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Storytelling with the World Edition’s Australia Package

Boy in green shirt receiving world edition envelope in the mailWe tell our children stories all the time: in the car, while waiting for an appointment, before bed. Wouldn’t it be fun to ask your children to tell you a story instead?

The Australia package from our World Edition subscription unexpectedly turned the tables on our own storytelling routines. In our family, my husband is the storyteller. I’m the book reader; I love to read to the kids. But my husband grew up in a rich tradition of the real deal – that is, as he calls it, “stories from my head.” Here’s how our Little Passports adventure in the Australian Outback inspired my kids to be the storytellers, and how you can use a fun extension activity to help your kids develop their own narrative voice.

That telltale white envelope from Little Passports never fails to bring my three kids around the table, ready for some armchair travel. This time, after locating Australia on the map and sticking stickers on our suitcase and in our passport, we read aloud the letter from Sam and Sofia. The part about the Indigenous Australians and their Dreamtime symbols really struck a chord with my 7-year-old son (who fancies himself a native of our own forest and equally able to navigate it). We also had fun learning some Aussie slang and talking about marsupials. I thought we’d end with the scratch kit, but little did I know, that was just the beginning.

What ways are there to tell stories?
Little Passports World Edition Australia Scratch Kit

As my kids traced the Australian icons and Dreamtime symbols on the cards in the scratch kit, we talked more about how Indigenous Australians used the Dreamtime symbols to tell stories. The scratch kit also came with blank cards, so they could practice drawing the symbols and even make up their own! With the cards laid out on the table for reference, I asked my kids to make up their own stories using Dreamtime symbols and write them down with construction paper and markers. Then, we would present them to each other, in the oral tradition.

Two girls playing with Little Passports World Edition Australia Scratch KitMy youngest drew a swirly picture with the symbols for kangaroo tracks and water and simply held it in front of her face when it was time to present. It’s a running joke in our family because she never taints the viewer’s interpretation of her artwork with a title or further explanation. My son had drawn three large, dark and dramatic symbols across his paper: snake, spear, and campsite. Simply illustrated, his adventurous story went on for several minutes and gained wild applause from his sisters. My oldest, though, worked for a long time on a complicated narrative, writing the symbols in lines from left to right, like written language. When she was finally done, I tried to read her story myself, amidst many giggles. Finally, she read it to me and was so proud of her work that she recopied the story in permanent marker and hung it on the wall.Australian Doodles on Orange PaperWe had a lot of fun exploring the ways that stories can be told. Are you ready for a storytelling adventure of your own? Subscribe to the World Edition, and each month you’ll have fun seeing where the conversation leads you!

Read more from Amanda here:

Exploring Canada with Little Passports!

Exploring Thailand with Kids!

Jet-Setting to Kenya with Little Passports

Amanda Shaw home-schools her three spirited children and blogs about their adventures at