Here are some ways to share a love of stories and story-making with the children in your lives.
1. DIY fairy tale. Enact a favourite story at home through a series of photographs. You can print off the photographs, glue them into a book, and add text at the bottom, or make a slide show on Picasa with photographs and caption. Click here for a Goldilocks slide show that I created with my son and our down-the-lane neighbour during the 2010 snowstorms. The photography is unapologetically amateurish, but we had a blast.
2. Turn your kids’ stories into books. Type up a story your child narrates, and make it into a simple, hand-sewn book for your child to illustrate. Click here for my blog post on test driving this activity. I’m no craftswoman, and the final product looked a little … uhm… rough, but my four year old daughter was beyond thrilled to see her words in print in a bound volume.
3. Co-author a book. Team up with your kid(s) to write and illustrate a story, a book about a relative, family friend, or a pet, or a non-fiction book on a topic that sparks their interest. This is a license for unbridled silliness, but you may also choose to tackle sensitive or complex issues of special relevance to your child. Click here for instructions on making a book about a Day in Your Child’s Life.
4. Fill in the blanks. Write a silly story, leaving blank spaces for your child to fill in words or sentences. For a younger child, leave big boxes for them to fill with pictures. Alternatively, you and your child may take it in turns, writing a sentence each. I test-drove this with my son, a.k.a. our family’s writer in resistance, and amazingly, he asked for a follow up instalment — in preference to the Wii. If a writing-based activity passes the Alistair test, it’s a winner.
5. Alphabet hunt. Take your kid(s) into town, and photograph letters on interesting-looking billboards, shop fronts, license plates, road markings, etc. Your kids may either take the photos themselves, or help find letters for you to photograph, depending on their ages, and confidence with a camera. Make an alphabet collage by printing the photos and gluing them to a large piece of card or cardboard, or by using Picasa or Photoshop software to assemble the photographs as a poster. If it takes you several trips to complete the alphabet, save the photos to an ‘Alphabet’ folder on your desktop. It’s amazing how many details you suddenly notice about a familiar environment when hunting for a ‘J’ or a ‘Q’.
6. And of course . . . visit the library!!!