Plot Blocks™ was developed in-house by the Product Development team and Educational Specialists here at Learning Resources, based upon feedback from teachers saying that they would benefit from activities that would go alongside story telling cubes. By combining a multitude of different settings, characters, objects and actions, this engaging set supports children in creating unique stories by rolling the picture cubes.
This Story Building Activity Set includes:
- 18 picture cubes; six each of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’
- Six double-sided Setting Mats
- Four transparent story setting Mats
Easy-to-play, children simply select two of each of the cubes (who, what and how) and a setting mat. Roll the cubes and place them in the allocated spaces on the mat. Add a little imagination and let the story begin! If children want to create their own setting they can draw what they want and place a transparent mat on top!
Plot Blocks is language free and can help children develop a variety of key literacy skills, including:
- Story telling
- Creative and descriptive writing
- Understanding a story’s structure
- Speaking & listening
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Belinda Robertson, put Plot Blocks™ to the test and said
“A fabulous resource to develop understanding and use of ‘narrative’ and story- telling. The visuals were superb at supporting the logical sequencing of events to enable students to a) plan and then b) tell their narrative. One of the most useful aspects of this resource was that it could be used with a huge age range. EYFS students would like the cubes and pictures, my KS1 and KS2 children loved it. I could also see it working well with EAL, KS3 and older students and adults with
Read more about how Belinda used Plot Blocks in our Tried and Tested blog post.
To help you extend the learning with Plot Blocks, we’ve put together some ‘new ways to play’ that will help you bring your story telling to life and spark young imaginations:
Feely Bag Game
Place all of the cubes into an opaque fabric bag. Working in a pairs or small groups, ask children to pick a cube from the bag and study one of its faces. They should describe what the picture is without actually naming it. Encourage them to use a wide range of adjectives until another child correctly guesses what the picture is. This will build vocabulary and encourage children to use richer descriptive language in their creative writing.
Talk for Writing
Working individually or in pairs, ask children to select six cubes before rolling them and placing them on a setting mat. Encourage children to discuss a possible story, considering the beginning, middle and end where each cube’s picture might feature. Pair work will enable children to discuss ideas, developing their vocabulary and imagination.
Group Story Telling
Working in a small group, ask each child to select a cube before assigning them a number or sitting them in an order. (Try to ensure an even number of each cube type is on offer). The first child rolls their cube and begins telling the story. The second child should then roll their cube and continue the story accordingly. Encourage children to consider the role they play in forming the beginning, middle or end. Carry on around the group until a complete story has been told!
Encourage the use of rich, descriptive language by using the setting mats alone. Ensure each child has access to a whiteboard and pen before allowing them to select a setting mat. Ask them to study the scene on the mat for a couple of minutes before helping them write a sentence that describes it on the whiteboard. For example ‘The Sea is Blue’. Encourage children to build on their initial sentence by adding in more vivid language until they have a description using rich vocabulary, for example ‘The calm sea is sparkling turquoise.’
Change of Scenery
Children work individually or in pairs to create a story using a setting mat. They should roll six cubes and place them on a setting mat before reading the story aloud, adding in as much description as possible. Once a story has been completed, change the setting mat but keep the story cubes in the same order. How does the story change? Discuss how the setting affects the plot of the story.
Working in pairs, have children create their own story using a setting mat and six cubes. Both children in the pair should read their story aloud. Once each pair has heard the other story they get the chance to steal a cube from their setting mat to add to their own story. Once they have done so, have the children decide upon the order of the cubes on the mat. As the children to read their stories aloud again and see how changing one cube affects the plot.
Ask children to sit in groups around a table. Lay out a setting mat and three cubes (one each of who, what and how), leaving three blank spaces. Encourage the children to write their own story, filling in the blank spaces as they reach them. Once everyone has written their stories, have them take it in turns to read them aloud. This task is a good way to ease children into creative writing, providing guidelines but still offering them creative freedom.
This activity can be used as an extension to any Plot Blocks™ activity. Once a child has completed a story, ask them to think more in depth about the characters. Ask them to draw the characters in the story and write down some characteristics. Encourage them to think about things such as names, occupations, likes/dislikes, where they live etc. In groups ask them to tell their peers about these characters.