Let the Stories Begin

Telling stories at any time of year is an engaging way to learn about the natural world. During Nature Detectives sessions, we apply a little creativity and share stories – real experience, imagined, a picture book or spoken word.  Stories engage a child’s curiosity and imagination. I introduce riddles to give them a chance to reason and think.

The shortest distance between two people is a story!

Some Nature Detectives want to sit and listen. Others want to take the role of one of the characters or perform the whole story as a play. It amazes kids when they discover we have a lot in common with the characters. We learn from them when we see how they respond to problems and other characters in the story. Here is what I say when say to children when say, We already heard that story!” just  before I begin.

Stories are always more fun the second, third and even fourth time you read them. Because you know what it is going to happen! You know when the scary part is coming. And you already know when the main character will get in trouble or save the day. Every time you hear the story, you learn more the characters. One day, you can tell that story right out of your head without even looking at the book!”

giraffe, dance, jungle, funny, clumsy, sad, music, tuneWe know all stories contain elements of make believe. If they didn’t have elements of imagination and play, they wouldn’t be nearly much fun to listen to. Stories can stimulate interest in animals, plants, landscapes and other elements of our everyday world. Stories inspire curiosity, enhance problem solving literacy and communication skills.  It is never too early to prepare for your next outdoor adventure.

To tickle your imagination and open the door to further exploration and discussion see the list below for additional story starters I developed. Similar to sourdough starter, you can use story starters over and over again to create different stories and wild endings.

  • Who was the creature on the planet to be stung by a bee? Could the bee have been rudely interrupted while pollinating a flower and lost his temper? How did the bee end up being the creature with a stinger?
  • Why can’t all leaves be purple instead of green? Are leaves bewitched? Why do they change color in the fall? Are they all joining a costume party on lawns everywhere?
  • What is wild about wildflowers?
  • When some people get scared, they freeze (stay still). What would happen if water were afraid? Would we still have waterfalls, if water were afraid of heights? What can we see if we look into a healthy and unhealthy “body” of water?

PostscriptYes. Gerald does learn to dance. You need to read the story to find out how. He has a special talent. After reading this story, I ask each child to share their special talent.

Contact Janice to discuss bringing Nature Detectives programs or spoken word stories to your school, neighborhood or nature area.