A few weeks ago Noreen from Entangled Harmony shared some of her best tips for getting started with storytelling in nature here on the blog. Well, today I’m pleased to host a giveaway for a one-year subscription of her stories about Sophie & Max!
Like me, Noreen is passionate about connecting children with nature and it really shows in her stories. What I love about the stories about Sophie & Max is that they feel authentic, nurture kids’ imagination and include concrete ideas for nature activities. Each monthly issue includes six original short nature stories for kids and 10-12 related activities. They are a great resource both for parents and people who work with children, as they can help improve your storytelling skills and give you a reason to go outside and explore nature.
To enter the giveaway, just subscribe to my email updates in the column on the left-hand side, then enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. If you don’t win, go ahead and check out the March issue of Sophie & Max for free here. But first, a few questions for Noreen:
Who are Sophie & Max?
Sophie and Max are a sister and a brother that every child can relate to. They are funny and delightful one moment and struggle with the challenges of preschoolers the next. But they always work things out. They spend hours playing in their backyard and go on adventures in the nearby forest. The learn to bake with their grandmother, help mom in the garden and listen to dad’s silly stories. They are your average 5 and 3-year-olds, which makes it so easy for children to connect to them AND model after them. Moms often tell me that their children talk about Sophie and Max as if they were real friends.
How do you come up with the stories about Sophie & Max?
Sophie and Max are loosely based on our two children. So, the stories are about the kinds of things our children or we as a family like to do throughout the year. It includes everything from gardening and hiking to baking and cooking, as well as tinkering and crafting. Some stories are also inspired by the stories our children come up with like the bluejay who likes to eat blue cheese and the earthworm that is a picky eater.
Why do you think storytelling is important for children?
In a nutshell, storytelling builds a child’s vocabulary as they listen and then tell their own stories. It increases their memory because they create images about the story in their minds verses merely looking at pictures in storybooks. This increased engagement nurtures their imagination and creativity, which are the building blocks for critical thinking and innovative problem solving. Letting your imagination run wild is simply another term for thinking outside the box.
The best part is that anybody can be a storyteller and you can tell a story wherever you are. You don’t need to make time for it. I used to think that storytelling was a nice experience for children but not something I considered to be essential. Nowadays, I think quite differently about it because I have seen the amazing effects it has on children and their young minds.
Tell us about the activities that are included with the monthly Sophie & Max series!
Okay, so within each issue there are actually two story lines with three stories each…one is about Sophie and Max and their adventures and the second story line is about the animals that live in their yard and in the forest behind their house. The story is always the beginning and leads into one or two activities such as ideas for exploring nature, gardening, crafting, baking, as well as inspirations and setups for imaginative play. And together, the stories and activities are the spark that leads to many more adventures. And I can’t tell you how much I love hearing from families about how their children bring the stories to life and come up with their own activities.
Families today are so busy – how would they benefit from adding this to their plate?
That’s a great question! Being too busy is something many parents struggles with…including myself. And that’s what makes Sophie & Max so wonderful. It actually saves you time because you won’t need to waste hours on Pinterest looking for ideas and instead spent that time with your child and enjoy the stories and activities. The series also gives you time to do the things you need to do around the house. The stories and imaginative play ideas will inspire your child to play independently for longer stretches of time, allowing you to cook dinner or do a load of laundry. A few months ago, one mom told me that she loves the series because it gives her something do with her children when she comes home from work. Before, she would be tired and didn’t have much energy to engage with them. But now they all look forward to their time together. And most of the activities don’t require any or very little preparation.