Thursday, December 5, 2013

Enhancing Creative Story Telling: The Story Bowl

We've been watching too much TV lately.  With temperatures reaching a high of 10, going outside to play as a family isn't an option.  Brr!  It's bad enough going out to do chores.

So with dark coming early, and cold, cold weather, we've been snuggling on the "couch bed" and watching DVDs.  Which is fun. Except it's been taking a toll on  behavior.  The kids are just wanting too many movies.  They wake up in the morning asking if they can pick a movie.  I'm all for snuggling on the couch and watching a movie this time of year, but not before breakfast and chores and school!

Time for a change.  Something to spark some creative thinking.  Something that used items we already had.  I've been wanting to work on story telling with the younger kids, and creative writing with Jayme.  And then I had one of those lightbulb moments.

I asked Jayme to get the big mixing bowl.  Jeffrey was sent on a mission to round up five Lego people.  Ellie was sent for some toy animals.  Jayme selected five toy blocks.  A few other items were dropped in the bowl, and the kids looked at me like I'd lost my mind.

After getting Sydney and Owen settled with the rest of the blocks, I announced that it was time to play The Story Bowl.  I instructed Jayme to close her eyes, and reach into the bowl.  She was to select five random items.

Once she had her items, I asked her to tell us a story.  Her story had to use all five of the items.  She could include other things as well, but those five HAD to be included.

Jeff and Ellie loved listening to Jayme's story.  Then they asked for turns.  Selecting the items was their favorite part.  On my turn, I got a rubber duck, a cylinder block, an airplane, a boat and a frog.  I told a story about a lonely duck who decided to leave his little pond and go looking for a friend.  He tried the boat and the airplane, but they didn't answer him.  Finally he came to a frog sitting on a rock.  They became friends.

On Ellie's next turn, she asked if she could look at the bowl while picking.  I said yes, and she reached in.  She picked the same five items I had, and proceeded to retell my story.  She added a cool waterfall by using her legs though.  Retelling a story is a great way to practice literacy!

This was such a simple game.  But, so much fun!  It hit many learning goals.  And the kids didn't even realize they were learning.  Creativity, sequencing, organization...all essential writing skills.  Those writing skills are honed through oral stories as well as in the written word.

Here is what was in our bowl:
Rubber bath toy animals


Every fairy tale needs a princess/king crown!
Blocks created wonderful background objects--hills, flagpoles, rocks, etc.

Lego People
If you need a fun way to build literacy on a cold winter night, grab a big bowl.  Gather some random objects and play The Story Bowl!

Linked up with: Raising Arrows


  1. This is such a great idea! I would have never thought of this and am thankful I stumbled upon this, especially as I get read to take a little break from school. This would be fun for us to do!

    1. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by.


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