It’s summer….and, for some, that means kids are at home or around more often. The pace of summer can be a great time to develop new skills, and studies show that storytelling can benefit a child’s language development, communication, empathy, coping, and meaning-making skills. The summer season (or any season!) is also a great time to recommit to building connections with those we love.
We’ve compiled some great suggestions here for sharing stories with kids & making personal and family stories a part of your summer fun. If you don’t have kids in your care or close by this summer, pass these along to someone you know who has children in their personal or professional lives. These ideas easily translate to those spending time with children and youth in various settings, but this work of sharing stories with children really does belong to all of us.
PRACTICE TELLING STORIES. Use our free summer conversation starter calendar to get talking (or journaling!). Have each person share their reflections at a family meal. And check out these favorite resources for getting some practice creating a story-sharing environment at home:
- Games To Buy: Story Cubes, Let’s Get Talking Card Game, Conversation Dice
- Free Conversation Apps (great for on-the-go): Table Topics, Would You Rather? (both available iOS and Android)
- Summer Reading for a Parent, Grandparent, Guardian, or Grown-up: How to Tell Stories to Children, Home for Dinner (Follow us on social media for more book suggestions for all ages!)
- One of our favorite websites: Family Dinner Project (excellent research + conversation starters and games for making mealtime memorable)
GENEALOGY 101. Do your kids know the full names of their grandparents? What about their great-grandparents? Draw or print out a family tree template, & fill it out together.
MAKE A MEMORY JAR OR JOURNAL. What do you enjoy doing together in the summer? What inspires you? Who are the important people in your life right now? Add an entry – art, a line of poetry, something you’ve read, something you’ve seen, a funny or motivational quote, etc – to your jar or journal when you feel like it. It doesn’t need to be a daily project. Take the pressure off. & just have fun. At the end of the summer or at the end of a month, whatever you collect will be something to look back on and talk about.
MOVIE NIGHT. If you have old family videos, watch them together. Or make a new family video together. Or watch the award-winning Lives Well Lived documentary & discuss. And speaking of videos…. summer is also a great time to digitize and organize your old photos and videos.
SCAVENGER HUNT. Send family members searching around for objects. Suggestions might include hunting for a favorite item, favorite book, “something blue that I love”, “something that inspires me”, etc. Host a summertime Favorites Show n’ Tell with your family or make it a neighborhood event with everyone bringing one object to share.
GET COOKING! Make a cultural or favorite family recipe with someone. Inviting children into the kitchen can be a great way to pass along family stories and a great time to share family history. Host a potluck with friends & share the stories of the recipes and kitchen tools used to make them, or simply share your favorite food memories at your next summer gathering.
CREATE ART. Get out the art supplies (scissors, colored paper & markers, magazines, etc.), and have each person in the family share their life story. Illustrate high points, low points, important people, and favorite places along your journey. How would you represent your life in art?
TRAVEL TALES. If you’re traveling, invest in a travel journal, or create a family website to collect and share the most memorable moments. Consider genealogy and family history as you plan your next vacation. Or book a virtual tour to a place where your great grandparents lived or somewhere they might have liked to visit.
INTERVIEW A LOVED ONE. Make a “date” with a family member or friend & interview them with intentionality. Record the interview. Dawn Roode of Modern Heirloom Books is giving away her amazing free e-book “The Kid Kit” which includes everything kids need to interview a grandparent. But, grandparents, don’t forget to interview your grandkids too! (Note: a professional legacy film is a unique, next-level opportunity for capturing a beloved storyteller, but a simple Q&A with someone special is a great way to get started & make some new memories together. Click here to learn more about a Sacred Stories Legacy Film.)
If you participate in any of these, please share photos with us or tag us on social media @sacredstoriesfilms #sacredstoriesfilms. And send your best ideas and resources for intergenerational story-sharing. Together, let’s create a culture of listening and raise up a new generation of storytellers.