Story planning game | Character and setting
“Where in the World?” is a fun activity that teaches kids how to plan characters and setting. This is an oral story planning game you and your child can play together.
1. Make the Spinner
Draw lines on the globe to divide it into eight sections. Label the sections desert, ocean, swamp, savanna, tundra, iceberg, mountain, jungle.
Poke a hole through the center and insert a paper brad. Slip a large paperclip over the brad and spin it around in a circle.
2. Make Character Cards
Count out 10 or more index cards. Label one side of each card with the word Characters.
On the back of each card, write a different character of your child’s choice. Brainstorm together for ideas, such as your child’s name, family member’s name, an occupation, sports hero, military figure, cartoon character, or animal such as a kangaroo or penguin. Add variety by using a combination of common, proper, and plural nouns.
3. Make Problem Cards
Count out 10 or more index cards. Label one side of each card with the word Problem.
For the back side of the cards, brainstorm ideas with your child and write down a problem or plot twist of his choice. Here are a few examples:
- There was an avalanche, so …
- A volcano erupted, and …
- When a terrible storm arose, they …
- There was a stampede, and then …
- They lost their way, so …
- They were chased by a bear, and …
- The plane’s engine caught fire, so …
Also, prepare several Problem cards that simply say “What happened next?”
Play “Where In the World?”
Choosing an exciting setting where the story takes place helps build the thrill of adventure!
More importantly, when you encourage kids to tell adventure stories out loud, it boosts their confidence. Later, when it’s time to write a story of their own, they’ll have some tools to use to help them plan the details.
- Stack the Character and Problem cards face down in two separate piles. Invite your child to spin the spinner. Wherever it lands will be the setting for the first adventure. If the spinner lands on a line, your child can choose any place in the world as the story setting.
- Have him choose a Character card. This will be the main character or characters in his adventure.
- Now it’s your turn to choose a Character card. This will be another character in your child’s story.
- Invite him to choose a Problem card. Have him read the problem aloud and start telling the adventure story about his characters using this prompt. Encourage him to say at least two or three sentences about the story.
- When he has finished, it’s your turn to choose a Problem card. Use it as a prompt and continue telling the story. Take turns choosing Problem cards and continuing the adventure until a total of at least five Problem cards have been used. Wrap up the story with a satisfying ending.
- To start a new adventure story, return the cards to their corresponding piles, shuffle them, and place them face down on the table. Spin the wheel to discover where in the world the new adventure will take place!
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“Where in the World?” is just one of the many fun and creative activities that WriteShop Primary (gr. K-3) and WriteShop Junior (gr. 3-6) use to reinforce simple writing skills at the elementary level. This game appears in WriteShop Junior Book D.