Many, if not all of you, with children over the age of two may often find yourself saying to them, "stop telling tales!".
Recently I have been saying this phrase to my 3.5 year old girl Rosie quite a lot as she seems to be going through a phase of regularly telling me; who has taken a toy off her, who was talking during quiet time at pre-school and her absolute favourite is telling me what her little sister is getting up to now that she is on the move.
As I started to think about National Storytelling Week and what I could share with you all to help you have even more fun at storytime, it dawned on me that I need to turn the tale telling on its head. Instead of telling Rosie to "stop telling tales", I should encourage her to tell tales. Tales about her day, tales of things she dreams about, tales of things she would like to do, tales about her toys and what they have been getting up to, magical tales, fun tales, sad tales any kind of tale really.
So, I have put together some ideas that you could use for storytime duirng National Storytelling Week and beyond, including, "Tell Tales"
Childrens' imaginations are fantastic and the tales that are able to tell are truly wonderful. They will make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel proud and sometimes make you think "oh crikey I didn't know you knew that!"
During National Storytelling week I challenge you to encourage your child to "tell tales". You could perhaps take it in turn to make up stories. My little girl, Rosie, calls them stories from my head. She will often say to me, "Mummy, please will you tell me a story from your head." Then the pressure is on for me to come up with a tale that holds her attention; but at three years old she is thankfully a pretty easy audience and fairly easy to please when it comes to stories!
After hearing you "tell a tale" they will hopefully want to make up a tale of their own to tell you. If they are struggling to get started you could prompt them with things like:
- tell me a story about one of your toys
- tell me about a dream you have had
- tell me a tale about something you love
- tell me a story about the seaside
You could also make up different parts of the tale each - they could tell you the beginning of a story and you could make up the ending, or vice versa.
Build a reading den
Den building is one of those activities that always seem to be a big hit with children. I remember spending hours building dens with my sister when we were younger, lots of fun times were had in those dens.
A reading den is a perfect place for children to have fun with books, either on their own or with friends and family. It doesn;t need to be anything fancy and could just be a sheet over a clothes maiden near a bookshelf.
You might be surprised how long your little ones will sit and turn the pages of books, even when they aren't old enough to read. They are fascinated by the pictures and seem to get lots of satisfaction from flicking through the pages.
Before I had children it always used to make me smile when I saw a child at the supermarket dressed as Buzz Lightyear or Cinderella. They looked so happy and I used to think to myself, "Looks like they got their own way at getting dressed time this morning!" Three years on and I'm the mummy walking round the supermarket with Belle from Beauty and the Beast!
Dressing up is so much fun and can be a brilliant way to encourage children to interact with stories. Dressing up as one of their favourite book characters can really help to bring a book alive. They may also want to read the story with you whilst they are in their outfit or perhaps even act parts of the story out for you.
Hours and hours can be spent at libraries discovering new stories and telling tales to one another. Many local libraries also run storytelling sessions and they really are a lovely way to encourage a love of books in children.
My nephews regularly attend story time at their local library and I love seeing the photographs my sister sends me of them listening intently to the librariona reading the story.
During National Storytelling Week why not find out if there are any events on at your local library that you could go along to. Not only will you have a wonderful tim with your little ones, it is really importnant for us to support libraries and helo keep them open.
Reading stories at bedtime is definitely one of our most favourite things to do. The girls love their "bath, book, bed" routine and have done from being very young. It is also a wonderful time to ond with children and enjoy some quiet time sharing stories and making memories.
A few months ago when I was reading "Paper Dolls" with Rosie before bedtime I got quite upset because it was such a special moment and I realised that as she is still so young she will have no memory of these lovely moments we spend together.
However, I believe that although her and Eloise won't consciously remember these special times, it is moments like these that will shape the people they grow up to be.
Many studies have shown that enjoying stories from a young age really helps children in their development, both educationally and socially. Even ten minutes of storytime a day makes a huge difference.
National Storytelling Week is a great excuse to enjoy a few extra stories with them and I hope that the ideas above help make it even more fun.
For lots ideas of how to have fun with books we would love you to visit our "Fun with Books" section.