Archive for May, 2015

The Unlikely Hero of Family Game Time.

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

As my kids get older, it’s getting harder to find an activity that everyone enjoys. Movie tastes are changing, for instance. The older boys want Avengers and the Hobbit, while Abby wants to see Annie and Home. We used to plop them all in front of a screen, and whatever Disney/Pixar film was out at the time was everyone’s favorite.

(And then, there’s Jonathan, whose new favorite movie is CARS, which is “so-ten-years-ago” according to the older kids [funny how I find them glued to the couch next to Jonathan whenever it’s on…hmmm.])

It’s the same with games. Candy Land used to be a crowd-pleaser. Not anymore.  Now, he wants to play Monopoly, she wants to play Clue, and the other one just wants to listen to his iPod (for Pete’s sake).

So, last night when we pulled out a new game for family time, I was skeptical.


Enter Story Cubes. The rescuer. The hero. The redeemer of adolescent family time.

slogan bracelets


You should have seen how fast everyone gathered ’round the coffee table to try it out.

Honestly, I was still skeptical. I thought interest would last for about 5 minutes, but guess what? Wait….for….it.

Everyone loved it, and I mean everyone. Mom, Dad, Adolescent #1 and #2, as well as our 9-year-old (who wishes he was an adolescent,  for the record.) Jonathan even squealed with delight from the confines of his bedroom when he heard us laughing.

The game is actually very simple. There are 9 cubes with pictures on each side of the cube. One player rolls the cubes (like dice) and whatever images the cubes land on are the pictures you use to tell a story. The first player chooses  which image to start with and begins the story with “Once upon a time.” Each successive player chooses the next cube to continue the story, until all 9 images have been used. The key is to tell a story that connects all 9 images.


Warning: when you play with a 9-year-old, there will be countless natural disasters, endless casualties, and fish parachuting  from burning buildings.

Just be prepared.

Here are some delightful one-liners from last night’s edition (paraphrased, because do you expect me to remember them word-for-word? It was almost 9 o’clock.):

“When lightning struck,  the people gained electrical powers.” (9-year-old)

“A giant Scarab beetle attacked all the people down by the river.” (Mass casualties)

” Everyone escaped the burning building, except for the sleeping mailman, but when a bee buzzed by his head, he woke up and parachuted to safety.” (Hero of the story: a bumblebee).


Okay, so these are pretty silly examples, but I honestly loved how the game forced us to work together and use our imagination(s).

AND, you can play it for a short amount of time, or for however long attention spans permit.

I also like that it’s pocket-sized,  so you can take it with you wherever you go–to the park, on a road trip, to a restaurant, etc.

Family Game Time Revived.

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// What are games that your family likes to play together? // 

// If your kids are at different ages and stages, how do you spend time together as a family? //

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.