Igniting Children’s Imagination Through Storytelling
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
Igniting children’s imagination gives them a powerful skill that can take them anywhere. Providing opportunities for them to think freely, to create without restriction, direction, or judgment helps them to use their imagination to its fullest potential. Sometimes the strong push for academic standards mastery can bog down the time used for creative thinking. While it is important to learn and comprehend subject matter in preparation for being a contributing member of society, it is just as vital to nurture creativity and imagination.
There are endless ways to ignite children’s imagination. Storytelling is one of the powerful ways to spark creative thinking. If you or your children do not consider yourselves the best storytellers, that is okay! I will share several resources below that will help jumpstart the art of storytelling. The beauty of storytelling and using one’s imagination is the fact that there is no ONE way to do it. Every person’s style, personality, and creative ideas within each story are unique to him or her.
Here are three strategies to inspire storytelling:
- Picture books (Where the reader becomes the storyteller)
- Story Starter Games
- Dramatic Play
Storytelling Through Picture Books
You know the feeling when you are about to write or tell a narrative story but are uninspired and are starting at a blank page? Coming up with ideas can be a major challenge for anyone! There were times when my child would tell me, “I don’t know what to say, Mommy.” Many times we need an extra nudge or help with brainstorming to jumpstart the flow of ideas. My kids and I learned a picture book by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart that answered our dilemma!
You Choose! is a 32-page hardcover picture book filled with tons of ideas for the reader to choose how the story unfolds. Each page asks a question at the top such as “Where would you live?” or “Who would your family or friends be?” It is a great guide for readers and non-readers alike. Whether a child reads or not, he or she can still verbalize excellent stories. Each page has many different types of setting, characters, accessories, and creatures, so the story can go in many directions. Because of this, the book can be used over and over, and the story can be different each time! You Choose is a “bookshelf keeper” with its open-ended capabilities for children. It is such a wonderful, engaging way for children to use their imagination through storytelling!
Storytelling Through Story Starter Games
Story Starter games are another entertaining way to spark a child’s imagination through storytelling. Here are two outstanding games that can be played to inspire imagination.
Both of these games use dice that have images printed on each side. With several dice, there are numerous combinations of characters, events, and settings that can be paired up to create an endless amount of stories. One idea is for one person to roll and to tell the whole story. Another idea is if there are multiple people, each person can roll one die, and each person can tell that part of the story, and continue on.
These games are portable and require very minimal preparation. But the outcome is highly beneficial. Children can play for as little or as long as they would like. The use of games is a very motivating way for kids to learn and apply their creativity.
Storytelling Through Puppets
Dramatic play is another engaging and interactive way for children to use their imagination. There are many ways to provide opportunities for dramatic play for children. One idea includes the use of puppets. This is a wonderful way for children to think creatively in the form of another character. Puppets can be borrowed, store-bought, or even made by the kids themselves. There are tons of ideas to create puppets with paper bags, popsicle sticks, felt, and various art supplies. (Here is a video of my kids showing how to make easy paper bag puppets)
It uses up a great deal of imagination to think about what would the character say or do. Puppets can inspire so many ideas for stories whether they be realistic and local to us, or somewhere from a faraway land, and even out of this world! Using puppets to put on a show can be done by a child independently or collaboratively.
Sometimes embodying someone through puppets also helps us to feel less self-conscious as well. This method can also be good for more timid children who do not want the full attention to be on their faces.
Storytelling Strengthens Imagination & Vice Versa
Storytelling is just one effective method for children to use their imagination. Whether a child is a natural-born storyteller or not, the strategies I described above are outstanding ways to enhance and stimulate imaginative stories.
Finding ways to spark children’s imagination is invaluable. It strengthens their creativity, thinking process, and encourages the confidence to go beyond basic facts. It empowers children to think the unimagined. The imagination is what has fueled our greatest inventors and has shaped our world through innovative ideas.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”- Albert Einstein
This post is part of “The Best Ways to Spark Your Child’s Imagination Blog Roundup.” To read other innovative ways, click the Roundup image below.