Story Jars were created because I was tired of seeing young children playing with electronic devices all the time. The continual beeping and buzzing in restaurants and stores are annoying and indicate a lack of human interaction that is so critical to a child’s development.
No doubt, computers are the present and the future but I really want to encourage children’s imaginations in a meaningful and personal way. There’s nothing more delightful than a child’s imagination and these jars will be full of items that will spur their minds and dreams.
In addition to this ‘starter kit’, add plenty of your own trinkets and knick- knacks. The stories that they hold can be part of your family legacy to be passed along to future generations.
Add items like an arrowhead or fossilized creature from the museum that you may find along the way.
Don’t force or hurry the child when using the Story Jar. Let them get used to participating and joining in joyfully. There are no wrong answers or bad choices. Let them invent anything, however silly, and encourage them to get to a happy ending
Start with "Once upon a time...Then, let the child add a line or two. After some time, you may find that they may want to tell the whole story to you.
Story Jars – story ideas -No two jars are exactly alike, but most of them have one or more of the following items.
Animals – There are a variety of animals that will be included in the jars and are always very popular. Any kind of animal can take you for a ride somewhere wonderful …or be a prince under a spell…or hold the key to a fabulous treasure.
- Once upon a time there was a handsome prince (beautiful princess) named Peter (or Emma) or ______ and he /she was walking through the forest when they came upon a…..(horse, panda, chicken, elephant, etc). All of a sudden, the animal spoke to him and said “Hello Peter, how are you, today?”
Peter was so surprised he hardly knew what to say.He had never seen a talking animal before and here was one now. After he caught his breath, Peter said, “Well, hello to you. (Let the child fill in the next sentence and guide the story).From here on, you can trade story lines until a treasure is found or a spell is broken or a ride on the animal (even the chicken) to an exotic place where…..they live happily ever after.They will love it and so will you.
Some jars may have a furry, orange or white ball with black stripes. I called them ‘tiger poop’ and got big laughs. It’s good for your imagination, too
- Seashells –the list of ideas for shells is practically endless.
- Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named_____ who was on vacation with her family (let the child name their family members). As she walked along the beach, she found a wonderful shell. Now, everyone knows that, if you hold a shell up to your ear, you can hear the ocean, but when ______held the shell up to her ear she heard a tiny voice. And the voice said, “______”. (And, in her imagination, she can take the story under the sea or into the shell or even take the shell back to its rightful owner, a mermaid living near the very beach she was walking on).
- Buttons – a variety of buttons with patterns on them can be the source of wonderful stories. Some of the first buttons I had were zebra striped and we made up a story about the zebra’s pajamas and how he needed them to close his pajamas before he went to bed. There are so many possible ideas that each button may be the basis of a unique story. Ask the child what they see in the pattern and let them lead the story.
- Little boxes – Little boxes are always a delight for young children. They can hold magical items that need to go somewhere and something special will happen.
- Once upon a time, there was a little snail that was looking for a new home. He looked here and there and saw, out of the corner of his eye, a little box. He liked the look of it and struggled to get it open, because snails don’t have hands, you see. (Then the child can open the box for the snail). He saw that it was big enough for him to fit into very comfortably along with one or two of his friends….(or maybe there is something in the box)…. And go on from there.
- Rocks – Many people keep small rocks as reminders of a special place they visited or someone special. Over time, we may forget where that rock came from. The Story Jar is the perfect home for a few of them.
- Once upon a time there was a sad little volcano named Spurt. He was sad because all the other volcanoes would erupt and spill hot lava all over the place, but he could only make little burps of smoke. He would shake and wiggle and scare all the people down below, but all that came out was a little puff of smoke. Finally, on a beautiful Tuesday in April, Spurt decided that he was going to fix this problem, so he shook and wiggled and jiggled and blew and burped as hard as he could. And, all of a sudden, a little rock popped out. It had been holding the lava back like a cork in a bottle. Red hot lava streamed down his sides and down into the ocean where billows of steam and cooling lava created a new island. The people named the island SPURT and, after it cooled, made it a fun playground.
- Once upon a time there was a young explorer named…… who found a strange looking rock that was full of air holes and was much too light weight for a regular rock. So, she decided to find out where it came from….