Practical Sheet #20

Once upon a game


While the pedagogical aspect of telling tales is important, it is as important to keep the pupils entertained and to make this storytelling moment a nice, fun moment of their day. One way to achieve this result is to include a gamification aspect into storytelling.  

Telling a story, following a narrative and a logical unfolding of events, can be quite daunting for a child.  

Some existing games and tools allow to give inspiration to children and can encourage them to be creative and to get out of the classical forms that they may think are expected of them. While we cannot cover all of them, we are going to focus on two types of very versatile games that can be used in different settings and age ranges. 



One of the most famous and versatile storytelling games is the “Once upon a time” card game. It is also available online in multiple languages at a reasonable price, which makes it a great tool for storytelling with children of all ages. There are also some regional versions or similar games where the characters are invented by the children.

Basically, this card game consists of cards containing usual tales elements, beginnings and endings, actions and places, and the players need to tell a tale using the cards they have drawn.  

According to the basic set of rules, there is one main storyteller, and the other players intervene and try to guide the story towards their own ending, using their cards as well. It is a form of collaborattive storytelling that allows the pupils to participate to the same story. Even though the card game has a set of rules, the way the cards are designed allows for multiple playing modes and uses. The pupils could also simply draw several cards each and then make a story out of it on their own. It can be very long or shorter and it can also be composed of way more elements than just the ones in the cards. 

The pupils could also draw cards with elements that they have to imbed into their story, and the other pupils would have to try and discover which elements of the story were the drawn cards afterwards.

This card game is a very useful tool as it allows for a wide variety of storytelling types and modes, while offering a reassuring physical support or inspiration for the pupils. It may also be used by the teacher to illustrate his own story, or to illustrate the concept of story structure.  

Other card games in the same style also exist with different themes; horror stories, adventures, etc.


 The are other tools and games such as telling dice for example, which can be very versatile and effective in helping children tell creative stories. The dices have a different drawing or symbol on each face, and each dice represents a category of elements: the person speaking, an action, an object, an animal, etc. The children roll the dices at specific moments, either when the teacher ask them to, or when they are stuck in going forward. As with the cards, the rules and uses can be numerous. The use of dice can be seen as a challenge as well as to be able to improvise with the symbol on the dice on the spot. It can also lead to very funny and weird stories. 

Source: Joho345 on Wikimedia – CC 4.0
Source: Roll a Story

Other than physical dices, some storytelling dice apps also exist, which allows to avoid having to invest in the game financially. The same goes with storytelling cards. This however, will tend to substract manipulation aspect and quality to the actual experience of the pupils.