Play It Again: Story Dice

A new book makes storytelling easier

show me a story!

As writers, we have an affinity for words. But when it comes to making up bedtime stories, we can’t get beyond “Once upon a time.”

Which is why Show Me a Story works so well for us. The DIY craft book has 40 projects for kids ages 5 and up that engage, encourage, and develop storytelling skills (it’s meant for littles, but we found it helpful as grown-ups). Activities teach everything from story structure (beginning, middle, end) to listening skills (many of the crafts can be done in a group).

One of our favorites, Story Dice, is guaranteed to get you all the way to a happily-ever-after.

Paper and pencils
Tiny stamps
Black ink
Small (approximately ¾-inch) wooden cubes
Fine-tip ballpoint pen
Colored pencils

1. Make a list of characters, things, and places you would like on the dice. Narrow the list and select the images you want printed. You can make each die display only one category — characters, places, things, magical items, weather descriptions, etc. — or you can make single dice with multiple categories. The benefit of the former is that you can roll two and know for sure that you’ll get one character and one thing, for example. If you use the latter, you could end up with two places or two weather descriptions.

2. To make stamped dice, dip a stamp into ink and use the tips of your fingers to press it firmly and evenly onto a wooden block.

3. For illustrated dice, draw the outline of each image you choose onto the block with a fine-tip ballpoint pen. (Avoid art markers; they bleed too much.) Fill in with colored pencils.

4. If you are playing by yourself, simply roll the dice and use the combination to begin your story. When you start running out of ideas, roll the dice again for a new combination. If you’re playing as a group, take turns rolling the dice and incorporating your combinations into the larger story.

5. Keep in mind that six dice can present 36 images and 46,656 unique combinations. Yowza! The more dice you add to your collection, the more possible combinations, which means seemingly endless storytelling options.

Show Me a Story available at amazon.com, $11.50.

Photo: Courtesy of Buff Strickland Storey Publishing