Monday, March 18, 2013

Story Starters (and Kaleidograph) Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed.  Go here to see who won.

Please forgive the blurriness of my photographs below- it was a dreary day outside.  The cards themselves are beautiful, crisp and clear!

Do you ever wish you had something to keep your children occupied while waiting at the doctor's office or in the car on a long trip?  Ever wish that you could think of something that would actually help you engage your child and see inside their little minds instead of just letting them watch the waiting room cartoons or DVD player in the van?

Story Starters do just that.  While you could come up with story starter scenarios yourself to occupy you and your little ones, sometimes us moms don't feel all that creative when we're waiting in line or trying to keep everyone happy in a waiting room.

Well, our friends over at Red Hen Books and Toys wanted me to introduce you to these cards AND offer two sets  in a giveaway!

The Super Story Starters (shown on top in the photo below) are larger and include illustrations and simpler scenarios- best for preschoolers, in my opinion.  The Original Story Starters include more detail and inspire the imaginations of older elementary school children.

Opportunities to use these cards abound- at restaurants while waiting for your food, at bedtime, with your grandchildren, at the dinner table, in the car or on a plane, on a hike, or around a campfire.  They can also inspire art projects, writing exercises, dress-up time, and putting on plays with friends.

Our kids really enjoy them.  We broke them out on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Miriam opted to "read" her cards just like the big kids and ended up telling us her own stories (very cute).  She didn't want anyone to help her read her card.  She wanted to do it all by herself.

Red Hen Books and Toys is making this giveaway even better by also offering up two Kaleidographs as well!  You can read our family's impressions of the Kaleidographs here.

If you'd like a chance to win a set of Story Starters or a Kaleidograph, read the instructions below carefully!  Be good listeners, please!:-)

To Enter:

Please leave me a 3- PART comment below.

1) Tell me what you are entering to win (choose one): Super Story Starters (younger kids), Original Story Starters (older kids), or a Kaleidograph (please specify Flora or Crystal).

2) Let us know when you'd like to use these items with your kids or grandchildren (in what settings).

3) (My favorite part!) What game do you remember loving as a child that you wish you could introduce to your kids?

Please only one entry per household.  Please leave your initials or some way to identify yourself in your comment.  I'll randomly choose 4 winners on Friday (two will get Story Starters and two will get Kaleidographs).

Happy entering and thank you, Red Hen Books and Toys!

P.S.  My family was given a set of each kind of Story Starters to try out prior to this giveaway.  I like to know what I'm talking about:-). Pin It


  1. 1. I'm entering for the Kaleidograph Flora, please.

    2. Would use them with our younger kiddos for entertainment while working on some school subjects with the older children and probably as quiet fun during church service.

    3. I remember having a lot of fun playing Sorry with my Grandmother. It was only at her house so has special memories. I think it is still on the market, may need to check for next Christmas.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Cathy E.

  2. 1) I'm entering to win the Original Story Starters.
    2) I would use these items with my kids - no grandchildren yet! - and I see this being a fun activity to occupy us in the van.
    3) As a child, I loved Chinese checkers. I don't know why I haven't played that with my kids yet. We might just need to get a set!


  3. 1. I really like the Kaleidograph Flora, but Crystal would be fine, too.
    2. I'd put it in my child's church bag for quiet activity there
    3. I think I'd like them to see Avalanche, a game where you place marbles in little ledges and see how many you can place before they all come tumbling down.
    Carol B.
    P.S. Have you ever seen the game/activity Kanoodle? Great quiet time, spacial learning tool that challenges you to complete either a 2D or a 3D puzzle using fuzed beads, sort of like a Tetris puzzle. I highly recommend it.

  4. 1. My kids would love the crystal Kaleidograph.

    2. We'd use them in our homeschool room with our other art materials.

    3. I wish we had a club house or tree house of some kind I could share with my kids. I loved ours growing up. Thanks for the giveaway!


  5. Hello Jane! :)

    Fun giveaway! So -

    1) I am entering for the older kids story cards.

    2) I would use them for my kids to help them think of stories to write for school, if needed, as well as for long rides in the car - I think it could be fun if used in a round-robin way where everyone adds parts to the story one sentence at a time. We have done this already, but it would be SO nice to have ready-made topics to use!

    3) Hmmm . . . a game from childhood . . . We actually have a lot of the games I used to play - a friend of ours is really good at finding those older games - gave my kids a toss across one year and rock 'em sock 'em robots another! But there is one game I used to like that I can't remember the name of - it was a strategy game where you tried to build your way across the board and tried to block your opponent from getting across. Used pegs and then red and black bars to build . . . wish I could remember what it was called so I can see if it still exists!

    Anyhow - thanks for the giveaway! I think of you often, especially now as I am starting my tomato and basil seeds! :)

  6. How fun! I have never heard of the Kaleidograph before so that would be wonderful.
    1. It is hard to decide, but I think the Kaleidograph Flora.
    2. I have a first grandchild coming in May and I want to be able to show her all kinds of artistic concepts This would really help spark her imagination.
    3. I look forward to teaching her Scrabble. I had many a good day playing Scrabble with my grandmother. I learned so many words that way and it was great to spend that time with her.
    Thanks for this chance.

  7. 1. Original Story Starters.
    2. My four kids.
    3. Fun Rides! Did anyone else do these? My brother would give us "rides". He would lay on his back with feet in the air, we'd put our stomachs on his feet and lift us into the air. Things like that. Very fun :).

    Heidi D.

  8. 1) Super Story Starters!
    2) For our kids in the car, at a restaurant, whenever we get bored. We are planning a long road trip in May, so these could be especially useful for that.
    3) Marble Works. The girls aren't quite old enough for it yet. I loved building towers!

  9. 1. The original Story Starters. My kids are a bit older.
    2. I have a lot of doctor's visits, so I'd use them while waiting there. (We also play Wheel of Fortune, using the doctor's spinning stool as the 'wheel')
    3. We used to play car bingo. We had bingo cards that had lots of common road trip pictures and little sliding windows to close when you found the item.I had forgotten about them until now. I may have to see if they still exist out there somewhere.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. 1. Super Story Starters
    2. I would use them in the car and at restaurants, and dreary afternoons like today!
    3. I used to love Uncle Wiggly and we played a lot of Yahtzee.

    Cindy G.

  11. 1. The Flora Kaleidograph
    2. I would use them for my preschoolers while the older one is doing her schoolwork.
    3. One of my favorite toys as a kid was a etch-a-sketch.

  12. Hi!
    1) We'd like to enter to win the Super Story Starters (younger kids),

    2) I'd be using them with my kids, aged 4 and 2 (the baby is a little young to start yet!) and we'd be using them at home for fun (to get our feet wet at a bit of homeschooling).

    3) My favourite game while growing up was called Volcano (or something like that). You had to move all your pieces off of a shrinking island before the volcano was flipped over. Luckily, my mom kept our copy, so now I'm just waiting for my little ones to get a bit bigger so the pieces don't get swallowed.

    My identifying thing can be Melanie in Hamilton

  13. The story starter cards are such a great idea (except that one that asks how one would keep their parents awake! haha :))

    1) I'd love the Kaleidograph in Flora.
    2) We would use them for art or even just fun/downtime in homeschooling.
    3)I wish my children could have played with the original Chutes and Ladders...the modern one is nice but just not the same!

  14. 1. The Super Story Starters, because my oldest grand baby is only 4.
    2. I would like for my step-daughter and son-in-law to use them at dinner table, but also pull one out when we Skype since they are five hours away.
    3. My favorite of all time was kick the can. I was never ready to come in when it got dark!
    K80 in Oak Grove,

  15. I would like the Super Story Starters and I would use them with my grandchildren on car trips. Each summer we travel up to Michigan and bring them back to SC with us for a week. I think these would be great for those long, boring hours cooped up in the car. When I was a child my dad made a game/toy that we loved. He made a large paddle sort of like a pizza peel and he would place the handle under his leg. He had also made a little man out of wood that was jointed with wire at the joints. The little man hung from a stiff wire. He would hold the little man so the little feet just touched the paddle. He would bounce the paddle and the little man would "dance." My sister and I were greatly amused by this. :)

  16. 1. Super story starters! Jada is the perfect age for them.
    2. I'd use them for car trips I guess. We don't travel much but occasionally we need something like this when we take a cabin trip.
    3. Well I was a kid not that long ago so I could probably still acquire games that we played! I loved any card games, I suppose. I'm a speedy one so things like Dutch Blitz, Speed, Spit, etc. Soon enough I'll get to play those games with my kiddos!

    And Becka, my dad makes those little paddles and dancing men! They are called Limberjacks. They are hysterical to watch!

  17. 1. Super story starters
    2. Use them when the grandchildren come by
    3. we always played Sorry -it was so fun. Card games are great too can't wait to introduce them to them.
    vmorgan456 (at)yahoo (dot)com

  18. 1) Wow, what an awesome giveaway! I'd like to win the Original Story Starters for older kids.

    2) My nieces come over every other weekend or so. Olivia likes to sit down with their Tia (me, their aunt) and grandma and work on homework. She's good at spelling. Sophia love to work in the garden with me and take care of the quail and collies. This would be another opportunity to share quality time with them either at home, or on the occasions when we go out to dinner.

    3) When I was young, I loved singing with my mom and listening and telling bible stories. As I got older, we started playing the alphabet game in the car - where you see a letter of the alphabet and call it out. It was hillarious when we'd be quiet for awhile and mom or dad would forget we were playing and be startled. As an adult, I'm glad we didn't crash, but it was the funniest thing as a kid. I also loved playing monopoly at the holidays.

    Caroline B.


  19. 1) Kaleidograph in Crystal, please (I think *I* would have fun playing with this!)
    2) I keep a "rainy day cabinet" and it is always a treat to pull out these special toys, pop up books and such things with my children on days when we are stuck indoors. I think this would be a perfect rainy day toy.
    3) I loved playing with my sister's spirograph. I'd love to share something like that with my kids.

  20. 1. I would LOVE to have the older kids Story Starters. I have a 7 year old boy who after finishing EVERY single work book, game book and every other book I can possibly get him, always wants more to do. He especially needs things to do in the car since we have to commute 30 minutes (each way) every day.

    2. As I said, I commute every day. Me and my two children (Lillian just turned 5 and Jack is 7). Both of them are extremely imaginative but can't always find the right balance between the two of them in the car to really let their minds work. We have Rory's Story Cubes (you should check those out - they are cool!) at home but they aren't as easy to do in the car. I think with Jack helping his little sister (as he always does) the two of them could really take off with something like Story Starters. And with what I know of their imaginations, I'm sure it will definitely be entertaining!!!! :)

    3. When I was little, my mom and my grandparents and I used to go on long road trips. We couldn't afford much for vacations and we definitely couldn't afford plane fare so anywhere we went... we drove. I remember vividly laying in my grandma's lap in the front seat of a huge Buick "boat" of some kind (I don't remember exactly, I was little). But I remember laying there in the soft light of the dashboard learning all of my grandma's favorite hymns as she sang them to me, singing lullabies and (my bragging rights to this day) she taught me how to say my alphabet backwards. :) My husband and I haven't had many chances to take many road trips with our own kids yet, but I hope that my kids will remember one day, the simple things like family car rides.

  21. 1. Original Story Starters
    2. During treatments at CHOP, in waiting rooms...waiting, on the way home from school - the only 'quiet' one-on-one time!
    3. Uncle Wiggly at my grandparents...not sure if they even make it anymore!!
    MAM in PA

  22. 1. Either of the Story Starters.
    2. I'd use them with my English Language Learners. Sounds like a great way to encourage oral language practice!
    3. I loved playing Dutch Blitz especially when Mom played too. She was always SO fast & it was a challenge to try to be faster. It's probably why I'm so competitive when playing. :-)

    Patty B.

  23. Could definately use the The Original Story Starter package with many of my grandchildren please.
    I would use them when my grandchildren come to visit or if I am babysitting at their homes.
    My late husband used to do this with our children and it is one of their favorite memories spending time with their dad.
    Hopefully,this will become a fav memory of the time my grandchildren spend with me. Love to hear their imaginations at work.
    One of the best games I played as a child was outdoor Hide N Seek early evening. All the children on the street came out to play.
    Then one by one you could hear out mothers calling us in.

  24. I would love the super story for my daughter.
    My favorite thing to do was act out little women

    Amanda t

  25. 1) Original Story Starters (older kids).

    2) On a long road trip these would be fun to use as discussion questions! I think it would be fun to hear the answers!

    3) The board with the man's face on it that you took the magnet and moved the shavings to give him hair!! I LOVE it!!

  26. 1. The Original Story Starters, please.

    2. I would use them as a prize for the Summer REading program in the church library (for age appropriate group). They would be excellent for a reading program prize.

    3. I have all the games that we played as a child either the original game, or I bought a replacement copy if the childhood one was just too beat up. I always liked Pickup sticks and Tiddlywinks when younger, and The Game of Life when older. We played a lot of card games too.

  27. 1)Super Story Starters (younger kids)
    2)We are traveling by plane this summer and it would be great then, and any other car trip as a distraction from her current game "The Searching Game".
    3)The Game of Life. Not the new version where you pull a card to choose your career, but the version where your career was dependent on how you spun the wheel.

    1. I didn't know there was a new version of the game. I have my 40+ year old game in a well taped together box. I remember my brothers would try and spin the ratchety wheel as hard as possible as then it would take off like a flying saucer, up into the air.

  28. 1. Super Story Starters
    2. I would love to use them in the doctors office when we are waiting for the doctor to come in. For some reason my children's patience isn't as great there as it is other places. I wouldn't mind using them during our story times just to hear the stories my kids would come up with.
    3. I loved playing card games. We would always play as a family and start laughing about something.

  29. I'd like to enter to win the Original Story Starters. I think they would be a perfect activity for homeschool to get the creative juices flowing. They would probably even help me get my creativity out of mothballs. My sisters and I played outside all the time when we were little. We didn't really play games so much as have massive all-day adventures with a few toys as characters in our epic stories. I'd like to cultivate that imagination in my little ones.

  30. I would love to win the Original Story Starters! My son has a crazy imagination, so it would be interesting to see what he would come up with. I would probably use them in the car so he wouldn't constantly ask to play games on my phone. My favorite game as a child was Yahtzee. My dad and I were the only ones in my family that enjoyed playing games so almost every evening we could be found lying on the floor playing Yahtzee (or putting together a huge puzzle!). I would love to introduce it to my children because I think it's a great game for improving math skills!

  31. I'd like to win a Kaleidograph Crystal set.

    My grandsons would love playing with these on our (many) rainy Seattle days. I'm a mathematician and I think these would be an excellent way for us to notice and replicate patterns together (an important mathematical skill!!!)

    I loved pick-up sticks at a child. My grandsons (4 y.o.) are a little young to enjoy the game now, but I have big hopes for the future!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Anne F.
    math (dot) in (dot) the (dot) vortex (at) gmail...

  32. 1. I would like to win the Original Story starters.

    2. I have 4 children, two boys 17 & 15, and two girls 5&6 and we all love telling stories. Girls especially! When the girls are falling asleep at night, I sit between them in the rocker holding their hands and often "tell a story" that includes them in it...they love falling asleep with this calming loving imagination. These cards would be a way for them to learn the art of telling stories! It's incredibly important in learning how to write stories as well!

    3. I loved Candy Land as a child, and my kids loved/love it too! We also played lots of Yatzee which I played with my boys and now will begin to play with the girls! Great math learning!

    Thank you!

  33. 1. The original story starters would be great.

    2. We would use them in the car. They would be more fun to listen to than my five year old using his hand as an airplane and always crashing.

    3. I can't wait until they are old enough to play cribbage. I always had so much fun playing that with my dad.



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