Sunday, April 14, 2024
Teaching Ideas for World Storytelling Day

Teaching Ideas for World Storytelling Day

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11
Contributor: Sam Collins

If you’re celebrating World Storytelling Day, or are taking part in storytelling activities at other times of the year, explore this enormous list of classroom activities and resources!

If you have any other suggestions, let us know in the comments section.


The Narrative Writing Pack

  • Ask the children to create a drama based on a story that they know well.
  • Cut up a story into sections and ask the children to reassemble them into the story.
  • Children write a story for a younger child and tell it to them,
  • Sit in a circle, one person starts a story, and each child adds a sentence.
  • Design a new cover for your favourite book. What images would you use and why?
  • Record a story as a class podcast.
  • Practice and perform a story. This video from Michael Rosen has lots of tips on how to deliver a great performance.

  • Hold a mock trial for a character from a fairy tale, like the Big Bad Wolf. How do they explain their behaviour?
  • Use story cubes as a stimulus for story telling.
  • Write poems inspired by your favourite stories or characters.
  • Create a classroom door display based on a favourite story.
  • Write a review of your favourite story.
  • Use hot seating to explore the thoughts, feelings and motivations of a character from a story.
  • Our Traditional Tales Pack is full of materials for exploring traditional tales with Early Years children.

The Traditional Tales Pack

  • Ask the children to collect similar characters from different stories, such as villains or heroes. What are the similarities and differences between them? How do you know what type of person a character is?
  • Use a story structure such as story mountain to analyse several stories. Compare the structures. What do you notice?
  • The Discover Children’s Story Centre has some fantastic resources for story telling.
  • Collect stories on the same theme, for example stories set at sea or stories about friendship. Ask the children to suggest stories that fit the theme.
  • Try this Newsround Storytelling Challenge:

  • Find some online stories to retell. Useful websites for this include Storyline, Storyplace and Storyberries.
  • Give children props to weave a story around. These could be real items, like a key or a piece of jewellery, or story stones, story spoons, or puppets.
  • Visit our Images to Inspire resources to find lots of ideas for generating stories.
  • Use the Scholastic Story Starters site to generate great story starters.
  • Ask children to perform a simple action as if they were a character from a story. For example, how would your character shake hands, do the dishes, walk through a door? What does this tell you about the character? How can you show their personality through their actions?
  • Tell a story where two characters from different stories meet. What would happen? For Example, what would happen if the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella met the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood?
  • Retell all the stories from the characters in The Jolly Postman.
  • Write emails or text messages between story characters. What would they say to each other? Classtools has a great text template for this activity.


  • Plan a budget for a character or story. For example, how much would it have cost each Little Pig to build a house?
  • Make a list of different time words that are mentioned in stories, such as “long ago” or “the very next day” and order them according to how long or short they are.
  • Use geometric shapes to create an image from a story.
  • Visit Maths Through Stories for lots of recommendations for stories that can be used to teach mathematical concepts.



  • Use a program like Scratch to create a simple game based on a story.
  • Create a stop animation film based on a story.
  • Create a class blog where children blog about stories and storytelling.
  • Compile music playlists that represent characters or themes. What kind of music do you think the character would enjoy?

Design Technology:

  • Design a gadget that a character from a story might use. Think about what its purpose is and what materials and techniques are needed to make it.
  • Design a simple board game based on a story.
  • Build models of a setting in a story using found materials.
  • Design and create a hat or other accessory that a character from a story might wear.
  • Create a pop-up scene from a story.


  • Ask children to draw a self-portrait as if they were a character from a story. What would they be wearing? What would they be doing?
  • Sculpt figures of characters or important story elements from clay or salt dough.
  • Create shadow puppets and use them to perform from a story.
  • Use mixed media to create illustrations based on a story.
  • Create collages of story scenes using only recycled materials.
  • Use artwork as a stimulus for a story. For example, show children a portrait, like this one by Mary Cassat, and ask them to tell a story about that character. Alternatively, use a painting with a lot of people, like A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Seurat, or some sculpture, such as Maman by Louise Bourgeois.
  • Visit ArtUK’s website for lots of ideas that combine art with storytelling.


  • Compose music that could serve as a soundtrack for a favourite story.
  • Use everyday objects to create sound effects when telling a story.
  • Set a story to music and perform it using instruments and voice.
  • Watch this video about how music affects mood, then compose two different styles of accompaniment for a story:


  • Learn about and share stories from different cultures and map their origins.
  • Use Google Earth to explore locations from stories. How has the setting influenced the story? For example, explore some forests. Why are they so popular in stories?


  • Write and perform a story that features a historical character.
  • Retell myths and legends from different times in history.
  • Use historical artefacts as a stimulus for a story. If you do not have any actual artefacts, the British Museum Collection can be searched to find suitable images.

Physical Education:

  • Tell a story using movement. For example, ask the children to tell a story about pirates. Give them equipment they can use to tell the story. In this instance, they could use large equipment to climb, balance along a beam to walk the plank, and so on.
  • Develop and perform a dance that retells a story.

Religious Education:

  • Discuss and debate moral dilemmas faced by characters in religious stories. For example, tell the story of The Good Samaritan and discuss why the characters act as they do.
  • Share and compare sacred stories from multiple religions.
  • Retell parables from the Bible.
  • Explore and illustrate creation stories from various religions.
  • Research and present how different religious festivals are connected to stories, for example how the story of Sita and Rama is connected to Diwali.


  • Present the same story in two languages, highlighting language similarities and differences.
  • Explore the beginnings of traditional tales in different cultures. This page has some great ones.
  • Learn the vocabulary to tell a story in a different language.
  • Roleplay two characters meeting each other, using the language you are studying.


  • Discuss how different stories and characters deal with emotions.
  • Share stories that focus on friendship, discussing the qualities of a good friend.
  • Role-play conflicts from stories and practise resolving them.
  • Create stories where students imagine themselves as heroes overcoming challenges.
  • After a story, map out what characters think, feel, say, and do to build empathy.

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