4 Bedtime Story Starter Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing (Again)

Out of Ideas, Huh?

I understand. Being a creative machine (aka a parent) is hard! Especially when you factor in everything else that life throws your way.

You come home after a long day at work, you help with dinner, put on PJ’s, brush teeth, and then you hear the inevitable question… “Mom/Dad will you tell me a story?”

If you are anything like me, I could get away with 4 or 5 stories on a rotating basis for the first little while. But then my oldest daughter wised up (good for her, but not good for her. It’s an internal struggle 😂).

Now I need to supply her with stories that she is excited to hear about almost daily. But it’s a challenge for me because I am exhausted at the end of the day.

Exhausted Dad after a busy day of work

Exhaustion = Lack of Creativity

If you are emotionally, mentally, or physically drained (or all three!) after a hard day of work, join the club!

When I say “work,” I am not singling anyone out here. I am speaking to working and stay-at-home parents alike. From board meeting presentations to battling children from completely wrecking the house—parents of young kids have tough lives.

Of course, there are unforgettable moments with kids too. The morning snuggles, the laughable “wow did she/he really just say that” comments, seeing them play and imagine, and on and on.

Parenting is incredibly tough, but it is also gratifying.

But our ability to be good parents and help develop our children can be dampened by exhaustion. Specifically, helping our children have imagination time (which is extremely healthy).

Imagination time is needed to develop into good little humans later on in life (one of the countless sources on the topic: The Power of a Child’s Imagination).

But here lies the BIG dilemma. Children need and want us (parents) to be creative and imagine with them. To a child, imagination time = bonding time.

But what if you are too exhausted at the end of a busy day to give them what they want?

Enter, Story Starter Ideas

You do not have to compromise on imagination and bonding time with your kids. You simply need to have the resources to provide imaginative experiences during moments of exhaustion. The resource I am talking about is having the right start to a story.

Coming up with the initial idea is the bottleneck of creating something new when exhausted.

That’s where we come in.

You can quickly look to one of our story starter ideas to get you started in moments of exhaustion. These are the blueprints to many future stories.

You can take these ideas and change them, again and again, to make them into something new:

Once you have the blueprint or the foundation to build on, you can quickly create a story again and again.

Let’s review four starter story ideas that children will love to hear about over and over again.

Starter Story #1 – Overcoming the Monster

This story is rooted in many stories we know and love (Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs, etc.) Everything is well for the main character until some threat appears. The character becomes the hero of the day by destroying what is in its way. The “monster” can be a literal monster but can also be an inner monster.

Story Ideas:

Tip: Imagine through your child’s eyes. What do they see every day that they would consider a “monster”? What is their favorite animal? Can that animal go on an adventure and overcome something?

Starter Story #2 – The Journey

Every child likes a good quest or adventure where the main character goes on a journey to find or do something (remember The Goonies?!) They will typically face a series of challenges and trials to get back home. Sometimes the main character has a few comrades that also come along.

Story Ideas:

Tip: Imagine through your child’s eyes. Is there something that the child needs to find today? Perhaps something they have missed, and you can relate with another character that is missing something too? Maybe it’s to find a favorite toy, brother/sister, or lost _______ (get creative).

Starter Story #3 – From Rags to Riches

This is the emotional roller coaster that ends on a high note. Harry Potter is a great example. From poverty to rich, from sick to health, or from a sad event to a happy one. Severely lacking in something and then acquiring it. They grow as a person throughout the process.

Story Ideas:

Tip: Imagine through your child’s eyes. Were they unhappy today but became happy because of something? Relate that through a fun character. Did they learn a valuable lesson through the story?

Starter Story #4 – The Voyage

Like Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy ends up in a weird place with different setting rules before returning back home.

Story Ideas:

Tip: Imagine through your child’s eyes. What vacation spot do they enjoy? What place in the house do they love the most? Can you relate to either of those places and add some new rules? The floor is now the ceiling, and there is magic in this new location, etc.

Basic Narrative Structure to Follow

Each of these starter story ideas can follow a similar narrative structure. Do not make it more difficult on yourself than it needs to be. In its simplicity, here’s what each story needs:

For example, let’s take the ‘Overcoming the Monster’ starter story template to show how this would work:


As a busy parent, it’s normal to be emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. But that exhaustion doesn’t have to prevent you from bonding with your child.

Storytelling is an excellent way for your child to imagine. Reading helps children visualize the world but telling a story (without images) unlocks the imagination.

Don’t have the time or willpower to take these starter stories and turn them into engaging and fun bedtime stories?

We’ve got you covered.

Story Tyke removes parents’ need to search for or create a story from scratch to tell at bedtime. Give us a try for 14-days for free.

Download Story Tyke

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