Once you have grabbed your preschooler’s attention, it’s time to tell the story! You’ll be hard-pressed to find a group of people who love a good story as much as preschoolers do. Storytelling is an essential tool for teaching and engaging with your group, so learning to tell stories with efficiency is an excellent skill to have as a leader! So how does one tell a story that will get and keep preschoolers’ attention, and teach them something valuable?
Here are a few tips on how to be an effective and engaging storyteller!
Talk to them like you would talk to anyone else. So often in our society people speak to children with a certain level of condescension. Those little brains can absorb and understand more than you think they can! Also, the older preschoolers may decide to tune you out if they hear you speaking in a way that might be belittling.
Put some variety in your voice. Give different characters different voices! Whisper, get loud, be silly, and be goofy! Kids love to laugh and be silly, they will be so much more engaged if you’re willing to be as well.
Put some action into the story. Preschoolers are very visual, they like to see what’s happening in the story. For example, if someone is climbing a tree in the story, maybe pretend to climb a tree! Or engage the group and have them pretend to climb the tree. Anything that will get and keep them engaged!
Watch for feedback. Preschoolers are very honest little people. If they are uninterested in the story, they’ll let you know by squirming or acting restless. If they’re interested, they’ll listen to you with rapt attention. If they are acting uninterested, maybe start switching it up by applying some of the tips above.
Remember that these stories you will be telling are not just stories for fun. You are getting the chance to introduce these preschoolers to the important topic of missions work! They can understand so much more than they are given credit for, and an engaging, interesting story only increases their receptivity to the information.
A great resource is Storytelling 1-2-3, a guide that gives a ton of tips related to storytelling. You get the incredible chance as a Mission Friends leader to have a lasting impact on the way that your preschoolers view missions. If you can convey a story effectually and really get preschoolers involved, what you’re teaching them will sink in just that much more.
Kaitlyn Adams, Preschool Resource Team intern
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