Tell lots of stories in your family to stimulate your children. There are several things that stories can help children with.
1) Background: Many people wander through life wondering where they are going but it can be easier if you know where you came from. If your family has special traditions explain to your child why you do these things. That is something your child will carry with them always. Do you eat certain foods at certain times? Do you have a special vacation spot that you go to time and again? Explain these things to your child. Also dig deeper, tell them about your heritage. Where does your family hail from? You may learn several new things yourself.
2) Imagination: When you tell a story instead of reading a book a child must visualize the pictures on their own. This will assist with their reading comprehension and when they begin to write, an imagination will make it easier to come up with ideas. It can be difficult as an adult to use our imagination but try hard to stimulate your child's imagination.
3) Language: Telling stories and reading books are a great way to stimulate a child's language skills. They will hear words that they have never heard before, they will hear the proper sequence of words and they will detect the punctuation of phrases. The more words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary as they age. Be ready to explain a word to a child if you think it is a new word to them or if they ask for an explanation.
4) Convenience: You do not need any supplies to tell a story. You can do it in the car, the bed, a doctor's office or anyplace else that you may be.
5) Reading skills: Telling stories teaches a child the nuances of plot, sequence and characters. They will begin to understand the concept of a story long before they can actually read.
6) Lessons: Many stories that we tell or read often teach a lesson. Whether the lesson is about sharing, not hitting or just being nice many stories teach many lessons. After you tell your child a story, take a few minutes to talk to them about it. Ask what they learned in the story.
Ask family members near and far to record themselves telling stories. They can read books, tell stories from their childhood, make up stories or recite fairy tales. These will be great for your child to listen too. It not only helps with their development but it also keeps family that they may not see every day familiar to them. If they do not want to record their voice they can also write the stories and your family can read them.
Story Dice: Have you seen these yet? They are wooden blocks purchased from a craft store that you draw pictures on or decoupage pictures onto them. Then you roll a dice and start telling the story based on the picture that comes up. Some samples that you can purchase are below.
Muffin Baby Shop on Etsy - I love that these are in color.
Mama Mayl's Shop on Etsy - love the symbol key and book.
Fancy Fannie's Shop on Etsy - I love the variety on these.
Oh Sew Crafty Canada's Shop on Etsy - These also come with a book to write your stories.