As young children engage in play, they step into a realm uniquely theirs, where their vibrant imagination reigns supreme, allowing for boundless possibilities. Within this imaginative space, they craft intricate narratives, weaving together plots and surprises, often defying the laws of nature and physics. Despite its perplexity to adults, this world always concludes with a satisfying resolution for them.

Kids employ play to understand their surroundings and to put into practice what they’ve learned. Frequently, their playtime incorporates storytelling, and with repetition, their narratives evolve from basic to intricate.


Storytelling is the art of conveying events, experiences, or emotions through a narrative structure, often involving characters, settings, and a plot. It’s a way of sharing information, ideas, or entertainment by crafting a sequence of events that engage an audience’s imagination or emotions. Storytelling can take many forms, including spoken word, written prose, visual media like films or comics, and even interactive experiences such as video games. It’s a fundamental aspect of human communication and has been used throughout history as a means of passing down knowledge, preserving culture, and fostering connection among people.


Storytelling significantly benefits young children, particularly in their language development. Children acquire and enhance language skills through various methods, such as repetition, listening, alphabet learning, phonetics, and handwriting practice. While the last three methods may appear dull and challenging to them, they eagerly engage with spoken language, enjoying listening to stories or actively participating in conversations.


Eliminates the stress, frustration, and monotony associated with academic tasks, enabling them to discover and grasp the language in an enjoyable, stimulating, and playful fashion. These activities hold significant importance in the early years because they…

  • Aids in language and communication skills
  • Enhances creativity
  • Encourages self-expression
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves concentration

Engaging children in activities such as “describing their drawings” or “acting out familiar stories” helps maintain their focus for extended periods. These activities involve them fully, allowing them to develop their speaking skills effectively.


Below are proven methods for introducing and practicing storytelling:


1. Picture books and storybooks

Maintaining a diverse home library stocked with a wide range of captivating picture books and chapter books offers abundant inspiration and source material for children to reimagine and recount stories. Regularly rotate the selection of books to sustain their interest. Opt for titles adorned with vibrant illustrations, evocative photographs, or compelling narratives that ignite children’s imaginations and stimulate their creativity. Books showcasing fantasy realms, talking animals, unexpected bonds, magical elements, humor, and thrilling adventures are perennial favorites.

2. Dress-up clothes/costume box

Items such as capes, boas, plastic heels, costume jewelry, and hats enable children to fully embrace and embody character roles. Regularly switch out dress-up options to align with the seasons and reflect children’s current story interests. Pair costumes with corresponding props like magic wands, pirate swords, and spy gadgets to enrich imaginative play scenarios. Introducing puppets into the mix creates an optimal storytelling environment.

3. Puppets

Puppets inspire storytelling by providing children with a disguised character to embody. Whether purchased from a store or crafted at home using socks, paper bags, felt, foam sheets, or craft materials, puppets enchant children’s imaginations, enabling them to discover distinct voices and personalities. Encourage children to design their own customized puppets as well. Host mini puppet shows at home, where children can act out their favorite story scenes.

4. Arts & crafts supplies

Ensure a plentiful supply of crayons, gel pens, markers, glitter glue sticks, and regularly restock them. Provide crafting materials such as feathers, pom poms, googly eyes, sequins, colored tissue paper, stickers, child-safe scissors, hole punchers, and popsicle sticks to aid in creating storytelling props. Utilize plastercine, Play-Doh, and wiki stix for sculpting story elements. Offer blank coloring sheets featuring generic scenes for creative expression.

5. Building toys

Building blocks, magnetic tiles, interlocking brick sets, and straw/connector sets encourage the construction of story scenes and sequences while also developing spatial reasoning and mathematical abilities. Building kits containing plastic animals, trees, bridges, and road signs facilitate the creation of small world story settings. Figurines complete the immersive experience.

6. Blank books/bookmaking supplies

Utilize bound blank books, staplers, hole punches, yarn, and tracing paper to create do-it-yourself (DIY) books. Children can illustrate and write or dictate their own stories, crafting keepsake journals that promote literacy skills. Engaging in creative bookmaking and story authorship also enhances narrative abilities.

7. Figurines & small world toys

Authentic animal replicas and fairy dolls, when combined with corresponding play sets, spark the imagination for a multitude of stories. Toy cars, trains, dollhouses, and farm sets inspire the creation of interconnected plotlines centered around relationships, adventures, and beyond. Consider rotating small world setups on a monthly basis for continued engagement.

8. Music and instruments

Sing narrative songs and integrate rhythmic instruments such as maracas, jingle bells, xylophones, rainsticks, and small drums to accentuate key moments in the story. Experiment with tempo and volume to heighten suspense and excitement. Create your own sound effects for added immersion.

9. Digital media

Employ storytelling apps and animation software (suitable for their age) to inspire new sci-fi and digital narratives. Enhance with voiceovers, sound effects, and personalized scenes. Record children’s performances to aid in self-assessment.

10. Miscellaneous

Whiteboards, charts, and easel pads offer blank surfaces for visually outlining story drafts. Transform round tub mats into “magic storytelling carpets.” Keep decorated buckets or hats nearby for collecting fees and tips from storytelling enthusiasts.

11. Storytelling props box

Maintain a designated box or basket stocked with assorted and whimsical storytelling props such as sunglasses, hats, canes, gadgets, badges, jewelry, flowers, and scarves. Children can select a handful of items to ignite their storytelling creativity. Keep the excitement alive by introducing new props on a weekly basis.

12. Storytelling costumes box

In addition to dress-up attire, assemble a collection of costumes in a box, including capes, masks, wigs, princess dresses, firefighter jackets, and hard hats, all of which can inspire story concepts. Encourage children to combine and experiment with various costumes and props.

13. Nature items

Leaves, acorns, pinecones, seashells, pebbles, and twigs serve as unique story elements! Incorporate elements from the natural world into stories to enrich narratives and reinforce science concepts.

14. Toy vehicles

Toy cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, trains, boats, and large trucks offer exciting transportation elements for storytelling! Expand on these ideas with playsets, such as airport sets, to further enhance the narrative.

15. Dollhouse

A tiny dollhouse complete with furniture and family figurines inspires social narratives centered around relationships, careers, and everyday activities. Tweens might find enjoyment in constructing homemade dollhouses by stacking small boxes.

16. Model magic/clay

Children craft their own unique story characters and props using clay and model magic to enrich narrative details and develop backstories. Pre-made Play-Doh molds can expedite this creative process.

17. Flashlights/lanterns

In a dimly lit room, flashlights create intriguing effects and enhance the suspense when sharing spooky stories! Lanterns also add to the ambiance with their soft, atmospheric lighting.

Storytime assistant badges: Assign one child as the storytime assistant responsible for guiding group storytelling sessions. They can introduce book titles or topics and choose props from the story box.

By providing a diverse array of age-appropriate storytelling materials in a designated area accessible to children, they can unleash their creativity and weave captivating tales. Engaging in this activity fosters the development of language expression, literacy fundamentals, social skills, emotional intelligence, and creativity. Aim for at least 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted imaginative storytelling play each day. By curating a stimulating, open-ended storytelling environment with regularly refreshed multi-sensory materials tailored to children’s interests, they can immerse themselves in imaginative realms while honing language skills, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and collaborative abilities.

When initially attempting this activity, it might be beneficial for you to select a few items and craft a story, then return the items to the container for your child to do the same with their own choice of toys. You can engage in the activity together by creating a story chain, where your child begins the story and you contribute the next line based on their input. Your child then continues the story based on your contribution, and so forth until all the items have been incorporated. While engaging in the activity, demonstrate how you have interconnected the items to form a story, and perhaps even introduce a plot twist to enhance the storyline.

These storytelling activities create wonderful memories. Whenever possible, document the stories created by writing them down, capturing photos of enactments, and compiling them into a journal or album for future enjoyment. The investment you make now in storytelling activities will pay off as your child grows older and develops the ability to speak confidently and articulately.

At Shir-Hashirim Montessori, educators recognize children’s fondness for stories and utilize storytelling in various ways to engage them in lessons. Stories serve as effective tools for explaining concepts and imparting values to children in an enjoyable manner. Children attentively listen and enthusiastically participate in storytelling activities.

Ethan Wilson