Skully and the story fire

wpid-imag0603_burst002_1.jpgIf you’re looking for a good way to get inside your kids minds then you’d be hard pushed to find something as good as story-telling. Just sit them down and tell them a story (it honestly doesn’t have to be great) then once your turn is over pass the story-telling duties on to your child. It’s amazing to hear some of the things they come out with, whilst listening to just one story develop you can see the beginnings of a witty sense of humor whilst at the same time get an idea of what their worst fears are/might be rooted in.

I don’t do this every night with the boys or anything but it’s good to throw it in on a night where everyone’s kind of been doing their own thing (TV/games/solitary play/housework). You just put a half hour to an hour to one side and use storytelling as a means of touching base and feeling connected and listened to.

wpid-imag0605_burst006_1.jpgThere’s of course the issue of siblings interrupting with their own ideas of what should happen with each others’ stories and this is where I bring in props. Typically we use the ‘story fire’, this is a simple little battery powered fire that Logan got in a Playmobil  caveman set. The great thing about this one is that the fire starts to dim on a timer so you can limit how long each turn takes to save siblings getting bored, plus it puts a fire under your butt to get something good out quick. (You could of course use a large egg timer or something similar to provide the same effect as the ‘story fire’)

Another prop we use is ‘Skully’ (no connection to the X Files), the difference with Skully is that he can talk, so the boys can experiment with voices and make him into a narrator-type-character or simply use him as a participant in their story-telling. Skully has developed into a character who likes to talk about ‘spooky stuff’ (which gives me a wee insight into what makes my boys scared) and he also likes to add comic elements to a story.

I’ll admit that I contributed to this persona but it’s really fun to see the boys experimenting with humour, and especially fun watching them attempt to emulate some of the darker humour that Skully sometimes demonstrates when he’s helping me tell the story.

Have any of you experimented with story telling as a means of getting kids talking and expressing their thoughts/fears/sense of humour? I’ve found the story fire and Skully to be great ways of letting my kids feel heard and giving us all a chance to be creative and have some fun together. Have you come across any other ways to help kids feel heard? As always I welcome any comments you have and don’t forget you can keep up with this blog (or just chat about toys) by popping over to twitter and following me there, thanks for reading, Cheers, John

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6 comments on “Skully and the story fire

  1. ksbeth says:

    i love to do this with my kindy class. we sit in a big circle and pass a stuffed animal or ball around. when it is passed to you and you are holding it, it’s your turn to add to the story. sometimes we do this with a ball of yarn too and it can criss cross across the circle and they are all connected at the end. with my own daughters we used to make up stories in bed and we still like to tell stories when we’re all together. it sounds like you have fantastic props to support this at your house and i think storytelling is a great activity for many reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John says:

      Thanks for commenting Beth, I love the idea of the ball of yarn (probably works best in a classroom, you’ll get a more noticeable effect there 🙂 ). Do you ever get insights into a child’s worries etc. from the kind of stories they tell in a classroom setting or do they tend to hold back a bit when they have their peers nearby? Do you see any ways story telling has changed since your daughters were young or do kids still opt for the same kind of narratives?

      I’m a huge fan of spontaneous story-telling, it’s got to the point in our house where my kids are even expecting a ‘head story’ when they’re on the toilet. I grew up with this kind of story telling so it comes naturally to me, I wonder if all adults feel comfortable making up stories or if some of us find it easier than others.

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      • ksbeth says:

        yes, to the yarn and as far as personal revelations, i’ve had it happen in a lot of story/writing situations. a few times a year, i show them a famous painting, without the story behind it, and they often project their home life or issues, into the story they dictate to me about what they think about the people or scene in the painting means. always so interesting….

        Liked by 1 person

        • John says:

          Love the idea of using famous pictures that way, can imagine it providing some interesting interpretations, given that children will come at it with no pre-conceived idea about what the painting is supposed to show 🙂

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        • ksbeth says:

          exactly. one i have had really great stories spring from, is the mona lisa. each year, many of the kids tell me she looks happy and it is because it is quiet and she is alone there. i imagine this springs from those who have loud and busy home lives. most say she will stay there and be happy.

          Liked by 1 person

        • John says:

          Like that idea, that even kids crave tranquility 🙂 Not sure my two would see peace and quiet as enjoyable 😛

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