“What if Rhinos are actually Unicorns, just chubby?”

“What if coronavirus is a monster and is trying to build an army?”

“What if a horse was the king of the world?”

What if things were different from what they seem to be?

Take a quick look around you. Wouldn't the world be a different place?

We, at specially aim to think out of our current world and that’s what we encouraged children to do this lockdown through an online workshop on storytelling, engaging them to learn something new.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication particularly for children. It’s also at its very core, a craft. It took us 13 children, 6 days, and 9 hours to bring out the storyteller in them and to look at the world differently which helped them write their own stories.

“Stories define us, shape us, control us, and make us. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others.”

These 6 days were packed with a lot of storytelling tools and activities which helped them understand the world around them and others. Using phrases like “Suddenly” and “What if” to let their creative juices flowing, we guided them to explore ideas for their stories.

The activities we planned around the art of storytelling helped boost their confidence and inspired them to indulge in their imagination. It helped them create stories that expressed who they were and illustrate their dreams. We discussed how each one of us is a storyteller, when we reminisce our memories and our favorite stories.

For a game with colors where each color corresponded to a story prompt such as “What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?” they would have to answer creatively. We surely got some interesting answers to few of them such as, if they would be an animal, which one would they be and why. Next, we showed them images where they had to come up with spontaneous stories relating to these images, and do I need to tell you how amazing they were?

To introduce them to the diverse art of storytelling, we included stories in five different forms of media.

These included “The Distance from the Moon”, an illustrated story by Italo Calvino, an animated video of “The Gift of Magi” by O Henry, “The True Mother” by Circle Round (a Japanese tale audio podcast), “Where the Wild Things at” by Maurice Sendak (a picture book), and a short stop motion film titled “Candy”. These varied forms were aimed to teach them the kind of impact each format could create using stories. Along with this, we hoped to improve their awareness of virtues.

Storytelling helps the children to understand culture, and to increase their curiosity, imagination and communication. They become more focused. With these activities and stories they were encouraged to be creative and use their imagination to picture the setting, the characters, the plot of the story, the obstacles they will be facing, their wants and needs, and the extraordinary ending for their story.

Creating these chaotic scenes helped them improve their listening skills, verbal skills, boosted their creativity, and increased attention span. It gave them opportunities to learn new ideas and information.

In this virtual summer camp, they were constantly contributing to this shared experience through which they were learning valuable life lessons, listening, and engaging in a larger exciting story.

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