Back-to-School Creativity Tip #4: Tell Tall Tales With Printable Story Cards!

Over the next several weeks, we’ll share 10 Ways to Inspire Creativity During the School Year. With easy project ideas and Kiwi printables on their way, your kiddos are in for a treat!

Back-to-School Creativity Tip #4: Tell Tall Tales With Printable Story CardsLooking for a fun way to fuel your kids’ creativity and communication skills? These 30 story starters will stretch their imaginations and help them spin yarns worth weaving!

Last Christmas, my roommate gave me a story starter kit—a box of 500 cards that contained words and phrases (e.g., “fashion maven,” “mysterious package in the mail”) that could be combined to create writing prompts or to tell collaborative stories. (This is what happens when English majors get each other gifts.)

These cartoon cards are a kiddie-friendly version of that kit. Use the images to inspire plot twists and turns in a storytelling session that’s fun for the whole family! (Hint: If you print the cards on heavy paper and keep the cards together with a rubber band, you can throw the bundle in your bag as an on-the-go game.)

You’ll need:

1. Cut the printables along the dotted lines.

2. Lay the cards face-up.

3. Let someone draw one (or several) of the cards as inspiration for the start of a story.

4. Give everyone a chance to add on to the story, using the cards as inspiration. As the story is being told, have each narrator line up the card(s) in chronological order so that everyone can remember the sequence of events.

When I showed the cards to Max (6) and Violet (8), they said they had never used story cards before. At first, they were a bit shy about playing with them. However, by the end of the first story, they were old pros! I can’t remember how many stories we ended up telling; I just remember that at the end of each round, one or both of them would exclaim, “New story!”

In order to keep the storytelling open-ended and to not put any one person on the spot, we said that anyone who thought of the next part of the story could chime in.

Here are two tales that Max, Violet, Walt (our grownup friend), and I came up with:

Violet: Once upon a time, there was a garden that grew strong and healthy because the sun shined down on it.
Walt: The garden had golden butterflies.
Max: And fireflies lived underneath the garden.
Yale: Because of the fireflies that lived underground, the flowers in the garden glowed bright.
Max: But a superhero came and said that he was the reason that the flowers looked magical. And he got a tractor and plowed over the garden and filled it with newspapers.

Violet: There was a fairy that lived in a castle.
Walt: She had a pet whale, which she kept in the moat.
Max: There was also a glistening sword.
Violet: One morning, she read in the newspaper that someone was planning on destroying the castle. With a catapult.
Max: We don’t know who that person is, but it was an enemy. But her friend the superhero came to help. His superhero power is that he can do magic tricks.
Yale: He magically changed the rock that was in the catapult into a balloon. The balloon floated away.
Max: And the fairy popped the balloon with the sword.
Violet: So the castle was safe!

As your kids play with these cards, they’ll learn about sequencing and teamwork—skills that will definitely come in handy as they develop their reading abilities and return to school. Plus, storytelling from an early age helps kids express thoughts and feelings, consider new ideas, and understand cause and effect.

Here are some other ways to use these cards:

  • Instead of spreading out all the cards face-up, choose just a handful at random and rearrange those cards to tell a story.
  • Stack up the cards. Draw one card at a time and take turns adding on to a story.
  • Think of and sort the cards by different categories (e.g., “things that are alive,” “things that we saw this summer,” “things that are green”).

Share a story your kids came up with!


About Kiwi Crate
Kiwi Crate delivers monthly projects for kids ages 3 to 7, all materials and inspiration included. All activities are reviewed by experts and tested by kids to make sure they encourage curiosity, exploration, and creativity! Learn more.

10 Replies to “Back-to-School Creativity Tip #4: Tell Tall Tales With Printable Story Cards!”

    1. Thanks, Penelope! I was amazed how many stories the kids came up with while using the same set of cards… (Max used the “rabbit” card in almost every story.) Let us know what stories your kids create 🙂

  1. This is such a great idea! I can’t wait to try it with my daughter–but when I click on the link, it says the file is corrupted and can’t be repaired. Is it me?

    1. Hi Lauren-
      We just tested it again and didn’t have any trouble, but would be happy to email it to you directly. Let me know if it’s still not working for you, and I’ll get it right out to you-

  2. The children’s idea is awesome, but what I’m hoping for now is a link to where I might be able to purchase the 500 card set you were gifted, if possible. As a college student currently working through her undergrad studies, it sounds like they may be a great help for writer’s block. 🙂

  3. This is really great! I just started homeschooling my 6 and 5 year old boys this year…this will be so fun to try out with them 🙂 Can’t wait to see what they come up with! Thank you!!!

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