My three year old loves storytelling. He spends hours each day engaged in pretend play, creating stories as he plays with his trains, his cars, his animal figurines, his favorite elephant lovie, his Legos, pretty much anything he can get his little hands on! I adore his creativity and imagination and try to encourage his storytelling ability as much as I can.
All too often I forget his cute stories by the time my husband gets home from work. My favorite new way to both nurture his storytelling ability and to remember his stories is to document his stories. It’s very easy: I simply write down his stories as he tells them and I create a simple book for him to illustrate.
By writing his stories down on paper it reinforces the value of his words and his creative process. Also, I believe recording his stories teaches the concept that spoken words can be represented on the page, which then create a story. This is an important literacy connection for little ones to make.
This is how I encourage my son’s storytelling. It’s actually quite simple. I give my son a bit of inspiration. He doesn’t need much. Sometimes it’s the ‘city’ he sets up with his train tracks and car tracks or the zoo he creates with his stuffed animals. Today’s storytelling was inspired by playing with some Melissa and Doug sticker pages. He set up a jungle scene with some animal stickers.
I sat down with him and asked, “so, what’s happening in the jungle, Timmy?” He started telling me what the leopard was doing. “And then what happened?” was my next question. And his story went on. I then pulled out some paper and frantically started copying the words pouring out of his mouth.
I really was struck by how proud my son looked as I quickly captured his words on paper for the very first time that afternoon. His little eyes lit up as he began to understand that this was his story he was telling and that his words were becoming his very own story. Later I rewrote his words onto some construction paper that I folded into a simple book. I asked my son if he wanted to illustrate each page of his book.
The other day, he wrote and illustrated a story about the trains he set up on the living room floor. He loves his trains!
Once he finished his illustrations, I punched some holes in the books and tied the pages together.
The most important part of this activity is to keep the story just he told it, with all of his adorable little mistakes. These stories remain his with no edits from me. The finished products are adorable- such great memories of the cute stories little ones tell!.