One way to encourage reading is to inspire a love of storytelling. Enjoyment of stories stems from not only reading them but listening to them being read, watching them being acted out and above all creating your own stories. Making up stories isn’t just about sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down any words that come to mind. To make up a good story it helps to have a visually creative mind so you are effectively watching the story unfold with the images you conjure up inside your head. However to imagine something visually doesn’t come easily to everyone so sometimes the use of a visual tool is what’s needed to prompt the creative visualisation inside.
A few weeks ago we saw these amazing sand sculptures at Sand World in Weymouth, Dorset. A couple of my favourites (as pictured above) were Alice in Wonderland by Daniel Doyle and The Gruffalo, Wild Thing plus other characters by Andy Lee. As we had no plans to go to the beach this half term I decided to have some fun with the kids today and bring the beach to us instead. So armed with our little play table of sand, numerous stones, driftwood, shells, two little boy’s lolly sticks (minus the devoured ice cream) and yet more stones we had previously stowed in our pockets from beach days gone by, we set about making our own sand stories.
Below: Preparation underway.
Below: Sea monster lurking amidst the waves.
Below: Snap-a-tron and Rock Monster fly to the moon.
Below: Turtle aliens invade.
Ok, so ours are not quite as impressive as the ones we saw at Sand World in Weymouth but by creating these pictures the kids were able to develop an original story in their own minds. It was a gradual process. We didn’t have any pre-prepared ideas, we just started making funny creatures, then built a scene around them and slowly the story started to unfold. The children began to talk about their characters, what they did and how they behaved, whether the story took place at night or daytime, at sea or on land. We told our stories verbally between us but if you wanted to take it to the next level any pictures created can serve as a fun writing prompt too.
This was very simple to do and so much fun!