Andrew Dittmer on Three Different and Creative Story Time Ideas

Who doesn’t love story time? Especially bedtime story time! It’s that chance to settle down with your little one(s) whether your day was picture-perfect or a dead-set battle. 

Picking up a great book from the shelf is something we do almost every day in our home, but it can also be fun to mix it up. 

I’ve checked in with World Literacy Foundation Ambassador and Snippets of Literacy podcaster, Dawn Grant-Skiba to see if these creative story time ideas are just a bit of fun, or if there are hidden benefits.

1. Made up stories

Some months ago, my wife and I were super late getting our son to bed but he was begging for a story. To dodge a catastrophic meltdown, I told him a super short ‘made up story’ off the top of my head. Every night after that for quite a while, he’d ask for a made up story and he often still asks for them. 

Your made up story doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece. Most of mine are pathetic, but the little man still loves it. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Has your child had any new experiences or achievements? If so, make a character who experiences / achieves the same! Or why not ask your child for help in making up the story? It could be as simple as pausing for them to finish a sentence. For example, ‘Jiggy the mouse ran down the road and found a…’ then let them fill in the gap. Then continue with the story, leaving little gaps for them to fill. If your child is confident, ask them to tell you a whole made up story! So Dawn, are there any bonus benefits of this story time experience?

Dawn Grant-Skiba: ‘Apart from the obvious bonding opportunity between parent and child, one of the greatest benefits of this type of storytelling is that children are given the opportunity to activate their imagination in a way that will develop their intellect and help them to solve imagined and real problems in creative, unconventional ways.’

2. Get your child to make a book

Get a few blank sheets of paper and help your child staple them together. Let your child draw and doodle through the pages and write some words or letters if they’re old enough. My son did a series of scribbles and wrote a few random letters. Now, when he ‘reads’ it to me, he looks at the scribbles and tells me the things Scribble Me Dibble (the main character) is doing on each page. It’s pretty cute, but let’s ask Dawn if there are any benefits.

Dawn Grant-Skiba: ‘This is a remarkable way to develop children’s creativity from the early years, build their oral capacity, and increase their self-esteem and self-confidence. We should encourage more of these activities!’

3. Listen to an audio story

There’s lots of reasons to listen to an audio story. For one, if you’re exhausted from, you know, parenting, you might love the idea of lying down next to your child and letting someone else tell you both a story! There are plenty of places to find an audio story, from online audiobook stores, podcasts or your local library. We have a bunch and it’s relaxing, fun and many have been produced really well. So Dawn, how can audio stories benefit kids?

Dawn Grant-Skiba: ‘For me, the fact that illiterate parents have greater access to stories that they can share with their children without the embarrassment of trying to ‘read’ when they cannot, is the greatest benefit of audiobooks.  Imagine the learning that happens together and the fact that even illiterate parents will be able to model good literacy habits, such as lifelong learning, to and with their children!’

So, I hope this gives you some creative ideas for story time to flex your child’s creative muscles, build their confidence or give you a little rest from reading after a tough day.

Andrew Dittmer is an Australian Children’s Book author and blogger from Western Sydney with his first picture book due for publication later this year. Find out more about Andrew at

Dawn Grant-Skiba is a wife, mother, educator, and aspiring literacy expert. She hosts the Snippets of Literacy podcast and can be reached through her website

Profile photo credit: Mitchell Duncan.


June 9, 2021 at 12:33AM DimbutNice