There is really nothing like the imagination of a preschool-age child! Long before they can write their own stories, children are ready and eager to tell their own stories. It is wonderfully empowering for a child to see her words written down as a “real” story. So, what are you waiting for? Grab some paper and get started!
If your child needs a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing, here are some fun things to try:
1. Mystery Box (or Bag) – Put 3 or 4 objects in a box. You can choose anything from around the house, such as a spoon, a stuffed animal, a toy car, a pencil, a pine cone, etc. Let your child discover and talk about the mystery items – then see if she is interested in creating a story! This was always a popular activity at my daughters’ preschool – the sillier the item combination, the better!
2. Sticker Stories – Stickers can be great inspiration, too. Decorate a paper with stickers and drawings, then write down what your child says as he tells you about his creation!
3. Playtime Stories – The next time your child is building a block structure or playing with her animals, sit down next to her with your paper and clipboard. Ask her to tell you about what she is playing. This is often a great way to record some of the pretend dialogue that your child makes up when playing. So precious to go back and read as they get older! Add a photo of the play session, too.
4. What Do You Think is Happening? – Next time you are finished with a magazine, pull out a few pictures or advertisements that might interest your child. Let your child choose one or two, and ask him questions like, “What do you think that person is doing?” or “What do you think might happen next?” Write down his story, then glue the pictures with the words, or make your own illustrations.
Here is a similar story project that Delaney did using Tell Me A Story Cards:
She chose four cards from the deck, sequenced them the way she wanted, then dictated her story to me. Add some illustrations, and you’re done!
5. Create a Scrapbook or Photo Journal – Personal experiences are, of course, the most meaningful inspiration for stories. Nature walks, family vacations, birthday parties, and special activities are fun things to talk and write about. This can be as simple as gluing a photo to a piece of paper, then writing down your child’s thoughts and memories about it. Even something simple as watching the garbage truck can turn into a great narration!
A few final thoughts about taking dictation:
- Keep a clipboard, paper, and pen handy so you can capture stories and narrations when the mood strikes.
- Write down your child’s words exactly – bad grammar and run-on sentences are part of the charm of preschool dictation. :)
- Start a binder to collect your child’s stories – as each story is written and illustrated, pop it in a sheet protector and add it to the binder. Don’t forget the date! This could become the most popular bedtime story in your house!
- Even when your kids start writing on their own, keep offering to take dictations. It takes a while for the writing ability to catch-up to the stream of creative thoughts in your child’s head!
Have fun capturing those sweet stories and memories!