The children’s books that line your shelves certainly had a lot of thought put into them from their authors and illustrators…but that doesn’t mean you and Baby can’t put your own spin on the plotlines.
To get your little one thinking about the books you’re reading and flexing their imagination a little, you can read half of a storybook together and make up the second half based on the pictures in the book and what you already know about the characters. Baby might need a little prompting to get started, but you’ll be amazed at the creative stories you two come up with.
This might work best if you haven’t read the book with Baby before. That way, there are no preconceived ideas about what the characters are going to do. But this can work even with books you’ve read dozens of times as long as you and Baby have your imagination caps on! (Really, having actual imagination caps isn’t a bad idea.)
You can start out by reading the book as usual, or you can tell Baby from the beginning that you’re going to think of your own ending. That might give them a little time to brainstorm or just get used to the idea that you won’t be reading the book all the way through. Once you reach a good stopping point midway (maybe you’re at a climactic point or a cliffhanger), you can turn to Baby and ask, “What do you think happens next?”
There’s no wrong answer to this question! Maybe the firefighter rounds up all her friends to rescue the cat from the tree, or maybe the cat grows wings and flies down himself! You can give suggestions or look at details in the pictures for inspiration. When you’ve come up with the world’s best story, you can call it a day or look through the rest of the book to see how its version compares. If you and Baby create a story you really like, maybe you can even make a book of your own!