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how wild stories can help wellbeing right now
This week is National Storytelling Week and it reminds us just how important is for all of us of any age to think about how stories can really help us right now to cope with longer periods of confinement and times away from family and friends.
Many children are struggling with social isolation and being away from school and wider family networks. Their worlds have shrunk at a time when they should be expanding and developing. Storytelling in the outside world can help to bridge some of those feelings.
Reading and telling stories in nature can add an additional dimension to help a child’s developing imagination. The smells and sounds of the outside world and the textures and feel of the weather or light can encourage children to really use their creativity and stretch their minds into a place where the fantastical seems not just possible, but also probable.
Living and telling stories outside connects a child with a world without walls, routine, structure or a computer screen. Stories form a bridge between home and a land far away with no limits to what can happen or what is possible.
You could check out our video on
for some ideas about how to get a story started with your children!
storytelling has a number of benefits for children:
Problem solving and conflict resolution
Increased connection to the outside world
Extends their imaginations
Enables improved articulation of emotions and feelings
Fresh air and freedom promote feelings of wellbeing and relaxation
Easier to communicate thoughts and ideas
Physical exercise if actually acting out a story or fantasy
Improved vocabulary and verbal communication skills
Improved imagination, creativity and therefore builds resilience, confidence and self esteem
The connection with the outdoors is especially important now and can help to extend a child's world. Many are missing time with their friends and especially that play time where they are able to run free and act out stories and play games that help to support their growing minds. Through that connection with nature a child can start to discover that they are a part of something much bigger and begin to find their place in the world.
As adults we too can benefit from either becoming mentors, observers or even characters in our children’s stories. We can glean a lot about how our child is feeling by observing how they play and encouraging them where necessary to discover or explore things around them. Once that window starts to open in a child’s mind, they become more and more able to create and imagine without any adult guidance and when this starts to happen it is amazing to watch a child’s world come to life through nature.
We can also benefit from using storytelling ourselves to improve our own health. Being outside and taking time to write or imagine stories in our heads can lower our blood pressure relax our minds and promote feelings of wellbeing. The simple act of sitting under a tree and allowing our mind to take in the landscape or the form of something natural like a tree and then to consider the story that object may tell if it could talk? Now there is an idea to get you started!