When my kids were little, we used to make up stories in the car all the time. Blaine’s stories featured a ghost named Spookella with poor impulse control. (She always had to push the red button!) Larrabee’s had a penguin named Ping and a python named Pi who would travel through a portal to a faraway place or time and find themselves with new and useful superpowers.
Larrabee and I have recently rediscovered the fun of car stories thanks to the Rory’s Story Cube app. We have a set of physical cubes too, but the app is perfect for stories on the go. You just shake the phone or iPad to roll the cubes, look at the nine random images, and let your imagination take over.
Sometimes the juxtaposition of images gives us a funny idea for a character. For example, a clock followed by an eye became a one-eyed clock — or Cyclocks.
A lot of the resulting stories have a crazy dream logic. “And then the arrow went through a keyhole. And then it slid down a rainbow. And then…” The best ones, though, have a little more structure. Inspired by images of a turtle and a smiley face, Larrabee told an Are You My Mother?-style story recently about a turtle who asks, “Why do people smile?” I hope he’ll write it down.