Storytelling – it conjures up images of people sitting around a campfire. It could be today, or yesterday or thousands of years ago. Storytelling has always been part of what makes us human. Anyone can reawaken that long-dormant ability and be a storyteller.
The Art Of Campfire Storytelling
A campfire is a natural place for sharing stories. However, families don’t need to wait to go on vacation for a storytelling experience. They can enjoy the art of storytelling around a backyard firepit as well.
Storytelling Benefits For Children
The benefits of storytelling for children are many. Storytelling helps develop literacy and provides a foundation for reading skills. It helps children develop their imagination and it helps them develop sequencing skills. Children who learn to tell stories are developing communication skills that are essential for success in life. Another benefit of storytelling as a family is that it is a great bonding experience and it is just plain fun.
Personal Stories Are a Good Start
At its most basic level, storytelling is the ability to talk about something experienced or witnessed. One of the best ways for parents to become good at storytelling is for them to talk to their families about themselves.
Sitting around a campfire is a great opportunity for parents to talk about what their family vacations were like as a child, or about how they spent their childhood summers. A dad can talk about his favorite summer vacation or his experience with boy scouting. A mom can talk about how she learned to swim or tell of a humorous relative.
Parents can even talk about present events, whether it was at the grocery store or the office. Sharing the day’s events is a great way to nurture communication skills in the family and to build family bonds.
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There are many people who can easily relate the day’s events, in an entertaining way, who don’t consider themselves storytellers. Yet, they are. The even better storytellers are those who can recall in detail something that happened 20 or more years ago. That’s how legends are born.
Campfire Ghost Stories
Of course, one of the favorite forms of campfire stories are scary stories. Parents may be able to remember their favorite campfire stories they told as a child. If not, parents can find many books with ghost tales at the local library.
For children 7 and younger, be careful that the scary stories are not too scary. Stories that follow the Scooby-Doo formula are a good choice since the ghosts and monsters always turn out to be fakes in the end. Funny, scary stories are also a good choice. One of the best of the scary stories for young children is the classic “In a Dark, Dark Room” which relies on delivery for scary shock at the end.
The Community Campfire Story
One of the most enjoyable forms of bonfire storytelling is the community story. One person starts the story and then passes it to the next person, who adds a passage, and so on. Families may choose to allow each person to be the storyteller for as long as he wishes, or they may limit each person’s turn to two or three sentences.
The community story is a wonderful way to build creative storytelling skills, because it allows each person the opportunity to use their imaginations, yet it also allows them the break when their creativity runs dry.
Like any skill or art, storytelling is all about practice. The more families share stories, the better they will become at storytelling.