50 Jar Gifts: idea #18 “Anyone” Story Prompts

Anyone Story Prompts

This is the fifth in the series of story prompt jar gifts with questions geared for anyone. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help anyone to remember and record some of the events from their lives. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark your memory and lead you to other thoughts and memories. Let your them flow and see where they take you.

back of story prompt questions

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompts. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing four copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

anyone story prompt questions

The next four sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. But it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

anyone story prompts question sheet

anyone story prompt questions

anyone story prompt questions

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

journal cover, lid and labels

I am putting the jar and journal in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories.jar gift logos19

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

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50 Jar Gifts: idea #16 “Children” Story Prompts

Children’s Story Prompt Jar

This is the fourth in a series of story prompt jar gifts with questions geared for kids. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help a child to remember and record some of the events from their lives. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark kids memory and lead them to other thoughts and memories. Let their ideas flow and see where they take you.

back of story prompts sheet

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompt. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing four copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

story prompts question sheets

The next four sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. Though it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

story prompts question sheets

story prompts question sheet

story prompts question sheet

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

jar lid, tags and journal cover sheet

I am putting the jar and journal in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories.jar gift logos17

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #12 “Parents” Story Prompts

Parents Story Prompts

The third in the series of story prompt jar gifts with questions geared for parents. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help parents to remember and record some of the events from their lives. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark your memory and lead you to other thoughts and memories. Let your them flow and see where they take you.

back of story prompt sheets

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompt. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing six copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

Story Prompt Question Sheet

The next six sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. But it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

Story Prompt Question Sheet

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

Jar Lid, Tags and Journal Cover Sheet

I put the jar in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories.jar gift logos13

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #10 “Grandparents” Story Prompts

Grandparents Story Prompts

This is the second in a series of story prompt jar gifts with questions geared for grandparents. At first I called it Old Age prompts but decided that might be offensive to some of the grandparents on my gift list. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help a grandparent to remember and record some of the events from their lives. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark your memory and lead you to other thoughts and memories. Let your them flow and see where they take you.

Grandparents Story Prompts back side

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompt. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing six copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

Grandparents Story Prompts

The next six sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. But it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

Grandparents Story Prompts

Grandparents Story Prompts

Grandparents Story Prompts

Grandparents Story Prompts

Grandparents Story Prompts

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

Grandparents Story Prompts Journal cover and Jar labels

I am putting the jar and journal in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories.jar gift logos11

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #8 “Remembering” Story Prompts

Remembering Story Prompts Kit

Here is the first in a series of story prompt jar gifts. The idea is a set of questions in a jar that you can pull out to help you remember and record someone in your life who has died. I printed it on chipboard but they could be printed on cardstock. There is a different color on each end of the question so that once you have answered it you can turn it over in the jar and keep track of which questions you haven’t answered yet. The questions are intended you spark your memory and lead you to other thoughts and memories. Let your them flow and see where they take you.

printed Remembering Story Prompts kit

Story Prompts back

The first sheet in the file is the back of the story prompt. This sheet is optional but it helps in keeping track of which set of story prompts the question comes from and adds more color to the jar. I start by printing two copies of the first page (full bleed if your printer has that option) and then feed these pages back into the printer to print the question pages. (You should refer to your printer manual to know the right way to feed these into your printer.)

Story Prompt Questions

Story Prompt Questions

The next two sheets are the questions. After printing these pages need to be cut apart by cutting the sheet in half (the long way) at 5.5″ and then every 1 1/16″ to finish cutting the questions apart. I also like to use a corner rounder on each question but that is optional. But it looks nice and will help the questions not get so dog-eared with use.

Story Prompt Packaging and Journal Cover

The last page has an insert for the canning jar lid (wide mouth quart or pint and a half work great) and a set of tags to tie on to the jar with simple instructions. There is a journal cover so that you can also give them a place to record the memories for sharing and future reference. Cut another piece of chipboard or heavy cardstock for the back along with some blank or lined paper for the inside. Then bind them together by your chosen method. I’m lucky enough to have a wire binding machine but you can get the journal bound at your local copy center. This sheet isn’t strictly necessary but it helps pull the gift together into a nice package.

I am putting the jar and journal in a gift bag along with some treats to munch on while answering the questions to help get them started on recording their memories of a loved one.jar gift logos9

Feel free to use these files for personal use and gifts. You can download pdfs here.

Questions come from those at StoryCorps.org.

 

The Story Rug

Illustration by G. Bjorn Thorkelson

I was reading “The Friend” (a children’s magazine published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) recently and I just had to post this story here. It features a rag rug made from old clothes with the idea that each piece of cloth reminds the rug maker of memories and stories from their life. What a great idea for a story project!

The Story Rug

The Story Rug

By Kay Timpson

(Based on a true story)


Who knew so many stories could be wrapped up in one rug?
We as the children can seek out our loved ones, preserving their names and their memory (Children’s Songbook, 90–91).

Katy skipped along the sidewalk toward the big oak tree at the corner of her street. The old tree made Nana’s house easy to find.

As usual, Nana was sitting in her living room, quietly braiding and sewing strips of bright cloth. The polished wooden floors of Nana’s house were decorated with beautiful rugs that Nana made herself.

“Hello, honey,” Nana said as Katy came in. Soon they were talking about what Nana called the “old days.” They looked at black-and-white photos together. Katy especially liked seeing the clothes and hairstyles her relatives wore when they were younger.

“Things were very different then,” Nana said with a sigh. “You know, we didn’t have cars or TV or cell phones.”

Katy couldn’t even imagine having to walk everywhere. “What did you do for fun, Nana?” Katy asked.

“We loved to sing together. We would gather around the piano in the evening and sing our favorite songs. Sometimes we’d sing ourselves hoarse! It was such a fun time.”

Nana looked off into the yard as if she could rewind the years and watch them over again.

Katy sat next to the coiled rug that spilled off of Nana’s lap. She traced the careful stitches with her fingers.

“I’ve been thinking,” Nana said slowly. “How would you like to make your very own braided rug?”

Katy jumped up and clapped her hands.

“I would love to, Nana! Can we start today?”

Nana chuckled. “Well, there’s something you need to do first. Go home and gather up old clothes that we can cut into strips.”

Her eyes twinkled as she leaned toward Katy, her voice quiet as if she were sharing a secret.

“That’s what makes the rug special. Because it’s made of clothes, the rug can tell the story of your life. Each braid is like a chapter in a book about you. Looking at the fabric of an old dress can help you remember the places you wore it and what you did when you had it on.”

Katy’s eyes widened. She pointed to the rug Nana was braiding.

“Do you remember all about the cloth in this rug?”

Nana smiled. “You bet I do! This red piece is from the dress I wore when you were born. I remember pressing my nose to the glass window in the nursery to get a closer look at you. You were still all pink and wrinkly.”

Katy and Nana laughed together as Nana continued to tell Katy stories from the rug. As soon as Katy got home that night, she and Mama set aside old clothes that Katy could use for her rug.

The next day, Katy took the cloth to Nana’s house. Nana showed Katy how to cut the fabric into long strips, braid them, and sew the braids together.

Every day after school Katy went to work on the rug at Nana’s house.

Little by little, the rug grew. As the days went by Katy learned many of Nana’s stories by heart. Some days she was the one who told stories to Nana.

One day, after adding a blue strip of cloth that used to be a favorite pair of jeans, Katy rubbed the palm of her hand against the colorful braids.

“Don’t you think that rug is about done?” Nana asked, looking up from her work.

“Not yet,” Katy said with a smile. She never wanted this time with Nana to end.

 

The Many Mediums of a Story Project

DOABLE Sidebar DLet’s say that you’ve narrowed down your story project and have a good idea of what you want to do and why you want to do this story project, the next big question is what medium to do want to use to tell this story?

I’ll use my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor again as an example. I knew I wanted to do a story project about her and I had decided that I wanted to focus on her journey from England to Utah with the Martin Handcart company. I also knew that I wanted to do something that would be appealing to kids. I figured that if it was approachable for kids, adults would take time to learn about Mary Taylor too.

So looking at the 100 story projects post, and narrow it down. My first run through I deleted things that weren’t about her journey. That got me down to about 40 Then I deleted those that would not be very appealing to children. That took off about 20 more. Next I looked again at which ones would really tell the story of her journey and not just aspects of her experience and would appeal to kids ages 5 to 10. That got me down to the following list:

  1. make a story book with illustration of Mary’s childhood and journey to Zion (did that – it is so close to being ready to publish)
  2. make that story book into an ebook
  3. make that story book into an enhanced ebook with sound etc.
  4. make that story book into a video with narration and background music
  5. make a coloring book about Mary’s life (I could probably adapt the illustrations from “My Grandma Mary” for this)
  6. design surprise balls that tell a story about Mary Taylor
  7. make puppets to act out stories from Mary Taylor’s life
  8. make a video of the puppet show
  9. put together a story box about Mary Taylor

Looking at this more focused short list you could do some more brainstorming and ask yourself are there some different media that I could use to expand this list. Here are some extra ideas that come to mind:

  • make an animated video using claymation or other media
  • make paper dolls for the characters in Mary’s story
  • instead of having an adult illustrate the book have a child or children draw the images after learning about Mary’s story

The first five could be grouped together, because in completing the first one (make a story book), much of the work is already done for the next three. It is sharing it and enhancing it in different ways. Using different media. In some ways the story box could be the final end of several story projects about Mary Taylor all with the goal in mind of creating a story box about her life and/or her journey to Utah in 1856. The box could contain the story book and/or ebook, video etc, a coloring book, puppets and a script or scripts to perform or a video, and a surprise ball as a kind of summary of Mary’s story and trinkets to remind the kids what they learned about their ancestor. That would be really cool.

I didn’t make this list when I started the story book about Mary’s journey, but if I had I would then need to choose which story project to do first. The story box would be out because it is more appropriate as a long-term goal. Someone with more experience with puppets and script writing might pick that as a first project. But since my experience is mainly with books I would probably still pick that as my first project. Even the color book idea is a natural extension of the story book. If I was more comfortable with video that could be the starter project and then the book would be taken from still of the video. There are lots of options and mediums. Which one or ones you choose depends on you, your talents, your interests and your resources. The story book project turned out to be perfect for me because my niece was on board to illustrate it.

Does this example help you to see how to take a long list that you have brainstormed and narrow it down. There is not one right answer for a story project. Follow your intuition and move forward. This can be a fun process so let it inspire you. Then keep that vision alive as you take the many steps to complete your story project.

I’ve been inspired by this brainstorming exercise, I hope you have too. Now it is time for you to do something similar for your next story project!