Roll-a-story: why it’s good for children with disability, autism or other additional needs
Roll-a-story involves making up a story together, and using a dice to decide what happens in the story.
Roll-a-story activities are great for helping children with disability, autism or other additional needs build language, communication and thinking skills. They also help develop numeracy skills like counting, probability and chance, and they help children learn to focus.
Creating a story with someone else can be a great way for children to work on their ability to cooperate and take turns. And because it’s all about having fun with others, it can help children make friends.
What you need for a roll-a-story activity
All you need for a roll-a-story activity is:
- 2 or more people
- a number dice or playing cards.
How to do a roll-a-story activity
- Choose someone to start the story. When your child is learning how to do roll-a-story, it helps if you or another adult starts.
- Start with a simple sentence like ‘Once there was a…’ and ask your child to choose the character – for example, a grandmother, a monkey or a moose.
- Take turns to add to the story.
- Include an event that requires your child to choose a number. For example, ‘The monkey loved to eat bananas. How many bananas did the monkey eat today?’
- Ask your child to roll the dice or pick a playing card to find the answer.
- The story can be very short and simple or it can be more complex, depending on your child’s abilities and attention.
- Try adding a finishing sentence at the end like ‘And that was the end of that!’
How to adapt roll-a-story to suit children with diverse abilities
For children who find fine motor skills difficult, you could use a larger foam dice or oversized playing cards.
Children who have difficulty with communication might find it easier to point or gesture at number or picture cards.
For children with a lot of energy, try having them act out the story as you make it up together. For example, your child could pretend to be the monkey, jumping around and eating 10 bananas.
For children with vision impairment, you could use larger dice, or a braille or tactile dice. Or your child could dip their hand into a container of counters to pull out an amount you count together. You can also try a talking dice or dice rolling apps on your phone or device.
Looking for more play and learning ideas for your child? You might like to explore our other activity guides. Some of these have been created for typically developing children, but they can all be adapted to suit children with diverse strengths and abilities.