Posts tagged storytelling

[Family Friday] Storybird

I really love the collaborative storytelling and creativity that the Storybird website encourages in kids and their families. It also offers incredibly beautiful and fun art to inspire your story ideas.

This is a story that Elena and I made – our very first Storybird. We called it, “When the Evil Cat Learned To Be Kind.”

The artwork is by Sebastiaan Van Doninck.

And then Rosa, Elena and I wrote one that we called, “And Sometimes.” Isn’t the artwork by Nakisha of Blue Dog Rose beautiful?

Once you sign up for an account (it’s free), you can start creating as many stories as you want with your kid(s), and it’s so user friendly that you’ll want to make story after story. When you have finished a story, you can share it with your network of friends, watch it on your computer screen, share it with the public, and soon, Storybird will let you print out your stories.

I love the idea that you can share Storybird with your friends and family so that they can join the creative process no matter where they are in the world. We live in New Jersey, but Grandma, who lives in New Mexico, can start a story about what her childhood was like and then ask Elena and Rosa to add to the story. My nephew lives thousands of miles away in New Delhi but we could start a story with him about the monkeys and other exotic (to us) things he sees on a daily basis. Imagine the creative possibilities!

As Storybird notes on their website, storytelling “promotes imagination, literacy, and self-confidence. Kids who play with words and pictures early in life tend to score higher in cognitive and aptitude tests later on. They read and draw more, and are better able to understand concepts and ideas. Plus, they become comfortable with the act of creation: turning nothing into something.”

Turning nothing into something – that’s a really lovely way to talk about the creative process with kids, don’t you think?

One other interesting thing to note about Storybird: it’s a unique model for artists to showcase their work to people all over the world. Through Storybird, each artist has a “shop” with links to their blogs, websites, portfolios, and in some cases, online shops (e.g. Etsy shops). You can support the artists by ♥ hearting ♥ your favorites, sharing them through Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon, and emailing them to anyone you want. Isn’t that cool?

Clearly, the people behind Storybird are an innovative bunch.

* * *

Did you see my Valentine’s Day sugar scrub tutorial at Kind Over Matter yesterday? I was so happy to be a part of their Valentine series (this week and next), and they made my tutorial look beautiful. Kind Over Matter is a really lovely, joyful site that makes me smile. They have lots of giveaways and free downloads, too. This is one of my favorite posts of theirs. One day (soon), I am going to do a card drop of my own. I’ve already got some ideas.

Have a good weekend, and thanks for visiting Charlotte’s Fancy this week!

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[Family Friday] Mr. Fox and Mrs. Polar Bear

I have two new friends I want you to meet:

They have some pretty hilarious little adventures, like this one, called “Collision

One of my favorites is the time they tried out a Seesaw:

The Fox and the Polar Bear Seesaw Adventure

I was a little horrified by this one, because I don’t know why anyone would want to smash perfectly good Cadbury Creme Eggs. But Mrs. Polar Bear had her reasons.

I was intrigued by these little stories, so I got in touch with Mr. Fox (Tom) and Mrs. Polar Bear (Emily) to learn a little more about them.

“Emily and I met on our first day of University,” Tom told me. “We both went to Imperial College in London and lived in the same halls next to the Royal Albert Hall. On one of our first ‘dates’ we went to Hamleys (the most famous toy shop in the UK). Mr. Fox just caught our eye – we picked him up and couldn’t put him back – so he’s been with us since November 2003.”

Next came Mr. Bear, then Mr. Wolf, and then finally Mrs. P.B. arrived (all from Hamleys).

“I used to take Mr. Fox home with me at Christmas, and then Emily started to take Mrs P.B. back with her. It was one of those Christmases that Mrs P.B. began to develop a personality and she and Mr. Fox became a twosome.”

During a walking holiday along the Welsh-English border in 2007  they started taking photos of Mr. Fox and Mrs. P.B.  They uploaded them to Flickr when they got back from the trip, with the idea of turning it into a 365 day project. But 365 days has since turned into a daily upload – now with an audio version – of charming short stories and photos for three years.

I, for one, am glad they kept going on Day 366. So are Elena and Rosa. The other night, we sat on the couch and listened to many of the stories and looked at a lot of the pictures. They kept saying, “Click on this one” and “Now click on this one.”

We laughed at the photos, like this one from the “Races,” in which we learn that “after an incident involving a fork, a royal flush, and someone’s paw, gambling for beans was actually banned in the Land of the Bed.”

And we fell madly in love with Mr. Fox and Mrs. Polar Bear in photo after photo.

How could you not?

Tom, who works for a software company by day, and Emily, who is a tax consultant, are working on a website for Mr. Fox and Mrs. P.B., and they hope to write a book one day. Let’s hope that they do. In the meantime, you can follow Mr. Fox and Mrs. Polar Bear on Twitter. And you can also become their fan on Facebook.

Thanks so much to Tom, Emily, Mr. Fox and Mrs. Polar Bear for letting me share their photos and story here today. And thanks to Robert of Mahar Drygoods, who pointed them out in the first place.

Happy weekend to you all!

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Family Friday: Storytelling

Enzo Mari Fable Game

We bought Enzo Mari’s The Fable Game when we visited Stockholm a couple of years ago. It’s a beautifully-designed “fairy tale book” which is actually made of cardboard panels that fit together like puzzle pieces – but you can mix and match them to make up new stories each time. You can buy your own version from Unica Home.

But, of course, you don’t need to buy it, or anything to have fun with storytelling and spark some creativity in your kids.

I ran across these two fun little games in a longer article that I’d torn out of an old issue of Real Simple and put in my (multi-colored polka dot!) binder of pretty things, fun ideas, etc. Both games are good for helping to pass the time in the car, at a restaurant, or anytime you’re waiting in line, or sitting around feeling a little bored.

What Happens Next?

Begin to tell a story to your kids, and just when you reach a dramatic moment, you say, “And then…” and you hand the story to your child, who has to continue the story where you left off. If your kids are a little too young to develop a story, you can ask leading questions, like “Do you think a bunny ate the vegetables in the garden, or was it something else?” Once you agree on the story’s direction, you can ask for more details (“What did it look like?”).

Fortunately and Unfortunately

This is a variation on “What Happens Next?”. Someone starts a story with one sentence (“One day, Elena was on her way to the library”). Other players, in turn, continue with a sentence about something bad that happens (“Unfortunately, she didn’t even realize it when one of her books fell out of her backpack”), and then something good that happens, (“Fortunately, a sweet little old woman found the book and called out to Elena”) until the (possibly/probably nonsensical) story comes to a natural end.

Do you have a favorite storytelling game? Are you good at making up stories for your kids? Do you dream about making up stories for your kids that you can parlay into world-famous books, like Laurent de Brunhoff did with the Babar stories and Astrid Lindgren did with Pippi Longstocking?

Photo of Enzo Mari’s Fable Game courtesy of the Design For Children blog, which, oh my goodness, is beautiful to look at, but curiously, there’s no accompanying text or info about who’s posting.

Wishing everyone a sunny weekend.  See you back here on Monday with baby shower pictures!

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