The power of storytelling to release pupils’ creativity

Celebrate National Storytelling Week (29 Jan – 5 Feb) and discover its innate creativity

National Storytelling Week is the perfect excuse to encourage and promote creativity in the classroom. With screens and visual media forming such a large part of modern life, National Storytelling Week is a great time to bring some physical art and imaginative ideas into the mix…

How to be creative with National Storytelling Week

Heading back to school in January after a fun festive break is the perfect time to introduce a creative project to help lift the mood and inspire pupils’ imaginations. But what activities can you do? And how can you get pupils to engage? Here are some ideas to bring storytelling to life:

  1. Have a dress-up day

Dressing up in non-uniform is always a good time, but why not give your pupils the task of dressing up as their favourite book character? This kind of activity challenges their imagination and encourages them to think about what they like reading. And they’ve got to be creative and find all the right clothes too!


Mufti Games - Massive Battleships Festival of Thrift. Photo © Tracy Kidd.

  1. Let them add in their voices

We all love a bit of story-time, but one way to ramp up the creativity is to make it like a play. Books like the Enormous Crocodile and other well-known tales are ripe for re-enactment. So why not introduce quick read-along sessions where you can assign each child a character and they have to read the dialogue in what they think is the right kind of voice and tone? This lends itself well to emotional learning as well as creativity.

  1. Put on a show

To get them flexing their bodies as well as their creative muscles, you could even write up a script of a short book or assign pupils’ small scenes to act out in groups for the rest of the class. This would allow them the independence to choose what characters they are and how they want the story to be told.


Fluid Motion Theatre Company. Photo © Grace Jeffreys.

  1. Ask them to be authors

Creativity can be found across the curriculum and what better way to get your creative juices flowing than the challenge of writing a story? You can give pupils’ parameters like how many pages to write and if there should be pictures or if they need to finish by a certain time. The overall idea is that they are thinking for themselves and coming up with inventive ideas to tell their story.


Bow Arts: CYP. Photo © Rob Harris.

  1. Have a round-the-table character design session

There’s an old paper and pen game where someone draws a face, then folds the paper over and passes it to the next person. They then draw a body, fold it over and pass it on for someone to do the legs, etc, etc, until the whole mish-mashed body is drawn.

Some call it the Combination Man game or the Monster Game, but it’s an interesting way to cultivate pupils’ creativity and help show how others think differently and interpret ideas in unique ways.

This National Storytelling Week, you could choose a story and a character from it and have each table play the game as you describe their body. The result should be a funny, uneven drawing that showcases how each person understood the description of each body part.

Roald Dahl books may be an excellent choice for this game as he had a unique and fantastical way of describing each character. Plus, there are plenty of guided reading resources out there for Roald Dahl and other easy-reading books with teaching materials to help you take the topic further once the drawing game is done.


Kids in Museums Takeover Day, South Shields Museum & Art Gallery. Photo © Steve Brock.

All of these ideas involve creative storytelling in different formats and encourages pupils’ to be unique, independent and make different choices. They’re valuable teaching ideas for any classroom as they support emotional, social, and cognitive growth and helps pupils develop their imaginations.

Find out more about National Storytelling Week and share your ideas with us on Twitter using #CreativityExchange.

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