This week celebrates National Storytelling Week 2022. We’ve put together 10 creative storytelling ideas for inspiration and to help join in with National Storytelling Week.
National Storytelling Week is a chance for everyone to join in and share a love of stories.
Not only do stories reflect our history, our relationships and our understanding of the world, engaging in stories and storytelling helps us to better understand ourselves. The National Literacy Trust found that reading, writing and listening to audio books helped children’s mental health and well-being throughout lockdowns, with almost 60% of children saying that reading had helped them to feel better during this time.
Whilst National Storytelling Week is typically celebrated in schools, everyone can join in and benefit from some fun with storytelling.
You can follow these simple and easy storytelling ideas for inspiration, either individually, with friends or together as a family at home.
Storytelling Ideas to Try for National Storytelling Week
- Share Your Favourite Stories
Start a conversation with a friend, a sibling or family member about your favourite…
– Books that became films
– Paintings or famous photos
– Myth, legend or mythical character
- Let a Book Choose You
Find and pick up the most colourful/hardest to reach/closest to the window book on the shelf. Don’t choose a book, just find the one that most closely matches the prompt.
Choose a page at random and read the first paragraph aloud. Can you connect that paragraph or that character’s moment to any in your day or your week? Can you use this to develop any of your own storytelling ideas?
- Reinvent an Ending
Can you think of a story that you wish had ended differently? Should there have been a happy ending? Should there have been a better twist?
Choose a story and give it your own ending – the funnier, the gorier or the more ridiculous the better! If you’re stuck for a story, choose a fairy tale. How would you change the story of Hansel and Gretel?
- Collect Some Memories
Think of a happy memory of your own and write it down, using just a couple of sentences. Add in as many senses as you can: where were you? What did it look like? What did it smell like? What could you hear? How did you feel?
Repeat this with as many new memories as you like and start a memory jar.
You can also ask friends or a family member to join in with their own memory too. Pop the notes into a jar, pull one out at random and try to guess who’s memory it might be.
- Interview Somebody Interesting
Real life stories can lead to some of the best storytelling ideas.
Sit down with somebody who is different to you and ask them questions about their life. Try to interview somebody older or younger – of a different generation – or somebody from a place you’ve never visited before. Ask them to share a memory or a story from their past with you. Can you discover any fascinating details?
- Swap Point of View
You can do this one either as a piece of writing, or with drawings, photo, or video. Any medium can work for these storytelling ideas.
Write a short, simple story, or draw or photograph an interesting object, or a person. Next, swap the point of view. Re-draft your story, focusing on one of the other characters. Re-shoot your photos, or re-draw your subject, taking on another point-of-view: how does this change the story? Who is the new character and what is their relationship? Which is the more interesting to you, or more powerful?
- Report an Event
Choose a moment from your day/week, it can be absolutely anything, it doesn’t have to be special or exciting. It could be as simple as you discovering you have cheese sandwiches.
Next, turn it into a news report of the moment: include some details of what happened before, e.g. The child opened their lunchbox, and also details of what happened afterwards, e.g. They were horrified to discover the sandwiches were cheese and not jam.
Try to make your report as dramatic as possible and turn it into a big event. E.g. There are now thousands of children protesting against cheese sandwiches and demanding answers from the school governors. Don’t feel that you need to keep it truthful, fictionalise your event into something really far-fetched.
You can write up your report as a news article, or film a video news report.
- Focus on a Change
Stories don’t just tell us what happens to characters, they tell us about what happens inside for them too. The best stories often have an internal arc, alongside external ones.
Come up with a single character trait, for instance lonely/silly/optimistic/timid/rude.
Now choose a trait that’s the very opposite and imagine what could happen to transform your character from their initial state to their new one. How does your character go from their first trait to the opposite?
- Improvise with Some Storytelling Ingredients
Choose 3-5 different ingredients with which to write a story; the more fun or random the better. Include a mix of character ideas, objects and places, e.g. Evil Robot, Lizard, Chef, Guitar, Roller Disco.
Use your ingredients to mix up a story. Try to include every ingredient, it doesn’t matter too much how you link them, these storytelling ideas are all about being creative. You can always edit your story later on.
- Start with a Title
Choose one of the storytelling ideas prompt titles below and see where your imagination takes you!
– The Disaster
– The Creeking Stairs
– The Messenger
Give these storytelling ideas a try, you never know what incredible storytelling adventures you’ll end up on!
Want more storytelling ideas? Take a look at our 6 Activities for Boosting Visual Literacy.
If you’re interested to learn more about storytelling ideas for the screen, you might enjoy our Inanimate Object filmmaking project or our online screenwriting workshop.