Last October my family and I went on holiday to a quaint town up in the Scottish Highlands where we went on a Halloween guided walk through the woods. It was truly magical, all the trees were illuminated with lights, there were spooky sound effects coming from the bushes and… a storytelling tent!
The storyteller had everyone hanging on her every word as she told us a eerie tale, she even had the grown ups sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what happened next.
The age-old tradition of Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we can use to open up a window of imagination and curiosity in a child’s mind and here’s why…
Why is Storytelling so important?
- It nurtures their creativity skills with free-thinking. Children will be able to dream up what the characters and setting looks like in their mind as they won’t have the pictures in a book to rely on.
- It allows children to explore different emotions in the safety of the story, like wonder, fear, empathy and courage. They will be more confident to express these feelings and approach difficult situations themselves in the future.
- It improves listening and attention skills as children will be able to contribute to the oral retelling, possibly helping to change the course of the story events and it’s ending. There are more possibilities and outcomes than reading predefined words in a book.
- You can incorporate familiar aspects of the child’s life into the story to bridge the gap between different cultures, places and ways of life. It gives them a much better understanding of the world.
- Listening to story telling is a good model for children to tell their own stories. This develops and improves their speaking skills and sentence structure whilst building up a bank of exciting vocabulary and story language.
Make your child’s Halloween even more spook-tacular with our 6 scary storytelling tips and game ideas below.
- Go to town with facial expressions, hand gestures, different sounds and props to maintain their excitement and interest throughout the story.
- Don’t make the room too dark or the story too scary as you don’t want your child to have nightmares! Keep the light on slightly, get them to cuddle their favourite teddy for comfort and include silly skeletons and things to make them laugh.
- Make your child a drink of Halloween hot chocolate to snuggle up with while they’re listening to the story. All you need to do is add a pair of monster’s eyeballs to their cup (two marshmallows with chocolate buttons on the top!)
- Make a storytelling chair. This is one of my favourite activities to do because you can unleash your creativity and artistic flare. Decorate a chair by draping it in fabric (black is good for halloween with lots of cobwebs on it) and let different people take turns to sit in it to tell their stories from memory. It’s a good way to encourage little ones to have a go and build up confidence to speak in front of an audience.
- Play a storytelling game which lets your child, friends and family all make up a story together. Sit in a circle, where one person holds a torch and starts the beginning of the story with a sentence or two. Then pass the torch around the circle to continue the story and see what twists and turns happen along the way!
- Make Halloween story stones. Get your child to paint different characters and objects on each one (a pumpkin, a witch, a bat, a magic wand etc) and then rearrange them to tell stories out loud. If you don’t have any stones to hand, then drawing pictures on pieces of paper or card work just as well too.
Do you know any other ways to encourage story telling in your classroom or at home? Leave a comment in the box below!