Literacy at Home: Storytelling Sack

Children love telling stories and this week we have a super simple storytelling activity for you that supports two of the five early literacy practices: talking and playing! It’s also one that you can use over and over and over (and over) again!

What do you need?

  • A small bag that you can’t see through (or a box)
  • Some fun storytelling prompt items such as:
    • a Lego figure
    • a toy car
    • a dinosaur
    • a banana
    • a spoon
    • pom poms
    • a magnet

How does it work?

This activity is best done with an adult, older sibling, or friend. Fill your bag (or box) with storytelling prompt items. Have the child choose an item from the bag without looking and begin to tell a story with it. The other participants can then choose an item in turn and continue the story. Take turns until all objects are removed from bag!

This is a great activity to encourage children to let their imaginations loose. Maybe that spoon they just pulled out is magic or maybe this dinosaur can talk and also tell the future. Every time you do this activity you can use a new set of items or just mix in a few new items with old items that have become storytelling favourites. The storytelling possibilities are endless!

Want to add some more literacy development into this activity?

Narrative Skills – the ability to tell stories and describe events, and knowing how a story is structured (moving from a beginning to an end) – is one of the literacy skills that this activity helps to develop. You can boost this learning by encouraging your child to start their story with a clear beginning and to end with a clear ending to emphasize the story structure. Don’t feel tied to using the time-worn phrases “Once upon a time” and “they all lived happily ever after” either. Come up with some phrases that you and your child can use in all your stories. Maybe “It all started on a sunny Tuesday” or “and that was the end of the adventure, at least until the next time”.

This is also a great opportunity to build in some new vocabulary too. Have a look around your house for unusual items that you can add in to your storytelling sack, or branch out by including pictures from magazines, catalogues, or the internet. Think about animals that you don’t talk about very often (koalas, capybaras, servals) or specific names for dinosaurs (tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus, albertosaurus) or different kinds of plant leaves you could bring in (maple, fir, pine).

Above all though – have fun!