The power of story telling
Children love stories, don't they? They like to make them up, illustrate them and bring them to life, often acting them out for you. They love to listen to your stories, about your own childhood and stories you make up and those you read at bed time. A story is a metaphor for our own life. It's easier for children to tell you a story about someone else than about themselves. They can make changes along the way and see how you react and see how it changes the outcome.
It's the summer holidays. Create a fun activity for your kids. You can use an actual game such as the Story Cubes or create your own game. Here are a few ideas.
1) Take a few random objects from around the house and ask your children to make up a story including all of them.
2) Build a story by each person saying a paragraph of the story. Notice how each person has a slightly different approach.
3) Similar to the previous one but each person writes a word on a piece of paper or card, one word per paper and allow each person to write about 10 words. Some should be animals, include some people's names, ages, character descriptions and so on. Scrunch them up and put them in a basket. Pass the basket round and each person takes a piece of paper and has to include that word in their paragraph.
4) Have you got any old photos, postcards, pictures? Bring out a few and ask them to tell you a story about it.
5) You might like to record these stories on video for family members who don't see your child very often.
Enjoy their stories and notice any themes that might indicate concerns they have because in their story telling you'll find revealed their inner thoughts.
Also, notice their skills. How well they relate the story, how well they remember other people's contributions and facts about the character, how creative they are and how inventive they can be about resolving the character's dilemma. What does their resolution tell you about their ability to resolve their own dilemmas? Does their character have choices? If not, how could you use this as a discussion opportunity for their character whilst helping them see how they have choices themselves?
To extend the activity, use Lego or paint a scene from the story.