Impromp3bles – Bay Area Discovery Museum


Use dice to improvise a new story! Create dice, add characters to each side, and then roll the dice to determine which characters are in the story. This group activity helps children learn how to adapt, improvise, and embrace flexibility.

Materials Required

For the wooden blocks version:

  • Mod Podge (or create your own with 1⁄2 Elmer’s school glue and 1⁄2 water)
  • Three wooden cube blocks for each small group or player
  • Colored markers or paints

For the paper cube or cardstock version:

  • Colored pencils or pens
  • Permanent markers
  • Scissors
  • Clear Scotch tape
  • Bag


Dice can be created using wooden children’s blocks or paper. This activity can also be completed without dice by printing out characters on cardstock paper.

To create dice using wooden children’s blocks:

  1. Gather three cube-shaped wooden children’s blocks.
  2. Draw images of objects, animals, or characters on each of the six sides of the cube. (Examples of characters below.)
  3. Repeat on the other two blocks. Use different images for each side of the cube.
  4. Cover the entire wooden block with Mod Podge to create a durable surface for repeated use. Mod Podge takes a couple hours to dry.

To create dice using paper:

  1. Print out the paper template (PDF). Draw characters on all six squares of the template. (Examples of characters below.)
  2. Cut out the template along the outside lines.
  3. Fold along the lines to create a cube shape.
  4. Use clear tape to connect the edges and create a cube.

For cardstock paper:

  1. Go online and find images of characters. (Examples of characters below.)
  2. Print the images on cardstock paper.
  3. Cut each character out.

Examples of characters:

  • Farmer
  • Monkey
  • Spaceship
  • Boy
  • Snake
  • Girl
  • Old Man
  • Grasshopper
  • Lions
  • Fox
  • Turtle
  • Tennis Shoe

To play the game:

  1. Roll all three dice to determine which three characters will be used in the fable. If using cardstock paper, pull three images out of a bag.
  2. Write a fable using all three of the characters and following these three rules: 1) All of the characters are to be included in each fable, 2) At the end of the fable, end with a one-sentence phrase that says “the moral of the story,” and 3) The ending should be awesome and a little bit surprising.
  3. In a group, score each fable by grading on each of the three rules. Use a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Create a new dice to open the door for new characters. Add the dice and then write a new fable.
  • Trade dice among participants. Play the game again and write new fable.

Links to Creativity

This activity enhances creativity by encouraging improvisational storytelling and cognitive flexibility. The uncertainty around not knowing what characters will be used makes it difficult, but through practice, children experience flow, as their skills begin to match the challenge.

Supporting research includes:
Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikzentmihaly, M. (1991). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: HarperPerennial.

Lemons, G. (2005). When the horse drinks: Enhancing everyday creativity using elements of improvisation. Creativity Research Journal17(1), 25-36.

Sawyer, K. (1992). Improvisational creativity: An analysis of jazz performance. Creativity Research Journal5(3), 253-263.

Sawyer, R. K. (2000). Improvisational cultures: Collaborative emergence and creativity in improvisation. Mind, Culture, and Activity7(3), 180-185.

Tegano, D. W. (1990). Relationship of tolerance of ambiguity and playfulness to creativity. Psychological Reports66(3), 1047-1056.


This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. It is adapted with permission from Garrett Jaeger’s workshops for children. For more information and resources see

©2014 Bay Area Discovery Museum.


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