Reviewed by Julie Lawrence
Story Cubes – endless stories small enough to fit in your pocket.
I’m a teacher, I’m a mum, I’m always surrounded by small people who want to be entertained – who want something to do – who I want to be able to find their own entertainment or join in as a group. Story Cubes fulfil all my needs.
I received the original 9 cube story cube box set. First of all, I was impressed by the design of the box, a slip cover to ensure nothing fell out or opened on its own, then a lovely little box with magnetic clasp. There’s a very small simple guide for the cubes – great if you (or the younger players) want ideas to get started, then 9 well designed simply illustrated cubes with a variety of images on them.
As a supply teacher I have a bag of tricks – a bag of tricks that have to work with anything from 4 year olds to 11 year olds. This bag of tricks has to hold a lot – so size and weight are very important to me. Story Cubes are nice and compact, so perfect for my supply teacher bag! They’re small enough to leave in a handbag, in your glove box in the car, take in hand luggage on a holiday/flight, on the train – it really is endless.
I wanted to test them out of a large group of children straight away. I had a class of 25 10 year olds. We started with a simple game, roll 3 dice and create a character. We were able to do this all together – it was amazing to see the variety of ideas from a lightning bolt, sheep and magic wand:
An evil Sheppard hit by lightning
A crazed sheep with magical powers
A young wizard with a sheep as his favourite pet
Then we moved onto the suggested “beginning, middle and end” game. I gave each group 3 dice, they rolled the dice and decided on their own beginning, middle and end of the story each linking to the image they rolled. While some pupils liked to stick closely to the image rolled, others liked to use as it as inspiration. One thing was for sure – it got them all talking and storytelling. Within seconds we had endless ideas flowing around the classroom; laughter, teamwork and huge amounts of creativity.
Although the cubes are recommended for ages 6+, I wanted to try them with my own children age 4 and 5. They too LOVED them! We started with 3 dice and told each other a silly story including each of the cubes. They understood the concept very quickly and enjoyed rolling the dice to see what they could come up with next. They wanted to use them to get ideas for drawing pictures, using them to “invent” new machines. A bee, a tepee and an eyeball became a travelling optician who only checks bee’s eyes.
Whatever age you want to play with, they all loved the cubes. If I used them regularly in the classroom I’d want an extra set or two to make things easier – but the set of 9 cubes gave us enough opportunities to create a variety of stories and games. I love their size, I love the variety of games provided (and how easy it is to make your own), I love how quickly they convert bored to busy! I would recommend them to other parents and teachers. Simple, small and straightforward.
For more information or to buy Story Cubes visit www.storycubes.com.