How to Make Easy and Adorable DIY Story Blocks
By Alicia McAuley
Nov 23, 2018
This morning, as I was packing his lunch bag, my five-year-old told me an elaborate story about a robot that lives in a castle and is best friends with a butterfly. This tall tale was inspired by our newly constructed set of story blocks — a collection of emojis pasted to wooden cubes that help inspire creative thinking and storytelling skills. Safe to say, he’s a fan.
In addition to being a lot of fun, this simple set of story blocks is also a powerful educational tool. Encouraging kids to make up stories gives them an opportunity to use their imagination, exercise creative thinking and build on their language and vocabulary skills. Bonus: they’re super easy to make!
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There are a few different ways to construct your story blocks; you could draw or paint directly on the wooden pieces, or try a tape-transfer technique if you’re feeling fancy. But for my first set, I opted for a method that was both easy and not overly time consuming. You’ll notice that this set is broken into four colours to represent main characters, animals, places and objects. You might prefer a set that’s customized to your child’s interests and hobbies instead, or even blocks that feature family photos for a truly personal touch. The directions below will tell you how to replicate the set of blocks shown here, but the nice thing about this project is that there is plenty of room to put your own spin on it.
What You’ll Need
- A printable template (available here)
- Four plain 1-inch wooden blocks (check your favourite craft store for these!)
- A paint brush
- Mod Podge
To make your blocks, start by cutting out the squares from the template provided, being careful not to cut off the coloured border.
Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to one side of a wooden block and attach one image square.
Seal with a second thin layer of Mod Podge. Repeat this process until all of the images have been used. Add a third thin layer of Mod Podge to each side of your blocks, and leave to dry overnight.
Now that your blocks are ready, it’s time to play! Roll the blocks onto a flat surface and have your child make up a story from the pictures they see. You may find that it’s easier to roll one or two blocks at the start, until your little one gets the hang of things.
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Ready to take your storytelling to the next level? Here are some more ways to use your blocks:
- For a fun twist that’s sure to inspire a few giggles, try a Mad Libs-style story game. Create a story with colour-coded fill-in-the-blanks corresponding to the borders of the blocks. Roll a block, and then fill in the blank!
- Older kids can use the blocks as a handy creative writing prompt.
- Turn your blocks into a game for the whole family! Each player can roll a block and add to the story with the picture shown.