This DIY storycube idea is a cute way to help kids understand what a myth is, and then write their own! You can purchase storycubes, but we had fun making our own simply using slips of paper with little pictures.
First, Travis and I played a game of telephone. I whispered a word to him, and he whispered back what he heard. Obviously “telephone” works best with multiple people, but even in our phone call for two, we went from “Firetruck” to “A truck.” It set the stage perfectly to talk about myths: how they are stories told from person to person, but ones that get changed or garbled over time!
We ran through the four basic types of myths:
- Creation myths
- Nature myths
- Hero myths
- Gods and goddesses myths
Then we talked about some purposes of myths:
- Explaining the origin of something
- Teaching a moral lesson
- Explaining a historical event
- Revealing common feelings or hopes
For an example, you can watch a read of Anansi the Spider on YouTube!
Now it was time to write our own myth. I set out slips with simple pictures for Travis. We had 18 strips, which I numbered 1 through 6 (so there were three slips corresponding to each number). Then we divided a piece of paper into three parts, and I had Travis talk me through the basic parts of a story: beginning, middle, and end.
He rolled a dice for the beginning, getting a number 1. We taped on the three slips with the number one. Repeat for the middle and end of the story.
Now it was time to write our myth. Our 1s were: a magnifying glass, scissors, and a map. I was so proud of Travis leaping in. He told a story of how someone use the scissors to cut the map and so the pieces were lost! Already we had intrigue and a problem to solve.
It did get a little sillier from there (working in characters from his most recent favorite cartoon movie), but for a 4 year old, I was impressed he picked up on the nuance of what we were doing. Big kids can really have fun with these myths, or even complete each other’s stories to highlight the way myths change over time.
All of this was in connection with a Raddish Kids recipe about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – a timely myth, since we’re on the lookout for rainbows this rainy April! We finished up the lesson with a few myths from the library, which made for great bedtime stories.