Speaking, Listening and Word Gap: ‘The Magic Thing’ Activity

This activity is useful for all age groups, but works particularly well with key stage 1 children. It helps to encourage creativity and imagination whilst also helping to teach key speech, quick thinking, listening, understanding and communication skills.

The activity itself should involve the entire class, who are tasked with creating a story together. As the activity goes on, the story is not written down, and is made up spontaneously by individuals in the class.

1. Find the perfect object for passing around, something fun which is easy to hold and move around the group. This will be declared as the ‘magic thing’!

2. Tell the class that the ‘magic thing’ which you are holding up is magic because the person who is holding it can tell their amazing part of a story…

3. Make sure that the group understands: no-one can talk unless they are holding the ‘magic thing’ (yes, even the teacher!)

4. You can use a simple line to begin the story. There are plenty of story starter resources available or use your favourite go-to beginnings

5. When you’ve done this, pass the 'thing' to the first child of your choice (it’s best to try with a confident child to begin with) and ask them to continue the story using a few sentences. Let them know the story can be as crazy as they want!

6. When they’ve wowed the group with their part of the story, make sure to encourage reactions to each input. Ask them to pass the ‘magic thing’ on to someone else to carry on with the story

7. Continue with the activity until someone finishes the story (or prearrange a signal to finish beforehand). When the story is wrapped up, have a discussion with the children about what they enjoyed. Which bits did they like? Which words did they like?

Here are some more products to help with storytelling in your classroom

Take a look at our full English resources range.