“And then what happened?”

A really nice way of getting your children to start telling imaginative stories is to simply ask them- ‘and then what happened?,’ other phrases to use are ‘where were you?,’ ‘who else was there?’ and so on…

Last night S told me a story about the time he was saving me from the tooth fairy who was stealing all my teeth; the tale was elaborate and became more exaggerated with all my extra questions

My 5 year old

Use family pictures of outings and scenery to prompt the conversation, in my experience young children love hearing about themselves and seeing themselves in situations they may not remember very well… they always insert themselves into scenes that were taken before they were born as well!

Have fun, talk to the kids! Enjoy the conversation and the subsequent journey your imagination goes on. An added bonus is that my children now prompt each other and I’ve noticed the older children use the same tricks to converse with the younger ones… once the stories have started they’ll develop them into more and more intricate scenarios -here’s a storyboard my 5 yo S made his sister M (15) as he was explaining his dinosaur story the other day:

You can even make food from different countries, find props from around the house, dim the lighting or sit with candles, just try to ignite their thought process and imagination; Have fun with it, let me know how it goes in the comments below!