Kas Winters

Tell Me a Story


Tell me a Story!
by Kas Winters, Mother of Family Ideas™


Kas Winters

Kas Winters

Storytelling is an ancient family art that builds relationships. It takes time to tell and listen to a story. This is quality time during which our attention is focused on one another. Sharing word adventures is important for children. It is one of the ways in which they learn to appreciate reading and writing, and it can make them curious and eager to learn more. Everything from adventure to fairy tales entices the imagination. Enhancing fantasy, folktales, and legends in various ways makes them more memorable and a whole lot more interesting.

In a world where communication is more electronic than one-on-one, activities with face to face communication are essential to families. You can make-up your own silly story or share information about family–perhaps things that parents or grandparents did when they were children. The fun begins when you enhance the information with visuals and sound effects. Here are some ideas our family has enjoyed.

Before bedtime, read from a book or tell an oldie and goodie from memory. You can even make this an event by bringing blankets and pillows into the living room and adding some popcorn and hot chocolate or other beverages for a fall adventure. Use a flashlight in a darkened room and give special attention to the child or children. The flashlight is also a great way to make shadows. Use your hands with the light behind them so the shadows project on the wall or construct a shadow puppet by cutting a shape out of poster board. (It’s a good time to talk to a child about how shadows are only scary until you turn on the light and see what is causing them. For “sweet dreams” spray a little bit of water with a strawberry scent in the room before saying goodnight.)

Historically, autumn has been a time for bonfires and sitting around a fire can easily lead to the telling of tall tales. For even more drama, shine a flashlight from below your chin onto your face. It looks weird and is great for dramatic cliffhangers. Sound effects are a natural. Let children come up with their own. They can be as simple as shouts, clapping, booing, whistles, or giggles. Strange noises can also be generated by hitting pieces of wood together, shaking a container with small things inside of it, crinkling foil or plastic chip bags, and so many other things. (Think of the fun you can have with a story like, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.)

Youngsters can devise different voices for each character in the story and take turns reading the parts. Read a book as if it is a play. If you don’t have a book handy, make up your own “pass around story.” One person begins by describing a setting for a story. After a minute or two, the next person continues by adding a character or two or a situation. Keep going from person to person. Designate the amount of time you will spend or the number of rounds if you have several players. Before you begin, appoint someone to provide an ending to the story. This is perfect for humor and can lead to laughter and wonderful family memories.

Puppets are a great addition to any narrative, especially when children are involved. Give a child a paper plate and some crayons or markers to create a face on the bottom of a plate. Cut another paper plate in half and staple it on the back of the top half of the full plate, with insides facing together. That gives you a place to put your hand and make the puppet move. Paper bags make easy puppets too. These crafted storytellers can be very simple or complex—either way, they provide great family times and story nights complete with happy memories.

For my book, Fall Fun for Families, with 80 fall activities, go to http://www.everythingfamily.net/fallfun.htm  If you are a teacher or someone who works with groups of children, there is another version on that same web page, titled, Autumn Activities. It has been adjusted so the ideas work well with groups.

If you need ideas for Halloween, my Family Friendly Halloween Fun has more than 500 of them. http://www.everythingfamily.net/halloween.htm  There are some of my jack-o-lantern patterns available too. http://www.everythingfamily.net/craftkits.htm

Play today. For free ideas for October family activities, go to http://www.everythingfamily.net/fallactivities.htm or http://www.everythingfamily.net/octoberholidays.htm

Check out my NEW book Get that Book out of your Head and into Print



Kas Winters, “Mother of Family Ideas”

Winmark Communications & Everything Family