My kids’ favourites include a spider who climbs to the top of a tall tree, a rabbit who won’t eat his carrots and the cow who would never wear the right clothes. RM Cole is an author who has many years’ experience of telling stories to his own children. In this book he offers a beginner’s guide to creating the kind of stories that young children love.
Children don’t need epic masterpieces and they don’t need perfection – they enjoy a bit of silliness, a bit of morality, a crazy and impractical character and, of course, humour.
Not only does the author of this guide help you to think of characters and names, and the beginning, middle and end – he also looks at things like vocabulary and the difference between words that are empowering and words that disempower. He also suggests developing themes and discussing in advance with your children which stories might transpire that night or over the next few days.
Sometimes I ask my youngest daughter to suggest a character and a place and we make up a story from there. Occasionally, if the “on the spot” story isn’t very good, she suggests a change to the story before I tell it again – even though she knows what’s coming, she still enjoys listening.
If you want to tell the same made-up stories repeatedly it is a good idea to write them down, and perhaps keep track of characters and themes. The book talks about this and other suggestions, such as telling stories long distance. Of course, there is also technology to consider. You could record a story on video and send it or do it using a webcam over Skype.