Shuffle tales

Let the luck of the draw turn your child into a sterling storyteller.

You'll Need

  • 12 varied images
  • Index cards
  • Glue

Learning Stages

Most of us know how important it is to read to our kids. But the reverse process—encouraging your child to take center stage and spin a yarn of his own—is also valuable. When a child becomes the storyteller, he quite naturally unlocks his imagination, structuring the world according to his own inventive fancies.

Here's an idea to release the storyteller in your child: collect a series of pictures—such as disparate views of a man on a bike, a cat, a cafeteria, etc.—and glue each image onto a 4 x 6 index card. When you have a dozen or so, ask your child to shuffle the deck and turn over the first card. Using the card's image as a guide, ask your child to begin a story, and then continue his tale with the second card, etc. (Some kids need a gentle push at first. If the first card depicts a train, for example, you might suggest that the train has magical properties—it makes anything possible as the story progresses).

"Shuffle Stories" also works well when a few kids, or the whole family, participate. As you reach the last card, there's the challenge of tying together all the loose ends, and when your child pronounces "the end," you can start all over again. Merely reshuffle the cards!