Adventure Story telling is a new name for a favorite activity I grew up with and use all the time. In my recent interview with Bruce, author of Kids homeschool RPG, he recalled how his kids’ first introduction to Role Playing games was through Adventure stories he used to tell them. I have never heard the term “Adventure Stories” before but the concept is a familiar friend.
An “Adventure Story” is an interactive story where a storyteller sets the stage and weaves listeners’ feedback into the story, and often the listeners become characters in the story themselves.
When my sister and I were little, my parents used to weave stories with us based on the wood faeries and water sprites that lived in the forest around our cabin. As a result, walks and hikes in the forest were like our very own real-life Adventure Story, making them much more interesting and exciting. I frequently use adventure story when teaching, it really helps involve students, even the shy ones. They are also very useful to distract children who are upset or hurt. Getting them involved in an exciting story will help them relax and be entertained.
There are many reasons to add adventure stories to your arsenal of methods for entertaining kids. They are interactive and encourage creativity from all involved. They encourage active listening and communication skills. You can tell an adventure story anywhere – in the car, in a line-up, while exercising together. Every story will be different – you never know how it will turn out and you can take turns being the story teller. Adventure stories are also a great way to teach your kids that actions have results and consequences and that the choices you make matter. It’s a fantastic landscape for learning.
Here are some ideas for creating your own Adventure Stories:
Have a time frame in mind – The great thing about adventure stories as they can be as short or as long as you like. As you practice telling them, you’ll get better at controlling the length if you keep in mind the basic idea that every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. This is important because stories that don’t have an ending or end abruptly tend to be dissatisfying, especially for kids. Alternatively, you can create your own rich world together and each story can be a mini-adventure in the world you have created. For older children you can have one story stretched out through multiple story telling sessions, much like a novel.
Have a few ideas before you begin – Do you have a certain time or place this story will take place? Who are the main characters? What is the purpose of this story? Do you want to teach a lesson, entertain, or both? What sorts of things will your characters encounter? The more ideas you have to begin with the easier it will be to weave an interesting story that encourages involvement.
I keep a PocketMod with me at all times. In it I have a blank page that I use for writing down elements I would like to include in a story. It might be an expression I heard, an animal I have seen, or any other random idea that might make a good element in a story. This gives me lots of material to draw from.
Craft an opening – The opening is your hook it grabs your audiences’ attention and engages their imaginations. Set the stage of the story and ask your audience for information to weave into the story right away. It might be the names of the main characters, what the characters will do first, or where they will go.
Answer the 5 W’s and 1 H – Every great story consists of who, what, where, why, when, and how. These are the framework you should build your story around. You don’t have to come up with these yourself, the role of the story teller is very much that of a guide. Get suggestions and feedback from your listeners.
Choose your own adventure – Use adventure storytelling as a base of exploration and let children direct as much as possible. You can give them many options throughout the story. For example: “Prince Erik and his horse come across an abandoned carriage. There is no one around and it is very quiet. Should Prince Erik look in the carriage or continue on his way?”
You can also use open-ended questions that require children to get involved in the story telling, along the lines of: “Prince Erik dismounts from his horse, his heavy armour clanging. He walks over to the carriage and draws back the heavy purple velvet curtain, what does he see?”
Have children take turns deciding where the story goes next. You can do this by having a special object and handing it back and forth, whoever has the object gets to add to the story next.
Add details – Here is your chance to be creative and keep your story interesting. You don’t just want your story to be a series of questions, you want to add color and make it interesting. Describe the settings and events in your story in as rich of detail as you can. This takes a bit of practice, but it will get easier. Detail in story telling is like adding rich and vibrant color to the outline on a canvas. It draws you in and makes your stories memorable.
Adventure story telling is a great way of making memories, passing the time and being creative. I hope the next time you are stuck for an activity to do, you will try telling a story to two.
Do you tell adventure stories? What is your favorite setting to place a story in?