Few things compare to the magic and wonder of reading a story to little ones. Cosying up with the family on the sofa and getting lost in a fantasy world, word-by-word, page-by-page, is a spellbinding experience whatever your age. It’s a cornerstone of family life, offering a moment of quiet enchantment in a busy world.
National Storytelling Week inspires us to go the extra mile to make reading with our little ones even more special. In 2019, this literary celebration runs from 27 January to 3 February, encouraging us to join together in storytelling every day for a week.
Princesses, pirates, farm animals and adventures – there are so many tales to be told. Whatever your family’s favourite genre, our tips will help make story time in your home feel truly magical.
Set the scene
The first rule of a good story is setting the scene. Authors and illustrators take care of what’s on the page, but you can add a few small touches to your lounge to make your home feel part of the action.
Tailor your decor to fit the narrative of the night. If you’re telling a classic fairy tale, like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, create a twinkling space filled with fairy lights. Diving into the world of pirates, dragons and other fantasy drama? Dim the lights and let flickering candles create the atmosphere.
Build a sofa fort
With plump cushions, soft fabric and plenty of space to stretch out, your family sofa is the perfect place to get lost in a good book. However, to create something a little more special this National Storytelling Week, go all out by building the perfect sofa fort.
The Autograph corner sofa is ideal for building a cosy reading spot, with plenty of cushions to pile on top of each other to create the walls. Fill your fort with cosy blankets and hang a sheet to act as your roof. Then all you have to do is crawl in and relax, holding the book so everyone can see.
Get into character
Now the room looks beautiful, it’s your turn to get involved in the story. Gather some fancy-dress items from around the house that tie into your chosen book. A crown, a wand, a shirt tie, or perhaps a cuddly animal toy that features in the tale.
When you’re sitting together on the family sofa, take it in turns to choose your favourite item. If your children are more grown up, you could have five minutes for everyone to find their own fancy dress accessory. Then reunite back in the lounge as a surprise, all dressed up and ready to get lost in the pages.
Add sound effects
Character voices are the highlight of story time for so many children. Assign different voices to each character and listen to the squeals of delight coming from your little book worms. You could make it comical with a squeaky high-pitched voice, or go the other way with a deep, booming tone. Play around, have fun with it and soon you’ll be giggling too.
For extra excitement, add dramatic pauses or drop your voice to a whisper. Throw in some other sound effects too, embellishing your tale with creaking doors, barking dogs and whatever else crops up. See where your story leads you – it’s all part of the fun.
When you’ve finished the final chapter and the story has come to an end, keep the fun going with a fairy tale quiz. Think about character names or perhaps a big event that happened. You could even give the winner a sticker as a special treat.
Whether as a two-seater or a corner sofa, the Mazzini is perfect for this family activity. The durable leather is supple and warm, ensuring your little ones are comfortable for years to come. Plus, the quilted armrests provide a soft support when you’re relaxing and talking together.
Exploring a fantasy world is hungry work, so some story-themed snacks after ‘they all live happily ever after’ are the perfect finale to your National Storytelling Week celebrations.
Take your hot chocolate to the next level, topping the warm mug with whipped cream and edible glitter. If you have time to bake, you could find a special cookie cutter and fill the house with the delicious smell of freshly baked biscuits in exciting shapes. Bring some healthy snacks to the table too, like pirate boats made from apple slices with a cocktail stick as the mast.
Add a little magic to your home this National Storytelling Week and cherish time spent with your loved ones. Snuggled up in the sanctuary of your lounge, family nights in that don’t involve the TV can create the most precious memories. If you’re looking for inspiration for your new family sofa, browse the range at Sofology.