It all started around a campfire.
Literally, my family when I was growing up, would play this creative storytelling game when we would go camping. After dinner was done and s’mores had been consumed in large quantities, we would sit around the campfire in the growing dark and inevitably, someone would ask to play Story-Pass.
It’s quite possible this game goes all the way back to the very first campfires. It’s a classic game of storytelling… and passing the story on.
How To Play Story Pass
One person begins with the time-honored, “Once upon a time…” and proceeds to begin a story about whatever they want.
At whatever point they feel inspired, they say a distinctive, “…and then…”
…which turns the story to the next person in the circle.
The next person then picks up where the story left off and begins to spin their own next part of the tale.
Again, at whatever point they feel ready to hand it off, they say, “…and then…” and turn to the next person to continue the story.
This continues until everyone has had a turn to tell a portion of the story. The last person will no doubt create a magnificent climax-to-denouement and pronounce, “THE END!”
It’s incredibly fun to see where each member of the family (or gathering) takes the story. Gorillas in a jungle may end up in a deep sea submarine.
And of course, you may add a rule or two if you want! Sometimes we cut a piece of string, and the time it takes to wind it around your fingers, is the time you have to say your sentence. This can be a good idea to encourage short or very, very long-winded storytellers.
And of course, don’t hesitate to spice it up with music or props! Simple is best, but the name of the game is improv and fun!
This game is a family and friends favorite. Keep it light and fun, but don’t hesitate to throw in some basic instruction about story structure: like reminding kids what a beginning, middle and end is. Or encouraging some kind of story problem that needs to be solved . This makes for a great way to introduce story structure in a really easy, lighthearted way!
This is more than just a fun way to kill time around the campfire, or family room.
When children create stories in their minds and verbally express themselves, they are developing an incredibly valuable skill. Storytelling strengthens muscles of empathy, understanding, awareness, cause and effect, and connection. Telling stories out loud has the added benefit of developing confidence, articulation, and fluency.
So give it a try, and you might be surprised at how fast this becomes a family favorite.