“Once upon a time …” “Érase una vez…”
What springs to mind when you read these words? Do you find yourself swept off to wonderful worlds of fairy tales and far off lands with images of princesses, castles, brave knights and dragons? I do.
I think that, as busy adults, we can sometimes forget the importance of nurturing the imagination of our children. As we are busy getting on with your day to day lives, doing homework, attending activities and just generally living, we may not encourage our children to just, “be children”, as often as we maybe should.
I am guilty as charged. However, I do have “stock taking” moments where I spot the error of my ways. I am always keeping an eye out for little games and ideas that I think will spike the children’s imagination. You can see some examples on my Pinterest board HERE: Fun Activities with Children.
Yesterday, during our Sunday morning homework session, Francesca (our six year old), told me that she had to write a story and she had no idea what to write about. Now, we had had a particularly busy weekend and when Francesca is tired, mole hills often appear to be mountains. However, this morning I was quick off the blocks. I went into her bedroom and brought out the Story Cubes.
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, and narrative point of view. (Wikipedia)
Our children love these Story Cubes and we love listening to the stories they invent from them. The children simply roll the cubes and make up stories based in the pictures displayed on each of the cubes.
We sometimes roll all the cubes together and tell a quick story or we roll three at a time and make up a more elaborated story. What is also great is that you can use them in any language, so we practice storytelling in both English and Spanish.
Francesca is now finishing her first year of obligatory education in Spain (Primaria) . Throughout the year, each week, she has had a Spanish book to read and write a summary of. This has been a great way to develop her comprehension and written ability and, of course, expand her vocabulary.
The photograph at the top of this page is just the start of this week’s invented story, using the Story Cubes. There are a few pages until it is finished. I wonder what the teacher will think when she reads this totally different, random story about a little old man who wanted to travel the world with his pet turtle who he’d found at the end of the rainbow …
Don’t you just love it!
Here are links to Amazon where you can buy the Story Cubes if you are interested. If you use the links below we receive a small commission form Amazon.
9 cubes, 54 images, over 10 million possible combos, unlimited stories! Recipient of Dr. Toy’s “10 Best Games” Award, the “Major Fun Award” and “People’s Choice Award”. How it works… Simply roll all 9 dice, examine each of the face-up images and let them guide your imagination through a story that begins with “Once upon a time…”. The secret is not to think too deeply. Simply ‘gulp’ in the images and start talking. And remember, there is no wrong answer! The nine dice, each with a unique image on all six sides, hold a total of 54 images. This means that with every roll, there are over 10 million combination’s for you to use as the inspiration for your story. The uses for Rory’s Story Cubes are boundless. Play them while traveling, waiting in a restaurant, in the classroom, as an icebreaker, for idea generation, or to make learning a new language more fun.
Writing researchers suggest that children should write stories in order to (1) entertain, (2) foster artistic expression, (3) explore the functions and values of writing, (4) stimulate imagination, (5) clarify thinking, (6) search for identity, and (7) learn to read and write. (http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ269736)
Not every child finds story telling an easy task. The Story Cubes are a great aid and are also lots of fun. We always take them with us when we are traveling.
However, here is another way of encouraging your child to create their own beautiful stories …
What To Do
- Start by reading some favourite stories together. Talk a little bit about each story’s author. If there is information about the author on the book jacket, you might read it together. Help the child understand that the author created or adapted the story and made decisions about what should happen in it.
- As you read, stop and ask the child to make predictions about what is going to happen next and why he or she thinks so. When you do this, you are encouraging him or her to think about how stories work and how readers understand stories – both important when writing a story of one’s own.
- While you are reading and when you are done, talk about the different parts of the story, asking questions such as:
- What is the beginning of the story? The middle? The end?
- Who are the characters?
- What do you like about them?
- Where does the story take place?
- Is there a problem that occurs in the story? If so, how does it get resolved?
- What do you think about the ending? Is there a connection, either in words or pictures, between the ending and the beginning of the story?
(See the full article on www.readwritethink.org)
Here’s to lots more story writing, story telling and of course encouraging our children’s creativeness and imagination.
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