The art of oral storytelling seems to be lost these days. I have fond, warm memories of storytelling with my grandparents. My grandparents didn’t necessarily make up stories, but they would tell me about their childhood and all the many days before my time. I was always fascinated by the tales. I long for the same stories for my sons to experience.
Storytelling in nature provides a unique and immersive experience for children, connecting them with the natural world while fostering their imagination and love for stories. Here are five creative ways to bring storytelling to life in nature:
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
- Nature Scavenger Hunt: Use elements from nature to create a scavenger hunt that aligns with a specific story or theme. Hide objects or clues related to the story in different outdoor locations, such as shells, leaves, or stones. As children explore the natural environment, they can collect these items and use them to retell the story or create their own imaginative narratives.
- Storytelling Circle: Find a cozy spot in nature, such as under a tree or near a bubbling stream, and create a storytelling circle. Encourage children to sit in a circle and take turns sharing stories or acting out scenes from their favorite books. The natural surroundings can serve as a backdrop for their storytelling, immersing them in the atmosphere and enhancing their creative expression.
- Nature-inspired Storytelling Props: Bring nature elements to your storytelling sessions by incorporating props found in the environment. Collect branches, leaves, flowers, or stones to create props that represent characters or objects from a story. Use these props while telling or retelling the story, allowing children to interact with them and actively engage in the narrative.
- Outdoor Puppetry: Set up an outdoor puppet theater using a makeshift stage or natural features like tree branches. Create simple puppets from materials found in nature, such as leaves, twigs, or acorns. Encourage children to invent stories, develop characters, and bring their puppet shows to life in the outdoor setting. This hands-on activity promotes creativity, storytelling skills, and fine motor development.
- Nature Story Walks: Take children on guided nature story walks, where you share stories that relate to the environment you’re exploring. Choose stories that highlight the plants, animals, or natural features they encounter during the walk. Pause at specific locations to read aloud or share excerpts from the story, allowing children to connect the narrative to their surroundings. Encourage them to use their senses to observe, listen, and imagine the story unfolding in the natural setting.
More Ways to Integrate Storytelling into Outdoor Time:
- Pick a tree and tell its story
- Pick three to five objects or sights you see along the path and bring them together in a story or poem
- Sing a song about the wildlife and plant life around you
- Personify wildlife around you. Choose a bird or a bug, give it a name, and tell its story
- Choose a plant and tell the story of how it grew from a seed
- Simply tell a story about anything you or your child so desires. Let your child lead the storytelling.
By integrating storytelling with nature, children engage in multisensory experiences that ignite their imagination, deepen their connection to the environment, and foster a love for literature.
These interactive and nature-centered activities provide opportunities for children to express themselves creatively, develop language skills, and develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world around them.