Thursday, March 10, 2016

Step Up to the Story Plate! Interactive Storytelling Game

Personal photo: My son playing
baseball as a young child.
"I believe that learning and play go hand in hand. Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."
Fred Rogers 

I agree with his sentiment and add play to all of my storytelling residencies.
Each week, when I meet with my student storytelling troupe, I add an interactive game that is fun and also reinforces their storytelling skills. Over the years I have created a number of original games but I am always trying to come up with a new idea, and sometimes inspiration strikes in the strangest places!

Last week I was in the Dollar Store, picking up craft items for my Mass Humanities program when I spotted a set of baseball bases and began to think, “How I could use them as an interactive storytelling game?”  On the next aisle I noticed some white felt Easter baskets with a baseball design; this was too much of a coincidence! I bought the bases and buckets.

Over the weekend I brainstormed a bit and created the following interactive relay game, Step Up to the Story Plate, which my fourth and fifth grade students played for the first time this week. The game was an enormous success! The students were wildly cheering each other on; we had time to play it twice and they asked to play it again next week. It is a great game for helping them think on their feet, while reinforcing their story skills and comradery. While the set up and rules below may sound complicated, I assure you it is an easy game to set up and play.

I offer it here for you to use in your personal storytelling work. It is not to be published in any form without permission although you may share the blog link with your colleagues. I ask that you respect copyright and offer attribution whenever you use it. Batter up!


  • This is a relay game, so you need two sets of plastic baseball bases. If you can’t find them to purchase, make your own out of cardboard.
  • Eight buckets to hold the questions at each base, three for each game, and two buckets to hold the dice at Home plate. I found the buckets above at the Dollar Store, but you could use anything at your disposal.
  • A set of large, foam dice, found at the Dollar Store.
  • Green Card Stock to print out the questions. (Of course I used green, for the Green Monster in Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, but you can choose a different color.)


I created these questions, but you can design your own. Nine questions signify the nine innings in baseball, three extra questions just for fun. 

1.      Speak one line of dialogue from your story, using EMOTION!
2.      Share two gestures from your story. EXAGGERATE them!
3.      Describe the main setting of your story in three words.
4.      Describe a character in FOUR words.
5.      Tell your story in FIVE words.
6.      Show TWO FACIAL expressions from your story.
7.      Speak the FIRST sentence of your story.
8.      Introduce yourself and your story title WITH CONFIDENCE!
9.      Speak the LAST sentence of your story and take a bow!
10.  Steal one base.
11.  Steal two bases.
12.  Do the wave three times. 


You will need a large space to lay out both sets of bases. Of course, you don’t need to set them up the same distance as a regular baseball diamond but there should be enough room teams aren’t bumping into each other.

  • Arrange the two sets of baseball bases side by side. Make sure there is enough room for the students to run and move.
  • Place one bucket at each home plate with one die in each bucket.
  • Place questions in buckets at bases 1, 2, and 3. Make sure each set of buckets has the same questions and number of questions. For example, you have twelve questions, which equals four questions in each of their base buckets. Each bucket should have the same questions to make if fair for each relay team. For example, both first base buckets might have the following questions:

    1. Speak one line of dialogue from your story, using EMOTION!
    2. Share two gestures from your story. EXAGGERATE them!
    3. Describe the main setting of your story in three words.
    4. Describe a character in FOUR words.


Go over the questions and rules with your students before they begin the game. If you have an assistant in your class, they can “coach” one relay team, while you help the other if they need assistance. When each student rolls the dice you need to be there to remind them what to do if they roll a #5 or #6. The others are self-explanatory. The first team to finish wins the game!

This is a basic relay game, form two lines with the same number of students. The first student in each line picks their foam dice out of the bucket at home plate, rolls the dice and moves through the game according to the number they rolled.

  • Number 1 – First Base
  • Number 2 – Second Base
  • Number 3 – Third Base
  • Number 4 – Homerun!
  • Number 5 – Pinch Hitter
  • Number 6 – Pinch Runner


  • Student rolls #1: Runs to first base, picks a question from the bucket and performs the task. They runs to second base, pick a question from the bucket and performs the task, and so on until they reach home plate and tags the next player.
  • Student rolls #2:  Runs to second base, picks question from the bucket, performs task. Runs to third base, picks another question, performs task, runs to home plate, tags next player.
  • Student rolls #3 :  Runs to third base,  picks a question from the bucket, performs the task, runs to home plate, tags next player.
  • Student rolls #4: Student runs all of the bases without stopping to home plate.
  • Student rolls #5: Pinch Hitter: Student goes to the back of the line and the next student moves up. This is a disadvantage for the relay team as it adds another turn to their relay team.
  • Student rolls #6: Pinch Runner: Student steps aside, the next student in line steps up and runs to second base. This is an advantage to the team as the first student who rolled #6 is automatically finished with their turn. This relay team is one person ahead.

If you are interested in more original, interactive games, as well as story worksheets, please consider my award-winning book, Story by Story: Creating a Student Storytelling Troupe. I am also offering a brand-new workshop, Story Play, at the LANES Sharing the Fire Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2016. You will learn additional activities not found in my book, to help both you and your students. For all of the conference information go to .

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and weblinks may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links. At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.


Karen Chace 2016 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission, please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I appreciate your support and personal integrity.