5 Engaging Ways to Tell a Story
Every child loves a good story. Stories not only stir a child’s imagination; they also improve their language skills, impart moral values to help build character, and boost creativity - making storytelling both an enjoyable and educational experience. Here are 5 engaging ways to tell a story, so that your storytelling experience can be the most magical it can be.
Draw and Tell (age group: 3 – 8 years)
Draw and tell is when the storyteller draws out pictures while storytelling. During each step, a new picture that is related to the story is drawn. Here’s an example:
This easy and simple storytelling method keeps the child engaged throughout the entire story as they observe the pictures being drawn. If you’re no Picasso - fret not! These drawings can be as simple as possible, so it’s perfect for parents and educators who may not have excellent artistic skills. Also, whenever there isn’t any storybook, props, or projector to tell a story, all you need is a whiteboard and marker pen. You may also use colours to make the drawings come to life and make them more vibrant and eye-catching.
Cut and Tell (age group: 3 – 8 years)
Cut and tell stories is quite similar to draw and tell stories. Except, the storyteller will be cutting pieces of paper that will end with a final shape at the end of the story. Here is an example:
This helps build suspense, both through the oral storytelling session and this paper art method. This is a good way to get the children to try out some paper art and dabble in a little arts & crafts, too!
Role Play (age group: 4 – 8 years)
Role playing is when you take on a role to act out the story. This can be done when parents or educators are dressed in their costumes and use props to act out the story, complete with dialogue and movement. Children will love this because they get to be immersed in the full storytelling experience - like watching a live show right in front of them!
A great way to make this storytelling session as interactive as possible is to get the children to take on roles and act out the story, while the parent or educator takes on the role of the narrator. Also, providing props and costumes for children is important to help them stay in character. An example would be getting them to act out a story they already know such as The Three Little Pigs. The parent or educator may get other children to volunteer as well, so everyone can have the chance to act out certain roles while using props relating to the scene.
However, if you are unable to get costumes for the kids to wear, you may use plushies instead. This way, each child can hold onto a plushy and can begin acting out the story while using props and dialogue. It is a lot like pretend play, which every child should already be familiar with!
Puppetry (age group: 2 – 8 years)
Every child loves puppets! Puppets are like magic tools that can grab children’s attention for a long time right until they leave the scene. Parents or educators can use puppets to tell any story, as long as it involves a talking soft toy and your animation! Always make sure that the movement of the puppet’s mouth matches the words being spoken by you.
To make it interactive, get the puppet to ask children questions during the story such as “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think Goldilocks ate up all the porridge?”. Also, if you have more than one puppet, get the children to put them on so they, too, can be storytellers! The kids will surely be engaged, as they are now also part of creating the story for the audience.
Storytelling with Movements (age group: 3 – 8 years)
Any simple story involving movement is a fun way to get children to participate. This involves children doing actions as you narrate the story, so they would have to listen closely to the story in order to be a part of the story. For instance, when the narrator says, “Let’s row a boat across the river,” the children will have to sit on the floor and pretend to hold the paddle, move their arms in circular motions, and row their boats to cross the river.
Not only would this be really engaging for the kids, but it’s also a little bit of exercise! There are many stories out there that can get children to explore movements with their bodies while listening to stories. A good example of a movement story is “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.”
I hope you find these five tips useful in an early childhood setting, or even at home! Also, these methods would be perfect for parents and educators, who have been using the same method to tell stories and notice that the children are starting to get bored of it.
I assure you that these storytelling tips will be something refreshing for both you and the children. They won’t only remember the story, but they’ll also cherish the memories. Remember that every story time should be turned into an enjoyable experience where children can explore, learn, and have fun. Now, with these five tips in mind, anyone can be a great storyteller!