What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. ~George Bernard Shaw
We like telling stories in our house. We like listening to stories in our house. We have no TV, so stories, whether from a book or just from imagination are the best form of entertainment we have got going. I tell stories for a living, or at least I am trying to make a living from it. Storytelling, is just a part of life for me. So, of course, I try and encourage it from my children. We use the “Tell Me a Story” cards sometimes, which are fun and we do enjoy, but I find them sometimes restrictive in that the actions are often too specific for me. They are ok for Julien who is a bit older, but for Noah it limits it a bit.
We inherited a beautiful set of what we call “Picture puzzles” but in the real world I am not quite sure what you would call them. They are wooden tiles that have lovely simple images on them. Forest trees, one animal, pieces to put together to make a house or barn or whatever you want. There are streams, wildflower fields, green tiles for grass, blue ones for sky.They are wonderfully simple and can be used for so many things. Julien likes to just make a picture with them. He always has. I am afraid he is a bit shy in his story telling. I am hoping he is like his Mama and prefers to put them to paper, which takes away that shyness of telling what lives deep in your imagination. It is important to let those stories out.
I recently introduced Noah to them. Oh, he has played with them before, but never in a “can you tell me what is happening in your picture” kind of way. The simple act of asking, has stirred up some pretty great stories. Of course, he is only three, so you have to help him along. Asking questions like, “I see you put a cow in your story, where does he live? Is he friends with the sheep? What do you think they talk about when they are in the meadow?” all have elicited some very three year old responses. Including “the fox and chicken are friends here because they have to be, otherwise the fish in the stream would be sad.” Naturally.
Storytelling is such a wonderful way to unleash your child’s imagination. You telling them stories, them telling you. It allows them to process the world around them, it allows them a voice to work things out, it lets them know that it is ok to see things differently.