I’ve mentioned these before and how much the kids loved them. I recently found a set with 3 cubes from 3 add on sets for sale at our local toy store and had to get them. They sparked a renewed interest.
From the Story Cubes website: As the brain thinks in pictures but communicates in words, having a visual aid to creative problem solving would be advantageous. Using images to trigger stories would help the brain think in new ways.
Story telling is beneficial in many ways whether the parent is telling the story or the child. Listening to story telling increases vocabulary, encourages the child to visualize the story in their head, promotes auditory skill and challenges their memory. For a child telling a story it helps them develop linear progression in thought, creativity, imagination, speaking skills, memory, brain connections and more. It’s also a great way discuss and work through anything the child is struggling with. A parent could make up a story on the subject giving words for the emotions and ideas for solutions. Story telling is used often in Waldorf pedagogy to address issues with children. The book, “The Whole Brained Child” talks about getting children to tell the story of something that happened to them to help their brain integrate their emotions with the reality. A child who is scared to relive a traumatic incident can project those events into a story about someone else.
The more stories your child tells and hears the better they will get at doing it. You’ll also find your own brain being stretched as you come up with stories. That’s great for preventing dementia later in life.
Here’s some snippets of a story Pumpkin 1 was telling me.
Pumpkin 1 has been reluctant to do any writing; to use the moveable alphabet or practice writing her letters. I was encouraged on a wonderful Montessori Homeschooling Facebook group to try to incorporate more hand writing in daily life since children rarely see us writing nowadays and to also encourage story telling. Story Cubes were suggested as a medium for story telling.
I picked up a set of Rory Story Cubes from Chapters for $10. I removed two of the cubes that had more scary pictures on them because Pumpkin 1 is very sensitive but there were still lots left. She LOVED them. And I was amazed at how she was able to make up a simple tale using the pictures for ideas. The kids both love this game of taking turns shaking the cubes and then telling stories (though Pumpkin 2 isn’t able to do it he likes to listen). I’m thinking of getting a few more cubes but they’re hard to find. They’re quite expensive on Amazon. Indigo books/Chapters carries them for less. I think this is a wonderful way to encourage their imagination, develop their sequencing skills, vocabulary and show them that they have things they want to tell and write.
The second approach I’m taking is a journal. I got a simple notebook with the primary lines in it and I wrote down a story she told me and I also wrote what she told me to write about what she did today. I did correct her wording, (“she” instead of “her”) by repeating it correctly and then writing it. And then I let her draw a picture. But instead of a picture of the story she drew the cubes and she wrote numbers and letters on the cubes (you can see she started to draw a picture and changed her mind) which was a yay for me since she rarely writes letters and has never written a number so I hope it’s her associating the letters with communicating stories and thoughts and being more excited about writing.
So, when your child is reluctant in an area, instead of forcing it, try to find ways to make things interesting or go back and build more on the foundations. Also model things yourself. Let your child see you writing. Keep a journal yourself if your child is very young. Retelling their day is also important for emotional development.
I love the imagination of children. We think we have to buy them all these toys. I mean, they have to have a toy cow and horse and pig and chicken and donkey and goat and dog and duck and rooster or how can they play farm? And then they don’t play with them and they make their own toys which are so primitive yet they love them.
This is Pumpkin 1’s “Camel”.
Actually it’s a mommy and baby camel with the gas pump cord being a “leash” (she was “walking” her Camel with the leash before). She was very proud of her camel. More proud than of any toy we have because this is something she made herself.
Give your children the gift of imagination and pride for their creations by not overwhelming them with toys. Just a few simple, open ended toys, especially some building toys and you’ll be surprised at how entertained they are. Less is more. If your children are bored the best thing you can do is instead of more toys, take away toys. Boredom is the seed of imagination and imagination is the roots of creating.
These two sites have tons of great activities you can do with children from babies to preschool. They’re more in the Reggio Emilia school of thought on education but they compliment the Montessori activities.
When I decided I wanted to do Montessori with my children, I was overwhelmed. There are so many materials (expensive ones too) and ideas that I didn’t know where to begin. What activities do I focus on with my daughter? What materials should I purchase? What ones can I make? I didn’t know where to start. But I found this “curriculum” (if that’s the right word for it) http://www.montessoriathomebook.com/Home.html/ I ordered the e-book (at only $10) and it’s AMAZING! It has everything I was looking for. The philosophy of Maria Montessori, what I should buy, what activities to do at what age, other materials that are great, books, even aps to download for children. And tons and tons and tons of DIY activities. There are also links to blogs and stores. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking of doing Montessori at home.
This morning we played with the Magnetic Mighty Mind. It’s great for working on shapes and matching. I like the magnetic set because the pieces stay in place for little hands. I gave her a cookie sheet to play on. The set comes in a tin and you can put the cards in the lid and work on it as well. I was surprised because last time she played with it she didn’t get the matching concept, but today she was doing it.