Wednesday 20th March and the days surrounding it is ‘World Storytelling Day’. Have you heard of it? We hadn’t until this year but we think it’s a great day to celebrate with your kids. We have some easy ways to celebrate oral storytelling with your little ones (that require pretty much zero preparation).

What is World Storytelling Day?

The first ‘Storytelling Day’ was held in Sweden in 2001. It started as a celebration of the art of oral storytelling. Telling stories aloud is a vital way to pass on community values, information and history, particularly when there isn’t a written language.

These days, World Storytelling Day is celebrated each year on and around the Spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and the Autumn equinox in the south. The goal is for as many stories in as many languages to take place as possible.

Each year there is a theme. This year, it’s Myth, Legend and Epic.

How can we celebrate World Storytelling Day?

Like the idea of oral storytelling but don’t know where to start? Here are some of our ideas for ways you can share storytelling with your little ones.

Head to an official event

Lots of local councils and community organisations are celebrating World Storytelling Day with free storytelling sessions dedicated to children. In Melbourne on Saturday 23rd March, storytellers are sharing stories from around the world at Library at the Dock. In Sydney on Sunday 24th March, there’s a free storytelling event in the Botanic Gardens.

Check out your local council to see if they’re planning anything. Even if they’re not, you might spot a weekly or fortnightly storytime event that takes place at your local library. Most councils run these types of services and they’re a great way to meet other families in your community and instil a love of stories in your kids.

Tell your own story

Have you ever told your kids the story about where you met your partner? Or a funny story about when they were little? This weekend could be a good opportunity to share some stories with your children to give them a sense of where they’ve come from. A good inspiration if you’re stuck is to check out old photo albums then go from there!

Ask family members to tell their stories

Storytelling doesn’t have to be in person. If your family members live far away, set up a phone call or a Skype chat and encourage your family members to tell their stories to you and your kids. Our family histories are so rich, many of us migrated from other countries and talking to our older family members is the only way to find out where we really came from.

One of my fondest memories is all the stories my grandfather told me before he passed away. He was a prisoner of war during World War 2 and his stories of courage, humility and the ability to forgive still help me make decisions in my life. Stories have the ability to last long after the person who told them is gone.

Encourage your kids to tell a story

Lots of kids love having a chance to make up stories and we don’t often give them the platform. Perhaps it could be a story based on a picture they’ve drawn or a character in a book you’ve read together. It’s all about giving them the confidence to be their own storytellers.

Some kids might like to tell their story in front of the whole family. Other might feel more comfortable telling a story while lying in bed in the dark. Whatever they choose, you might be surprised by how creative and perceptive your kids can be. I know I was!

Listen to audiobooks with your kids

Not too keen on being the storyteller? Luckily that doesn’t have to stop you celebrating World Storytelling Day. Settle down with your kids and listen to a beautifully told audiobook. To fit in with the Myth, Legend and Epic theme, I highly recommend Sungglepot and Cuddlepie.

You might have fond memories of listening to this book when you were a kid. This ABC dramatisation brings delightful characters of intrepid Gumnuts, Mr Lizard and Little Ragged Blossom to life. It’s Australian storytelling at its best.

Happy World Storytelling Day!