Children use their imagination to come up with fun backstories to story prompts. This activity challenges children to try to think of as many different reasons as possible to explain unusual behavior.
- Something to write with
- Pick a story from the list below and begin imagining a backstory.
- Write, record, or share your ideas. Come up with many different reasons why the character does what he or she does.
Tyrone, now 10 years old, had always been a quiet child. He was polite and had one or two friends at school, but mostly kept to himself during class and during recess. One day in April, something changed. He suddenly looked and acted different. He began speaking twice as loud and suddenly joined all of the group games at recess. What caused the sudden change in his personality? Think of as many possible reasons as you can.
One day, a zookeeper arrived at work and unlocked all of the animal cages, setting all of the animals free. Why did he do it? Think of as many possible reasons as you can.
A famous chef is invited to serve a dinner at the United States White House. She agrees to cook a meal only if she can be guaranteed to have a _____________ with her in the kitchen while she is cooking. What does she ask for and why does she need it? Think of as many possibilities as you can.
Try these add-on activities:
- Write an original story for others to use as prompts for the game. Invent stories where players could imagine many different explanations.
- Pick your favorite backstory and go further. Make up a title, a cover illustration, and write one page of dialogue between the characters.
- Turn the activity into a performing arts game. Give each group the same story starter and ask each person to invent a skit that reveals the characters’ motivations.