Storytelling solutions for those who work with young children

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The Laugh

1: Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity

The Laugh

Near Uluru in the heart of Australia, children played in the shade of a gum tree. The children laughed as they played. Their laughter floated north across the hot sandy deserts and all the way to Darwin.

Children playing in the school yards in Darwin heard the laugh. They began to laugh too. Soon all the children in Darwin were laughing.

The laugh became bigger and bigger. It travelled south along the west coast of Australia, all the way to Perth.

Children playing in the school yards in Perth heard the laugh. One by one they began to laugh. Soon all the children in Perth were laughing.

The laugh was becoming bigger and bigger. It travelled east across the Nullabor plain to Adelaide.

Children playing in the school yards in Adelaide heard the laugh. They began to laugh too. Soon all the children in Adelaide were laughing.

The laugh floated across the Southern Ocean to Hobart.

Children playing in the school yards in Hobart heard the laugh. One by one they began to laugh. Soon all the children in Hobart were laughing.

The laugh travelled across the Bass Strait to Melbourne. The winds blew some of it away. But one little girl heard it. She was sitting in a school yard alone under a gum tree.

Annie used to live in the bush and had just moved to Melbourne. She was very shy. The other children teased her because she was different. Her clothes were different and she spoke differently because bush ways were different from city ways.

The other children did not hear the laugh because they were playing noisy games.

The laugh floated closer to Annie and the leaves in the gum tree began to tremble. Annie looked up. The tree seemed to be laughing! Then one of the slender green leaves dropped from the tree and landed in front of Annie. It lay on the ground shaking. It shook and shook until it grew bigger and bigger. As it grew bigger it took on a shape. There in front of Annie was a large green coolamon!

Annie knew what a coolamon was because she had seen Aboriginal women near her family’s sheep station carrying them on their backs filled with wild berries. Sometimes they carried their babies in the coolamons.

Annie stepped into the coolamon and sat down. As soon as she did the coolamon lifted off the ground and up into the sky! Far below her Annie could see the kids playing in the school yard and the teachers standing near the fence. No one noticed her flying through the sky. The coolamon rose higher and higher until she could see the tops of the houses. Then she saw rivers and trees and kangaroos and emus bounding across the plains.

Finally she saw the big red rock called Uluru, and she heard children laughing. The coolamon landed gently on the ground right under the tree where the children were laughing. When they saw Annie in the coolamon they beckoned her to join them.

The children were all dark skinned, dark haired and dark eyed. Annie was fair skinned with blond hair and blue eyes. But she didn’t feel different at all.

“Why are you laughing?” Annie asked.

The children shrugged their shoulders and looked at each other. They couldn’t remember why they were laughing. Then the giggles rippled up into their throats again and spilled out into the clear desert air. Annie felt the laughter swelling inside until she was laughing too. She laughed and laughed.

Later, the coolamon took Annie back to Melbourne. It landed in the school yard under the tree where her journey began. When she stepped out, the green coolamon began to shrink. Slowly it became a slender green leaf once more.
Annie was still laughing. She forgot about her shyness and ran toward the other children. They stopped their games and looked at her. Her laughter made them laugh too. Soon they were all laughing together.

Annie looked back at the tree where she had sat alone and sad for so long. She saw the slender green leaves begin to tremble and she knew the laugh was starting another journey.

An original story by JB Rowley free for others to use except for commercial publication.

Song: Native Animal Song (Use the link. Scroll down on right.)

Rhyme: Coolamon Song lyrics (This can be used as a rhyme – great action rhyme)

Activity: Dot painting for kids.

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Fable

1:Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity

 The Dingo, the Rooster and the Fox

Once there was a rooster that lived on a farm. Rooster wanted to see the big wide world so one day he left the farm yard. He walked along a winding road until he came to the bush. He started along the bush track and met Dingo.

“What are you doing way out here in the bush?” said Dingo. “You are a farm bird.”

Rooster explained that he was tired of the farm and wanted to see the big wide world.

“Well,” said Dingo, “I’d better come with you. It is too dangerous here in the bush for you on your own. Don’t you know there are hungry red foxes in this bush?”

Rooster didn’t know that and he was glad to have Dingo as a friend. So Dingo and Rooster walked along the bush track together. That night they found a hollow tree to sleep in. Dingo crept inside the tree. Rooster flew up onto one of the branches.

At dawn Rooster woke up just like he did on the farm. He stood up and flapped his wings and crowed loudly just like he did on the farm. But instead of waking up the farmer, he woke up a red fox. The fox ran to the tree where the rooster was.

“Welcome to the bush, beautiful bird,” said the fox. “You have a fine voice. I would like to be your friend.”

Rooster knew that the fox really wanted to eat him but he pretended to be friendly, just like the fox.

“That is a very kind welcome Mr Fox,” said Rooster. “I would like to be your friend too. If you go to the door of my house, my servant will let you in.”

The fox licked his lips at the thought of catching the rooster and eating it. He crept around the tree.

Unfortunately for the fox, Dingo was waiting for him.

That was the end of the fox.

A retelling of the Aesop’s fable (The Dog, the Rooster and the Fox), by JB Rowley. Free for others to use except for commercial publication.

Song:

Good Morning Mr Rooster

Rhyme: Dingo, Dingo

Dingo, dingo, where have you been?
“I’ve been to Sydney to visit Aunt Jean.”
Dingo, Dingo, what did you do there?
“I gave a little fox a might big scare!”

Activity:

Make a crowing rooster

Turtles

1: Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity

Little Lost Turtle

One day Mummy Turtle came out of the ocean and onto the beach. She dug a big hole in the sand and laid her eggs in it. She covered the hole with sand so that no other animals could find her nest. Then she went back into the ocean.

After many days the eggs began to hatch. Lots of little baby turtles crawled out of the sand and went to the ocean. But one little turtle got lost. Instead of going into the sea, he went into the bush. He was scared. He couldn’t find his mummy.

He called, “Mummy! Mummy!”

But his mummy was in the ocean and couldn’t hear him. All around him were big tall trees and he heard strange noises. Poor Little Baby Turtle; he was so frightened. He kept walking through the bush and looking for his mummy. He met a furry animal with short legs.

Little baby turtle cried, “Are you my mummy?”

But the furry animal with short legs shook her head. “I’m not a turtle. I’m a wombat,” she said.

Little Baby Turtle cried and cried. “I want my mummy!”

He kept walking through the bush. Soon he saw an animal with a black nose and round ears. It was half asleep in a tree.

“Are you my mummy?” called Little Baby Turtle.

The animal with the black nose and round ears shook her head. “I’m not a turtle. I’m a koala,” she said.

Little Baby Turtle cried and cried. “I want my mummy!”

He kept walking and on a riverbank he saw an animal with a beak like a duck and a tail like a paddle.

“Are you my mummy?” called Little Baby Turtle.

The animal with a beak like a duck and a tail like a paddle shook her head. “I’m not a turtle. I’m a platypus,” she said.

Little Baby Turtle cried and cried. “I want my mummy!”

He kept on walking but he was soon too tired to walk any further so he curled up under a rock and went to sleep.

Meanwhile out in the ocean, Mummy Turtle was counting the baby turtles to make sure they had all arrived. That’s when she realised one of her little babies was missing. She swam out of the ocean and walked up along the sand to the place where she had buried her eggs. She saw lots of tiny turtle footprints in the sand, all going into the ocean. But she saw one set of tiny turtle footprints going into the bush so she followed those footprints. When she got into the bush she could not see the turtle footprints any more but she saw Wombat.

“Which way did my baby go?” said Mummy Turtle.

Wombat grunted and pointed one short leg in the direction Little Baby Turtle had gone.

“Thank you,” said Mummy Turtle and hurried off.

Soon she saw Koala sleeping in the tree and called to her. “Which way did my baby go?”

Koala opened her sleepy eyes and jerked her head in the direction that Little Baby Turtle had gone.

“Thank you,” said Mummy Turtle and hurried off.

Soon she saw Platypus swimming in the river and called out to her. “Which way did my baby go?”

Platypus turned around and flipped her tail in the direction Little Baby Turtle had gone.

“Thank you,” said Mummy Turtle and hurried off.

By this time Little Baby Turtle had woken up and was walking back through the bush tired and sad. Then he saw a strange animal with a shell on its back coming towards him.

Little Baby Turtle ran to the animal and cried, “Are you my mummy?”

“Yes,” cried his mother. “I’m Mummy Turtle.”

And Mummy Turtle and Little Baby Turtle hugged each other for a long time.

An original story by JB Rowley inspired by Are You My Mother?  Free for others to use except for commercial publication.

 

Song: I Had a Little Turtle

Rhyme:

There was a little turtle   (Make fist like turtle)
That lived in the sea  (Draw waves in the air)
He swam through the waves  (Pretend to swim)
And climbed on the rocks   (Walk fingers across child’s hair)

He snapped at a jelly fish   (Make snapping motion at child’s hand)
And he snapped at the sea   (Make snapping motion at child’s tummy)
He snapped at a crayfish   (Make snapping motion at child’s foot)
And he snapped at me   (Snap at yourself)

He caught the little jelly fish   (Tickle child’s hand)
And he caught the angry sea   (Tickle child’s tummy)
He caught the crayfish   (Tickle child’s foot)
But he didn’t catch me !!!!

 

Activity: Colour in a Sea Turtle

Dinosaurs

1: Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity


The Last Dinosaur
Long, long ago instead of people, huge dinosaurs roamed the earth. As time went by their numbers became less and less until finally there was just one dinosaur left in the whole wide world.

He was a handsome green dinosaur, with a magnificent red tail. He lived all alone on an island. He was very lonely because there were no other dinosaurs to play with and none of the other animals would play with him. They were scared of him. Every day, just to fill in time he would walk down through the hills, down to the ocean and sit on a huge rock. He looked down through the clear blue water and watched the ocean creatures.

One day as he sat there looking down he saw a beautiful pink octopus! She had big blue eyes and eight beautiful legs! Red Tail fell in love instantly! He gazed down at the beautiful pink octopus and she looked up at him and….fluttered her eyelashes at him.

Day after day, hour after hour they gazed at each other through the water. Red Tail wanted very much to be with her but he could not get into the water to live and the octopus could not live on the land with him. He was very sad.

One day as he was walking down through the hills he stopped for a moment to try to think of a way that they could be together. As he stood there thinking, he heard a tiny voice.

“Help. Help.”

He looked around but he could see no one.

“Help. Help.”

It seemed to be coming out of the ground. He looked down but all he could see was mud. It had been raining all night and the earth was soft and squelchy and muddy. Then he heard it again.

“Help. Help.”

Then the mud moved. There was something stuck in the mud! Red Tail swung his magnificent tail into the mud so that the muddy thing could climb out. The he strode to the nearest pool of water and swished his tail into the water so that the muddy thing could wash itself. As the mud fell away he saw a pretty, pretty white fairy with a glistening white wand!

“Thank you, Red Tail,” said the white fairy. “You are a great and powerful beast, yet you have saved a tiny, helpless creature like me. For that I would like to grant you your dearest wish. What is the one thing in the world you would like? Just name it and it shall be yours!”

“Oh, that’s easy,” said Red Tail, in a booming voice. “The one thing in the world I want is to be an octopus.”

“Oh!” said the white fairy. “Are you sure? You know as a dinosaur you have great power and need never be frightened of anyone. But as an octopus, well….an octopus is just an octopus you know.”

“Oh, I know,” boomed Red Tail. “But it’s no fun being a great and powerful beast when there are no other beasts to play with. Oh, no. I know I’d much rather be an octopus.”

“Very well,” said the white fairy. She touched his magnificent red tail with her glistening wand and… Piiiiiing! Red Tail disappeared!

The beautiful white fairy flew over to the ocean. She looked down into the clear blue water and saw the pink octopus swimming around the rocks with a happy smile on her face. Then she saw a handsome green octopus, with eight red legs, swimming behind her. They looked so happy together.

And that is what happened to the last dinosaur left on the earth.

An original story by JB Rowley free for others to use except for commercial publication.

 

Dinosaur Song

 

Rhyme: What Do You Think I Saw?

Down by the ocean an egg cracked open
What do you think I saw?
A big floppy head and a tongue so red
A neck so long and a body so strong
Four funny limbs and a tail that swings.
What do you think I saw?
Yes! A dinosaur!

 

Dorothy Dinosaur Craft

 

Deep Sea Dreaming

1: Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity
 

Ocean Creatures

One day when I was a very little girl I went to the beach with my mummy and daddy. I went into the ocean for a swim. While I was swimming along came an ocean creature to swim with me. It was a green sea turtle. So I swam with the turtle.

Then along came another ocean creature. It was a seahorse. So I swam with the turtle and the seahorse.

Then along came another ocean creature. It was a clown fish. So I swam with the turtle, the seahorse and the clown fish.

Then along came another ocean creature. It was a dugong. So I swam with the turtle, the sea horse, the clown fish and the dugong.

Then along came another ocean creature. It was a big hungry whale.

The hungry whale swam toward the turtle and the turtle swam away fast.

The hungry whale swam toward the seahorse and the seahorse swam away fast.

The hungry whale swam toward the clown fish and the clown fish swam away fast.

The hungry whale swam toward the dugong and the dugong away fast.

The hungry whale swam toward me and I was so frightened I screamed very loudly and I splashed and splashed in the water. The big hungry whale swam away.

I went back to the sand where Mummy and Daddy were looking for me. They told me I must never ever go into the water on my own again. Never ever!

Choose your own ocean creatures to use in the story. I tell this as an apron story, using colourful cardboard cut-outs. Each creature appears out of one of my apron pockets when I introduce it in the story and sticks to mu apron (with the help of Velcro).

An original story by JB Rowley. Free for use by others except commercial publication.
 
 

Song: My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean
 
This song is great to use as a warm up activity and a closing activity. Hug your child and rock with the rhythm of the song.
 

Rhyme: Little Turtle

There was a little turtle (Make fist like turtle)
That lived in the sea (Draw waves in the air)

He snapped at a jelly fish (Make snapping motion at child)
And he snapped at me (Make snapping motion at self)

He caught the little jelly fish (Tickle child)
But he didn’t catch me! (Hug child)
 
 

Craft: Enchanted Learning

Lots of different activities to choose from here.

 

Australia

1:Story 2: Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity

Tiddalick the thirsty sand frog.

Long ago in Australia there was a thirsty sand frog called Tiddalick. Tiddalick had a special trick. He could keep extra water in his belly.

One day Tiddalick was very thirsty. He drank the water of the nearest river until it there was not a drop of water left. He hopped across the land, looking for more water to drink. He drank up all the water from the billabongs, lakes, streams and creeks until there was no more water left in all of the land.

The animals were upset. They were thirsty too and there was no water left for them to drink. Tiddalick had it all in his swollen stomach. The animals held a meeting. All the animals were at the meeting: the kangaroos, the wallabies, the echidnas, the kookaburras, the snakes, the wombats, the pygmy possums, the koalas, and all their friends. They decided that the only way for them to get a drink was to somehow get it back from Tiddalick. Wombat said they should get the water back without hurting Tiddalick because after all he had just made a mistake and we all make mistakes.

“We must make him laugh”, said the kookaburra. “If we can do that, he will have to hold his hands against his sides and the water will pour out of his mouth.”

Kookaburra perched on a branch close to Tiddalick’s head and laughed and laughed until he could laugh no more. Tiddalick did not even smile.

The other animals tried all sorts of ways to make Tiddalick laugh. Some of them danced and turned somersaults and some told jokes.  Tiddalick did not even smile.

Finally the animals decided the best way to make Tiddalick laugh was to tickle him. Wombat reminded them to tickle Tiddalick very gently because they should not hurt Tiddalick. So one by one the animals began to tickle Tiddalick’s tummy.

A tiny smile began to creep slowly over Tiddalick’s face. His smile became bigger and bigger and water came out of his mouth.  Deep rumbles of laughter made Tiddalick’s big swollen belly shake. Soon he was laughing so much that he put his hands to his sides and rocked to and fro. His mouth opened wide and a great smooth tide of water came gushing out. The water flowed back into the rivers, the streams, the creeks and the  billabongs.

Tiddalick knew he had been greedy and he ran away in case the other animals tried to hurt him. But the other animals remembered what Wombat said. Tiddalick had just made a mistake and they did not want to hurt him. But if you go out into the desert today you will not find Tiddalick because he still runs away and hides in the sand whenever he hears anyone coming.

An Aboriginal Dreamtime story retold by JB Rowley: teller of stories, writer of books and teacher of English.

Song: Five Speckled Frogs

Five little speckled frogs sat on a great big log
Eating the most delicious bugs — YUM YUM!
One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool
Now there are four speckled frogs. GLUG! GLUG!


Rhyme: Tiddalick Chant

Tiddalick drank, Tiddalick drank; Tiddalick drank all day long
Water from the creek, water from the billabong.
Tiddalick drank all day long



Activity: Frog Puppet
 

Winter

Storytelling program for young children: Seasons – Winter

1:Story 2:Song 3: Rhyme 4: Activity

Story: The Fire That Would Not Burn

Long, long ago there was a castle on a big green hill. In the castle a huge warm fire burned to keep everyone warm. The fire had burned for years and had never gone out. In those days the only way people could warm their houses was by having a fire in the house and because the castle was so big they had to have a big fire.

One cold, cold winter snow fell everywhere. Snow made the castle white. Snow made the big hill white. Long cold icicles hung from the turrets of the castle. Inside the castle the air was chilly. The walls were cold. The floors were cold. People started blowing on their hands and jumping up and down on the spot to try to get warm. Alas, no-one could get the fire going again. The cook piled more logs on the fire but it remained black and cold. The king used the big castle bellows to blow on the fire but it remained dark and cold.

Finally the king ordered a servant to go down the hill into the village to ask for some red hot coals from anyone who had a fire burning in their house. So the servant put on a big coat, and with a great iron lantern and a coal bucket went out into the cold. As he trudged through the snow the freezing wind made his nose red with cold. Icicles formed on his eyebrows.

“A light for the castle fire!” he called as he went. “Who will give me coals to light the castle fire?”

A man came out of a small house carrying bright red coals on a shovel and emptied them into the coal bucket. “Mind you bring me back some gold pieces in return,” he said.

The king’s servant started back to the castle, bending his body against the cold wind and snow. He had gone only a few steps, though, when he saw that the coals had turned cold and grey. He threw them away and turned back toward the village again.

“A light for the castle fire!” he called as he went. “Who will give coals with to light the castle fire?”

A woman came out of a brightly lit house and invited the servant in to take red hot coals from her fire for the castle. “Mind you bring me back some gold pieces in return,” she said.

The king’s servant started back to the castle, bending his body against the cold wind and snow.

 He had gone only a few steps, though, when he saw that the coals had turned cold and grey. He threw them away and turned back toward the village once more. This went on time after time. Every time someone gave him red hot coals they asked for gold pieces in return but the coals died away before the servant could get back to the castle.

At last the king’s servant came to a small tumbledown cottage at the edge of the village. Snow covered the path to the door. The wind blew down through the old chimney. Jack Frost had crept in through the cracks in the wall. The door opened at once when the messenger knocked. There was only one person inside; a small girl stirring porridge over a small fire.

“You may have as many coals as you like,” she said. She explained that she was cooking a nice hot supper for her father when he got home from work. “Please sit down and warm yourself, and have a bowl of warm porridge before you start out in the cold again. Then you may have half of our fire for the castle fire.”

The king’s messenger was glad to have some warm food in his body and very pleased to rest in the warmth of the little cottage. When it was time to go, he did not like to take half the fire so he simply lifted one bright red coal from the fire and placed it in the coal bucket and once more headed back toward the castle.

He was afraid the hot coal would go cold before he got back to the castle. To his amazement the small red coal grew brighter with each step. When he arrived back at the castle, the coal still burned and glowed. As soon as the small red coal touched the cold logs in the fireplace they burst into flames. In no time at flames licked around the logs and the fire sent its warmth through the castle. The fire was bigger and warmer than it had ever been before.

The king and queen were astonished. They questioned the messenger and heard how many people had offered him coals but demanded gold in return but each red coal had gone cold before he had taken a few steps.

“What did the girl in the cottage ask for?” said the queen.

“Nothing at all,” said the messenger. “Not only that, but she gave me hot food to eat.”

“Ah,” said the queen. “She gave freely with care in her heart. That is why our fire is so warm.”

An old folktale retold by JB Rowley.

 Rain, Rain, Go Away

Rhyme: It’s Raining; It’s Pouring

It’s raining; it’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And he couldn’t get up in the morning.

Activity

Make a paper plate snowman.

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