Posted in Halloween, math

BOOtackular Fun Math Time Activities and FREE Printables

My kids jumped for joy when they saw me bring the big orange bin up from the storage closet. They knew what was in there. Halloween is one of their most favorite times of the year- I mean the candy, costumes, decorations, etc. But what they really love is all the activities I’ve put together over the years. The great thing about these activities too is that you might already have these items at your house or you can find them for cheap at the dollar store.

Let’s look at the fun ways to incorporate math into your Halloween playtime. These activities are probably geared toward PreK-1st but you can change up the numbers to make it more appropriate for your learner.

Ten Frame Eyeballs:

This activity is great for working on number sense up to 20, meaning your child is building fluency with numbers, what a given number set looks like, and understanding how to work with numbers.

Materials: 10-piece pumpkin tray (you can use an egg carton and cut off the last two sections), plastic eyeballs, and number cards. We’ve used this game for a few years now but I’m pretty sure I found all the materials at the dollar store and I printed the number cards.
It’s a pretty simple activity to set up and play and it’s really easy to differentiate. For preschool or kindergarten I would only work with numbers up to 10. For 1st graders I would work with numbers up to 20. Give each student their own tray, a set of eyeballs (at least 10 or 20), and a stack of number cards. The student is to flip over a card and make that amount in their tray. The reason this tray is so wonderful for number sense is that students can easily work with the number 10. It also helps with subitizing and counting on, all of which are really important concepts to master.

After the student has made their amount, they can take all the eyeballs out and start over or they can flip over a card and change their amount. For instance, if they first flipped over the number 5, and now flipped over the number the 8, they can see they need to add 3 more. Or if they flipped over the number 2, they can see they need to take away 3. So not only are they building a sense of what the number 5 looks like, but they are learning about addition and subtraction and again building fluency is working with and changing numbers. First graders will need two trays so they can work with numbers up to 20. Once your kindergartener expresses mastery in working with ten, have them work with numbers up to 20.


Halloween Candy Math

Do your kids constantly ask if they can have candy out of their Halloween bucket? Yep mine too. And my answer always is, “Sure, but math first.” Sometimes I get the eye roll but they are starting to understand my natural teacher tendencies: I can and will always make a math activity out of your snack!


All you need is small bag of candy: Skittles or M&Ms work really well. Open the bag and have your student sort by color. If you have a preschooler, this is a great activity for them. You can even have them sort them by color into graph-like columns and then let the learning begin:

  • What color do you have the most of? The least of?
  • How many do you have altogether? Have your child put them in a ten frame pattern (5 on top, 5 below and so forth) or piles of 10
  • How many altogether when you combine the (red) and (yellow)?
    • For older students, give them a word problem such as “The answer is (7) what could the problem be? Or work on arrays (multiplication) and/or division.
  • How many MORE (red) do you have than (yellow)?
  • Are there enough for each person in our family to have (2)?
  • If there are (15) candies and you eat (7) how many will be left?
  • Practice subitizing (the ability to quickly see how many without counting one to one): without your child looking (you can see in the picture below I’ve used a box that I can cover with the lid), choose a color (or some sort of small object) and put them in a dice pattern (5 for instance).  Then show your child and have them quickly (no pointing and counting with their fingers) tell you how many. Continue with one color and then move to 2 colors. Take 2 of one color and 3 of another and arrange them closely. Have your child look and tell you how many.


  • Practice making patterns (while this isn’t exploring number sense it’s still a great activity for practicing math concepts)


Guess My Jack o’ Lantern attribute game:

This is a fun game my kids really enjoy and they don’t even know that they are working on their descriptive vocabulary, exploring attributes, comparing and contrasting.

You can find this FREE game and the printables that I’ve created here

Halloween Story Problems:

Word problems are great for developing number sense, mathematical thinking and problem solving.

Remember that big orange bin? Yeah there are about 100 mini erasers in there that my kids love to play with. They come up with all sorts of ways to use them. Mathematically speaking, they are great for sorting, counting, patterning, etc.

If you’ve got some (or a hundred) laying around, grab them and print out this FREE  activity for some fun story problems that your kiddo won’t mind solving.

20181017_103933And if you have littles in the house (that won’t eat erasers), the haunted house printable works well to print out and give to your toddler while you are trying to work with your other kiddo. It will keep them busy for you.


I hope you enjoy these ideas and printables for some fun Halloween math time.


Posted in Nature, Play Time

Packing an EDventure Backpack

nature backpack

My family and I were hiking on our property the other day, and while I carry a pretty big backpack I quickly came to realize it wasn’t holding everything my little explorers needed. Now I am pretty seasoned when it comes to packing for my wild ones and I for a day outside. You see, for a few years, my kids were enrolled in a nature school program, where I was also one of the facilitators. We learned and played outside for one or two days a week, YEAR ROUND, in Colorado.

Since we now walk out the door for our short walks in the woods, we aren’t bringing all of our exploration gear. But short walks start to turn into long walks, or we see something extra special and I realize it’s important to bring our stuff every. time. Back to my pack mule days!

So I want to share my list with you of all the gear I bring along for one of our EDventures.

The Essentials:

  • a good heavy duty backpack. With lots of pockets. And water bottle holders. And carabineers. I had a normal Eddie Bauer one but quickly outgrew that and got a much larger one as a Christmas present. Mine even has a rain flap that covers my entire pack. You wouldn’t believe how many times that has saved our stuff as we’ve hiked in down-pouring rain. The blue backpack in the pic below is the one I use.


  • a small backpack for your kids. My kids enjoy bringing their own backpack and packing their own snacks and items, plus it also helps my pack load.
  • Proper seasonal clothing. I’ll post more specifics at another time but I find I always need extra socks, pants, shirts, and a zip up fleece hoodie or jacket (good for all seasons). This includes hats, sunglasses, etc.
  • a first aid kit.  What to keep in your first aid could make for it’s own post, but make sure you have the essentials (which usually come in a pre-bought kit). I also add my own items, like essential oils, colloidal silver, homemade hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Kleenex and or wipes. I also keep a moist washcloth in a plastic bag for wiping hands and in the event we come across poision ivy
  • sunscreen and bug spray
  • Water and snacks of course. We don’t get far or even home, for that matter, if we don’t have a gagillion snacks.
  • Plastic bag: for dirty or wet clothes, or trash
  • treasure box or bag: kids love to bring home all the things they find. I like the brown bags with handles. My kids like decorating these and I can clip the handles to their backpacks with a carabineer.

Exploration Accessories: These are things I like to bring but are not necessarily essential to a hiking adventure, but they do have lots of value and make for a really fun outing

  • compass
  • magnifying glass
  • binoculars
  • bug jars or holders
  • a net for catching bugs
  • bucket and shovel
  • kid play tongs or large tweezers for them to pick up stuff that shouldn’t be touched
  • rope or string
  • measuring tape (we like the flexible roll-up kind): we use this a lot for measuring tracks, but we have found that it’s good for making spider webs in the trees, a bridge for small insects to cross, etc. This is what I love about sitting back and letting kids come up with countless, imaginative ways to use something.
  • nature journal and art supplies: it wouldn’t be an adventure at all if my daughter didn’t have some sort of art media. Plus it’s really important for kids to document all that they’ve seen and discovered. We have a small pouch that we keep colored pencils, watercolors, scissors, tape, glue, etc. in.


  • sticky roll (like those to get pet hair off)- we use these primarily for tick protection
  • field guides
  • camera: When we attended nature school, we used a class polaroid camera. The kids loved it so I’m hoping to add that to our nature pack but for now we just use my phone and I let my kids take some pictures
  • small foldable blanket
  • books: no matter what you’re reading, it’s just nice to sit under a tree and read together
  • flashlight
  • whistle or walkie-talkies
  • sometimes we like bringing a hand-held recorder to record bird sounds and it helps kids get quiet for a short moment

I will also carry more items for specific projects and activities but this list is a great start of items to bring along on your next outdoor outing.


Enjoy the EDventure!


Posted in Play Time

Take a deep breath, and let your child mix the play dough colors

First of all, I want to share WHY every child should have a good stash of play dough.

1. Playing with play dough builds fine motor skills for your child. Kneading, cutting, rolling, mixing, molding, etc. builds all those small muscles in your child’s hand.

2. Need some quiet time in your house? Play dough at our house is actually a fairly quiet activity thus being a great alternative to screen time.

3. It’s creative, open-ended play! It lends itself to hours of play time! Sure it can be a mess but lay a big plastic or vinyl tablecloth on the table, give them a cookie sheet to use, and have everyone get a dust pan and sweep up the crumbs at the end. The good things kids get from playing with play dough far outweigh the mess.

So back to our topic…

If you were to look at our play dough bins, you would find lots of cute little yellow containers with all different color caps, some that are sparkly. As you went to open it, you would be disappointed to find that the color lid does not match the play dough inside. You see, I’ve got a little girl who can’t get enough of playing with this stuff. She spends hours playing and creating. She loves rolling it, cutting it out, molding it, and most of all, mixing it, the colors that is. So in the cup with the purple lid, you would most likely find a ball of purple mixed with yellow, swirled with pink, and small touches of blue in it.


There probably was a time when this would have bothered me, but I want to share a couple reasons why it should be ok. First, it takes their creativity to the next level. Some parents only let their child play with one color at a time to save the play dough from the inevitable mixing of colors. It’s kind of hard to put together a whole spread of delicious, baked play dough treats when you can only use orange. Or the dinosaur just doesn’t look the same with a green body, tail, spikes, etc. When a child can use a few colors at a time, their creation really comes to life for them.


Secondly, children can learn so much about color mixing when they are allowed to mix two or more colors. Taking a ball of blue play dough and a ball of yellow play dough and mixing the two, offers such a fun, hands-on way of learning about colors. In allowing children to mix play dough colors, questions are begging to asked and explored? What will happen if we mix the red and blue together? What about red and white? What color will we get? After mixing these, children will learn (and remember it better since this was very hands-on) that red and white make pink. But wait, more questions! Can we make a lighter shade of pink?  How would we do that? Would we add more red or more white? Not only is your child learning colors, but now they are learning about shades of color, attributes, etc.  I am a huge fan of guiding your child’s learning by asking them questions that they must explore on their own instead of telling them that red and white make pink. For children, if they can explore, it will be much more concrete and thus they will retain it better.

It’s totally mesmerizing! Go ahead, try it. I think this is why my kids get quiet and focused when playing and mixing. The swirls and twirls of the colors intertwining is truly mesmerizing.


Let it go, let it go… (as  Elsa would say). In the grand scheme of life, with all that we parents have to worry about, allowing your child to mix their play dough shouldn’t be one of them. If you find that you have a hard time allowing them to mix colors, this might be a great small act of letting small things like this go. It wasn’t long ago, that I overheard my daughter tell her grandma, “Your house is the house of yes’s.” This definitely made me think, ponder, evaluate, and be mindful of all the things I say no to, but could very easily be a YES. Maybe this could be your YES.

Here’s a way to help you be okay with this- make your own play dough! The store-bought play dough is fun but it can get expensive if you are always needing to restock, like me. I find if I make my own and let Little A have a small bit of it to mix then I always have some on hand when she wants just one color or for future mixing. Homemade play dough gives you a lot per batch and it lasts a long time. Here’s a recipe to make your own:


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Fun options to add:
    • food coloring. I like to at least do red, yellow, and blue, and then another batch without food coloring to make white
    • glitter!
    • a few drops essential oils.
      • My favorites are lavender for calming and relaxing, peppermint for focus and around Christmas time, orange for uplifting and energizing, lemon for focus and clarity, grapefruit for uplifting and relieving tension. Or I will mix a couple. The possibilities are endless.


Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small saucepan. Add the liquid ingredients. Cook on low to medium heat, stirring constantly. After a few minutes the mixture will start to thicken. Keep stirring until the mixture continues to thicken and gather around your spoon. Continue cooking until the dough is no longer wet and is now a big ball of dough. Remove from pan and let cool on a plate or wax paper. If using oils, add a few drops and knead dough and play!






Posted in math

Practicing Math with Plastic Eggs: PreK-2nd Grade

A month BEFORE Easter, two days AFTER Easter, and still counting, my kids can’t stop carrying around a bazillion plastic eggs. They are everywhere! Obviously they love to hide and seek them, but they are also really fun to incorporate into learning. Today I want to share with you some fun and easy ways to add math to your day using plastic eggs and an egg carton.


To practice subitizing (the ability to “see” how many objects there are without counting) with your eggs, you will need up to 10 eggs in two or three different colors and an egg carton.  This activity is great for preK-1st grade and can be easily differentiated.


For my preschooler, I only use up to 5 eggs. It’s important that preschoolers learn number sense with a very small amount of objects to start with. Once they understand how numbers are related and connected, they can explore with bigger amounts. While Little A closes her eyes, I choose any amount, up to 5, of the SAME colored eggs. She opens her eyes and has to quickly tell me how many eggs there are. We will do this for a few rounds, changing up the amount and the placement. It’s important to change the placement of the eggs so that they can see the number 5, for instance, represented in a variety of ways.




After a few rounds of that, I will change it up. This time I will choose any amount up to 5, but I will use 2 different colors. This helps your preschooler start to see and visualize addition with very few objects. Again, have fun changing up the placement of the eggs. You can choose up to 3 different colors, but again only use 5 eggs max. For these littles, they might “see” the number three using one egg in three different colors, or use three colors but really space them apart in your egg carton, and again no more than 5.



For students in kindergarten and up, you can use practice any amount up to 10. While kindergartens and 1st graders must work with numbers above 10 and up to 100, it is important that they have solid number sense of up to 10 objects. This is will give them the foundation and understanding to see how bigger numbers are related.

Remember, the idea is to practice “seeing” how many, rather than counting or taking the time to add. Using any more than 10 objects and your kiddo will have a hard time “seeing” as there will be too many for them to bring together. Again I start with a small amount, probably 4 or 5 and change the placement. Next, I will bring in a second color and we will play for a few more rounds. Finally, once I am confident that he is getting the idea, I will introduce an amount using 3 different colors. By using three colors, you can really work on counting by 2’s. Again be careful not to get too many colors everywhere or your kiddo will start not “seeing” how many and will rely more on counting. The idea is to use color grouping and spacing to practice the important skill of subitizing.


To practice skip counting20180403_102759.jpg

While working with my other kiddo, I have Little A practice some patterning using her eggs.


Addition and Subtraction or Composing and Decomposing

Here is another fun game that you can play. You will 10 eggs in ONLY two colors, not three. Again this activity can be differentiated. When using an egg carton, it is important only to use 10 of the spaces (5 on top, and 5 right below) so that this imitates the use of a ten-frame, see below. You can either cut on the two spaces on the end or block those out.

ten frame

First, decomposing numbers means to break down numbers into their sub-parts. There are two ways to do this. First you can decompose numbers into their tens and ones if focusing on numbers 11 and up. The second is to show how any number 1 to 10 can be created using a variety of addends.

For my preschooler, I start off by saying we are going to play a game to see how many ways there are to make the number 5. You can write the number on paper, a dry erase board, or not at all if you prefer. I only use eggs, in two colors, up to 5 max. Since we are only using 5, you will only need to use the first 5 spaces on the top row of your egg carton. Don’t use the bottom row. Have your student close their eyes while you make some combination of 5. Once made, have your child open their eyes and tell you how many of each. They might say 3 and 2. You could further extend by saying, “You’re right, 3 purple and 2 pink make 5 altogether.” This will go pretty fast since they aren’t a lot of ways to make 5 but that is okay, preschoolers don’t need much time per activity.

Another game that might be a challenge for your preschooler is to put 5 eggs in carton, can use two colors but works just fine using all the same color, and say that you are going to take some out of the carton while they close their eyes. Take away any amount up to 5 out the carton and close the lid (best to have an solid lid on your egg carton so they can’t peek). Have them open their eyes and say to them, “Here are 2 eggs outside of the carton. How many eggs are inside the carton? Continue to play with any and all amounts up to 5.

For my kindergartener, I again start off by saying we are going to play a game to see how many ways there are to make 10. I have him close his eyes and I will create some combination of 10. He will open his eyes and tell me what he thinks.


To make it a paper-pencil activity, you can have your child write out the equations or fill in the blanks for a pre-written equation. You can also use a printed ten-frame template or number bond template if you would like your child to show their thinking.

number bond


20180403_100746After your child has played this game with you and is ready for independent practice, make some addition and subtraction cards on index cards. Have an addition pile that might have cards that show 5+4=___. Students are to add 5 eggs and then 4 (could be the same color or a different color). You can practice any addition problem, doesn’t necessarily have to make 10. Same with subtraction. Cards might say 10-3=___, 10-8=___.

You can also play the challenge game as mentioned above but this time using 10. Tell your student that there are 10 eggs in the carton and that you are going to take some out. Have them look to see how many you took out and decide how many are still in the carton.

We started with 10 eggs. Three eggs are outside. How many are inside?


Need even more of a challenge for your 1st or 2nd grader? Combine lots of egg cartons together. You can combine two egg cartons (don’t forget to cut off the two top and bottom spaces at the end) and work with numbers up to 20.  And I mean who doesn’t want 10 egg cartons and 100 plastic eggs laying around their house?? If this is you, thinking it will be me, ask your friends if they have leftover eggs and egg cartons, grab a nice big bin and you have the ability to make a gigantic hands-on one hundred chart. Oh the possibilities are endless.

I hope these ideas will give your child a fun way to use all those plastic eggs as well as give you some quick and easy ways to practice these important math skills.

Always an EDventure!







Posted in Uncategorized

Easter Egg Dyeing: Super Simple Science

Hey guys! My kids love when it’s time to pull out the plastic eggs. They hide them around the house, fill them with small toys or other loose parts, we put snacks in them for the car, etc. They also love dyeing Easter eggs and have been ready to for at least a month now. We have always done the natural dye route and this week we are making our dye. This year I decided I would pair it with a paper-pencil learning activity. I made a quick chart in their journals. Basically, 3 columns with headers: Food Used (where they can write or draw the food item that we will be using), My Color Guess (they guess what color the egg will turn when placed in the dye), and Actual Color (the actual color the egg turns after we dye them). Make however many rows for food items you will using to dye your eggs. The goal of this activity is for them to hypothesize what colors they think the dye will turn the eggs.







Naturally, my kids think blueberries will turn the eggs blue, and cranberries will turn eggs red. So we filled in our chart and will write down our actual findings after the eggs are dyed.

To make our dye we will be using cranberries, blueberries, spinach, parsley, turmeric, chili powder, red beets, red cabbage, and brewed coffee. Naturally dyeing Easter eggs is fun and a great learning activity for science and math. To incorporate math, kids need to measure out 2 cups of water and 2 cups of whatever food item we are using (when using spices we do about 3 tablespoons). They also measure out about a tablespoon of vinegar for each one. This is also a great activity for little ones to practice fine motor skills. Tearing spinach leaves and mashing blueberries and cranberries are great for using those small hand muscles.


This is what we have so far and will work on making more today. 20180327_073744

First on our list is making snow eggs and decorating with our leftover dye. Pics to come later!

What’s your EDventure this week?



Posted in Literacy, math, Phonemic Awareness

Wild Wednesdays

(Post drafted yesterday but… internet problems)

While I would like to say that my wild ones and I got to making our lovely heart-shaped bird-seed feeders, we instead spent most of the day taking care of cats! We are watching our neighbors 4 cats and our two barn cats are not feeling well. So after feeding 6 cats, 2 kids who need at least 2 breakfasts, and a dog (oh and sometimes myself) we drove an hour and half round trip and spent another hour and a half at the vet. We get home and there is a sink of dirty dishes, kids who forgot how to get themselves a snack, and cats that need their kitty Gatorade. School, you say?

My kids have been asking to eat their box of candy hearts, so sure why not… thinking… WAIT let’s first do some math. We poured out the hearts, sorted them by color, counted them, graphed them, etc.


I have so many printables on my computer that I could print and use but my computer is slow and it literally takes 30 minutes for it to think about the first click. I proceeded to draw some shapes and lines in their journals for them to record and show their learning. So there is math for today.


Hmmm…what literacy activity to do now? I remember seeing something on Pinterest about a Heart Hop activity. That sounds fun, but I didn’t want to look it up on my phone so I had to come up with something quick. My little guy is really working hard on his beginning sounds and starting to blend those funny phonemes into words. He needs daily practice so I wanted to incorporate those sounds into our game. I grabbed some paper, cut out some heart shapes and wrote some consonants on the white paper and vowels on the red (the plush alphabet letters that we use have the vowels in red, so I wanted to keep with that).


Game is pretty simple… I laid down a simple CVC word that he had to hop, saying each sound as he jumped. At first he jumped slow since I could tell he was thinking of the sounds. After he jumped each one slowly, I asked him to jump again a little faster and a little faster to help him with his quick thinking and to help those sounds be blended faster.


After a few words, I let him choose his hearts and we built some nonsense words that are always funny to him. The other aspect of phonemic awareness that I thought we could quickly practice was syllable counting. I turned the red hearts over and wrote numbers 1-4 on them. I grabbed my picture cards out of my purse (since we have lots of fun ways to use them while at restaurants). I had my little ones choose a card, say the picture, and then jump once for each syllable of the word.


So these probably aren’t the most elaborate ways to practice phonemic awareness but when you have a busy day, aren’t feeling well, or just an activity that is quick and easy to put together, these do provide some fun practice.

What’s your EDventure today?



Posted in Storytelling

Storytelling: How to tell a story

I’m going to start by saying that my stories are pretty good and I prefer to tell an improv story, in other words, I’m making it up as I tell it. I feel confident in telling my stories, but hey I’m only telling to my two young children and sometimes a group of children. Nonetheless, I went to ol’ Google and typed in “How to tell a story.” The results weren’t what I expected to see. I saw articles on how to tell a story to improve your leadership skills, an article from wikiHow that included pictures on how to tell a story, even an article posted from Harvard Business Review and how we tell stories to our co-workers to help with our projects. Um…. yeah not what I was hoping for.  So back to my own brain-storming, How exactly does one tell a story?

Well the short answer is YOU are already a storyteller. Every time you meet with a friend or talk with your spouse at night about your day, you are telling a story. Every time you pull out old pictures and reminisce about that day or event, you are telling a story. When you sit around a campfire and share stories of younger days, you are telling a story. We are ALL storytellers, it really is just our nature. However if you, like me sometimes, want to actually put together a story for an educational purpose or a simple bedtime story you really don’t need to do what google says- brainstorm, memorize, practice again and again. Here’s some tips on just how to tell a simple story and make it amazing. Keep in mind the following tips are more for the audience who is young, young at heart, or just prefers a story to listen to. These tips may not be tailored for any business event or persuasive co-worker project 🙂

  1. Tell a story with sequence in mind: One way is to use story lines from your child’s favorite story or show. Whether it’s Curious George, Bubble Guppies, or Paw Patrol, the story line is usually the same. Most stories follow a beginning, middle, and end sequence and there is usually always a problem to solve, something to discover, a new place to go. Example: My son, who sleep-plays was convinced that a monster came in his room and took apart his LEGO castle. Of course, this is right before bedtime and my 4 year old daughter’s eyes are the size of grapefruits and I see she is quite terrified of this monster her brother speaks of. This is a great time to tell a story as a way to help deal with those big emotions. So…lots of ideas come rushing to my head as my kids and husband find their seat on the bed. Long story short, the monster my son named Took-Apart Monster and I rolled with it, would come into his room every night to play with the toys because he came from a land where monsters are supposed to be scary and mean and are not allowed to have toys. But he longed for some toys and friends to play with. So when it was time to go back to his monster world, he would forget to pick up the toys. He would come back each night (I would include the names of the days of the week as the educational tidbit) and the same would happen. Every morning, the little boy would find his toys all messed up. Finally, the little boy had enough and left the monster a note telling the monster to stop playing with his toys. The monster replied that he was ever so sorry to ruin the toys and why he played with them in the first place. The little boy was relieved and also sad for the monster who had no toys to play with. The little boy would leave out a special toy for the monster to play with and the monster would make sure to put it back. So real life here again- the kids were literally relieved, my daughter was breathing normally again, and you know what? Not one kid interrupted, their bodies were still, and they had a focus that is almost only see when stories are told. So point here is that stories really are captivating when there is a repetitive sequence and then a surprise or twist in the story, it does wonders.
  2. Make stories relatable. Make your stories meaningful to your children but maybe in a conspicuous way. Change the characters or names, but leave the meaning, event, or emotion the same. By making it close to the heart of your child, they will be able to connect to it and see it from an outside perspective which helps them reflect, evaluate, and comprehend.
  3. Add surprise or suspense in your stories- this is why I love improv stories. Maybe I’m telling it, it’s going good but then I’m out of ideas- great time to add that twist or turn. Kids love it and it’s very captivating. Just try and keep it in the same realm of your story line. Though I do love when my kids tell a story and their surprises have absolutely nothing to do with what they were telling, and that’s a-okay!
  4. Stories usually have a enemy and hero, however they DON’T have to. My sometimes do and sometimes not. My daughter enjoys her stories where it’s just about friends having a tea party and no bad guy involved. She’d rather prefers it that way and it doesn’t take anything away from the story. My son, on the other hand, is not quite captivated unless there is some bad guy involved. So know your audience.
  5. Make it fun! I’m not very good at changing my voice to be a tiger, and then a fairy, and then the evil dragon- I struggle here. However, I do change my tone and pitch and it does do the trick. Change from speaking louder and quickly to more soft and slower. Then back loud. It helps me grab their attention when I can’t seem to provide 8 different voices like my husband can. Add silly words, visual vocabulary, action and fun. If we are telling to our children then yeah make it fun!
  6. Throw in educational lessons! Sometimes my stories aren’t for bedtime. I tell stories to help my children with their rhyming words or maybe a specific letter or sound I want them to learn. Maybe you tell a story with lots of objects or names with letter B. I like to add some geography to my stories. If my characters are traveling I will name where they are going. For instance, I told a story once about a family of pronghorn (we see those a lot driving) and how they traveled through the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains for a race to see who would be the fastest pronghorn. Later, find it on a map with your child. I’ve told stories about a butterfly garden and I include the names of different butterflies. This brings your story alive and adds in much needed imagery to take your story from eh to wow!

So these are just a few of the things I try to do with my stories. Again, nothing really researched just tried and true practices for when telling to our youngest listeners, whose bodies and brains are going miles in minutes. Stories are great at slowing that pace down, bringing focus, and igniting imagination.

Go tell your story! I believe in it!