It is National Story Telling Week. I just love imaginary stories, it all began on a long holiday road trip with a friend’s 7 year old daughter in the car. I found myself in the back and having to entertain her for hours on end. The imaginary stories game was born.
How the game works
The child thinks of any three words and Nan will start a story around them. Then from time to time a word can be added to take the story off in another direction. The girl gave me butterflies, fairies and bees. Already gender fixed she gave me things that for a woman like me bought up with “fairies at the end of the garden, yellow lace party dresses and the rhyme ‘ girls are made of all things sweet, ’ this was no real challenge.
With an 8 year old boy it was different. His choices were woods, teacher, dinosaurs.
When I tried this with my grandson at 4 he shouted ‘ dinosaur, transformer and Lego.
Each of these gave me mental exercise and us both a great deal of fun. I had to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes so the fairies became pioneers, the transformer was a girl and the Lego was everything. A bit better than the heavy weight towards boys of the real thing.
I am surprised and enjoy what the children choose to include. One 10 year old wanted to include his headmaster. I had no idea about the back story to this choice. Within the story we had the poor headmaster sitting in a tree top squealing for help to get him down which seemed to work as far as my recipient was concerned.
I always like to take the tale on an unexpected turn. On one occasion he was insistent that guns must be included with monsters. I am not a lover of guns so rejected their inclusion. The pressure was on ,
“but what about the gun Nan’?
“ you know I don’t like guns dead
“But what about the guns Nan”
Exasperated I suddenly pronounced
“ and the monster bent over and a gun popped out of his bottom. He could not sit down for his tea”
This led to roars of laughter and the story happily continued. I realised that a right angle thought could work. The idea of guns = violence was in my head not his.
- Let your imagination fly
- Be true to your values
- There is no need to be too literal
- Silly works best
- If you get stuck check out the suggestions at https://www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week