Tell Stories Through Pictures With Magazine Collages

Your pre-reader can develop literacy skills using this step-by-step art and storytelling activity.

By Christie Burnett
Feb 19, 2018




Feb 19, 2018

As toddlers and preschoolers, both of my children loved this creative storytelling activity. It's really very simple — using pictures from magazines to create collages that prompt storytelling — but it's also terrific for developing fine motor skils and the small muscles of the fingers and hands, as well as oral language skills.

Mostly, my family's magazine collage stories were rather silly, but they were lots of fun to create together. Taking a little time to sit with your child, and working alongside him to create a collage of your own will ensure that the learning potential of the activity is maximized.

What You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Magazines, catalogues, brochures

What To Do

Step 1: Depending upon the age (and cutting ability) of your child, you can either pre-cut an assortment of pictures from magazines, or sit and look through magazines together and cut out the pictures your child is interested in using. Encourage him to choose pictures that feature a wide variety of subjects: people, animals, vehicles, food items, environmental features, household objects, familiar book and screen characters, etc.

Step 2: Talk about the pictures your child selects. You might say the name of the item aloud (e.g. “Oh look, I've found another animal. It’s a cow.”), along with its category: size, color, or shape, in order to foster language and vocabulary building.

Step 3: Once your child has a good collection of pictures, have him arrange them onto a sheet of plain paper, and paste them into position.

Step 4: Use your child's completed collage as the basis for a simple story — don’t worry, it doesn't need to be fancy. For example, the completed collage above shares the story of a little mouse who has lost her glasses and the friendly frog she asks for help to find them.

Step 5: Invite your child to tell his own story from his finished collage. If he is unsure how to begin or continue, support his efforts with simple prompts such as:

  • "Once upon a time there was…"
  • "One day…"
  • "And because of that…"
  • "Until…"
  • "And, finally…"

Your child’s stories might start out very short and simple, but the more you share storytelling experiences with him, the more confident his inner author will become.

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