Storytelling is a collection of skills.
A great storyteller will give you the details, engage your senses, steal your imagination, play with your emotions, and give you a strong lesson to walk away with and remember for many years.
Learning is also a collection of skills.
A great learner will dig for details to find answers, experiment with senses to understand their power, learn to control their own emotions and the emotions of others, and learn impactful lessons that lead to deeper questions.
If you want to raise a great learner, then storytelling is key. I don't mean reading stories from a book. Books are great for building important skills and all, but what I mean by here is free storytelling that stems from a mix between imagination and experience.
The Two Building Blocks of Storytelling:
1. Free, unguided, independent play
When children have the time and freedom to interact with their environment, their imagination is engaged at a level that allows them to create the building blocks of storytelling: observation and inquisition.
Note how I did not include screen time or "educational" toys here. Structured and guided toys and games will not allow for this deep learning experience. Instead, here is a Pinterest board with some great toy ideas for you to consider.
Honestly, children don't need much to play. They will turn just about anything into a toy. Our job is to give them the freedom to play and engage their imagination within safety limits.
2. A chance to tell the story
Talking is a powerful way of processing information. While a child's choppy, detail-filled story may seem like a test of patience to some adults, it is a crucial part of the learning process. Your thoughtful questions and engagement with the story will help your child organize learning and fine-tune their storytelling skills. Or is it their learning skills?
In the end, imagination, storytelling, play, and learning are all angles of the same skill. The connection is real.