Backyard adventure begins with “The Never Starting Tales”.
Really, it does!
“The Never Starting Tales” may sound unusual, but these tales are simply a collection of re-interpreted fairytales that were created to inspire families to spend more time adventure-seeking in their own back yards.
These stories explore what might have happened if a character never stepped outdoors to actually begin his or her adventure? What if a character instead stayed inside, glued to that screen?
Why? Research shows that American kids are spending 50% less time outdoors than the previous generation, so the makers of OFF!® are on a mission to promote getting kids and families outdoors by becoming a Champion of Outdoor Play.
And honestly? I love these “re-interpreted” tales. And I love this whole campaign.
I love it as an educator, but I also love it as a parent.
Backyard Adventure Begins with “The Never Starting Tales”
Here are five reasons why I’m totally here for “The Never Starting Tales”:
1.) “The Never Starting Tales” get kids to really think about their screen-time choices.
We all want our kids to make smart choices when it comes to screen-time, but it’s not always easy.
Flashing screens, power-ups, online-celebrities, and the lure of the immediate next episode are the siren song for children today. When given the option, what do most children choose: the screen or time in the backyard?
Usually, the screen wins out.
“The Never Starting Tales” really get readers thinking about whether they want to simply stare at a screen all day long, passively consuming content, or whether they want to head out to their backyard for a little adventure and possibly change the world.
We, as parents, can—and should— set limits on children’s screen-time, but eventually our kids will be on their own. It’s imperative that they are able to responsibly manage their technology choices now so that they can do so as teens and young adults.
2.) “The Never Starting Tales” are really well-written and illustrated.
Most of the six tales are most likely all familiar to children, and the familiarity will help them to better appreciate the “re-imagined” story.
Here are the stories included:
- Jack and the Bean Stalk
- Little Red Riding Hood
- Peter & Wendy
- 3 Little Pigs
Each story is available in downloadable eBook or audiobook, and two of the stories have a video format.
The stories are written and illustrated in such a way that readers will really be engaged.
For example, the characters each battle their own “screen demons” which are cleverly written:
- Cinderella would rather stay home and watch Fairy Street on the “magical picture mirror” than go to the ball
- Young Hercules will only stay inside and play games on his stone tablet instead of seeking adventure outdoors
- Jack doesn’t want to go to town to help his mother because he is too busy playing his “magical game”
- Little Red Riding Hood stays inside all day and watches “Project Hood”
- Wendy Darling watches her Ye Old Telly videos instead of going to Neverland for adventure
- Little Pig refuses to go outside and instead stays to play with his “Game Boar” all day long
The illustrations are full-page, bright, and engaging.
Know that the idea here is that the story is the important piece, not necessarily the child decoding the words on the page. For emerging readers, decoding the text may be difficult because the font size varies as does the placement on the page.
But visually, these are very well done.
3.) “The Never Starting Tales” get kids to think critically.
Now, more than ever, children need to really think about how the choices they make will effect their future. Not only when it comes to screen-time choices but in other areas as well.
I love that “The Never Starting Tales” includes some really awesome STEM and LA lesson plans as well.
These lessons include:
- writing persuasively about the best superpower
- thinking about what adults might do in Neverland
- analyzing the materials used to build a shelter
- writing directions around your backyard
The printable worksheets are engaging and connect to what most students are doing or have done in school. That way, we’re setting our kids up for success!
4.) “The Never Starting Tales” encourage families to spend time in the backyard.
All of the tales involve getting kids out in the backyard, playing and using their imaginations. I love that.
And even some of the lessons include activity extensions that get kids outdoors, like;
- writing and performing a backyard play
- creating a “backyard bucket list”
- drawing a backyard map
- backyard weather observations
- planting and observing beans
- recording bean plant growth
In “Peter and Wendy”, the idea is that Wendy thinks she is “too old” to go out and play, but by staying inside, she misses out on all the Neverland fun.
I love this message because so often, our kids think that backyard play is just for babies. It’s certainly not.
Kids of any age can get out back and have some fun!
5.) “The Never Starting Tales” is an easy share for teachers and parents.
Teachers can very easily share “The Never Starting Tales” with students for use in online lessons or with families to use at home.
All they need to do is share the link, found here: “The Never Starting Tales”
There are no apps to download, no programs to install. It’s simply a link to all of the books and resources.
The resources are perfect for at-home learning because they include three important lesson components:
- First: read the story
- Next: specific instructions or directions for an activity
- Challenge: an extension for those who want or need more learning on the topic
That’s why, no matter the child’s age, the “Never Starting Tales” should be read by students, used in instruction, and shared with families.
Get connected with the makers of OFF!®:
- On Instagram: @OFFoutdoors
- On Facebook: @OFF
- On Pinterest: @OFFrepellent
- On Twitter: @OFFoutdoors
- Official site: NeverStartingTales.com
- Lesson Plans: link to lesson plans
Who will you share these resources with?
I’d love to know!
fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership between WeAreTeachers and the makers of OFF!®, but as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.