We do love good creation myths here at Storytime – especially ones that are less familiar to us and our readers. Not only do they offer a fascinating insight into other cultures and beliefs from long ago, they’re often richly imaginative and just begging for brilliant visuals. The perfect combination – a real treat to write, a joy for illustrators to work on and, hopefully, a pleasure to read.
And where fairy tales satisfy the need for happy endings, creation myths once brought certainty to uncertain beginnings – often in the most incredible and far-fetched ways.
That lack of hard science forced civilisations to come up with some impressive explanations for their own existence and for everything in the world around them.
No science to explain how Australia happened? We’ll put it down to a Rainbow Snake! (Storytime Issue 5)
No science to explain China’s four biggest rivers? Must be down to the dragons trapped under the mountains. (Storytime Issue 10)
Creation Myths Make Creative Kids
The sheer ingenuity and unexpectedness of creation myths is to be applauded. It should be treasured and shared with kids, who, as they make sense of the world, are quite frankly the masters of coming up with original ideas about how and why things came to be.
I also think creation myths offer huge possibilities for learning about indigenous cultures and beliefs, the real science and geography behind the places in the stories, plus a whole load of subject-related, spin-off activities to explore from art and P.E. to literacy and maths. You can really go to town with a creation myth.
A Maui Myth with Free Teaching Resources
In our Storytime Issue 20, we’ve featured a wonderful creation myth from New Zealand. It’s called Maui Goes Fishing and it explains how New Zealand’s North Island came to exist. Naturally, a young boy (soon to be demigod) fished it out of the sea.
We’ve put together a teaching resource pack for this story, along with lesson ideas and some fun printable activities, which we’ve sent out exclusively to all schools who subscribe to Storytime. (In fact, we’re now sending out a free monthly teaching resource pack to all of our school subscribers. Find out more about it here. You can also access some of our other sample resources here.)
You can download our Maui Goes Fishing Resource Pack here – it includes:
- Maui Goes Fishing story
- Lesson Ideas for literacy, PE, Geography and Art
- Word Wise Sheet
- New Zealand Fact Sheet
- Maui’s Moko Sheet (design a Maori tattoo)
- Maui Colouring Sheet
- Maori Factfile Sheet
- Maui Goes Fishing Game Sheet
- Two Storytime Picture Frames
We hope you can put it to good use at home or in the classroom, and that our creation myths inspire busy minds, brimming with questions and intrigued by the ideas behind each story. Creation myths are an example of enormous creativity and, in turn, encourage creativity in kids.
Off to see if I can fish a new country out of the Thames.
See you next time!