Telling Fairy Stories – Fairy and Elf Activities #11 for Boys and Girls

We’ve all heard of fairy tales, which are not always about fairies, but instead of reading about these adventures, how about telling fairy stories? This activity can be done inside, or outside, like we did on a forest and garden tour. Once upon a fairy…

Did you know that making up stories with your child is a super learning activity as well as lots of fun? Once upon a time there was a fairy who lived in a house in the forest…

fairy-houseAs adults, we take the basic structure of a story for granted but children are only beginning to understand that stories have a beginning, middle and end sequence. Some of them have dialogue. Stories are usually built around one event or idea. When you tell your child a story you will use this same structure even if you are not aware of doing so. As with so many things, kids need to experience this same pattern over and over before it gets recorded into their thinking strategies.

Telling stories instead of reading them gives kids a chance to make the pictures in their own heads instead of putting the book’s pictures in their minds. This is called visualizing. Creating pictures also exercises their imaginations, plus they link words and images using context and language. You model for your little one how to think on one’s feet and build on resources that are immediately available.

These are just a few of the ways that telling stories promotes development and early learning. As parent or caregiver you have extensive knowledge of what interests your child. You can start with a level and things that are familiar and expand them. 

telling fairy storiesYour stories can be about fairies,  faeries, trolls, elves, gnomes, sprites, imps, leprechauns, pixies, or other mythical creatures. Sometimes, kids will make up their own beings. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are over 200 years old. These stories come from ones told orally for hundreds of years before that. Stories and the story-telling tradition link us to the past and people all around the world. That’s  the magic and power of fairy dust. Could telling fairy stories be part of your child’s play today?

Africa Day: Children’s Books About Africa – We Can Visit in Books

Today, a colleague posted it’s Africa Day. How much does your child know about Africa? And you? Here are some ideas for children’s books about Africa. (Thank you Patrick Makokoro and the Nhaka Foundation for the inspiration for this post.)
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The book A Is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu is a combination of show and tell. The author is also a parent and photographer. While the text is geared for older kids, the pictures can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The images remind us Africa is a huge continent of many countries with great diversity. We can visit in books.


A fun story with a rhyming text is We All Went On Safari by Laurie Krebs and illustrated by Julie Cairns. This is a counting story with not only the numbers in English but also in Swahili. Read more about the animals, the country of Tanzania, the Maasai people, and check the map included. A YouTube video of the book gives an example of how to say the numbers.

What happens if you lose a tooth in Africa? Is there a Tooth Fairy in Mali, West Africa? The answer to the question is in the delightful book by Penda Diakité and illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité. I Lost My Tooth in Africa tells the story in both words and colorful pictures. Losing a tooth happens to children everywhere in the world and is an exciting time. We don’t stop to think about how cultures can be different for such small details. How else are things different in countries of Africa? How are they the same? lost-tooth-africa

Baba shares two African proverbs with us, “Raising a child is like planting a tree. When it is tended well, you will enjoy its shade.” Families and communities are critical in supporting children’s development. One of the resources we use for raising children is story-telling. Words must go from old mouths to new ears. Our brains are hard-wired for stories, perhaps because we hear stories with our ears, see them on the page and in our mind, and treasure them in our hearts.storyteller-statue

Children’s books about Africa share information about countries many of us can only dream of visiting. Do you know some other stories and books for kids about Africa?


Star Wars Storytelling for Kids

Today’s blog post, Star Wars Storytelling for Kids, is brought to you by the famous Google Doodle, which is another story. This doodle is for Charles Perrault, the writer of some well-known fairy stories. Why would a storyteller deserve a day? Another question could be why these stories have been popular for centuries in the first place.

storytelling for kidsAll these questions have the same answer: because the human brain is wired for story. The power of our brains is based on connections. These connections make pathways. Fairy stories not only have pathways thru the forests, but, like all stories, they are a marvel of connecting. Emotions, actions, characters, and consequences are all woven together in a story. So much so, that there are movies of fairy tales seen by millions of people more than 300 years after they were written down. The movie and entertainment industries are all about stories. So is book publishing and news reporting. To say there are billions of dollars involved is no fairy tale.

Considering this, it’s not so strange to have a Google doodle about storytelling. Stories make it easier for brains to understand and remember. They condense vast banquets of information into smaller bites. Stories can be effective for teaching and learning and have been used as a tool for centuries.

star-wars-storytelling-kidsWhen it comes to kids, stories are a super strategy. Kids get their knowledge about dinosaurs and outer space from stories, not from experience. We read books to kids about monsters, animals, faraway places, feelings, bodies, adventures, and more. Imagination takes kids all around the world and beyond. And grownups too.

For a play-of-the-day, take some time for stories with your kids. Instead of reading, make up your own. Maybe Yoda comes to your house for lunch. Then what happens? Perhaps the car transforms into a space ship. Where does it go? Does your child have a concern or worry about something? A favorite Star Wars character might have a solution. Can your imagination play some Star Wars storytelling for kids too?

Kindergarten Readiness: Halloween Learning & Fun – Stories

Once upon a time there was…a great activity for learning and fun and developing kindergarten readiness: telling stories. As parents and caregivers we often read books to young children but we forget that kids also like when we tell them stories. These can often be custom-made including them, their friends, and their favorites. Do you … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Halloween Learning & Fun – Stories

Readiness for Kindergarten – Once Upon a Backpack

Did you know that the human brain is hard-wired for story? George Lakoff, a university scientist, wrote in his book Metaphors We Live By that our minds crave stories and are part of the structure of our brains. What does this mean for kindergarten readiness? That stories are a powerful teaching and learning tool! To … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Once Upon a Backpack

Readiness for Kindergarten – Cook Up Some Fun & Learning

Every day, parents and caregivers need to spend time in the kitchen preparing meals. It’s not obvious but this time can also be used for fun, learning and encouraging your child’s readiness for kindergarten. Much of the information presented to your child  in kindergarten and beyond will be oral. Sharing and reading books with your … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Cook Up Some Fun & Learning

Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping is for Stories

Our little ones are too young for Harry Potter, but just like the thousands of people lining up, they enjoy the same thing–a good story! Camping is a super time for stories. And stories are great to help kids with all kinds of readiness for kindergarten. Reading is a language-based activity so lots of language experiences … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Camping is for Stories