Wondering how to get kids writing their own stories, especially how to encourage reluctant writers? Use these story writing tips for kids and my printable story spinners to get them started.
Story writing for kids printable story spinner
Children tell stories naturally when they play, narrating what their toys are doing and saying the dialogue of their characters.
When it comes to developing story writing skills, we can bridge the gap from free play to more structured writing with a few tips to guide them.
Story writing prompts for children
You can use my set of storytelling spinners to introduce some of the key concepts of story writing, and to give inspiration if your children need some prompts to get their story started.
If your children already have ideas of they want to write about, great – go with that.
Sometimes they could do with a suggestion to get them started though and you can use the spinners to give that spark of an idea.
If your children always seem to write about the same character and familiar scenario, the spinners can encourage them to extend their imagination and try something different.
You can also use the spinners as a fun group activity, where each child in turn gets to spin one of the spinners and the next person has to incorporate the selection to continue a group story.
The four-part story spinner set
There are four storytelling spinners included in the set:
:: one for your main character, which introduces the concept that a story needs a protagonist. This spinner includes a super hero, alien, fairy, dragon, monster, bear, dog, and you.
:: one for setting, which gets children to think of the location of their story and consider how place affects action and emotion. This spinner includes a forest, jungle, under the sea, a birthday party, space, the library, a train, and a castle.
:: there’s a problem spinner, which gets children thinking about the narrative of their story and what issue their main character is going to face. Ideas on this spinner include a storm, getting lost, getting hurt, being hungry, being late, in danger, being invisible, and being chased. They’re generally familiar experiences children can identify with but give plenty of scope for a flight of imagination.
:: and the fourth spinner gives them a guide as to how their character is feeling: happy, angry, shy, scared, lonely, grumpy, brave, or sad. This spinner is a great prompt to get children to think about how someone else might feel, the impact that could have on how they behave, and how others react to them. It can add a dynamic spin to their story, resulting in a unique tale. How would a grumpy alien act?
How to use the story spinners
Print the four spinners onto card (see below for details on how to print) and laminate them for durability if you wish.
You can make each spinner interactive by adding a split pin and a paper clip:
:: Thread the split pin through a paper clip and then push it through the centre of the card spinner.
:: Fold back the arms of the split pin to hold the paperclip loosely in place.
:: When you’re read to tell a story, give the paperclip a whirl with your finger and wherever it lands tells you the element you need to incorporate into your story.
Variations and extensions for this activity
Children can work individually with the story spinners or you can use them for a group storytelling activity.
You can tell your stories out loud, or write them in your notebook.
Children can also dictate their stories to a scribe, or into a recording device to creating their own audiobook.
Offer art materials so children can illustrate their story too.
You might like to set out the story spinners with a selection of loose parts and small play characters, so your children can build a set and act out their story.
More great storytelling activities for children
Dive into NurtureStore’s storytelling resources and try these ideas:
:: story maps
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