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I bought these for my 6 year old daughter as a stocking filler for Christmas last year, but I ended up getting them out early on one miserable day! And they were an immediate hit!
**Rory's Story Cubes**
I decided to buy these because my daughter just loves to make up stories, but they usually all revolve around the same thing, so I thought these might help expand her imagination.
The story cubes are basically 9 dice which have a total of 54 images (6 on each) on them (instead of numbers) and have therefore 10,000,000+ possible picture combinations. The idea is that you throw all 9 cubes at once and then make up a story in relation to the images you can see face up on the cubes. You choose your starting point then start your story 'Once upon a time..' and using your imagination you can somehow link all the images together to complete your story.
The images on the cubes are very diverse, and it is debateable what some of them are actually meant to be, but I think this adds to the enjoyment of making up the story because you can make it anything you want it to be. For instance one image to me looks like a pyramid, but to my youngest daughter it looks like part of a spider's web, and there's another that looks like a bank card to me, but my kids think it looks like a letter. So it really does depend on what the imagination thinks! Other images include a bridge, building, happy face, sad face, an arrow, eyeball, clock, turtle, rainbow, padlock, handprint, parachute...it really is completely random, but it seems to work in the eye of the storyteller.
**Using the Cubes**
Both of my daughters (aged 4 & 6) love to play with these cubes (even though the recommended age is 8+), the 4 year old perhaps does not quite create a story that makes any sense but she still loves to have a go, and the things she comes up with always makes my 6 year old giggle.
When we play we usually take it in turns, we use a little table and all sit round it, and the first person throws the cubes and begins their story. You would think that with over 10 million possible combinations that you would get a different set each time, but we have found that some of the same images keep turning up again and again, which really frustrates my daughter, and I've no idea why this happens! Anyway, my kids' stories are usually very short and to the point, they basically link all the images together in as short a space of time as possible, and often it is quite miraculous how this actually works, however sometimes it really is just waffle. But I really don't think that matters, because they are really enjoying themselves, using their brains and thinking about things and trying to be creative; and perhaps one day they really will come up with a masterpiece!
I am not allowed to escape having a turn on the cubes either, and I think this helps my children too, because an adult's perspective on the cubes is totally different to what a child would think. So some of the things I come up with while telling my story sets the cogs turning in their little minds, and usually parts of my stories will turn up in their next ones. And I think this is also broadening their minds to think and look at things in a different way.
My Dad also likes to have a go at telling stories, and his are usually very farfetched and never fail to entertain my 2 daughters, and I also like to listen to what he has to say because it always amazes me what he has going on in his head!
My 6 year old has even been known to play this on her own, and instead of telling the story out loud, she writes it down in her little book. Here is an example of one of her tales (I have starred the parts she has picked from the cubes):
"Once upon a time there was a *happy boy*. He had a *bow and arrow* and he always played with it, but he wanted a *key* but his mum said he could not have one. He dreamed about going on a ship and *driving* it but when he woke up he saw a *footprint*, he thought that they were *monster* footprints. He asked his mum if he could go to the *castle* and his mum said he could. He could not see a monster but he could see a *bug*. When he got *home* it was bedtime"
So as you can see, the story is very brief and does not flow particularly well, but she has managed to link a few of the images together seamlessly, and her story incorporates more things than one of her standard (non cube) stories which usually involve a dog and a trip to the shops!
**Other Things About The Cubes**
They come in a lovely solid little cardboard box which has a magnetic opening so the cubes are always stored safely away. This is also handy if you want to use them whilst travelling because you can use the box to throw the dice into so they don't get slung around the car.
The box also contains ideas for different ways to play with the cubes, instead of the way I have just described above. But it really is up to you how you play with them, there are no hard and fast rules.
I love these cubes, they are the perfect way to get your kid's imaginations running wild, and it's a lovely way to spend time as a family, communicating, exchanging ideas, and just generally having a nice time. Children love it when you spend time with them, and this is a lovely way to do it. I also know that at school there will come a time when children are expected to write their own stories, and this will be really beneficial for those children who lack the imagination to be able to do that successfully.
A brilliant idea, for young and old alike (everyone loves telling stories!)
**Price and Availability**
I bought my set from Amazon and they are currently available on there for £6.91 (RRP is £10)
You can also get theme variations such as Voyages and Actions, which I presume will just be a different set of images based around voyages and actions!
My eldest daughter who is 6 has a fantastic imagination, but seemed to be struggling to fulfill her potential at school recently when asked to write stories. Eager to help her along the way, we scoured the net for fun ways to help her and it didn't take long until we came across the Story Cubes. Priced at £13.50, we managed to find them only a few pounds cheaper at just over £10 online.
The story cubes are effectively a set of 9 dice. Each cube has a picture on each side which you roll and then have to tell a story following each picture in sequence. The beauty of this game is that you will never have the same sequence as the combinations total more than 10 million! The images on the cubes total 54 images, so even the amount of images are varied and give so many excellent combinations.
While these cubes are a game, we don't actually play them this way. We play them in a way that my daughter rolls the cubes with help from mum or dad and then she sets to work making a story in the correct sequence from the pictures. The object of the game, when played as they are meant to be, is to think of a story on the spot and in front of other people. For adults, this game is hilarious when you have had a few glasses of wine (me and my husband played one night when we were bored!). The rules are pretty non existent, and it's quite simplistic in this respect. Although we bought it with the intention of using them for our young daughter, we have found them entertaining and no doubt they will come out at Christmas time!
In terms of our daughter and her development, we have found that although she didn't need any help in terms of her own imagination, she perhaps needed some help in getting those ideas and thoughts into words and some sort of order that would make sense. These cubes have given her this ability, but they have also taught her to have fun with it. She now knows not to take herself so seriously and knows that not all of her ideas and stories are going to be as good as each other. The cubes have given her a confidence to be able to articulate her thoughts more clearly and for that I can 100% recommend them.
The cubes have also taught her about interpretation and how one person may see one thing, another person can interpret it completely differently. We sometimes sit around the kitchen table and play as a family, although I say the word play loosely as we often have to help out when it comes to my youngest daughters turn. With 4 people playing and such different ages, the stories usually have us in stitches and become very obscure, but this is the whole point of the game.
The box they come in mean they are easy to keep all together and to transport around. My daughter took them to school recently to show and tell where she explained what they were to her class, and I was more than happy for her to take them as I knew they would be secure in the box.
If you really enjoy the game, you can buy add on packs, should the 10 million combinations not be enough for you!
I'm always on the look out for toys to keep my noisy and active children quiet, to give me those blissful and elusive few minutes of peace that I crave. My oldest child is 7 and very imaginative, but sometimes she struggles with story telling and writing. When I saw these Story Cubes on Amazon I thought they would be an ideal little gift for her.
So far I have only spotted the cubes on Amazon where they sell for around £7. You can get these original Story Cubes in the orange box as well as Actions in the blue box and Voyages in the green box (all the same price of £7).
For your £7 you get a sturdy little box with nine dice in. Each die (yes that is the singular of dice, yes I am a pedant when it comes to these things) is just over one centimetre across and instead of dots has a picture indented into each side. Each die feels solid and as the pictures aren't printed on then there is no chance that they can rub off - a quality product.
The nine dice fit snugly into a removable plastic inner so they don't rattle around. The box itself has a magnetic closure too so chances of dropping and losing the dice are greatly decreased. I keep these dice in my handbag when we are going out, they are excellent for the car and for restaurants. The box has survived these regular bashings over the last six months and looks (almost) as good as new.
As I said, each die has six pictures instead of dots. Each one is a simple black and white line drawing. A few of them need a little bit of turning and interpreting - several can be interpreted in several different ways e. g the 'theatrical mask' that could also be an alien, the fire that could also be a dragon and a few of them need explaining to younger children -the identity card, the scarab and the compass points.
The box gives you three suggested ways to use them:
1. Roll the dice and make up a story that uses all of the images
2. Think up a theme, roll the dice and then use the dice to tell the story
3. Divide the cubes between people, roll the dice one at a time with each person adding to the story with their turn.
It also says its good to use them as a party game/icebreaker, for creative inspiration, as a mental workout and also to develop problem solving, speaking and listening skills.
My daughter took to these cubes immediately and uses them independently a lot to create her own stories. They have lived next to her bed for months (barring the occasional weekend trip out in my handbag) and she uses them most nights. She has played with me, with her dad, with her friends and once, very unsuccessfully with her younger brother. Just today she brought them down to play with her grandparents, making up a story with my MIL about a man who lost all his clothes and had to use L plates to cover his bottom. Much hilarity was had on both sides. They are not sophisticated enough perhaps for serious adult creative writing inspiration, but they are a useful little tool to get the creative juices flowing and breaking a short dry spell.
These little cubes are quite unassuming, but really are loads of fun. I am very old-fashioned when it comes to entertaining kids, I would really much rather that they used their imagination. In addition I would rather they used their imagination without too much input from me. These cubes fulfil all my top toy criteria and more, so its easy to see why they have won awards. These cubes would be great for a child who needs a little structured help with creative writing or developing their imagination and are also a nice tool to encourage discussion and conversation as well.
I spotted these whilst looking for inspiration for my nephew's Christmas present last year and ordered them immediately. He's loves writing stories and I thought this might be a fun slant on his hobby - and give him a bit of a challenge! I also bought a set for my friends children, who were 4, 7 and 9 at the time. I paid just under £7 for them at Amazon.
Rory's story cubes consist of 9 dice with a different image on each side* The dice are beautifully made with clear images and come in a sturdy, re-usable box with a flip top lid which has a magnetic clasp hidden in the cardboard to allow it to stay shut, making this a very portable (stick it in you handbag for emergencies) activity! It is a very attractive and tactile set.
The idea is that you roll the dice, then use your imagination to make up a story that includes all the images shown on the dice. There are no set rules, the game can be played alone or with friends. If playing with friends you can take it in turns to roll all the dice, then tell a story, at the end of which you pass all the dice to the next person who does the same, or you can take it in turns to bring the next image into the story - the latter is my favourite way of playing! And best of all, it is a non competative game so there are no tantrums from losing participants!
Rory's Story Cubes are marketed as suitable for age 6+, however I am intending to buy my 4 and a half year old some for Christmas. One of our favourite games whilst out walking or in the car is to make up a story, taking it in turns to come up with the next sentence/paragraph. I think the appropriate age for this sort of toy depends purely on the child and how much imaginitive play they do....if they do struggle then using fewer dice will make the game easier for them.
Additional sets are also available which can be used in conjuction with the original cubes or on their own. There is a set of 'action' cubes ("depicting the most important verbs to be learned in second language development") and a set of 'voyages' cubes - which is designed to inspire stories from "far, far away", the images shown in the marketing picture for this set include an octopus, a viking helmet, a goblet, a crown, etc...so much less 'every day' than the images of the original set. The images in each set are depicted in different colours so they are easy to distinguish from each other if more than one set is used. And if you like you're technology then you can even get a Rory's Story Cubes iphone app!
I know that both the families I gave these too last year have thoroughly enjoyed playing with them, so much so that my sister has suggested we get an add on set for my nephew this Christmas! For just under £7 this is a fantastic toy, not only is it well made but it encourages imagination and can be used pretty much anywhere, with pretty much anyone! I am looking forward to having our very own set to play with!
* Another reviewer has stated that the cubes came with (very thin) stickers that needed applying to the dice. This was not the case in my set. The dice already had lovely clear images on them! Maybe the other set was an early prototype!
I love children's books, and we have a huge collection, but my children also love "made up stories" too and I am forever making up tales about magic motorbikes, dragon's poo, and the latest adventures of Yoshi. A few months ago another dooyoo member ( Joker) kindly offered me a spare set of Rory's story cubes. Never one to pass up a freebie - I jumped at the chance, especially since this sounds like just the sort of toy we might enjoy. It ticks all my boxes for a great toy - it does not require batteries, make horrible noises or break easily. It does encourage imagination, could be considered educational and has plenty of replay value.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX:
9 solid white dice
a sheet of stickers to put all the designs on.
The stickers are very thin, and the children did tear a couple trying to peel them off the sheet. I decided I should be in charge of the stickers and I tore a few more. Not to worry this just means we could add a couple of our own pictures to the cube. I would recommend adults very carefully assemble these cubes.
WHAT WASN'T IN THE BOX:
Instructions: I don't know if these were meant to be there and left out, if my sons lost them as they got this open before I did. It isn't really an issue. We aren't big on rules any way. We just play games our own way - but this set really is self explanatory - you roll the dice and then make up a story to match the pictures. I wasn't sure if you were meant to use all of the dice or just a few, but it really doesn't matter which way you are meant to use this as we just do what works best for us. My children are only 3 and 7 and they did get a bit overwhelmed trying to make a story with pictures. I suggested that they just pick a few pictures, but we ended up with the children rolling a smaller number of cubes to simplify things. Their favourite thing though is to roll all the dice and watch me make a story and I have always managed to include every picture so far - which they think is grand feat. Sometimes they cheat and try to find pictures they think will make it harder for me, but I still come up with something.
Imagination: You really do need to put a bit of thought and imagination into this, and it might not be for everyone. This does need at least one person with an overactive imagination to get it started.
These were a huge hit with my sons, who love an excuse for Mom to make up silly stories. They have also been very useful for me to encourage them to make up their own tales. My three year old is a born story teller. The tales he has made up about being in the RAF in WW2 are absolutely unbelievable. He has a story for everything and never lets the truth get in the way of a good tale. My seven year old is a bit more shy with this type of thing though and really needs a bit of encouragement to express a more creative side, and these have been brilliant for him. I think these would be wonderful in classroom where all the children could get involved. They are also great for home educators, or just to pass a rainy afternoon. I also could see these being fun for a sleepover - all the more fun if you put your own pictures on instead of the ones you are meant to. In fact I am thinking of buying a second set and doing them all with my own pictures.
With the pictures that come on this - I would say the upper age limit would be age 10 - and I don't think an older child would be as likely to use these over and over. These are not recommended for children under 3 due to the risk of choking, but a 3 year old wouldn't have any fun with these alone either. I can not see any reason parents could not use these with a child from age 2, so my age recommendation would be 2 -10 with the pictures provided. I think these would be excellent with our own pictures for a youth group or sleep over with teens - and who knows it might even be fun to see what adults could come up with over a few drinks. If you add your own pictures there really is no limit to what you could come up with.
OUR FAVOURITE STORY:
Just to give you an idea what type of stories one gets from this I thought I would give you my 3 year old's favourite - which he likes so much that he asks for the Fish with credit card story sometimes at night now
The cubes were: house, fountain, fish, turtle, credit card, cell phone, apple, book and sleep. With this combination the story just jumped out at me as obvious for these cues. It is of course nonsense but it's hard to get a really sensible story with so many features.
Once there was a fish. He didn't live in a house, as fish live in water. Instead he lived in a fountain. One day he found a bag. Inside the bag he found a cell phone, a credit card and a few apples. He was disappointed, as cell phones don't work well in water, he didn't like apples, and while he would love to use the credit card, he couldn't get out of the water to go to the shop.
Turtle came by and asked what fish had found. Fish told him and turtle said he would go to the shop and buy whatever fish wanted with the credit card, if fish would give him some apples. Fish happily agreed and asked turtle to buy him a book, so he could tell his children a story before bed. Turtle went to the shop - but it turns out you can not use other peoples credit cards - even if you do find them. The shop keeper said they should call the owner of the phone and return the card and the phone. Turtle was sorry he couldn't help fish, and fish was very sorry he wouldn't get a story, but he let turtle take phone to the shop, and the store keeper called the owner and told him collect his things from the fountain.
After awhile a little boy came, and he was very happy to get his phone back, and the credit card which belonged to his Mom. He felt sorry for fish and turtle though, and said turtle could keep the apples and he would get the fish a book if wanted. But books don't work well in water either - and fish had forgotten he couldn't read. So the boy told fish a story. He came back many times and taught fish a new story each time, and fish had plenty of stories to tell his children each night. And the children were well behaved and went right to sleep afterwards - so fish never ate them as some fish do with their children and they all lived happily after.
Thanks again Joker for the lovely gift - we certainly have had fun with these :)