Adventures in Storytelling

February 1, 2021

This week’s colouring in sheet:

Download and print this week’s colouring sheet here.


Fact of the week:

National Storytelling Week runs from 30th January to 6th February.


Activities for the week…


Activity 1

Name an author who is known for their fabulous storytelling. What do you think makes a great story? What are some different types of story?

Stories belong to everyone…what’s your story? Tell what happened in your week. Or your story of the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Or the story of your favourite holiday. Etc.


Activity 2

Come up with 3 element stories…

Try creating a story below, following 1. 2. and 3. Then mix things up to create nonsense stories by matching any 3 elements!


#1 Is trapped in #2 by #3.


#1. A sheriff  #2. A saloon  #3. A gang of outlaws

#1. A robot  #2. A Space Prison  #3. An alien invasion

#1. A prince  #2. A Dark Forest  #3. A wicked sorceress

#1. A fairy    #2. A bottle  #3. A wicked stepmother

#1. An astronaut   #2. A Space Ship  #3. Bad Weather Conditions


Can you add any of your own?

Can you draw the 3 elements in panels like a comic strip?


Activity 3

Act out these stories from different cultures around the world (can you find them on a map?) Make and create props. Wear costumes. Do actions. Make sounds.


USA – Paul Bunyan (a tall tale).

Many years ago, Paul Bunyan was born in the northeastern American state of Maine. His mother and father were shocked when they first saw the boy. Paul was so large at birth that five large birds had to carry him to his parents. When the boy was only a few weeks old, he weighed more than forty-five kilograms.

As a child, Paul was always hungry. His parents needed ten cows to supply milk for his meals. Before long, he ate fifty eggs and ten containers of potatoes every day. He could eat 50 pancakes in one minute.

Young Paul grew so big that his parents did not know what to do with him. Once, Paul rolled over so much in his sleep that he caused an earthquake. This angered people in the town where his parents lived. So, the government told his mother and father they would have to move him somewhere else.

Paul’s father built a wooden cradle — a traditional bed for a baby. His parents put the cradle in waters along the coast of Maine. However, every time Paul rolled over, huge waves covered all the coastal towns. So his parents brought their son back on land. They took him into the woods. This is where he grew up.

As a boy, Paul helped his father cut down trees. In those days, much of North America was filled with thick, green forests. Paul Bunyan could clear large wooded areas with a single stroke of his large, sharp axe. Paul had the strength of many men. He also was extremely fast. He could turn off a light and then jump into his bed before the room got dark.

Maine is very cold for much of the year. One day, it started to snow. The snow covered Paul’s home and a nearby forest. However, this snow was very unusual. It was blue. The blue snow kept falling until the forest was covered. Paul put on his snowshoes and went out to see the unusual sight. As he walked, Paul discovered an animal stuck in the snow. It was a baby ox. Paul decided to take the ox home with him. He put the animal near the fireplace. After the ox got warmer, his hair remained blue.

Paul decided to keep the blue ox and named him Babe. Babe grew very big very quickly.

In time, Paul and Babe the Blue Ox left Maine, and moved west to look for work in other forests. Along the way, Paul dug out the Great Lakes to provide drinking water for Babe. They settled in a camp near the Onion River in the state of Minnesota.

Paul’s camp was the largest in the country. The camp was so large that a man had to have one week’s supply of food when walking from one side of the camp to the other.

Paul Bunyan and Babe left their mark on many areas. Some people say they were responsible for creating Puget Sound in the western state of Washington. Others say Paul Bunyan and Babe cleared the trees from the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. Others say he dug the Grand Canyon with his axe.

Whatever happened to Paul Bunyan? There are lots of stories. Some people say he was last seen in Alaska, or even the Arctic Circle. Another tradition says he still returns to Minnesota every summer.

(Can you continue the Paul Bunyan story – what tall tales can you come up with him to do next? Where would he go on holiday – how would he fit on an aeroplane?)


Australia – The First Sunrise. The First Sunrise takes place long ago when the earth was dark. The animals struggled to find food and had to crawl on the ground to avoid heavy clouds that hung low to the ground. The magpies got all of the animals to work together to raise the sky. They grab sticks and push it up and up until the sky breaks open above the mountains. A warm light pours out over all the land, and the magpies break out in song. In the story, every day is a celebration of this first beautiful sunrise, and that’s what makes the magpies sing so beautifully.

(You could also sing/do actions to ‘Morning Has Broken’ by Cat Stevens).


Spain – The Magic Mirror.

The King of Granada is looking for a wife, but there is one stipulation: whoever wants to be his wife must look into a magic mirror that judges the goodness of her character, and will show as many blemishes on the mirror as she has made mistakes in her life. All of the women, at first eager to marry the king, refuse to look into the mirror. Only one comes forward: a lowly shepherdess. Upon being challenged by the magic mirror, the shepherdess says that she is not afraid because everyone makes mistakes and can be forgiven. After she looks into the mirror, the king reveals that there was no magic mirror, but that he was instead testing their confidence in themselves.

(Can you look in a mirror and say one positive thing about what you see?)


China – The Island of the Sun.

Two brothers, one greedy and one generous, inherit their father’s farmland after he dies. The greedy brother takes it all, leaving his younger brother with only a basket and a knife. The young, kind brother is approached by a huge bird who flies him to the Island of the Sun where he can take one piece of gold. He buys a comfortable life with his gold, but his brother becomes jealous and wants a chance at the gold, so he lures the bird in by acting poor. At the Island of the Sun he is promised one gold coin, but he greedily takes more. Soon he discovers the bird has left him there to burn in the sun.


Somalia – The Lion with the Red.

This is a story about accepting people for who they are and respecting their beliefs when they are different to yours. In a small village in Somalia, people raised lions as their guardians. One day a lion with red eyes was born and named Bahdoon. Bahdoon is banished from the pride for his strange eyes, and he grows up alone, admiring the brave lions of his pride from afar. When the village is attacked by a dragon, Bahdoon watches his pride losing but is afraid to join in. After multiple nights of attacks he cannot stand to see the suffering anymore, so he joins the fight. Bahdoon is the only lion that can defeat the dragon, and once he does his pride accepts him again, realizing that he should never have been treated differently.


Activity 4

Create and tell a sensory story. Use sounds (voice, instrument, sound effects, Foley), textures, touches, tastes, smells, sights (colours, lights, bubbles).


Or try telling an existing story with sensory things you can find at home – take the Paul Bunyan story above. At the correct parts of the story can you touch feathers, smell potatoes, taste milk, small maple syrup for pancakes, create rumbling earthquake sounds, touch wooden items and soft bedding items, touch water, touch/smell woodland leaves, play woodland sound effects, find bright green woodland fabrics, turn torches off quickly, etc etc.


Activity 5

Telling stories gives us the opportunity to express emotion and to use our imaginations with a freedom no other medium can offer.

Play an imagination game – This is not a pen, it’s a …

Act out these different emotions that are often found in stories: happiness, love, sadness, fear, struggle, curiosity, triumph. What others can you think of?


Activity 6

Stories are full of characters to like and dislike! Can you explore some character traits? – Dress up as different characters and act them out! You could try: Honest, Brave, Silly, Strong, Bossy, Funny, Greedy, Selfish, Adventurous, Mean, Kind, Sad.

Who would be your perfect character – how would they move – how would they sound? Try drawing them!


Activity 7

Look at some traditional beginnings and endings of stories. Can you pick one beginning, one ending and fill in the middle by enthusiastically saying ‘AND THEN’ or ‘WHEN SUDDENLY’ (with dramatic noises/percussion, or actions) and follow it with a suggestion for the next part of story?



It was a dark and stormy night …

Once upon a time in a land far, far away…

It was a beautiful summer’s day…

It was the night before Christmas…

In Korean, a typical fairy tale begins: “Once, in the old days…”

In Catalan, spoken in the north-east of Spain, a story may start with, “Once upon a time in a corner of the world where everybody had a nose…”

Polish fairy tales often begin, “Beyond seven mountains, beyond seven forests…”

Some Indian stories start with “Beyond seven rivers and seven seas…”



Then I woke up and realised it was all a dream.

So everyone was pleased, and lived happily ever after.

German fairytales typically end: “And if they didn’t die, they’re still alive today.”


Activity 8

Listen to some of the ‘tunes with a tale’ below, and hear how stories can be told through music. What stories about Purple Patch might you like to tell and pass on in song form? Create your own story songs/raps/rhythmical or body percussion poems.

‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman; “One Piece At A Time” by Jonny Cash; ‘Papa was a rolling stone’ by The Temptations; ‘David’s Last Summer’ by Pulp; “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow.


Activity 9

Listen to, and interact with this video of Grace storytelling, recorded in Summer 2020.


Why not take a photo of any of the activities you’ve tried this week and share it with us? You can share it on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to and we’ll put it online for you!