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Rory’s Story Cubes

Do you need ideas for telling stories to your kids or challenging them to tell stories as an activity? Enter Rory’s Story Cubes.

Rory’s Story Cubes are a set of nine high-quality six-sided dice with images on each face that were designed by Rory O’Connor, a creativity and creative problem-solving trainer. The nine cubes provide a total of 54 different objects or actions from which you build a story, depending upon which set of cubes you use. There are currently three standard ones to choose from: The Original, Voyages and Actions. Each set is approximately US $10. There is also a MAX set, which is a larger version of the Original dice for around US $20.


Rory’s Story Cubes: Original (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

The Original set has images of a variety of everyday things such as a cell phone, a key, a telephone and basic moods depicted by classic line-drawn faces. Each image is the building block of a new story. By rolling the nine dice, you get a random collection of things to incorporate into your narrative. Start off with “Once upon a time” and then work what you see into the plot. Simple enough, right?

Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

Rory’s Story Cubes: Voyages (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

The Voyages set brings many of the objects that comprise the adventures we are all familiar with from fairy tales and science fiction. From castles and cauldrons to mountains and maps that lead to buried treasure, a cornucopia of adventures await using this set alone or in combination with the Original.

Rory's Story Cubes: Actions (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

Rory’s Story Cubes: Actions (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

Finally, the Actions set focuses specifically on icons depicting verbs. Whether it’s searching, laughing, walking or 51 other activities, the Actions set provides plenty of things to do in your stories. Again, this can be used alone or with either or both of the other dice sets.

Although the story cubes can be used alone, groups can also participate in cooperative storytelling by rolling one, two or three sets and each participant taking turns building a longer narrative. The Creativity Hub’s web site includes this and other ways to play.

Since the cubes are strictly pictographic, they work in any language and have been used in schools in many countries. Educators also use them as a way to teach new languages by quizzing students’ knowledge of the words that are associated with the images as well as the language structures required to build the sentences that tell a story.

Rory's Story Cubes: MIX (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

Rory’s Story Cubes: MIX (Credit: The Creativity Hub)

At this year’s N├╝rnberg International Toy Fair, three new mini sets were introduced. Called Rory’s Story Cubes MIX, the Clues, Enchanted and Prehistoria versions each contain three new cubes with images to conjure up mysteries, fairytales and prehistoric adventures, respectively. Of course, these can be used alone or in conjunction with any or all of the others as well.

The Story Cubes are a fun and infinitely varying way to spark creativity and learning. I’m sure we will see many more variations of these dice from the Creativity Hub.

So, where can you get Rory’s Story Cubes? If you are in the United States, they are licensed by Gamewright and available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many game, toy and educational stores. The Story Cubes website has additional information to help you find them.

Finally, if you think you are all grown up and too old for this kind of thing, Anthony Earley, at age 91, has been putting Story Cubes to good use. Read what he has been up to at the Story Cubes blog.

Have you tried Rory’s Story Cubes? What’s the best story you’ve heard or told?


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