Prep: 10-15 Minutes / Activity Time: 15-20 Minutes

You can provide inspiration for creative storytelling by just putting some items into a brown paper bag. The idea of opening up a bag to find surprises inside creates mystery and excitement, while the storytelling involves creativity, oral language skills and humor!

  • paper lunch bags
  • small items (about three in each bag)

Step 1: Gather five paper lunch bags and place three items in each bag. Tell your child:

I’m going to make up a story about the things that are in this bag. 

Step 2: One by one, take out the items and name and describe them. For example, you might say:

This is a tennis ball.  People can hit a tennis ball with a tennis racquet, or they can play catch with it. This is an iguana. It has scaly skin and a long tail. This is a toy man. He is wearing a blue baseball cap.

Step 3:  Show your child how you take a few seconds to think of a story. By doing this, your child begins to realize that storytellers need to take time to think about and plan their story. You might say:

Okay, let me think about my story. I have a tennis ball, an iguana, and a toy man. Hmm. What can my story be?

Step 4:  Next, begin telling your story. Use vocabulary words that may be new to your child in your story. For example, use the word pitches instead of throws. Your story might sound like this:

The toy man is Ted. Ted has a pet iguana named Iggy. Ted and Iggy love to play baseball. Guess what! Ted and Iggy don’t need a bat when they play. When Ted pitches the ball to his iguana, Iggy uses his tail to ‘smack’ the ball back. It is an amazing sight to see! 

Be creative with the details!

Step 5: Take turns with this activity by inviting your child to give it a try by choosing a different bag of objects and making up his own story.   

Give your child suggestions for the story.  Use scenarios that are very familiar to your child.  For example, you might suggest that your child tell a story about two characters going to the park to play. 


Add more items to each bag, requiring a longer and more complex story.