Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Helpful Tips for Making Up Stories

10 Helpful Tips for Making Up Stories- A mom that once struggled with making up stories shares the things that's helped her.

Yesterday, I wrote about storytelling with clouds and I shared my attempt at making up a story. I really wanted to include some tips for storytelling, but for ease of reading and navigation I decided to gather all of my best tips into a post of their own. I am a mom that has struggled with making up stories. so I thought I'd share a few of the things that helped me.

10 Tips for Making Up Stories

  1. Practice. I'll never forget R's reaction when I first started making up stories. He very sweetly said, "Mama, that story wasn't very good. But it's okay. You tried." And he was right. It was absolutely awful. I stumbled through it and it wasn't entertaining in the least. But I did try. I kept trying and practicing and I did get better. R appreciates my efforts and I bet your child will appreciate yours.
  2. Let go of perfection. Yes, practice is a great tip (if I do say so, myself) but you should also let go of perfection. Know that even when your best story falls a little flat, you are still building and nurturing a connection with your child. 
  3. Add their interests. You know your child best. You know what they like so use that to your advantage when you are telling stories. Base the story around their interests.
  4. Use their name. I've found that if a character in the story has their name it makes the story more entertaining.
  5. Use various voices. An easy way to make any story come alive is to change your voice for various characters. Don't worry about seeming silly. Your child will like it and that's what matters.
  6. Make it interactive. Ask questions. If it's something you've said throughout the story, young children can anticipate the answer and repeat it back to you. You can also build your story around their answers. If you are telling a story and have no idea what to say next, ask them a question and use their answer. 
  7. Build a series. Once you've created a character that they love, stick with it. Build a series by adding onto the character's adventures. 
  8. Relate the story to your child's life. You could work through your child's fears, doubts, and anxieties by having a lovable character work though the very same problem. As well as celebrate accomplishments and special occasions! It's instant story material that is familiar and helpful!
  9. Act it out. You are sure to bring any story to life by acting it out. Please don't be afraid to cut loose and act silly. Enjoy the giggles.
  10. Tweak a classic. You don't have to start from scratch. Change the details of a classic to make the story new.

More Resources for You

I know how difficult it can be to make up a story as you go and I hope that you've found these tips and resources helpful. Thank you so much for reading!

Do you have any tips for storytelling? I'd love to read them! Please feel free to share your tips and tricks.


  1. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips, Joyce! I am a grandmother to a very sweet 18-month old little girl, and she has just very recently showed an interest again in books - after loving being 'read' to when she was a baby. I cannot wait to start sharing storytelling with her - and your tips are going to be a great help.
    Kind regards, Rita

  2. some truly great points.... especially expanding on their interests. and the most important one you touched on was don't be afraid to act silly. i believe it's impossible to make a fool out of yourself in front of a child-think of all the things they do! some of my best memories of growing up were of my mom being silly.

  3. This is a super post! I don't make up stories a lot- but I find that when we use our "puppet theater" in the play room, I end up making up ridiculous stories using the puppet characters- And anything goes- The more absurd, the more the kids laugh. So great you are doing this with "R"!

  4. Hi Rita! I can't tell you how much your comment made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I'm really glad you liked this post and will find it useful. I'm sure your granddaughter will love listening to your stories. This makes me smile :)

    Thank you, Andie. :) Silly is the crowd pleaser, isn't it? I've done so many things now that I'm a mom that I would have never done before. Having a child makes it okay to be silly even out in public. haha.

    Great tip, Tricia! R loves puppets a lot too, and it's so easy to let your imagination run wild with them. Using props in general would be a good tip to include, but it's something I generally need to get better at. Other than puppets. R reminds about doing the puppet shows. haha.

  5. Great tips, Joyce! You are so right about practicing storytelling. I'm not very good at making them up on the fly, so I usually try to get my son to fill in as many details as possible.

  6. What wonderful tips! JDaniel loves it when I build on a theme. Robots working in different factories was the theme last fall. Then we moved to Star Wars.

  7. These are great tips! My daughter has me tell her a story every night about when I was a little girl...and I don't remember very much so I do a lot of storytelling!! :-) And I know I've told you before, but I really do love your site design! It's so clean and welcoming! Well done!! :-)


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