Do you have a stash of drawings, paintings and art pieces? Why not enjoy them and use them to inspire a memorable story.

Today we are sharing five different artworks, or creations we have used for storytelling (a further five ideas will be posted in the next blog post).

1. Using Wax resist paintings to create a shadow puppet box.

Picture 171 cropped shadow boxes

This was one of those happy accidental discoveries. My children had created a bunch of wax resist paintings. We started hanging a few up on the window and admired how the light shining through them created such a beautiful effect. This got me thinking and experimenting with light and torches. The happy and enjoyable result was the shadow puppet box. I wrote about the process for producing this background where we used the same technique to recycle some rather worn fairy wings. The link to this blog post can be found here.

The only difference between the fairy/ dragon wings we created and the shadow puppet box pictured above is the technique used to iron and melt the crayon shavings. For the shadow puppet box, I glided the iron over the crayon shavings (covered in wax paper). For the fairy/dragon wings I “dabbed” the iron over the crayon shavings to melt them.

Once the wax resist paintings have been created you need a box. We used shoe boxes.

Picture 075 crayon resist shadow boxes

Cut a slit across one side of the box so that the wax resist painting can be inserted. The painting on the right is the painting in the first photo. Isn’t it amazing how some light behind it makes it look spectacular?

The view from the back:

Picture 175 playing with shadow boxes

We attached some puppets (some fairy cut outs we already had as well as some I made) to straws. You could also use foam stickers to create puppets.  Place them behind the wax resist painting with a torch shining onto them.

These wax resist paintings make a gorgeous backdrop. In this case the paintings were used to create a fairy land scene. They could be used to set the scene in outer space, underwater or wherever your imagination takes you.

2. Shadow puppets.

As the sun is setting earlier,  it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the longer nights with some shadow puppets. These are simple to make and can involve basic shapes. The puppets come to life with crazy voices and wonderful personalities.

Halloween often sees us create puppets for story telling.

Picture 116 halloween puppets

3. Storytelling outside with a fairy garden.

Several years ago we were very blessed with a beautiful gift from my mum and dad. They created (as well as purchased) many pieces for our cherubs to create fairy gardens. This was (and still is) a wonderful activity that my cherubs love to do.

The beauty of this gift is that it can be set up a different way every time it is used, creating a completely unique experience each time.

Picture 119 playing with fairy garden

Once the fairy garden is set up, it is time for the adventures and storytelling to begin.

Picture 151 playing and story telling in fairy garden

Creating and enjoying:

Picture 090  fairy garden

One of the fairy chairs Mum and Dad created:

Picture 096 fairy chair

All of my children like the colour yellow, so Mum and Dad made sure they made some yellow furniture too.

Picture 102 fairy yellow chairs

4. Painting Rocks

Creating pet rocks and painting rocks is one of those memorable childhood experiences. Why not  paint some rocks to create colourful characters to include in some of your stories.

See our rock characters under the paper plate structure?

Picture 203 storytelling with pet rocks

5. Play Dough Creations

Use play dough to create the setting and characters to inspire a story.

Picture 070 play dough and popsicle stick puppets

Combine some 3D art pieces (the painted boxes on the left and right towards the back) and some personalised photo puppets (photos on a popsicle stick)  with a play dough scene to create a few key elements for a magical story.

Picture 094 play dough and popsicle stick puppet show

Sometimes the time of year inspires play dough creations which we use to tell stories. For example, Halloween inspired the creations below. The whole family was in on creating the scene featured below.

Picture 132 play dough haunted house

The invitation to create was the “haunted house” – a shoe box covered in purple paper. After brainstorming some characters, we came up with the scene above. There were plenty of laughs as we used some of the characters to tell stories about Halloween parties (of the non scary kind).

Christmas time also tends to inspire lots of festive creativity, including the play dough decorations (featured below) that my older two children created for a doll house. Add some characters and you have a wonderful setting for a Christmas story.

Picture 067 play dough  Christmas decorations

Finally, one more Christmas inspired play dough creation that we used to create a Christmas story and could be adapted for story telling. Instead of Santa’s house featured below (a shoe box covered in red paper and decorated with some play dough), another house, such as a house from a fairy tale, a  fairy house, a magical rainbow house, or a  tree house could be decorated with play dough and some play dough characters created.

Picture 028 Play Dough Christmas Wonderland

Stay tuned for the next blog post which will share five more ways to incorporate children’s artwork and creations into story telling.