Child led stories - an activity to start conversation and prompt your children’s self expression.

You will need

. A few pieces of A4 paper

. Pens

. A stapler (optional)

This activity is ideal for children between the ages of 3 and 10. Make sure you choose a quiet time to do this activity, don’t have your phone with you or any screens on in the background and try to choose a time when any other children are either settled or elsewhere.

.Fold your sheets of plain paper in half to make a book (you could staple it together).

.Explain to your child that together you are going to write a story. How will your story start? If you’re child is stuck for ideas prompt, shall we choose a place to start our story? Or a character to write about?

. Allow your child to lead the story, write or draw their ideas, ask them questions like, how is your character feeling now? Is there anything you would like me to put into a speech bubble?

. Depending on how much your child understands you can extend this by adding a story structure - a beginning, a middle and an end. You can ask questions like, what are the amazing things your character can do? What makes your character different to everyone else?

Sometimes children want to draw or write their own story rather than have you document it; this is fine, just observe their work and ask them for ideas on what to do in your story.

The benefits of this simple activity are:

. You are showing your child that their ideas are special and worthy of your time.

. By giving your child freedom in creating the story, you are giving them a platform to express their thoughts and feelings - this is proven to be an extremely effective way to communicate with shy or withdrawn children and is used commonly in social care.

. By creating something physical that represents your child’s ideas it makes them real and visible, your child can keep it and you can revisit their masterpiece with them.

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