The next time you hear, “I’m bored!” ringing in your ears, try something different. Instead of simply reading to your children from the books on their shelf, why not come up with your own story? Storytelling is a time-honored tradition, handed down from generation to generation.

When you create stories with your kids, you make memories as palpable as any beloved family photo album. To get started in creating your family storytelling memories, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Do not be intimidated. Anything you have to share is going to be interesting to your children.
  2. Use what is important to you. If you are super clean, for example, create a character who learns the hard way why cleaning up is important.
  3. Use humor. Goofy = happy children.
  4. Create catchy character names. Catchy names make the story come alive and easily remembered.

Another way to create terrific tales is to let the story unravel by having your family add the content along with you. Simply start a story much like the old children’s game “Whisper Down the Lane.” Describe a funny scene using material that is obvious to you. Let each family member add to the story and take it over for a while. Each person gets a chance to embellish upon the tale until finally it is complete. Enjoy as you witness the creative juices flowing.

After you get to the end of the story, see if anyone can repeat the story back. Does the story change? Try the story again using these changes to see if they become permanent.

One of the hardest tasks in creating any story is coming up with its beginning. Below are some ideas for story starters to get you on your story-telling way:

  1. Is a holiday coming up? Make your story a holiday tale.
  2. Put a twist on a famous fairy tale. If the writers of Shrek and Enchanted can do it, you can, too!
  3. Use a topic from the news: Try a young hero story, for example.
  4. A famous writing instructor once said, “Write what you know;” in this case, “Tell what you know.” Use what interests you: a football story, a story about your favorite animal, etc.
  5. Tell a story loosely based on a relative whom your children may have never met. This provides a wonderful way to teach them about someone special.

No matter on what you decide to base your story or how you choose to create it, remember that by telling it, you are sharing time with your children and revealing a different part of yourself. Enjoy making your very own story-telling memories!