A day at the beach collecting shells and building sand castles inspires children to make friends with animals like the crabs runing along the beach and to dream up a story about the inquisitive and inventive princes and princesses who live in the sand castle they have just built.
Stories help children understand their outdoor experiences. The setting of a story can help a child to connect to a specific place. When a child tells the story of a special place, she will grow to understand and love that place. Moreover, she will develop an understanding of the characters. Storytelling may lead to a familiarity and love for a place. The steps towards caring for that place becomes smaller and more attainable.
Creating a story is an exciting way to give the brain a creative workout. Yet, starting a story from the scratch is sometimes tricky. A story bag is a wonderful tool to kickstart the storytelling. A nature story bag contains things like leaves, twigs, and stones. Changing the objects in the story bag keeps the story bag fresh. The bag can be tailored to a child’s interest.
For older children you can write small cards with visual prompts or words. You can also have a bag with names, or types of settings. The story bag can be used both for oral storytelling or writing story.
Searching for the perfect items to put in a nature story bag is fun. A child might like to think of a theme and you can make or search for items that can be included. Strange combinations is the perfect way to challenge the thinking. And strange combinations can result in a wonderful creative story. A lion, a witch and a wardrobe inspired the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Of course making the story bag can also be part of the activity.
Encourage the children to feel part of the story and to see themselves as the characters of the story see themselves.
- Where is the crab going?
- What happened before it got here?
Look, smell, touch and listen to the place. What do the things mean?
- How has the landscape changed and developed throughout history?
- What happened on the beach before human got here?
- What will happen after we leave?
Interpret natural evidence to support and spark the storytelling.
- How did the stone get so smooth?
- Who has been chewing on the leaves?
- Who made that scratch mark on the tree?
- Who throw the rubbish in the tree?
- Who ate the crisps?
- Where will teh bag end up after the storm?
Feel the characters’ feelings and explore how they are connected to the place.
Grow a love for storytelling!
Grow a love for nature!