Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Progressive Storytelling

As we've mentioned before, children are natural storytellers. Whether they are retelling an event from their daily life or making up a new adventure, children's imaginations can make for a fascinating story time.

One way to engage your children in active storytelling is to do progressive stories. This could be a good camping or power-outage activity, or just a way for everyone to enjoy a little time together away from technology.

The idea of a progressive story is that it is a collaborative storytelling effort. One child (or a parent) begins the story by describing a character and setting, such as:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a castle. She loved to wear pink every day.
The next person takes the next step, possibly sending the little girl into the woods on an errand, or introducing another character (like a villain). The point is for each person to propel the story forward, and to eventually come to a happily ever after (or not) ending.

One of the best things about telling progressive stories with your kids is how it brings to light each of their individual personalities. Your story will be so full of twists and turns that your little pink-loving castle dweller could end up on Mars defeating an alien horde with a handsome prince from a distant galaxy!

Be patient and have fun with this. As the story progresses your kids might, in their excitement, try ditching the original main character and start a whole new story. Keep them on track and remind them of the importance of seeing the story through to the end--just like in their favorite books and movies.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wooden peg dolls

I am having a whole lot of fun making stocking stuffers for my kids this year!

One of my favorite ideas for my daughters' stockings: wooden peg dolls. The materials are inexpensive, and they can be as simple or as detailed as you please! 

Oh, the possibilities!

These little pegs can be found at your local craft/hobby store. I found mine at Hobby Lobby in the woodcraft aisle. They are sanded smooth and all ready to go. I bought some acrylic paint for $0.57 a bottle and got started right away. They took a few days to complete, as I paused to let the paint dry between colors, and my Santa's workshop time is limited to post-bedtime hours ;) 

All painted and ready for a clear coat.
After I was satisfied with the paint job, a few coats of polyurethane were added for durability. Poly is available in handy-dandy spray cans. We had some left over from a previous project. Once that was dry, I added a little fabric and sparkle for accents :)

You can do just about anything with these little guys to suit your kids' tastes! For two of my daughters, I am making little families (one of which is pictured here) for their dollhouse. I have a third daughter who is on the adventurous side, and her set will be female superheroes (ie., Mrs. Incredible and Wonder Woman).

After Christmas, I'm going to let them paint a few extra dolls of their own.

Little boys can have fun with these, too! Besides superheroes, think pirates, army men, or ninjas.

After polyurethane, with some added accents:
hair bows, lace, and "jewels"

Just for fun, I picked up a little, unfinished wooden box to paint and monogram. The monogram was very simple. I pulled up Microsoft Word, sized the letter and chose a pretty font, and printed it out. Then I traced the initial on the box with tracing paper and painted it in! 

Are you going to give these a try? Tell us your ideas in the comments below!