for the love of storytelling: story blocks



It's windy outside today.  I'm still working through a few details for smoother days with the family. Thanks to an informal family meeting last night before bed, I gathered some excellent ideas from the group for our days.  Let's see, tidy time will be earlier in the afternoon so the daily ballet rush isn't so rushed, we are trying our daily project time after lunch, and my nightly American Girl book reading to the big girls had officially been turned into a club by Caroline.  And she has announced herself the president.  Johanna plans to make a club flag.

I like how good it feels to find solutions.  You know they will only last for a time until new ones are needed, but I like our new plans.  And I've stepped back to see the big picture over the past few days which always reminds me why I'm such a crazy person in my attempts.


On to other topics.  Storytelling.


There is an inspiring book that I love: [amazon_link id="1603429883" target="_blank" ]Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children's Storytelling[/amazon_link].  It had inspired Ainsleigh's oversized fruit project (with a story and outdoor play to come), inspired a list of  story-creating projects to come, and these simple story blocks for the kids' cousin Jude.

The idea is quite simple: each block has two pictures and each block, once rolled to reveal a particular picture, is a starting place for creating a story.  As each block is rolled, a new picture is revealed to somehow be added into the storytelling.  Story blocks can be played with young children for shorter stories or can become elaborate stories by older children.  For older children, just add more pictures to the blank sides of the story blocks.


I think these story blocks are perfect for ages 3-8.  You can make a few blocks or enough to fill a drawstring sack.  They travel well and can be brought out on rainy days for quiet or very involved play.

make your own story blocks

5-10 children's wooden blocks to repurpose

craft paint


glue stick

magazine, photo, artwork clippings cut to wooden block size*

mod podge glue

paint brushes

small study box or fabric drawstring bag (to hold them in)


With sandpaper, rough up all of the edges of your wooden blocks.  This will help the paint adhere.


Let your kids paint two coats on each block.


Once they're dry, use your glue stick to adhere two magazine/art clippings to each block.  We adhered ours on opposite sides.

*When you're deciding which pictures to clip, think about possible story characters, scenes, props, etc., that would inspire many different, developing stories.  Children's magazine are a great place to start.  It is fun to add simple children's illustrations as well.  The simpler, the better for the future plots.

Now brush on two coats of mod podge to seal the images to the blocks and you're done!


I used a small box that slides open and closed easily.  We covered the box's label with "Jude's Story Blocks" and made a little pom pom creature just to fill the space (and maybe be used in addition to the story blocks in creating a story.)

Uses for story blocks: 

  • for long road trips in the car for siblings to create stories by taking turns picking the next block and building in to the plot
  • for a family storytelling night: each person gets to roll a block and add one part of the story based on the picture they rolled
  • for quiet time (a child can create a story on their own or simply stack blocks)
  • for your handbag when you're waiting at the dentist or for an appointment: kids can stack the blocks or you two can take turns creating a story, block by block


Let me know what you think!


the sleepy time gal