, practise using words in different ways, and build their confidence to find their voice and speak up. You might also get a real insight into what’s going on in their minds and they could surprise you with what happens in their story.

Telling stories aloud is fully mobile: whether you’re cosy on the sofa on a rainy day, walking to school or waiting for an appointment in the doctor’s surgery, you can tell each other stories.

There are no rules really – take it in turns to tell the story, following on from each other, or pick one person to be the story teller this time.

Use a familiar tale and give it a twist, or make up something completely new.

If there’s pause and the children need a prompt, try asking ‘what happened next?’, ‘why did that happen?’ rather than steering the story yourself.

Try these story starters as a springboard and see where your imaginations take you:

  • Once up on a time B and L went for a walk in a forest. They walked and they walked and they walked until at last they found a ….
  • When I woke up this morning , you’ll never believe what I found in my bedroom. It was a great big…
  • Once upon a time a witch lived in a little cottage in the middle of a wood. One day she woke up and said to herself…

happily shared with New For Us Friday and  For the Kids Friday and  ABCand123 and We Play and Tot School and  Pre-School Corner



  1. says

    I’ve just recently started storytelling with my 23mth old son. It has been a huge hit. Waldorf speaks a lot about the magic of storytelling. At the moment, I’m retelling stories I know, but as I get better I hope to make up my own stories. Then, as J gets older, I’m hoping he too enjoys delving into his imagination to create his own stories. Storytelling is wonderful.

  2. adele says

    I love story times like this it really sparkes their imagination doesnt it. We used to start with a tray of mixed props for younger children to help them come up with ideas.

  3. says

    Thanks for this fab post! I love sharing stories this way with Minnie. It’s lovely to share eye contact & facial expressions which sometimes get missed when reading a book, & wonderful to explore her imagination, even at 2yrs! I can’t wait to listen to all the stories she has to share as she grows.

    We created this Storytelling Box as a different way to create a story.

  4. says

    I have lovely memories of doing this when I was a child. I love story telling. I’ve found a prop is a great way to get them started. An interesting leaf or a markings on a stone. I love the ideas that they come up with. No right or wrong.

  5. says

    My 3 year old daughter loves to make up stories! Sometime we take turns around the dinner table, adding the next part of the story, sometimes she asks us to make up stories for her (she calls them the Little Girl stories, where she is always the central character!), and sometimes she makes them up all by herself. It’s so amazing to see their imagination at work! She slips so seamlessly between reality and make-believe that I often have a hard time getting to the bottom of which parts of her ‘day at school’ really happened and which parts are ‘the made up truth’!

    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Mama Pea Pod, thanks for stopping by. I’m not always sure if the things L tells me have happened at school are always true or not. She sometimes tells me things her friends have done but says she did them – just her testing out what could have happened and imagining herself being someone else. :)

  6. says

    I started storytelling about 3 years ago when I attended a National Storytellers conference. It was amazing. I learned so much and haven’t looked back.
    I love how you can capture a child’s attention with your voice. How they become involved in the story. And when they take it home and retell it.
    My favourite story to tell is The Squeaky Door.
    I’ve been trying to post an oral story a week on my blog, the difficult part is remembering to record the story while I’m telling it.

  7. says

    My momused to act out stories with my sister and I when we were smaller. When my daughter came along I would read dramatically with her and now I catch her readng dramatically to her cats or acting out stories with her Barbies

    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Rachee – that’s reminded me that I have a cute photo of L reading to our cat :)

  8. says

    If I had a dollar for every time Gracie has said, “Tell me a story!” I’d be a rich woman. She loves to read, but she loves it even more when I just tell her a story off the top of my head. I don’t know what it’s allure is, but she adores it.

    Thanks for linking up last Sunday. I hope you’ll come back this week! :)

  9. Marlleen says

    We’ve done this and love it! We also have a set of Story Cubes that follow the same idea but help a little with inspiration and provide a challenge. Each person rolls the cubes and tells a story based on the images on the cubes. Loads of family fun!! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>