I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is upon us! You may be already preparing the brine, buying cranberries in bulk or finding the perfect wine pairing for poultry.  I’m looking forward to four days away from the routines of school and work. And I’m grateful for the time to think about what I’m grateful for…which is a lot story clap.

You can bet I’ll be playing plenty of games this long weekend and one of them is Story Clap!

You can do this in a big group around the Thanksgiving table or even one-on-one. We use this in Child’s Play NY classrooms to generate new material and I’m so excited to share it with you today!

“Spontaneity….is the time of discovery, of experiencing, of creative expression.” – Viola Spolin (originator of theater games and mother of improvisational theater.)

I love this game because…

  • Players have to be spontaneous, trust their instincts, and plan nothing in order to keep the story alive (that’s why I start by “taking out the brain” as you’ll see!).

  • It boosts essential literacy skills, and kids practice listening and turn-taking (The superb Dr. Bronwyn Charlton, of Seedlings Group, tells us about that in the video).

  • “Yes…and” – that classic improv rule of acknowledging what you are givenand then building on it, is the only way you can play and get a good story!

  • It’s a team effort – it all has to come from the mind of the group.

  • You can go deeper into a story your children already love.  When I play it here we are exploring an addendum to Peter and the Wolf.

Here’s some playing tips:

  1. Use your favorite kid lit, classic fairy tales, myths or fables as a springboard.

  2. Use the constraint of the timer and designate a conductor/clapper to help keep the story flowing.

  3. Make a voice-memos or video of the story for posterity so you can look back and laugh!

Whether or not you play this on Thanksgiving around the table – before the tryptophan coma sets in – or just keep it in your tool-kit for use on this impending long weekend, I hope you find it helpful!  (It’s also a great car game so if you have to hit the BQE on Sunday night and the mood is grim, give it a whirl).

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Playing!