Thursday, May 30, 2013

Product Review: Tell Tales Fairy Tales by Blue Orange Games

Back to that box from the other day...

The other day, I posted a review of Spot It Jr! Animals by  Blue Orange Games (see my review HERE).  Today I'm going to share my experiences with  Tell Tale Fairy Tales.  This game is a variation of the original game - Tell Tale.

By the way, Tell Tale Fairy Tales has won the following awards:

  • Dr. Toy 10 Best Creative Products
  • Play Advances Language Award
  • The National Parenting Center

Like the games in the Spot It! family, this game comes in a convenient tin for storage.  And again, I wanted to include this part of the box in the picture so that you can see that this game is recommended for ages 5 and up, can be played with 1 to 8 players, and takes approximately 20 minutes to play.

This game contains 60 double sided cards with 120 total illustrations.  The game instructions include four different ways to play:

  1. Storyboard:  Everyone takes 6 cards and places them in the order they would like to tell their own story.  Players take turns improvising a story based on the 6 images on their cards.  ALTERNATE:  Play in teams of 2.  Make up the storyboard together and then tell the story taking turns.  When the first team is finished, the next team tells their story.
  2. Round 'N Round:  Everyone takes 4 cards and looks at their images.  The first player chooses one card and places it on the table.  Using this card as a starting point, s/he begins a story.  The next player chooses one of his/her cards, places it next to the first card and adds to the group story.  The game continues until the last card is used.  ALTERNATE:  Play in teams of two.  Each team takes 6 cards.  Teams take turns telling their communal stories.  Storytellers within each team alternate as they add on to the story.
  3. Showtime:  Everyone takes 6 cards.  Without peeking, players place the cards face-down in a pile in front of them.  One player begins a story by flipping over the first card.  They continue flipping over all cards to add to the story until all cards have been used.  The next player begins a new story, and so on.  ALTERNATE:  Play in teams of two.  One team weaves the story together, alternating between team members (one team member starts with the first card, the other adds on to the story with the second card).  Then it's the next team's turn.
  4. The Stack:  Shuffle the cards and place 24 of them in a pile in the center of the table.  The first player takes one card and begins a story.  Players take turns picking one card from the stack and adding on to the story until no cards remain in the central pile.
I don't think the folks at Blue Orange set out to make a "therapy game" with Tell Tale and Tell Tale Fairy Tales, but boy did they ever!  The therapy implications with this game are endless!  Here are just a few:

  • Narrative development:  You can teach story grammar elements (characters, setting, problem, solution) and have students make sure to include these elements in their stories.
  • Sequencing:  This game is great for sequencing story events and for teaching words like "First," "Next," "Then," and "Finally."
  • Sentence formulation/MLU:  You can't tell a story without using full and complete sentences.  This game provides a motivating, naturalistic way to target sentence formulation.
  • Grammar/Syntax:  This goes hand in hand with sentence formulation!
  • Descriptive language/Colorful sentences/Vocabulary:  Fairy tales are a great way to add "color" or description to otherwise simple (aka boring) sentences.
  • Written language:  Students can write out their stories using introduction, story, conclusion. 
  • Topic Maintenance and Perspective Taking:  Students creating a story need to stay on topic and to make sure their listeners have sufficient background information to follow the story.
  • Carryover activities for articulation and practicing voice and fluency strategies.
  • Pragmatic language/Social skills:  Form many of the variations, students need to work together to create a story.

I first used this game with a group of preschoolers (all of whom are five years old and going to kindergarten in the fall).  I placed a bunch of the cards in the center of the table and told the students that we would be using the cards to write our own story.  I gave them a few minutes to look at the cards and told them that they should remember to (1) keep the characters consistent throughout the story - you can add new ones, but don't let the others disappear; (2) add to the story without changing the setting; (3) link to the parts of the story that have already been told.

This is the story they came up with:
Once upon a time, there was a queen in a castle.  A ghost was in the castle.  She was afraid.  The cat came and fight the ghost.  The cat went back to the forest.  He went into the cave.  There was a dragon in the cave.  The dragon had a princess tied up.  The king asked the cat to save her.  The cat used a sword to fight the dragon.  The cat needed help from the knight.  The knight called a genie.  The genie came on his magic carpet.  He had a map.  The map showed a pirate ship.  Then the sun came out and there was a rainbow.  The cat and genie got the dragon and played a song.  The cat gave flowers to the princess.   She used the key to start the car.  The End.
During the first session, I transcribed the story as stated.  I did work on keeping them on topic and keeping the story consistent.  During my next session, we working on adding adjectives and more descriptive words, correcting grammar, and basically editing the story.  This is their final result:
Once upon a time, there was a queen in a castle.  A ghost haunted the castle.  The queen was very afraid.  The brave cat came and fought the ghost.  Then the cat went back to the forest and into a cave.  There was a fire-breathing dragon in the cave.  The dragon he had captured a princess and tied her up.  The king asked the cat to save the princess.  The cat tried to use his sword to fight the dragon, but he needed help from the knight.  The knight called a genie for help.  The genie came to the rescue on his magic carpet.  He had a map that showed a pirate ship.  The cat and genie defeated the dragon and the cat played a song on a harp.  The cat picked some beautiful flowers for the princess.   She used her key to start the car and drive everyone back to the castle.  Finally, the sun came out and a rainbow appeared in the sky.   The End.
Later on, I used this game with a first grade student.  First, I set out 9 cards on the table:

I asked him to think about the order that he wanted to use, think about the characters, the setting, the problem, and the solution.  For him, we used the app Scribble Press ($3.99 in iTunes) to illustrate his story.  With Scribble Press, you can use your iPad's camera function to add pictures to book pages.  We took pictures of the individual cards and groups of cards.  Here are some sample pages:

In the screenshot above, you can see that we have already added the pictures and words.  You can also use markers and stickers to add to the pages.  Once you have finished your book, you can "publish" to iBooks and also email to parents.  With this student, I emailed the story to his mother so that the student could tell the story to his family members as practice.

*We fixed my typo before emailing to his mom!

If you're curious, here's his story:
The Queen and the Knight
Once upon a time, there was a nice queen who lived in a castle.  Then a dragon came and took the queen to a magic forest.  In the forest, the queen saw a magic wand, a red potion, a green potion, and a blue potion.  Then a knight came and fought the dragon. The magic wand touched the knight and turned him into a baby.  The queen escaped the dragon and fed the baby the red potion and he turned back into a knight.  Then the queen and the knight had a wedding and got married. And they lived happily ever after! The end.
We didn't have time in our session to edit or add to his story, but we might just do that during our next session!

One more variation I used...I had a group of 4 reluctant speakers.  After giving them the run-down, I gave them each three cards.  Each child was told that they needed to use their cards (one at a time) to add to the story.  Then I gave incentives to the kids who got rid of their cards first!  This particular group always fights over who gets to be the line-leader, so the first student to get rid of all their cards was the line-leader back to class.  The second got to turn off the light when we left the room (these don't sound like major incentives, but for these kiddos, they are!), and each student got a sticker when they turned in their last card!  It worked like a charm!  They all participated and only rarely tried to give me a totally off-topic story addition!  I didn't get a chance to write down their story to share with you, but it was a thrilling tale of pirates, treasure, and a genie in a golden lamp!

I love this game for developing not only language skills, but also imagination!  I do not have the original Tell Tale game, but if I did, I would bet that you could combine cards from both games to create even more stories!  My only "problem" with this game is that the game cards are double sided.  There were times that we were searching for an image ("I know I saw it somewhere!"), only to find it on the back of another card we were using.  Also, the directions for some of the game variations call for you to place cards "face-down." Since both sides have illustrations, there really isn't a "face-down."  For my kids, I would prefer one sided cards with the logo on the other side.

Well, there you have Tell Tales Fairy Tales!  I hope you enjoyed the stories that were created using this game...we sure had fun writing them!  If you are interested in purchasing this game, you can do so through the Blue Orange website.  In addition, I was able to find both of the Tell Tale of the games on (affiliate links are below).

What do you think of this game?  What would you use it to target?

Tell Tale and Tell Tale Fairy Tales (plus some other popular games from Blue Orange):


Disclaimer:  Blue Orange provided Tell Tale Fairy Tales for the purposes of this review.  However, the opinions expressed are mine alone.
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