Tall N Short Tales For Kids

“Once upon a time” is a phrase most of us heard while growing up, and now our children hear from us. Storytelling is essential, “an interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.” How many of you grew up listening to stories by your parents and grandparents? Most of you will nod and agree – mainly the 80s and 90s generations and the generations before. 

Family time was better back then, and we spent quality time together thanks to limited or almost no screen time. Storytelling was one of the mediums that kept us bound together. Traditionally, the best time for stories was always in candle lights. I am sure you just went into nostalgia mode because I just did too! I fondly recollect the time we kids would huddle up during power cuts and listen intently to all kinds of stories – fairy tales to spooky ones. The reason children and parents bonded well back then was also because of storytelling. That was the magic of storytelling.

As we grew older, we made our own stories and narrated them to our families. It became our time then, where we added characters and changed plots as we wished. We read stories aloud, too, and later enacted them. Storytelling became a part of our favourite playtime activities, where we played role-play. It was a fun and cathartic time when we did not worry about clocks, losing smartphones, or friends. Each day, someone new in the gang would come up with their stories or versions of fairy tales they read at home. Sometimes, a telly character would emerge from the narrative into our storytelling/weaving sessions. 

Cut to 2023. Stories and themes have changed over the years, and so has the storytelling style. Storytime has shrunk over time, too, because of parents’ long work schedules, children’s extra classes/tuitions, and often relegated to weekends. 

So why storytelling?
Here are a few reasons why it can be fun for Kids

1. Emotional connect

The first few words you exchange with your child daily establish a connection with their feelings and how they think and understand their environment. Storytelling becomes a medium to find out what they think and feel.

2. Enhances vocabulary

It improves word usage and helps make new words. Each time you make a new sentence while narrating a story, it adds to the memory and takes the child back to the previous level you described to them.

3. Stir’s imagination

Character sketching becomes easier once you read many books. Each character has something unique about them and will inspire you to create new ones with detailed backdrops and backgrounds. Home activities can include one of these creatives.

4. Cognitive development:

The left and right sides of the brain get activated when you read stories to a child. While the left side of the brain is the logical side, the right side is the creative and imaginative side. Storytelling fulfils both these functions.

5. Empathy boosters

Stories and storytelling have the power to make a child think and develop the trait of empathy. In other words, they are putting themselves in the character’s shoes and feeling for them.

6. Drama skills

The best time for a child to develop their dramatic side and learn narration starts when they begin talking. They considerably observe adults who narrate stories and look up to them, especially parents. The way you magnify each expression, and add pitch and volume to your tone, goes a long way in engaging a child in the character they are listening to.

7. Art & Storytelling

Children who listen to stories develop imagination and can begin doodling and drawing their favourite characters. These doodles develop into matured sketches with enhanced expressions as they grow older.

8. Love for long conversations

Children particularly love when parents listen to them about their day, to whom they spoke, their friends’ stories, and the toys they played with. Storytelling begins right here. Encouraging them to talk in complete sentences (beginning with shorter ones) will go a long way in storytelling. Ask them questions, and you will get a long story in their responses.

9. Bookshops vs. Screens –

Nothing like a good old book to occupy you and your child. Screens make them less attentive and imaginative. They want to keep jumping from one scene to the next. Storytelling can keep them engaged long-term. Characters form slowly in the pages of a book. So, keep your storytelling time minus gadgets with the actual book in your hands.

10. Storytelling dates

As parents, you can arrange for story sessions with children. It can be fun sessions while you or other parents narrate stories to them and probably ask them to weave stories as well.

Magic is everywhere and so are stories too. All you need is a story jar (you can create one – a glass bottle or jar). Ask your kids to write words of their choice in chits and drop them in them. Once you collect enough words, start weaving stories. So, you may not even need a book at times to tell a story. Storytelling is as simple as it is. So, get going and narrate a story. Imagine the same joy you felt as a child and the happiness on tiny faces as they light up listening to your stories.


She is a quirky writer/photographer/closet poet and singer who has traversed a non-conventional path. As a former entertainment journalist who has worked in print and online media for a decade, Priya loves talking to people and writing their unspoken stories. She is a single parent of a 7-year-old son settled in Tamil Nadu and a Content Consultant/ Communications-PR Manager. She is also an informal mentor to parents in her local parenting network. She dreams of being an author of a book and maybe the scriptwriter of a film someday!

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