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Rory's Story Cubes Review by Stacy Kalisz

Rory O'Connor
The Creativity Hub
73 Rushfield Avenue
Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT7 3FQ
+44(0)28 9050 3429

Rory's Story Cubes is a storytelling game designed to develop and strengthen creative muscles! It consists of nine, six-sided dice; each side displays an image, giving a total of 54 images. The basic idea is to roll the dice and tell a story. Beginning with "Once upon a time..." players use the face up images as a springboard, linking them together in a story. With over 10 million possible combinations, Rory's Story Cubes are sure to provide hours of fun.

Intended for ages 4 and up, this game is excellent for the whole family, and it is especially helpful for visual and kinesthetic learners. My children, ages 4 and 8, absolutely loved it. They were able to play it together, individually, or with Mom and Dad.

Our favorite way to play is to simply have each person take a turn rolling the dice, using all 9 dice to tell a complete story. Another favorite is to tell a group story, with each person using one die on his or her turn. Both are fun and beneficial.

My daughter used the cubes to write a story. This resulted in a more detailed adventure, complete with illustrations. She rolled the dice, began with "once upon a time," and carefully selected which image she wanted to start with. She then proceeded to use the remaining cubes as inspiration for her tale. The story was wacky, creative, and a lot of fun.

Rory's Story Cubes is easy to set up, easy to play, and easy to transport. When we play, I feel that we are developing our thinking skills and having a great time all at once. The fact that there is no wrong answer also helps. Besides improving storytelling skills and giving the brain a creativity workout, children learn patience and respect as they wait for their turn and listen to others tell their stories. It took a little while for my kids to listen without interrupting or touching the dice, but they managed. I feel this skill is just as valuable as telling a good story.

It was quite exciting to watch my children learn and develop creative skills. The first few games went rather quickly and included a lot of "and" and "then" as they tried to make sense of the pictures on the cubes. However, after a couple of games, the stories became more detailed and elaborate. Much of this came from practice and getting comfortable with the cubes. However, I'm sure that watching and listening to Mom's example helped too.

A couple of the images were difficult to figure out. We debated over one in particular, trying to decide if it was a building or a ticket. The fact is, it doesn't really matter. It is actually very interesting to see how kids interpret the pictures. We used Rory's Story Cubes in their simplest form, but I'm sure there are many other possibilities. They could be used as a drama game, inspiration for illustrations, ice-breakers, or discussion starters. In conclusion, it is always nice to find tools that don't feel like "school" but still develop important abilities; these certainly fit that category. Playing with Rory's Story Cubes helps cultivate problem solving, story telling, and creative writing skills, as well as imagination. I highly recommend them for any homeschooling method.

Product review by Stacy Kalisz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2009