The Magic of Making Stories:

Activity One: Round Robin Stories

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Round Robin Stories

Have you ever made a story with a group of people? It’s great fun, especially in a family. Here are some suggestions listed in order of difficulty.

Other pages in this article

Why kids don't create
Reading aloud
Share your own stories
Basic plots


• Round Robin Stories
Wacky Headlines
Build a Hero
Invent a World

I start – you finish. The adult starts telling the story, brings it to an exciting part then passes it on to a child. It can move back and forth between parent and child, or circle around a table to all members of the family. For instance, the story could start: “A boy went into a dark cave. He heard a noise, so he pulled out a flashlight and saw…” Make it nice and moody or exciting before handing it off. EASY

Fortunately / unfortunately. Here, the story is aided by a bag of props. The first person starts telling the story, bringing it to a cliffhanger. Then the second person takes the bag of props and says, “…but fortunately…” and pulls out an object, then finds a way for the hero to save herself using that object. Then just as it looks like everything is fine in the story, Person #3 says “…but unfortunately…” and takes something from the bag, something that will cause a problem for the hero. It keeps going until there are no more objects. What kind of objects should you use? Anything you have around the house that’s small and interesting: a ball, a rubber band, string, a spatula, a hat… anything will work if you have a good imagination. HARDER

The family novel. This works best with school-age children. Once again, all family members will get involved, but here the goal is for each person to write a short chapter to keep the story going. The youngest writers may have to dictate their part. When we did this in our family, each of us got to add our own character in our chapter. The fun of this activity is seeing the story develop with more thought than if it were invented on the fly. I should mention, in our story I had to make one rule: no killing off other people’s characters. It’s a boy thing, I think. HARDEST

all material ©2003 Bruce Van Patter