Ingredients: A talkative child/children combined with a bored Sunday afternoon / walk to school / car journey to fill up.

The Big Sell:  Let’s take turns telling a story and see where it takes us…

Strategy:        Old reliable favourite in our family that I consider far less mind-numbing than I-Spy.

I take turns telling a story with child / children such as:

“Once upon a time there was a frog called Gerald who really wanted to fly… (your turn)”

“… so he climbed up a tree and jumped off but luckily was rescued by a passing sparrow called Brenda who took him back to her nest and tried to eat him (your turn)”

“… but he escaped and decided to follow plan B by strapping himself to a passing ladybird….” etc…

The Verdict: My son now often asks if we can play this game either if he is bored stiff or wants a bit of one to one quality time. The beauty is not only that it makes turn-taking fun (you really can’t wait to  hear what the other person is going to come up with!) but it teaches imaginative story-telling and broad vocabulary by stealth; the more you use your turns to add twists, turns, humour or tragedy, the greater the landscape of your child’s imagination. Of course, it works particularly well for boosting your child’s self esteem if you make them / their teddy / their siblings, the main protagonists / heroes / heroines of the tale. When I first started playing this game my son would tend towards more conventional plot lines which came to a close quite quickly, or would say little and ask me to take longer turns. However, as his confidence grew he took on more of the story with increasingly adventurous twists and is now an excellently eccentric story teller and I barely get a word in edgeways! You can’t really go wrong with this one!

Catchphrase: “Another one! Another one! Can I start this time?”

Left wanting more?

  • If you want a drawing version of this game, try using a piece of paper to take it in turns to draw the face, chest, tummy, hips, legs, feet of an imaginary person or creature without the other person seeing, folding over each section. When you open up the page you can see what wonderfully strange individual you have made together.
  • You could develop a particularly successful stepping stone story into a written version by asking your child to make it into a book or illustrating text you have typed out on the computer.