Storytelling through Art

I’m excited to have Jillian from A Mom with a Lesson Plan here today. My love of storytelling with my son started after Jillian encouraged me to try storytelling with Aiden when he was a toddler. I didn’t know it was possible for toddlers to tell their own stories. I tried Jillian’s suggestions and sure enough Aiden was hooked on storytelling. Today Jillian shares with you Storytelling Through Art. I’ve done this activity before with Aiden when he was younger {he told me what to draw on scrap paper.} and it’s really fun! Try it with your kids and tell us what you think!


Storytelling has been an important part of our lives since the kids were pretty little. Now that they are 8 and 7, I’m finding it more difficult to get them excited about participating in storytelling activities. Time to get creative!

My son gets embarrassed when I pretend play with him (when did that happen?!?!) so I figured out how to bring storytelling into his world with some storytelling props I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist.

Little M (my 7 year old daughter) has been very interested in drawing lately. Over breakfast one morning I suggested we try some storytelling through art. She was very excited and this ended up being one activity that we will be repeating again and again.

What a fun storytelling and art activity!

Storytelling through Art

What you need: colored pencils, paper and an imaginative kid.

I let Little M start us off. If storytelling is new to your family, you might want to start the story yourself. Make the drawing simple. Little M drew an ice skater. As she drew she told me about the girl in the picture. When she handed the paper to me, I drew a big oval. (Like I said simple drawings.) She wanted me to use all three colors she had selected so I added some design to the oval.

I really wanted to add to the story without taking it over. (That may not be an issue for you but I tend to get excited. ;)) I carefully described the oval without giving any hints as to what the skater would do with it.

storytelling through art activity

One of the things Little M did that I really liked was add motion. She drew lines and arrows to help show the action of her character.

Finished story

After handing the paper back and forth for a bit, I sensed that our story needed to come to an end. We worked together to finish up the story and I must say the finished piece is almost as wonderful as the story was!

Tips for successful storytelling

  • Storytelling is a skill and it takes practice. If it feels forced or disjointed, try again! The more practice you (and your little storyteller) gets the easier it will be to come up with a fun and engaging story.
  • Let the kids help make the “rules”. Little M wanted to use on 3 colors. That ended up being an extra fun twist to the activity.
  • Really listen. The best stories will come together when both storytellers really listen to what the other is saying. It can be tricky when a little ones story goes on and on. I try to pick one of two details that I can bring into the next part of the story.
  • For more storytelling tips and ideas check out the ABC’s of Storytelling.
  • Here are 50 more storytelling ideas {story starters, activities, and tips} – several of them are from Jillian!

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Jillian Riley is a writer who focuses most of her creative energy into her playful learning, playful parenting blog A Mom with a Lesson Plan. She is mom to an 8 year old son and a 7 year old daughter. Jillian is passionate about kid activities, learning and creativity! Find her on Facebook, Pinterest and .

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