Create A Story With Your Toddler

Need to entertain a toddler without a single toy, TV or brightly colored treat? Here's an activity that my two year-old loves. Start a story, and pause every few words for your child to fill in the blanks.

For instance:
"Once upon a time there was a _____? What should our story be about?"
"A puppy dog!"
"Okay! A puppy dog, and her name was ?"
"I don't know!"
"You can name her, anything you like. What would you like to name her?"
"Good! Okay, one day Beegaboo decided she wanted to...."

From there on, you just give gentle nudges to help your child keep the story going, but she'll get the hang of telling most of it herself. When she seems stuck, ask questions like:

What did it look like?
Did they want to do something different then?
What happened then?

You can also add your own details as you go along to encourage her to move in different ways and to add unexpected fun. For instance, say "And all of the sudden a turtle was in the road!" and see how the story evolves from there.

This turned out to be such fun for us that I started writing down Victoria's stories while she told them. She loves to hear them back later. Not only is it an easy way to kill time, but it encourages creativity. I also love that Victoria is learning to entertain herself and that life doesn't always just have right answers. At first she seemed to think she had to copy other stories, but now she's learned they can be stories perfect for what she wants to think about.

Later (or at the same time) your child can draw pictures of the characters to make her own memory book. I'm so fascinated by the things my daughter dreamed up in her stories, and I love that years from now I can pull out these stories and relive a day with her!

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All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
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