Create a storytelling space with props, songs and ritual...
Is there a place in your home that feels like the perfect spot to set up a storytelling area? It can be a permanent space but it actually doesn't need to be permanent. Sometimes creating a space where the storytelling happens and then putting it back to normal again - simply - is a perfect way to make story time even more special. When I have my little playgroup over on Mondays I move some furniture aside and set out a pretty little rug. I have a special shawl that I put on and a candle that I light - after calling the fire fairies and while I am singing the storytelling song (listen to the song at the end of this blog post). Then the mood has been set and I go right in to telling my story. "Where was it, where was it not. When was it, when was it not?" I say slowly and softly to create the mood and to gather the children in even further. By now there is a sense of expectation in the air and a stillness of sorts around us. The magic is beginning.
Storytelling 101- tip number one
Ok, maybe you don’t take your tea on a mushroom BUT I bet you can talk about tea. How it was a little bit hot when whoever was drinking it took the first sip or how the steam rose up in the shape of a... or how it was chilly out and (insert tea drinker) warmed his or her hands around the tea cup. Maybe there was a little snack with the tea and maybe someone had gotten up very early, just like the baker, and made the special treat and maybe the treat or snack is something you made recently in your home as well.
The actual prompt card from the October Tale with this image says this: Sitting around mushroom and toadstool tables they took their tea. The tea is made of flower petals and spices from the lands of summer and even further away than that. It reminded little summer gnome, for a minute, of home, but she was having so much fun... This conjures many images, doesn’t it? But if you start with what you know - simple, familiar things - you will find yourself weaving a Tale with magic and adventure in no time. It doesn’t have to be long, each card doesn’t have to be a whole story - but it can be if that’s what happens. There are an infinite number of possibilities that can come with each Tale. Yours will be perfect.
I’m pretty certain I’m taking refuge in the art and stories from my Tales - kind of escaping in my creating. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain, suffering and struggle people are experiencing from just what’s happened in the past month whether a natural disaster or people with guns. One thing I do know though, is that stories can help us talk about things with children in a way that they can grasp and process. Hopefully we keep our littles away from the news but they hear things and are very perceptive and intuitive people. Adding part of our reality to a story where the characters experience something hard and get through it can be very healing.
Another thing to remember is when you are creating a story and leave the imagery to the child, they will only imagine what is within their own personal boundaries. Maybe something is a little scary, but only as scary as they can handle. Give them an image of something scary and it can be way more than they are able to deal with or process. Does that make sense?
Most of the time storytelling is a delightful, light-filled experience. Sometimes it brings us into the dark and guides us back out with a safe, strong hand. Be courageous with your storytelling, use magic and give the children - and yourself - the belief that everything will be ok 💛
Twelve Little Tales is a project to spread the art of storytelling far and wide.