Friday, January 6, 2012

Creative Storymaking Made Easy

I've written many times on this blog about the power of storytelling as a means to stimulate children's language, literacy, learning and creativity. Rarely do I suggest a commercial aid for such creative storying, but there is one that I've come across that deserves a mention.

Rory's Story Cubes are a simple, but powerful tool for story creation. The aid consists of 9 cubes that have images on all sides. Each 'player' takes turns rolling the cubes. They then look at the top image on the 9 cubes, reorder them as they wish and then create an oral story. While some people are better at this than others, once you've had a few turns you get the idea of it and quickly begin to create original stories. I've used it with three of my grandchildren aged 5, 7 & 9 and all were able to create excellent stories and had a stimulating and fun time doing it. We had fun creating individual stories and group stories.

The original Rory's Story Cubes game contains nine 19mm cubes with 54 iconic images, for example, an eye, lock, wand, sad face, star, letter, bee, turtle, key hole, arrow, torch, lightning and so on.

There have now been two additional expansion sets released. The first consists of 9 cubes with 54 action images or 'picto-verbs' that depict common verbs showing varied actions. Another recent set has been released and focuses on the theme of 'voyages'. You can use the sets separately or can mix them up to create even more elaborate stories.

Story Cubes are an ideal activity for children at home or in small group work at school. At $US14.99 a set I think they're great value. You can buy them at good toy stores. I bought my set from one of my favourite toy stores in Sydney, Monkey Puzzle (at Summer Hill) for $16.95. You can also buy them online in varied places, including HERE and HERE

You will also be able to purchase a larger set of cubes soon for children with special needs. 'Story Cubes MAX' has 30 mm square cubes (almost twice the size) making handling easier for children with fine motor or visual disabilities. The expected recommended retail price will be approximately $US30.

Finally, you can download an iPhone version via iTunes HERE for $US1.99. The app works brilliantly. When you shake the iPhone, it even sounds like you're rolling the real thing.


Mel said...

This sounds like a great tool to help myself make up original stories to tell the kids at bedtime. I've always loved the thought of making up original stories for the kids, but have trouble structuring it. This resource would give me that little bit of structure/direction that I could see myself starting to tell those original stories to my kids that I have always dreamed of doing.

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Mel, this is an interesting way to use the aid. I'm sure that it would be fun to use it this way. Maybe you could let your children join in too. Let me know how it turns out. Trevor

Claire said...

I am a South African middle school teacher and I use Rory's Story Cubes all the time. The children love them and beg to play with them as a reward for working well.

Trevor Cairney said...

I'm glad you find them helpful as well Claire.