Once Upon a Time

Thinking & Engaging
Thinking & Engaging
Involved & Inclusive
Involved & Inclusive
Literacy
Literacy

The participants work on sentence structure and grammar by contributing one word to a group-created story.

Materials

  • No materials are needed for this activity.

Framing

Tell the participants that together you are going to tell a story that has a beginning, middle, and end.

Instructions

  1. Have the participants sit in a circle. Begin the story by saying, “Once upon a time…” and move on to the next child in the circle to continue the story by contributing one word (ie. “Once upon a time there…”).
  2. Move on to the next child in the circle to also contribute one word (ie. “Once upon a time there was…”).
  3. Continue around the circle until the story is completed. You may need to go around a few times in order to complete it.

Modify

  • Instead of each child contributing one word, have them share two or three words or a whole sentence. This is great for a shorter activity or a more complex story.
  • Challenge your group by instructing them to complete the story in one round so that by the time they reach the last person in the circle, the story is complete. This works best with larger or older groups.
  • Have them work together to tell a story by giving them conditions like, introduce a problem and solution, include a villain, or set the story under water.

Safety

  • Chances are some participants will be motivated to throw off the direction of the story. Try to encourage your group to be creative but to also contribute words that make sense to the direction of the story. As well, encourage the participants to accept the direction of the story even if it does not align with how they envisioned the story going.

Wrap-up

Ask the participants a few questions that will help them to reflect upon the story they just created and address things regarding plot, sentence structure, characters, etc.:

  • What was the story about? How did it make you feel?
  • Who are the characters?
  • Did the story make sense?
  • What was the problem and how was it solved?