Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mama May i Handmade Learning Toys: Story Starters Review

Disclosure: We received a free Story Starters game from Mama May i for this post, but my opinions are honest, as always!

While my children and I have spent countless hours reading aloud together, the stories we have created on our own are far and few between. Storytelling games, like Mama May i's Story Starters, are a fun literacy enriching experience for young children that are a great supplement to reading aloud. Through these games, children craft unique stories that stretch their creativity and empower their imagination as they take on roles as a story listener, a story teller, and a story writer.

Mama May i's storytelling game is a handmade learning toy that arrives in a shiny tin, complete with 4 story starter dice, a symbol key, a little book of why, and a pen. For group play, the youngest player rolls the cube and begins the story with the image that lands face up. Then the next player rolls and adds to the story. To play alone, you simply roll the dice and let your imagination run wild based on the pictures you see! The dice help you with the who, what, when, and where but the why is up to the players to create. To help you remember your stories, you can write or draw them in the journal provided.

If you are like us and enjoy reading and learning - you might want to invest in Mama May i's story starters as an additional literacy activity (you know, for when you've read that same book 1,000 times in a row and just can't stand to make it 1,001). Plus, storytelling games offer lots of educational experiences, in addition to being just plain fun!

Here's some benefits of storytelling play:
  • It fosters creative thinking - "you create the why".
  • It enriches your child's imagination because he'll be forming mental images as the story is being told.
  • It strengthens reading and writing skills.
  • It teaches elements of a story - who, what, when, where; beginning, middle, end; plot; conflict; theme.
  • For children who are reluctant to read aloud with their parents, storytelling can provide a different kind of shared literacy experience. 
  • It aids in emotional development as the characters in the stories partake in various adventures; children identify with the way a character responds in various situations.
  • It teaches new vocabulary.
  • It promotes listening and speaking skills.
  • It promotes teamwork and turn taking.
  • Last but not least, it creates memorable experiences!

What did my kids think of their new game?

They loved it, of course! My 4-year imagined a story around a boy named Will who was given a magical shovel that could pick up leaves on its own, and my 22 month old enjoyed naming all of the pictures and making up some shorter stories.

What did I think of the new game?

I thought it was an easy way to play a game together (without having to read a million rules, which I despise), have some fun and be silly, and sneak in something educational that didn't feel educational. I also loved the personal note from Jessica Perkins, the founder and designer of Mama May i, that came in the game's adorable packaging. The fact that it's all non-toxic is a bonus too, considering I still have a toddler who likes to put things in his mouth.


You can order this game as well as other educational, handmade toys inspired by Montessori and Waldorf methodologies from Mama May i. As a fellow Philadelphian, I just adore the Make a Match Game with Philly sites.

You can also follow Mama May i on Facebook and Twitter. If you order from Mama May i before the end of November, use the code LANDOFONCEUPONATIME at checkout for $5 off a purchase of $30 or more.

Enjoy making learning fun!

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