What do Paul Bunyan, Daniel Boone, and Davey Crockett have in common? They're all well-known characters from tall tales, a segment of American folklore. Kids start reading tall tales and learning about the genre in second and third grade. Here's a great writing activity that not only reinforces classroom learning, but is also guaranteed to bring on the giggles. Encourage your beginning writer to pen his own tall tale...about his family! And parents, don't be shy: why not join in the fun by writing your own tall tale along with him?
What You Need:
- White paper
- Lined paper
- Half-sheet of poster board
- Family photos or magazine pictures
What You Do:
- Ask your child to tell you what she knows about tall tales and give you some examples from school.
- Then, have your child find a copy of a favorite family snapshot or cut out a picture from a magazine. The sillier the picture the better!
- Glue the picture to the center of a piece of plain white paper.
- Then, draw a goofy picture around the photo or magazine cut-out. Encourage your child to get creative and add detail to fill the whole page.
- Brainstorm with your child what kind of silly tall tale the picture could inspire. Tell her she can exaggerate as much as she wants, and keep a list so you don't forget any ideas!
- After you've finished brainstorming, have her pick her favorite idea from the list and write a story about the idea on the lined paper. Offer help with her with spelling and capitalization.
- Once the story is done, ask her to come up with a title. Be sure she notes herself as author and illustrator so she gets the credit!
- Glue the picture onto the top of the poster board, and put the story underneath it.
- When everything is finished, take turns reading the story to each other. When family comes to visit, have your child share the story and picture!
- A fun variation of this activity is to get the whole family involved. Use the same picture with each of you coming up with your own story. See how different the results are--this activity is bound to bring lots of laughs!