Have you every played Tell Me a Story from eeBoo? These creative story cards are so whimsical they inspire story telling in everyone who plays.
My younger kids enjoy playing this game with me. But, they really like it when I let them use the cards in school. They think they’re just playing, and I’m loving how much they’re learning. Learning through play for the win!
Tell Me a Story is the perfect game to inspire literacy, making it a great addition to our language arts studies. We’ve discovered 15 different ways to play, each working towards an important language arts.
1. Sort Cards by Characters
There are a variety of pictures on the cards, but you’ll see the same characters repeating. I had the kids sort cards by characters. Once they were all in piles, we took turns selecting a set of cards.
We had to tell a story using only those cards. It was neat to see how the kids created an adventure around a single character.
2. Name the Characters
Since our cards were sorted into character piles, we started naming them. We had Penny the Hen and Wobbly the Squirrel among others. My four-year-old is still in the naming based on trait stage while the older two were a bit more creative.
Names are proper nouns, so when we wrote them down, we had to start with a capital letter!
3. Sort the Cards by Color
We wanted to mix up the game a bit, so this time we sorted the cards by color. The outside of each card has a colorful border, and we went with that color. Since there are so many colors, we combined different shades of a color into a single pile.
Once sorted, we each took a pile. We used the cards to tell a new story. It was a fun way to change-up the plot. By having a random selection of cards, the kids really had to think creatively to make a story flow.
4. Make Rhyming Words
For this game, I shuffled all the cards together and put them into a pile face down. Then, I drew the first card. I picked one object on the card and asked the kids to say a word that rhymed with it.
Then we took turns drawing. We didn’t always pick the most obvious item on the card. The kids really looked at the details, trying to pick a hard word for rhyming.
We did allow nonsense words, because rhyming really builds phonemic awareness and I wanted everyone to get to say a rhyming word. Being able to rhyme helps students isolate and substitute the beginning sound of a word, so it really is important.
5. Say All the Nouns
After reshuffling the cards, I drew the top card again. This time, I said the name of all the nouns I could find. We talked about nouns being people, places, and things.
This was a bit harder for the four-year-old, but we just all helped him on his turns. By the end of the deck, he was starting to get the hang of it.
6. Point Out a Variety of Adjectives on the Cards
Since we worked on one part of speech, I thought we’d tackle another. For each card, I challenged the kids to name two describing words.
Adjectives can help build vocabulary. We were able to talk about the pointy leaves and the textured couch. We also shared lots of colors and sizes.
7. Look for Similarities Between Cards
For this activity, we spread all the cards out face up. The kids started looking for similarities between them. They found cards with windows, cards with flowers, and cards with clouds. They also noticed cards with only animals, only people, or only backgrounds.
There are tons of ways to sort these cards, so we just freely sorted for a while taking turns explaining what we found. Paying attention to detail is one of those soft skills that’s so important!
8. Sequence Events
My seven-year-old has been working on sequencing events, so I wanted to get in some extra practice. We sorted the cards by characters again and tried to decide what events happened first, second, and so on.
We talked about how the sequence could happen in different orders based on the story we were creating. Changing the starting card really made a difference to the order.
9. Describe Possible Settings
The Tell Me a Story set we have is Mystery in a Forest. Most of the cards have an obvious forest setting. But, not all of them do.
For this game, we checked out the background images closely. We talked about the settings and where these stories could take place.
I also challenged the kids to think about how a story changes when the setting does. If the squirrel wasn’t by a tree, where could he be? They got pretty creative in their descriptions.
10. Make Connections to Other Stories or Videos
The hen reminded my son of the Little Red Hen. So we started looking at the cards and making additional connections.
We thought of several fairy tales, like the Three Little Pigs and Thumbelina. The gold coins in a chest made one of the kids think of Jake and the Neverland Pirates and the gold dubloons. The kids sitting on the moon reminded them of the opening of some movies. We made lots of connections!
Making connections helps children learn more about the world. It’s also a fun way to see what they’re thinking about! It also left my kids ready to read different books to see the connection first hand. Talk about inspiring literacy!
11. Give a Job to Each Character
Many of the characters are seen performing an action in at least one card. We decided to give them each a job based on what they were doing. For instance, a little boy was a musician, an owl was a mail carrier, and a fairy was a spy.
Playing this variety of Tell Me a Story
12. Draw Our Own Pictures to Conclude a Story
At one point, we got out the paper and crayons. I told a story, but stopped before the ending. I had everyone draw a picture (or several) to show what happened next.
After we finished drawing, we had a show and share time and everyone explained their version of the ending. We talked about how stories can end in different ways.
13. Discuss Real vs. Make-Believe
The cards offered the perfect starting point for a discussion on real versus make-believe. I started by showing a card with a picture with just a background (a path with trees). I asked the kids if this could really exist.
They agreed that it could.
Then I found a card with an animal wearing clothes and walking upright. We talked about how that couldn’t really happen.
We went through several cards, making piles of things that were realistic and things that were not. It’s important for kids to know the difference between real and make-believe.
14. Find Pictures that Start with Different Sounds
I wanted to play a game that worked on a skill my younger child needed to practice, letter identification. The older kids were able to review.
I picked a letter (like m) and asked them to each find something that started with that letter.
You’ll have to look through the cards a bit before you play, because every letter of the alphabet is not represented. They had fun searching through all the pictures.
15. List All the Action Words on the Cards
I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil, and had the kids start listing actions different characters were performing.
Once I completed the list, I had the kids stand up. Then I said a word off the list and we all acted it out. It felt good to get up and moving!
These activities may be simple, but they all inspire literacy and build essential skills for young learners.
Have You Tried Tell Me a Story Yet?
If you’ve never played Tell Me a Story, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. Young children can learn a lot from the game.
If you have played, have you created any other ways to play? We’re always up for trying another way to play.