Today you will hear from Mike (Dada to the kids) about telling Star Wars bedtime stories. May the Fourth be with you! Note: this post contains affiliate links.
Star Wars Bedtime Stories, by Mike
Over the past 18 months, I’ve told the kids 400+ Star Wars bedtime stories. The stories are not meant to fit within the “real” Star Wars universe; rather the stories are about bringing the characters into the kids’ universe. I wrote some tips on telling Star Wars bedtime stories over a year ago, but here are a few additional ideas:
After having made up a few hundred Star Wars bedtime stories, it has become challenging to find new stories that keep the kids entertained. I love hearing them gasp and squeal with the twists and turns in the story. The nights when the kids simply listen to my story in silence, I feel incredibly disappointed in myself. Since it is hard to sustain a long series of original stories, I occasionally rely on storylines from other sources. Some of my favorites are the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Williems, which Johnny reads to me during the first 10 minutes of his Kindergarten class every morning (sometimes Lily comes along too, on the days she does not have preschool). For example, after he read Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Can I Play Too?, I told the kids basically the same story, but Chewbacca and Wicket were playing catch with R2D2, who has no arms. After he read Let’s Go for A Drive, I repeated the story but with a storm trooper and C3PO pretending to fly an X-Wing. The kids get really excited when they figure out what story I’m really telling.
Borrow other styles
As you have seen on this blog before, our kids really love Bob Books. It was this book series that got Johnny started reading. The words and pictures are quite simplistic. There are no more than two colors, the pictures are just a step beyond stick figures, and there are no more than a handful of words on each page – and the kids love it. So, on nights when the kids take a little too long to get ready and the story needs to be short, I use something in my “Bob Book Star Wars” series, which borrows from the Bob Books style. For example, “O.K. Vader. O.K. Obi Wan.” Telling an interesting story when you’re allocated up to four or five words in a sentence is a fun creative challenge. I also like the soothing style of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
Let the kids react
The kids often get pretty wrapped up in these stories. In their excitement, they will interrupt and start telling a piece of the story themselves. Most of the stories involve the four kids, and when I start describing how their character is handling the situation, they interject with what they would really do. One time I was telling a story about how a little boy storm trooper started as a new student in Johnny’s kindergarten class. Some of the other kids in the story were making fun of the little boy storm trooper because he was different (since he was wearing a mask and a white plastic uniform). Johnny interrupted and explained that he went over to talk with the little boy storm trooper and to be a friend to him.
I find it fascinating how the kids have used the storyline and characters in Star Wars in their art, storytelling, and play to better understand their own universe. Although they have only seen the movies only once with varying degrees of fast forwarding (they have seen Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi twice), this story has really captured their imagination.
What stories and characters capture your children’s imaginations?