I will admit I have gone into early years settings in the past and completely bombed as a storyteller. Children under a certain age can be ruthless audiences. They don't always want to sit still and listen to a story (some do and that's great). But can you blame the others? There is far too much fun to be had exploring when you're three, who wants to sit and listen to some old lady who loves the sound of her own voice?
However, that is before I started telling Sensory Stories. Although not originally developed for audiences under five, I have discovered they work great with this often hard to engage audience.
It's obvious really, Sensory Stories involve bubbles and ribbon, music and singing and lots of opportunity for interaction. With a little tweaking of the story for younger children, I find Sensory Stories are a wonderfully fun (sometimes chaotic) way of bringing children into the world of stories at a young age.
"Best story time ever," I heard one boy say as he left the tent. Which was certainly an improvement on "Sorry, he just hates sitting still."
Yep, even babies can enjoy a story if it's sensory. They just a love a feather to play with or a bit of material. In a previous blog I talked about how to create sensory stories. But for now, if you have a young child and you tell them stories, you probably already use Sensory Storytelling techniques to bring the story to life; voices, actions, tickling, singing, rhymes that involve touch (Incy Wincy Spider or This Little Piggy) are all sensory techniques.
Liven up any story time with actions, singing, props - think how can I make this more interactive for the children and don't be afraid to stop the story in order to engage them in an activity or action. You're bringing them into the world of the story and the story will still be there to tell once you've had fun pretending to be cats or catching 'fairies' (aka bubbles). Be imaginative and get all young kids loving story time.