Mind Mapping Using Fairy Tales

Children love fairy tales and from a young age they begin to retell a story. Emergent literacy is a term that is used to refer to the idea that children  learn about reading and writing before they receive formal instruction. Children imitate reading and writing activities – you can hear them muttering while they are looking a pictures in a book, and they scribble something on a paper and then they “pretend” to read it.

Reading stories and exposing children to literacy experiences is linked to the success of a child reading learning to read and write. Reading stories, looking at letters on food packages, and signs are all activities that teaches a child about reading and writing.

This love for stories and storytelling can be used to teach children to use mind mapping. Young children who learn about mind mapping often like to draw pictures and use colours in their writing. You can cut out pictures or print out pictures from the Internet and use them for retelling a story fairy or writing a fairy tale.

Retelling a story

Tell your child a story.

  • Ask her to listen carefully while you tell her a fairy tale.
  • Tell her that this is a special type of listening where you make pictures in your head while you are listening.
  • You can ask her to retell the story to a soft toy or doll before you make a mind map of the story.
  • Try to use a story that has many image words like – castle, fairy shoes, magic bottle

Then you tell the story again, while your child draws pictures. You can also search for images in magazines together. The more familiar she is with the story the easier this will be. Even young children, 3-4 year olds can retell a story. Prompt her by asking questions such as, what happened after the witch came, or what kind of shoes did she find under her bed.

Now you can create a simple mind map by dividing a paper into separate areas.

  • One area with the beginning of the story
  • Two areas for the middle part
  • One area for the ending

If it is a longer story, you can divide the paper into more sections. Glue or draw a nice picture in the middle – something that represents the story. For example a magic apple, a magic bottle, or a pea.

Then you fill each area with pictures of the character, the places they visit and magical objects that they find. After you have filled all the areas you draw lines between the images and drawings. These are the branches in the mind map.

She can then retell the story using the mind map.

It is possible that ideas for more things to include in the mind map pops up, while she is retelling the story.  Improvements, clarifications. Adding sub-branches may make the mind map easier to use when retelling the fairy tale. The mind map may not be a “perfect” representation of the story. But the think dive into the story and the creation of the mind map is main thing.

Writing a story

You can use a similar approach to write a fairy tale. Divide the paper into different section and look for an idea that represents the story – this can be done last when she has more ideas about the story.

  • Characters in the story
  • Places the characters visit
  • Magical objects  and clothes – fairy shoes, magic door, cauldron
  • Things that happen

Then you look at the branches and start telling a story. Often as you make a mind map the story starts to tell itself.

Happy Fairy Tale Time!


For inspiration on Fairy Tales visit my board on Pinterest.

I found a great mind map created by two boys – 4 and 6 year old. They created a Star War story and this stunning mind map You will find lots of inspiration and ideas about mind mapping at Alessio’s Blog.

Photo A faerietale of inspiration  The little monstrerrrr

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