My kids really enjoy reading, and we have constantly encouraged them to read books while we try to limit screen time. This is hard to do as many of you other parents know and can attest to. However, there are some things that make it easier. Letting them play with toys that encourage imaginative play makes a huge difference. Children tend to create stories while they play. For example, Playmobil’s play sets have really made this easier for our kids. If you don’t know about them, check out our thoughts on several different sets.
Kids love telling stories, and this is true with adults as well. When we visit our families, we tend to spend a lot of time sitting around, chattering about things that have happened to us. Many times we want to share these stories because something crazy happened, something funny occurred, or something impressive showed through. Em’s opportunity to ride on a fire truck and tour the local fire house is our newest fun story. She was super excited, as were all of us, especially her little brother who also got to tag along.
Stories are fun to tell, and incorporating descriptive creativity into a game is entertaining. We were given a copy of Nanofictionary by Looney Labs, a card game that helps spark imagination by telling stories. Set up doesn’t take a lot of time. You do this by splitting up the type of cards into 4 piles: Characters, Setting, Problem, and Resolution. Each player takes two character cards, one setting card, one problem card, and one resolution card to begin the game. Number cards are placed out so players know who has finished gathering cards, and are ready for their story, and knowing which order this is done in.
Players will brainstorm possible stories by using their starting cards as elements in those stories. This can be any idea that players can think of. Really, depending on your group, the crazier the story, the better. Players will be voting later on whoever has the best story, so know your audience. Players then take turns in a clockwise order. On your turn you can draw a card, and then discard another card of any type. Your story does need to have at least one of each type of card, but can have more of any type as well. If you think you have the perfect selection of cards, you can declare completion and take the lowest number card available. Lastly, you can choose to discard all your cards and draw as many cards as you discarded to start all over.
Place discarded cards face up for everyone to see. Other players may choose one of these instead of a fact down card. When someone takes a number card indicating they are done with their story, all other players gain another card of any type. This keeps going until there is one last player. They get one last turn and then they need to be done, taking the last number card.
Players then share their stories while laying out cards. If you find you can’t use some of your cards when telling your story, just discard them, but you still need to include one of each type of card into your story. You can always add additional information, more characters, different problems, settings and resolutions to fill in some gaps. Lastly, the illustrations on the cards are all suggestions, but you can change them to fit your narrative. This might be changing it from singular to plural, or maybe your two character cards are actually the same person.
After everyone tells their story, players will vote on which story they liked the best. You cannot vote for your own story, so everyone will vote for someone else story by saying “1, 2, 3, go” and everyone points to who they thought had the best story. The most popular choice wins the game, and the tie breaker is the player with the lowest number card.
The entire family had a great time telling random stories. Some people will even impress everyone else when using so multiple cards in their story. Also, since Em wants to be an author when she grows up, I think this game is right up her alley. She needs to know that a story needs certain elements and if its missing any of them, it feels like its incomplete. The firetruck story is real and will be remembered and recited many times in the future. I suspect some different iterations will creep in when playing Nanofictionary in the future.
What’s the most creative story (true or fictional) you’ve told?