Playing with stories

Book expert interviews  · 

Playing with stories

By Ainhoa Ibarguren

Today Ainhoa Ibarguren from El baúl de los cuentos will tell us how began her relation with stories and why does she like them.

My grandmother used to spend all day telling stories. Telling bedtime stories wasn’t enough for her; she was the kind of person who would take any opportunity to start telling us a story. When we got on the bus, if she took us to the doctor’s or when we were waiting in the queue in the supermarket. Most of the time she would make us think that they were real, to add a touch of drama, but as we got older my brother and I started to suspect that they were nearly always stories she’d made up herself.


That’s how we learnt that any time is a good time for a story. In my house, the ritual of telling a story before going to bed is a must. But you can actually get much more out of stories. And this is something I have discovered as my eldest son has grown up.

I am referring to rainy afternoons at home, for example. Or any afternoon, it doesn’t have to be raining. For me the stories seemed too short, especially when he was very little and had a limited attention span. So I decided to include the books in our games. The first thing I tried was coloring in the stories: if we were reading a story about dinosaurs, we would print out a sheet and take out the felt-tip pens.

The next step led to me doing crafts. I will quietly confess that I am disaster when it comes to this; I’ll never be able to upload any of my DIY efforts to Instagram. But that doesn’t matter. After reading the story of Lucas, a boy who learnt to play the piano, we made a drum. With an empty tin that we covered, painted and played with some pieces of cutlery, much to the delight of our neighbors.

Of course, it didn't take long before puppets were involved. To tell and retell the same story, to imagine other endings…

And finally? Listening to the story we've read. The storyteller of our time, who I have recently discovered still exists.

Stories can be integrated into playing; in fact, in my experience, it is a marvelous way of making kids’ imaginations run wild, stimulating their memory and encouraging them to think. We color in, invent and create, based on a book. There’s nothing more captivating than a good story, that’s what I learnt from my grandmother. Don’t just save it for bedtime. Let’s play with the stories.  


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Keywords in this post: games and reading

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