Since it isn't something I often have pictures of, I wanted to write a little about stories. Occasionally the kids will write or type a short story, make a book, or ask me to write or type a story as they tell it to me. Most times so far, however, the most elaborate storytelling here never makes it to paper. Through play, the kids create stories inspired by something they've read or seen, experiences they've had, or new ideas. Sometimes they dress up in costumes, find all kinds of props, and act out these stories with themselves as the characters. Other times they use toy characters, setting up scenes and adventures. And sometimes, they just tell the stories they've dreamed up. Just a few evenings ago, Riley came to me and asked if we could go out for a drive, just the two of us. We did, and it turned out that he had several stories on his mind that he was anxious to tell me. Maya and Seth came across our camping lantern another evening as we were getting ready for bed, and we turned out all the lights (except the lantern) and took turns making up "scary" stories. Another recent evening as we were getting ready to go to sleep, Maya and Seth came up with a story about The Different Zoo. They played with rhyming and alliteration as they told about all the kinds of animals there that aren't at ordinary zoos, such as a spider biter, cat bat, rat cat, pigs with wigs, and chatting cheetahs.
I don't see my role in this as being to "teach" my kids to create, role play, or play and experiment with language. Instead, I see my role as being to provide a nurturing environment with *lots* of time and space for my kids to do their own things and as being available to respond, whether their need is for me to facilitate or join in their play, to help them get their ideas on paper or on the computer, or to simply listen.
Above: Play inspired by the Wizard of Oz movie