Storytelling: Sunflowers

It is the season of gratitude. A season that reminds us to take the time and give thanks for all our blessings. Why not show your appreciation this month by creating a gratitude book with your little one? Have your child choose a family member or friend that they are thankful for — I know, it will be hard to pick just one! Delight in a conversation with them about all the wonderful traits this special person has that you adore. Encourage them to think of a special memory they have shared with this person.

The giant, colorful beauty of a sunflower provides a great foundation for our DIY Book!


You’ll Need:



Construction Paper (yellow, brown, and blue)

Glue Stick

Writing Paper



  1. Have your child cut out a large brown circle from their brown construction paper. This book is a great opportunity to practice those scissor skills, so I encourage you to let your child free-cut their shapes. If you would prefer using a template, I have provided one HERE!
  2. Next, use the yellow construction paper to cut out your petal shapes. Again, feel free to free-cut or use the template.
  3. After your child has cut all their shapes have them recall your earlier conversation about their loved one. Have your child write the name of the person they chose on the brown flower center. Write a character trait about that special person on each petal.
  4. Once your petals are full assemble the flower using a glue stick. Then glue onto the blue construction paper cover piece.
  5. Use the writing paper to write a short story featuring that favorite memory!
  6. Complete the book by compiling the cover, the pages of your story, and a final blue piece of construction paper for your book backing. Staple to bind together.




Jocelyn Bartle

Writing Personal Narratives

How to introduce personal narrative writing to a budding author.

Concept of preschool, kids education, learning and art, child drawing in class

  1. Understand what a personal narrative is and explain the writing goal to your child.
    A personal narrative is a TRUE story that tells about something in your life. [a person, an experience, an event…]   You are the author and the point of view is YOUR point of view.  Your readers should learn something about you after reading your personal narrative.   Be sure to include sensory details so that your readers can see, hear, taste, feel and/or smell, your story.
  2. Begin with oral storytelling.
    The more you tell stories together as a family, the easier it will be for your child to transfer their storytelling efforts to paper.  Tell stories around the dinner table or in the car on the way to the grocery store.   It’s okay to begin with “Once Upon a Time” but remind your child that a personal narrative is about something the author experienced.
  3. To get started, think about a small moment in your life.
    Every Tuesday I go to gymnastics class.
  4. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
    First I put on my leotard.
  5. Extend the experience by using descriptive words.
    First I put on my soft, pink leotard.
  6. Tell how you feel.
    I was so excited when I put on my pink leotard!  Soon I will be at City Gymnastic Center with my best friends – jumping, running , and rolling.
  7. Use dialogue when possible.
    When I get to the gym my coach always greets me at the door and says, “Hi Heather!  I’m so glad you are here today.”
  8. Finish with a picture of you at gymnastics class – perhaps while you are on the balance beam!
  9. Don’t forget to publish your book.
  10. Place your book on your special author’s shelf in your home.  You do have one don’t you?  Everyone should!

If your children are too young to write their story, have them begin with a picture about a moment in their life and ask them to dictate their personal narrative to you as you write it down.   As your child sees you write the words he/she is speaking, they will begin to connect that words (their words) actually mean something.

The biggest mistake I see parents make is that they forget their ultimate objective when they ask their child to engage in a writing activity.    If your objective is constructing perfect letter forms, that’s penmanship.    If your objective is learning to spell words correctly, that’s spelling.   If your objective is having a child grow their confidence in constructing interesting stories – then by all means focus on the story.   Don’t mix handwriting or spelling skills into the brainstorming session.   After the story is complete, you can ask a 2nd or 3rd grade child to rewrite in their best handwriting and check spelling – but remember that you are celebrating the story.   If your child keeps asking how to spell words – then you know that you have already communicated to them that correct spelling is more important than a well constructed story.   Expect consistently corrected spelling the second semester of 2nd grade and beyond.  Hopefully by then your child will be a confident and enthusiastic young author.



Why not have your young author write about a time you went apple picking together.  Don’t miss an upcoming storytelling post where Jocelyn Bartle will show you how to publish your own apple book.

Keep telling, writing, and publishing stories together!


Storytelling: Are you feeling blue?

I was recently sorting through supplies as the upcoming school year quickly approaches. I separated the bright yellows, from the vibrant greens, apart from the bold reds… I noticed a shortage of blue colored pencils. Literally. They were almost all completely worn down to tiny stub pencils! These blue pencils had transformed many stark white pages into beautiful crisp blue skies and deep ocean waters. They were given shape and life thanks to the precious hands of the little artists using them. A child can quickly turn that ordinary blue pencil into something wonderful.

Yves Klein understood the power of color. He also shared a love of blue. Klein created many blue paintings. The format of his painting, the texture, and the application might have varied, but they all were identical in color. Klein was so well-known for his blue works that his rich hue of choice was named after him. “International Klein Blue”.

Yves Klein Untitled Blue Monochrome-1957

Though I can appreciate Klein’s preference of one particular shade there is much beauty to be found in the wide range of colors. The blue that sparked Klein might be an entirely different blue for me. The way we relate to color can be personal. Color can mean a memory. The shade of pink on Grandma’s china or the soft brown of your childhood stuffed dog. Color can fill our senses and ignite our imaginations.


Why not provide a little color encouragement to your creative little one? Engage with your child about the many colors they know. What are some of their favorites? Why? Be sure to share yours! Next, choose a color together and locate various items around your house of that color. Try to find different shapes, textures, and values. Using the FREE template provided, guide your child through a sensory color writing experience. Last, but not least, encourage them to highlight that color in their very own illustration at the top of the template as the final touch!

Get your FREE template: Color Poem Writing Prompt

If you want to expand your color exploration, why not take a trip to the local paint store and view the large variety of paint chips? Pick a few with your child to jumpstart a conversation about what they would use the color for, what they like about it, what it reminds them of, etc.



Jocelyn Bartle

And, in case you missed it, here is an earlier PANTONE: Colors post that goes so well with Jocelyn’s post.
It’s one of our favorite books on Fireflies.

Outdoor Family Fun



CLICK HERE to view another great download by Family Fun Magazine.