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Imaginative story making

What you need

  • A bag or basket to be filled with 5-6 random objects found around your home.
  • A teddy or doll
  • Some paper and a pencil/pen to scribe the story.


Imagination and language – this is such an opportunity for broadening vocabulary. Awareness of story structure and the concept of a beginning, middle and end, which is an essential pre-reading skill and very important for children to master as they become confident readers.

The experience

To develop language and imaginative skills, create a story bag or box. This just needs to be an empty bag, basket or box that you fill with a selection of random objects. Around 5-6 objects would be ideal. Add a teddy bear, doll or soft toy to be your ‘lead character’.

Explain to your child that they need to come up with a story for the teddy/dolly, that uses all the items in the box. E.g. you could have a set of keys, a shell from the beach, a hairbrush, an orange and a paperclip. Together you can come up with the story, speaking it aloud and working out how the different objects get used in the story. Use traditional storytelling structures such as ‘Once upon a time there was….’ or ‘One day, Teddy went to…’ 

Aim to support your child to have a beginning opening, some kind of event/disaster (perhaps lost keys/car broke down/rainstorm at the beach!) and then an ending/conclusion. If your child is unsure at first, make some suggestions as to what could happen; they will soon warm up and create their own ideas! You could even tell a story in this format to your child first, and then suggest they go and pick five new objects and have a go at being the storyteller. 

When the story is complete, write it down. This is a great experience to repeat on different days, using different objects each time. You can build up an ongoing bank of stories that your teddy gets up to! Keep these in a notebook or folder – this is a lovely way to revisit the stories and enjoy a growing collection. You could even enjoy reciting them or acting them out together as a family, or why not Facetime or call a friend or family member to tell them the funny story? Some of your child’s friends from nursery might have been doing the same thing at home- perhaps the children would like to talk and swap stories?