20 Ways to Use Rory’s Story Cubes

20 Ways to Use Rory’s Story Cubes

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Being the language arts junkie that I am, I bought three different kinds of Rory’s Story Cubes. We have the Original, Actions, and Voyages cube sets.

My favorite take away from my years as a speech-language pathologist is how to take what you have, and use it in a hundred different ways to achieve the goals you need to meet. I was once told the (horror)story of how my adviser was given a spoon, and told to do therapy with her adult patients with only that as a resource.  She did it– I’m still not sure how!

I won’t go that far, but I love to use this technique in my own homeschooling.  Not always to achieve some so-called goal, but to wring all the fun from whatever we happen to have on hand, while still learning in a natural way.

Being in a small-for-us house, this technique is doubly helpful – we don’t have to actually own as many things as other people in order to have the same kind of fun. (The irony is not lost on me that we bought *three* sets, but hey, they’re small.)

With that in mind, I sat down to figure out some different ways to use  Rory’s Story Cubes, as they are a recent favorite. Here are my top 20!

You can use them as the directions state on the box.   Many of those can be found here on the Story Cubes website, or on the inside flap of each box of Story Cubes.

2. Put the cubes in a bag or pouch and pick out one story cube at a time to either roll or use the player’s choice of side. The more ornate or mysterious the bag, the better. It helps put players in the storytelling mood. Enchanting costumes are optional. 😉

3. Tell a story using all the sides of only one cube selected out of the bag.

4. Roll all the cubes and look for categories. This works better with more than one set.  You can select a category beforehand or have the players see what comes up. You can use a function (things that help people), or attribute (like hard things, long things) also.

5. Roll the cubes and choose two face up pictures to compare and contrast.  We also like this one with more than one set, because it’s easier to find something similar.  Hard to find similarities between a fish and a magic wand, but be creative!   

6. Look for rhymes on the face up cubes.  You can use any aspect of the picture – let the players be creative. For example, for the picture of the bee, you could rhyme bee, stripe, stinger, wing, fly…even ouch (for being stung!), scared, insect, bug, etc.

7. Use them for mad libs, either some you make up or those you buy.  Roll one cube when you come to a blank,  and let that picture be (or inspire) your answer, or roll many cubes for more choices. The pictures can often be used for many parts of speech — say you rolled the fountain. The noun could be fountain, a verb could be run/running, sprinkle, or trickling, an adjective might be wet, adverb could be loudly, etc

8.  “Tell me 10 things about” – the picture on the cube or the item or action it represents.

9. Roll a set and tell a story ,but you can’t use the word “________”  pick an obvious word that will make it more difficult to tell judging by the pictures rolled (i.e. you rolled a pot of gold but you can’t use the words “pot” or “gold”).  Or make it more general and use a word like “went” or “had.”

10. Roll one cube and remember the picture. Then roll all the cubes again and tell a story from the point of view of the first rolled cube. “This is a story as told from the point of view of the lock on the front of Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. I sit here all day, quietly watching Mother Hubbard and her hungry dog. I’m so happy when she comes over to see what I am hiding inside…”

11. Roll all the cubes, and look at them for 30 seconds. Take them away and see how many you can remember after 1 minute.   (Hint: it helps to tell a story in your head. If you can remember the story, you’ll remember the cubes more easily.)

12. With a few sets of cubes, tell a story vertically. Stack the cubes and keep telling the story until the tower falls. See how high you can go.     13. Play the alphabet game. Roll the cubes and find something that starts with A, then B, then C, etc.  It doesn’t have to be the exact label of the picture, just something that is suggested by that picture. So a picture of a telescope could work for T, or S (scope or see or sky), L (lens or long), O (observatory), or C (closer). And I’m sure there are many more. We allow anything that can be explained well.

14. Player 1 rolls and tells a story. Mix the cubes around but don’t re-roll. See if player two can retell the story using the pictures. 

15. This game needs an additional pair of six sided, numbered dice and works well with a group of players. Player one starts telling any story (fairy tale, book they’ve read, movie they’ve seen…). Player two quickly and continually rolls the pair of dice until he/she rolls doubles. At that point the story stops, and the second player rolls a story cube. The face up picture now has to be worked immediately into the story by player 2, and the story can veer off in different directions. The next player in the group is then the numbered dice roller.

16. Instead of a story, the players use the cubes to write an advertisement or infomercial, trying to sell their next great product.

17. Toss the cubes onto a wide open area. The player has to hop (or walk backwards, crawl, jump…) from one cube to the next as they tell their story.

18. Instead of a longer story, roll the cubes and try to say the shortest, grammatically correct sentence you can using all the cubes. Extra points if it makes logical sense.  For example, using the cubes in the picture below, you could say, “While the sun was rising over the ocean, the humming octopus skipped breakfast to swim over the sea mushrooms looking for his glasses, but they were in the tent with his map.” Silly, I know.

19. Roll a cube and see how many synonyms you can come up with, or if the picture doesn’t lend itself to that, then items in the same category or related items.

20. “And they lived happily ever after.” Tell a backwards story! Start with a scripted ending such as “and they lived happily ever,” and work the story backwards using the cubes to the beginning of the story.  “And the wolf was never seen again. He ran off into the distance beyond the mountain. The hunter chased him around the tree with his ax. A hunter heard from afar. The little children shrieked with fear that a wolf was after their lunch…”

I hope you find these adaptations fun, or inspirational to make up your own games.

Do you enjoy using Rory’s Story Cubes?  Let me know in the comments!


31 thoughts on “20 Ways to Use Rory’s Story Cubes

  1. Hello!

    First time here discovering new ways to play Story Cubes!

    I love Rorys Story Cubes. Because of that and in order to Play anywhere, I have developed a similar game using cards instead of dices. It also uses diferent colors to play in a colaborative way. It is completely free and it is added on ‘Designed for families’ Google program. Because of that It can’t contains ofensive pictures for child. You can try it on:


    Any comment will be wellcome!

  2. Hey, this was a great post! I have another suggestion for using the story cubes:
    Two or more players roll all the dice and each come up with a story in their head using the pictures and write it down. Then compare their story with the other person’s and see how different they are. Hope I didn’t copy anybody’s idea.

  3. Thank you for the great ideas! I’m going to use some of them today in my story-telling workshop for younger kids (7-8 years old) 🙂 Greats from Suwalki, Poland!

  4. Great post! We have some of these cubes, but the lack of guidance about how to use them sometimes causes them to sit unplayed. Really appreciate this list of creative ideas on how to use them in different ways.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. My kids are out of the box thinkers so I understand about things going unplayed – until I let them (or myself) come up with something new!

  5. I’ve been actually looking for the ways to make the story cubes more a competitive game with more rules like in a standard board game. Your post is so far the closest to what I’m looking for. Especially with the numbered dice and taboo words.
    Another way is to tell the story using timer – each player talks for about 1-3 min and then the next player has to pick up the story. I guess would be better if the speakers didn’t know the time they have left, the story could end on more interesting places.

  6. Love the Story Cubes. I was wondering if you had the game versions on a PDF that you could send? I also use these in my STEAM area. Amazing what kids can come up with.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Connie, I don’t currently have a PDF of the game versions but that is a great idea. If I make one up I will send it on to you. 🙂

  7. I am thinking about another way of playing it making it a little bit more competitive. I haven’t tried it, as it’s just coming out of my mind right now, but I think it’s promising.

    The winner of the game is the one who has most dice by the end. One player rolls all the dice and the first player to be able to come up with a story using any of the dice begins, and this player tries to go on with his/her story using as many dice as fast as possible in a cohesive story. The rest of the players may interrupt the story and become the new narrator as soon as they see a way of introducing one of the remaining dice to continue the story (it must be a coherent and cohesive interruption). In this way, the winner is the one who manages to think faster of a story interrupting each other.

    As I said, not play-tested yet. Just an idea sprouting from my mind. If anyone tries it, tell me how it goes. I will!

  8. Dear Amy

    Thank you so much for the inspiration. I got a set of cubes for Christmas and will try them out with good friends today. Our ages start at 8 and go into the late 60’s. I anticipate fun for all.

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