Story Power author Kate Farrell has written a new blog post on Thanksgiving stories for the young, read Kate’s post to learn new storytelling techniques to use this holiday.
This Thanksgiving many families will celebrate with relatives miles apart. Though we may gather online in group video conferencing calls, we won’t see one another face to face. Even if some live close by, many families will prefer to visit outdoors with safe and limited social distancing for a brief interaction.
This is especially hard for grandparents who miss their young grandchildren who grow up so quickly.
Use the quality time we do have this Thanksgiving to share stories, playful make-believe stories with puppets, or stories of the good old days when you were young.
Young children have their own stories to tell. When creating original stories, their unique imaginations will often communicate what they cannot say—if we listen. Providing a safe space and time for the children’s story making, not only develops oral language, it offers an insight into their own points of view: What characters and situations do they create in their make believe world?
You might guide them with a story starter, like “Once upon a time,” or “One day.” But once they begin their open-ended story, listen with acceptance and enjoyment. You might encourage them to continue by asking, “What happened next?” And they may need help ending the story with a stock phrase, such as “And that’s the way my story ends.”
Create a series of stories using a puppet or action figures, telling in tandem with your child.
For example, when my son was in pre-school, he became captivated by the wildly popular ad campaign of the California Raisins, based on a make-believe rhythm and blues band with the popular song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The Raisins promoted a healthy snack in a series of claymation TV commercials with fantastic, but hip adventures. We did have a few of their action figures and enjoyed eating raisins.
One night at bedtime, we started to tell original stories about the California Raisins getting into scraps of one kind or another. The Raisins were definitely on the wild side: car chases, catching ghosts, and mountain climbing. My son and I would take turns trading Raisin episodes, some of them outrageous.
The same can be true for a favorite puppet. Ask the young child to describe the puppet’s personality, maybe its unique voice, or special powers. Most importantly, give the puppet a name and ask it to tell its story. If there is another puppet, they could develop an action story together.
Tips for Telling: What is important is to honor story characters your child finds interesting, whether they originate from a folktale, cartoon, or other media. Accepting the child’s imagination is one way to bridge the cultural gap between generations. Telling a fantasy story, back and forth, is a way for you to enter into your child or grandchild’s world as a co-creator.
YOUR CHILDHOOD STORIES
Telling your own childhood memories can be among the most important stories you tell. Children love to hear about your adventures and how they turned out. It deepens the bond of shared experience, since the child identifies with you and is vicariously involved. He may ask you to tell certain stories again and again—a clue to how he/she most clearly connects with your life.
The personal story is excellent device for bridging generations and reaching out to other family members. Ask grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, caregivers, and siblings to participate.
Tips for Telling: Set aside a quiet time to reflect on a real life incident from your childhood:
Close your eyes and pinpoint an age, perhaps the current age of your child or grandchild. Focus on a time when you were five, for example. As random images and fragments rise to the surface:
–Remember a time when you were five and you were happy.
-Remember a time when you were five and you were sad.
-Remember a time when you were five and you were surprised.
-Remember a time when you were five and you were scared.
-Remember a time that was funny.
–Now remember an incident from one of those times that you would like to tell as a story.
When you have found the story incident, live through it again and open your eyes.
You may want to replay the event more than once. As you do, recollect all sense impressions vividly. Hear, see, smell, taste, feel all the sights, sounds, objects of your experience. Feel the emotions once more. Rehearse the dialogue.
Frame the story with a clear beginning, middle, and end, such as:
One day when I was (age), I was living (where) & (with) .
That day, I _________ (what happened?)
because of that (what happened?)
because of that (what happened?)
UNTIL (story climax).
Source: Kate Farrell, Based on unpublished manuscript, Tell Me A Story, 2019.
Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories
Stories are everywhere. The art of storytelling has been around as long as humans have. And in today’s noisy, techy, automated world, storytelling is not only prevalent—it’s vital. Whether you’re interested in enlivening conversation, building your business brand, sharing family wisdom, or performing on stage, Story Power will show you how to make use of a good story.