20 incredibly short bedtime stories for kids

When my son started asking me to make up bedtime stories I was thrilled. I’m a creative person. This would be fun. I told him bedtime stories with original characters, complete plots, and practical morals.

Then my son started asking for five or more bedtime stories each night. That was a little more improvisational storytelling than I was up to at the end of a long day. It was also counter to my desire for him to actually go to sleep at some point.

My son and I took turns making up bedtime stories on those nights. I noticed from his stories that he didn’t place as much emphasis on character development or plot as I did. Also, my son’s stories tended to be only a few sentences long. I took his lead and started telling incredibly short bedtime stories. My son enjoys them, and I can tell a bunch without keeping him up past his bedtime.

These 20 incredibly short bedtime stories are representative of the types of bedtime stories I make up on demand. They could probably serve as writing prompts too.


  1.  Once there was a pickle named Fred. Then someone ate him.
  2. Once a little boy built a rocket ship. He flew to Jupiter because he felt gassy.
  3. Once there were two dogs named Lucy and Daisy. They jumped so high that they landed on the moon. They played there for a while, then they got hungry and went home.
  4. Once there was a dinosaur named Beauregard. I’m sorry you never met him. He exploded.
  5. Once there was a beautiful butterfly who was too tired to fly. She learned to drive a car, and became the fastest race car driver in the world.
  6. Once there was a squid who wanted to be purple, so he colored himself purple. His mom got mad and made him take a bath.
  7. Once a squirrel invited his friends to a party. It was a squirrel party. They ran around and ate nuts until everyone had to go home.
  8. Once there was a bunny who loved candy. He ate too much and got a stomachache. That’s why most bunnies eat carrots.
  9. Once a bunch of goats went to the beach. They splashed and played. When it got too hot they went to a restaurant for lunch.
  10. Once there was a spider who was afraid a bird was going to eat him, so he snuck into a people house to hide. A little girl found him and squished him.
  11. Once there was a bear who liked to climb trees. One day he climbed a tree so tall that he was able to jump on an airplane that was flying by. It flew him to his grandma’s house. She made a sandwich for him.
  12. Once there was a snake who liked to scare people. That was mean, so no one liked him. He was sad. He ate a watermelon.
  13. Once there was a robot who liked to dance. He danced and danced and danced until he ran out of battery.
  14. Once there was an elephant who didn’t like ice cream because it was too cold. He put it in the microwave and ate it like soup. It spilled down his chin and made a mess. No more ice cream for that elephant, I guess.
  15. Once there was a 3-toed sloth who wished he had more toes, so he made some out of Play-Doh. They were yellow. He confused them for bananas and ate them. He got sick and threw up. The sloth decided 3 toes were plenty.
  16. Once there was a big horse who didn’t like water. He drank chocolate milk instead.
  17. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. It was a gummy candy fly leftover from Halloween. She had run out of chocolate.
  18. This little piggy went to Target. He needed paper towels.
  19. Once there was a mommy who was sooooooooooo tired that she couldn’t think of anymore bedtime stories.
  20. Once there was a little boy who wouldn’t go to sleep. Then he did.

If you are wondering, no, I do not make up bedtime stories for my daughter. She doesn’t want bedtime stories. She demands original bedtime *songs* on themes of her choosing.

If you liked my 20 incredibly short bedtime stories, you may also enjoy

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