I love stories. Stories have the power to hold our hopes, our fears, and to make sense of the world around us. The stories your child creates have meaning. As a drama therapist, I naturally lean towards creating original stories with my young clients. One way that works particularly well for me in my practice is by creating original story cubes.
The dry erase cube I used in the photo above is actually another Dollar Tree find! For a blank paper cube template, scroll down to the bottom of this post!
There are also several resources available for purchase, such as the popular Rory Story Cubes.
However, in therapy, we’re trying to create more processing than what can typically be done through stock cartoons. Instead, I like to have my client create their own characters. When giving prompts, I draw from Jacob Moreno’s Role Theory. Moreno concluded that each individual is made up of several different roles. For me, I’m a wife, a daughter, a student, a therapist, a person of faith, and many more. The roles I play affect the choices I make in the present, who I want to be in the future, and who I turn to when I need help.
When using Role Theory for kids, Moreno’s list of roles can be too abstract. So I prefer using the more fantastical characters found within his list: Hero, Villain, Magician, Monster, Clown, Avenger, Zombie. To see the full list, click here.
I then ask my client to explore each character one by one. What’s the hero’s name? What do they look like? What are they good at? What are they not good at? What do they want more than anything in the world? We do this for six roles. After each role has a name, we write them on the story cube template before cutting and pasting it together. You can also create more dice by drawing pictures of settings, conflicts, or objects!
Once you have your story dice, begin by rolling your Role dice to discover who is the protagonist. Your second role determines who is the antagonist. The third role is to determine who or what will help them along their way. The more dice you have, and the more details you have on your character background sheets, the more wild and interesting this part will be!
Now that you have your basic plot structure, you can develop your story! You can either write out the story or create a six-part comic strip, depending on the needs and wants of your child. Many of my kiddos see me right after school, so they’re usually too mentally exhausted to write out a story. As long as they have a beginning, middle, and end, I’m happy with their work.
Once you have your story, feel free to play it out! Stories truly come to life when they are acted out by the maker. You’ll discover so much more about the characters once you’re in their shoes! Remember to make props and costumes to truly let your characters come to life!
I love creating story dice with kiddos because the activity is so adaptable to meet their needs. I’ve used story dice for one session to four sessions, depending on how in-depth I want to go with my client. If you’re a parent looking to entertain your child with a long activity, I highly recommend this! It builds creative thinking and problem solving skills. If you play it out in a scene, you can also build empathy and perspective taking.
Remember that therapy is to be facilitated by a therapist! We at C.A.T.S. Corner are trained mental health professionals who have acquired extensive education in psychology, mental processing, and dramatic interpretation. Please do not overanalyze your own child’s play- we’ve moved on from Freud for a reason.
Here is a FREE blank cube template! Get creative by making your own!