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Storytelling Games


Storytelling games are very important in any learning environment. They are particularly important when working with children as they encourage them to use their imaginations. The games also help to instil confidence in children and to develop both their receptive and expressive skills.

The following activities are a fun and enjoyable way of developing storytelling techniques.

Game: One-word story

  • Difficulty rating: ***
  • Minimum number of participants: 5
  • Resources needed: Clear space
  • Instructions: The children sit in a circle, and the leader tells them to create a story as a group. One child volunteers to start the story and says a word. The next child in the circle adds a second word to the story, and the next child does the same, until everyone in the circle has contributed one word. The story goes around the circle a few times. It is important that the story makes grammatical sense.
  • Variation: You can do the same activity using whole sentences instead of single words.

Game: Unfortunately/fortunately

  • Difficulty rating: *****
  • Minimum number of participants: 3
  • Resources needed: Clear space
  • Instructions: This is an extension of the one-word/one-sentence story. The children sit in a circle. The leader begins the story; then each child in turn contributes one sentence to the story. This time, however, they must alternately say “fortunately” or “unfortunately” before each sentence.
  • Example:
  • Leader: One day there was a pilot flying a plane.
  • Child 1: Fortunately he had a tank full of petrol.
  • Child 2: Unfortunately the engine failed.
  • Child 3: Fortunately he had a parachute so he jumped out of the plane.
  • Child 4: Unfortunately the parachute wouldn’t open.
  • Child 5: Fortunately he fell on top of a haystack.
  • Child 6: Unfortunately in the haystack there was a pitchfork.
  • And so on.

Game: First-liners/last-liners

  • Difficulty rating: ***
  • Minimum number of participants: 4
  • Resources needed: Clear space
  • Instructions: Divide the class into groups of three or four. Give each group a line and the children must come up with a story that starts with that line.
  • Examples:
  • It was a dark and stormy night.
  • “Wake up! Wake up!” she screamed.
  • “Oh look what has happened,” she sighed. “I told you not to eat it.”
  • “I wouldn’t go into that room if I were you,” she said.
  • An extension of this activity is that each group gets a sentence that the story must finish with:
  • And then he ate the goldfish.
  • “Quick, run!”
  • “I was only joking,” he said.
  • She couldn’t believe how much money she owed.
  • It is important to give the children 10 or 15 minutes to come up with their stories. Each group then has to narrate its story, with every child contributing.

If you want more storytelling games go to Drama Start Two.


This is a resource site for early education and primary school educators. The blog shares ideas for teaching creative drama/ drama in education to children.

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