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Archive for the ‘storytelling’ Category

Story Links

I’m always interested in expanding and deepening my understanding of stories and storytelling and the web can be a treasure trove of ideas.

Here are some story inspiration links:

Pirates in Pajamas (I linked to the homepage so you can see how their story begins…there’s lots of great ideas on the site and their blog for storybuilding)

“How We Tell Stories” at Teacher Tom’s Blog (So much to read an enjoy on Teacher Tom’s blog! Reading about daily life and action at his preschool often inspires me to look at what I can do with LP in a new light.)

“Storytelling Tips for Oral Language Development” at Literacy Connections (Straightforward and specific.  A little something for the left side of your brain.)

“If I had the Courage…” at the Improvisational Storyteller (This is my friend Kat’s bog.  Contemplating her questions inspired me in my own storytelling AND I love the idea to starting stories using the magic “if.” I can see using it to explore emotions with LP by starting stories “If I felt sad…” or “If I felt mad…”)

Do you have a favorite story structure or link to share? I’d love it if you would share!

This bog is part of the Moms’ 30 Minute Blog Challenge over at SteadyMom.

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LP is in that wonderful stage of flowing from being one character to another.

She’s a waiter, a duck, a gosling, a panda, a red visor, Ernie, a dinosaur and a singing chicken all in the blink of an eye.  She dresses up in her rainbow “wandering cape” and wears a tutu to be a beluga.

Sometimes she has a role for me too. I’m waitress to her waiter, multicolored visor to her red one and the Count for her Ernie.

This spontaneous character play is  a wonderful chance to act together.  Even every day tasks become more fun when done in character. LP is much more willing to wash her hands as Ernie than as herself! And helping empty the dishwasher as the waiter was a total hit.

Some little people like to stick with a script. So if they are pretending to be a character from a book or tv, they want to do exactly what they’ve seen already.  (This is also more comfortable for some big people too…if that’s you, start by playing to your strength!) Playing characters together is a great chance to stretch their (and our) imaginations.  If you are ready to see what can happen, invite your little person character to do something new (i.e. off their “script”).  It can be an set activity or craft project OR a story adventure that you act out…what happens when Ernie and the Count find a jewelry box? Or learn to fly?

You also may find that you create new scenarios that your little persons loves to repeat (because oh, how they love to repeat).  LP and I told & acted out a story about a glass multicolored visor that broke into 30 pieces that she had to fix using 30 bandaids.  We’ve acted this out many, many times. Sometimes I throw in a new detail or ask her for more details just to keep in interesting for me.

I do find that her more imaginative (i.e. non-commmercial) characters delight me more. I’m happier pretending to be characters from books or made-up on the spot or objects from around the house. Fortunately for me that is the bulk of it (probably the happy result of being a low media family) AND I realize that’s my head trip.  For LP,  the commercial characters are just part of the delightful offerings the world makes to her imagination.

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Sleep is our challenge.

I’ve struggled with bouts of insomnia for as long as I can remember. Being mama to a challenged sleeper has been hard with bouts of being ridiculously hard. Recently we got blackout curtains for our room and her room. All of sudden, my sleep is significantly better (and at first, hers was too). It is miraculous! I never would have thought that our room is particularly light at night but these have cut my insomnia awake time in half.

Which unfortunately (for her) leads me to be way more grumpy with my little night owl. Who is (knock on wood) nearing the end of a phase of not wanting to sleep (at all).

One of the ways I’ve been helping her settle down is with a story about 2 ducklings we saw at a local farm last week.

These two ducklings, Peep & Squeek, are about 2 weeks old were recently rescued and brought to the farm. When we saw them they were happily swimming round and round and round in a little pond eluding every effort of the farmer to catch them. When he did catch them up (and let us and the other folks watching pet them and say hello up close), he put them in their “bed” (a large washtub with straw and a light for warmth). Within minutes they were curled up asleep.

LP loves to hear this story and it has been part of our bedtime ritual the past few nights. It was a great “a-ha” moment for me when it occurred to me to tell her this real life story. I realized the story could be a metaphor for her and that she might relate to those ducklings who are so tired but don’t want to stop playing. I tell it pretty straightforwardly ~ it can be very tempting to emphasize the moral of the story but you know, I think she gets it without any emphasis.

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The days can be long and for me, dinnertime is often the longest part of day.

I think I’m hyperaware of all the ways that family dinner (meaning eating together and having conversations) are important and good for kids.  So I want to make that happen.  Yet there are many evenings that ImprovDad’s work prevents him from being home for dinner. So it is we two, LP and me, having dinner together.

Truly, I think I’ve always found meals challenging with LP. She’s  slooooooooow eater. So on most days of the week, when dinner rolls around, we’ve already had two meals together. And snacks.  And spent most of our time together. I have nothing to talk about.

Sure I try to get a little something going about a part of the day that each of us enjoyed and a part that was challenging.

But then….

I want to read. I want to eat in peace and quiet and read.  Since that isn’t going to happen and LP and I have many, many, many meals ahead of us, I’ve been looking for ways to improve our experience. (I imagine as she gets older and more verbal this will get easier.)

And tonight, finally it dawned on me. Why not tell stories during dinner?

So after we talked about our day (for about a minute and a half), I told LP stories about the Goat who Liked Spaghetti. This character was inspired by what was in front of me, my little girl who will try to eat pretty much anything she finds in nature who was eating spaghetti.  There were 4 or 5 simple stories. One was about the Goat who Liked Spaghetti picking flowers for her mama. Then they ate them for a snack.  Another was about when the Goat who Liked Spaghetti woke up in the night and got up to eat the leftover spaghetti.

LP was happy and I was happy.  We stayed engaged with each other and I did not get restless.  Dinner was eaten and we even had enough time before bedtime to go outside for one more round of gardening.

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