Have Your Kids Roll the Story Dice & Add Creative Color to Storytelling
Story Dice Utilizes the Power of a Child’s Imagination
For young children, the line between fiction and nonfiction in their own storytelling is flexible – tales of the previous day’s adventures can easily become intertwined with imaginary interactions with invented characters and impossible events. A normal part of childhood, the tendency to mix fact and fiction together isn’t a problem, it’s just the product of an active imagination! Storytelling of any kind helps children develop all kinds of essential skills, so take advantage of the fantastic imaginary realms of childhood by supporting children in telling all of their tales – tall or otherwise.
One fun way to make storytelling a regular family activity is to create story dice, which offer a tangible set of story-making clues and turn the process of putting together a story into a bit of a game. A set of story dice isn’t made up of a specific number of dice, but an amount that is more than three and less than ten offers a good amount of variety. If done as a DIY family project, story dice can be covered with images of your family’s choosing – generally, an assortment of people, places, animals, objects, and even colors, letters, and numbers cover the sides of the dice. When rolled, story dice generate a set of things around which to craft a story.
Story dice can be created by drawing on wooden blocks – a method that creates a uniform-looking set of dice. However, more original and authentic dice can be created by putting together a collection of small images of all kinds (cut from magazines, printed from the internet, drawn by the hands of child artists, etc.) and attaching them to dice. If you can’t find (or don’t want to buy) plain wooden blocks, try folding your own using sturdy paper and a printable dice template. While pre-made sets of story dice are available in stores, your family’s handmade set will offer you with a random yet personalized set of story starters with each use.
A set of story dice can even grow over time, or be edited to reflect changes in children’s development and/or interests. A family set might, for example, begin to include letters as youngsters develop awareness of the correspondence between written letters and letter sounds, or pictures of objects that relate to topics that children learn about as they explore topics through formal learning. If your child is learning about the ocean, for example, make some dice that include pictures of familiar fish or aquatic plant life.
Your story dice don’t have to be used exclusively for storytelling, either. If given to small children and incorporated into a set of plain blocks, the dice may spark creative free play using tangible materials – allowing children to overlap their budding storytelling skills with motor skill development and expression of their creativity through manipulatives like blocks, dolls, and other story props.
For further inspiration for ways to spark stories, look amongst the pages of local author Emily Neuberger’s Show Me a Story, a book made up entirely of creative story-starting ideas for storytellers of all ages. In addition to ways to make and use story dice, the book includes a wide variety of suggestions for other activities that creatively integrate children’s interests and preexisting knowledge with the creative building of new tales – alone or together. And if your stories become particularly fantastic, start writing them down in a family story journal – there’s a DIY for that, too!
[Photo credit: (cc) Only Alice]