Not the one about the fish that got away.
You know, the one that was so big it could have sunk the boat.
Tall tales are essentially stories and storytelling can help people solve problems, deal with stressful situations and increase inner harmony.
That’s why it is so important to encourage this creative use of imagination in children.
TELLING TALL TALES
We all know how important reading is for kids (and adults).
It entertains and educates, helps with our memories and listening skills and can aid us in understanding complex ideas.
Storytelling takes these benefits to a new level, sparking imagination, increasing confidence and creativity, and helping us to solve real-life dramas.
Telling stories is different from reading them because you become totally reliant on your own imagination.
And how we perceive the world around us is affected by our imagination.
What we imagine seeing or hearing in our head can alter our actual perception, according to research by a team from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Developing the imagination tool means it is easier to create our own reality and find positive outcomes in stressful situations.
Did you read my post How to Create Your Own Happy Ending? In that article, I explained how one of the Goddesses and I came up with a fun way to overcome our sadness. We used creativity and our imagination to do this.
THE BENEFITS OF TELLING TALL TALES
Encouraging storytelling in children enhances their confidence, vocabulary, communication skills, creativity and memory.
Telling stories helps us to understand the complexities of life and to determine our own value sets.
Children’s stories may reveal their current fears and concerns, opening the door for you to help them cope with these.
Many of us have traditional stories we can verbally hand down to our children. These are wonderful because we can share a set of virtues and morals we believe to be important.
However, it is the fun, crazy and fantastic tall tale that really gets the imagination moving and reveals our inner fears and desires, which ultimately helps us to understand ourselves.
Many people, particularly adults, feel daunted when they are asked to tell a story from their own imagination.
It is a skill that can be learned at any time, but by teaching children to do this at an early stage, they reap the benefits all their lives.
I practice what I preach by stretching my imagination and creativity each time I offer fiction on this blog.
While seeking Goddess approval for my children’s stories about George the Gingerbread Man, I explained to one of them how I write stories for others to read.
She immediately asked me for her own storybook.
I gave her a little notebook and special flower pen (you can find the instructions for making these pens here).
Every time she comes to Grandy’s that little Goddess asks for her book and ‘writes’ stories in it.
At the moment, she has only mastered the ability to write her name but she fills the pages with letters and characters and then tells me about the stories she has written.
HOW TO TELL A TALL TALE
She is an amazing storyteller. Long before she had her own writing notebook, I encouraged this creative endeavour with what I call storytime props.
We make a craft item and then create a story to go with it, which often results in the creation of more craft items. Read Easy Steps to Make a Terrific Turtle and her Hatchling. This project was designed to explain, visually, how turtles lay their eggs, but soon morphed into storytelling time which included some fun adventures for the turtle.
I share these projects regularly in my Wacky Workshops craft posts.
As our brains tend to think in pictures, it is often helpful to have a prop to get started with a story.
It doesn’t have to be something you’ve made. It can be a favourite toy or an interesting nature find.
Often, just a picture will do the trick.
A favourite game with one of the Goddesses is to draw a shape on a piece of paper, then get her to add to it. We take turns creating a picture, all the while telling the story of what we are drawing. The story tends to get taller and crazier with every new element to the drawing.
Another great way to encourage storytelling is by using story blocks.
These were originally developed as a creative problem-solving tool for adults but are now a popular gift to buy for children.
You can buy them in small sets of three blocks with pictures on each block that relate to a specific category or in larger sets for more advanced users.
Or, of course, you can add to the creativity by making your own. Here are instructions for making story blocks and a fun story prop, Bella Ballerina and her bird.
In the meantime, dare yourself to come up with a tall tale. You may surprise yourself and find a treasure trove of wondrous imaginings you never knew lived inside your head.
Happy tale-telling and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.
Beverley GoldenJanuary 19, 2017 at 10:28 am
This is lovely, Tami! Although I have a soaring imagination, it is interesting that I don’t often write fiction and don’t gravitate to it either. In our therapeutic art program we had a term where we created our own fairytale with ourselves as the heroine. Mine was incredibly ‘true to real life’ although I actually love fairy tales and see the larger message and lesson they offer us. I do love starting an art piece by writing first and then extracting words that pop from what I wrote as an impulse to take to the art. I know in Waldorf education, especially in the early childhood education, it is all about encouraging the child’s imagination through many creative forms, including storytelling. They encourage keeping children away from technology and have them interact with ‘real’ things to create stories and music and plays etc. It must be so much fun and very rewarding for you to be able to bring so much of your training and your ideas to your Goddesses! Just perfect!
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm
I appreciate your lovely comment, Beverley. Yes, I do have so much fun sharing my ideas and training with the Goddesses. There are so many wonderful ways to help your imagination soar and the art class sounds like it is the perfect fit for you and your desires.
Sabrina QuairoliJanuary 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Some years ago, when the kids were little, I watched a movie about telling stories where the father would tell stories with the kids before bedtime. It was so sweet that I started creating my stories with the kids. They enjoyed it and started creating their stories. Now, they are teens, and they think it’s silly. Oh well. Hopefully, they will story tell their kids some day.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:31 pm
I know that feeling, Sabrina. So many of the fun things I did with my sons were no longer cool when they became teenagers. Makes me super happy when I see them doing the same fun things we did with their own kids now.
Susan Mary MaloneJanuary 20, 2017 at 2:51 am
You constantly make my heart sing, Tami! I don’t believe anything is more important in childhood than stories–whether those read in a book or those told or penned in a child’s own storybook. It’s what helps children make sense of their lives, in the same manner it does adults 🙂 But ah, to have that foundation.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:33 pm
Yes, that foundation really can make a difference, later on, Susan. Thank for your sweet words, I really appreciate it.
Christy SoukhamneutJanuary 20, 2017 at 3:24 am
Life without stories would be so boring. My daughter is always asking me to tell her a story. She likes fictional stories, but she likes real ones the best. She wants to hear about adventures from when I was young. She has an insatiable appetite for stories.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:34 pm
That is so wonderful, Christy. Her appetite for stories will give her lots of joy in life.
Anne DiVittoJanuary 20, 2017 at 8:07 am
Great read! Telling tall tales definitely gets the imagination going. I love this time at night with my kids where I tell a story and try to make it as outlandish as possible. The kids love it! They love helping to add the details too.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm
It is so much fun doing that! I love how ridiculous and outlandish the stories can become.
Lori EnglishJanuary 20, 2017 at 11:33 am
This was intriguing a great article and I liked the story blocks and how using them to encourage children to read. This is a great article.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm
Thank you, Lori. Love to share my tips and tricks to spark imagination, especially in kids.
Joyce HansenJanuary 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm
Got to get me some story blocks.
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm
They are a lot of fun and can be quite challenging, Joyce.
stuff4uand4uJanuary 21, 2017 at 4:05 am
Oh, I am so on the same page with you! What is sad is our educational system (US) does not reward this kind of thinking. One of my kids is a left-handed, right-brained kid who loves to color outside the lines. However, he is always being taught to stay in the lines, which stifles his creativity. He took to writing his own stories, and his imagination grew. Wish that was encouraged!
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:38 pm
Well, those teachers would hate me because I have an exercise where I actually encourage the kids to colour outside the lines. So great to hear your son is enjoying his creativity by writing his own stories.
Joan M HarringtonJanuary 21, 2017 at 11:42 am
I agree Tamuria that telling tall tales is a very good thing 🙂 Fun too!
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:38 pm
So true, Joan, not only beneficial but also fun.
Candess M. CampbellJanuary 22, 2017 at 5:01 am
What an incredible grandmother must be! Your creativity is amazing and you make life fun for the child in all of us!
tamuriaJanuary 23, 2017 at 5:40 pm
Thank you, Candess, what a lovely thing to say Nothing like the company of some cute little Goddesses to make the inner child come alive.
Alene A GeedJanuary 24, 2017 at 9:16 am
I love your idea of drawing a shape on a paper and then keep adding to it.. each person enhancing and enlivening the tall tale. What fun! And I agree that we learn easily when ideas are presented to us as a story. Thanks for a great post
tamuriaJanuary 26, 2017 at 10:46 am
The drawing works really well, Alene because it’s encouraging creativity on two front. Plus it is loads of fun. Glad you enjoyed.
Reba LinkerJanuary 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm
Thanks, Tamuria. My son is always asking for stories. You’ve given me some great places to start. I love the idea of starting with something real, like a how a turtle hatches its eggs, and making that into a story. Also of drawing and telling.
tamuriaJanuary 26, 2017 at 10:47 am
I love starting stories with a few true facts as well, Reba. Makes the learning process so much fun.
Sonya KolodziejskaJanuary 25, 2017 at 3:47 am
Ohhhhh i love reading, it helps me use my imagination and relax. The kids and i also make up stories, it keeps things fun.
tamuriaJanuary 26, 2017 at 10:48 am
Yes, it is always fun to tell stories, especially with kids.
Renee groskreutzJanuary 25, 2017 at 10:18 am
Stories are a great form of communication. They help kids learn and understand how life is and should be. Where would we be without them?
tamuriaJanuary 26, 2017 at 10:48 am
It would be an empty world with no stories, for sure.
Katarina AnderssonJanuary 26, 2017 at 6:03 am
Telling a story is a great thing to do…as you mention not all adults want to or think they can, often because we think too much and perhaps are afraid of judgement. Though a good story is important in a lot of contexts.
tamuriaJanuary 26, 2017 at 10:50 am
Definitely agree Katarina, fear of judgment can stop us in our tracks with so many pursuits. That’s why it is often easier to tell silly and outrageous stories.