During a trip to the mall last fall, I saw an area boarded up with this logo on it:
As its name implies, Storymakery is a children’s creative writing and publishing shop, located in Spectrum Mall in Irvine. They have actual creative writers in the store to help kids make a character, develop a plot, write out the story and publish it right then and there. The work with the kids of varying ages too, and have various packages depending on the level of involvement the child can handle.
It’s amazing! The creative writer in me was awakened and secretly thrilled.
I knew my girls would love it, and so when Storymakery opened its doors I signed them up for a Snowman workshop last winter.
Their store is very pretty too. It’s spacious, and it looks very conducive for creativity and imagination. I love places that are well thought-through.
At the workshop, the girls were immediately treated to some holiday snacks and hot chocolate. After, they were first led to the Character Studio. They were allowed to create their main character for their upcoming story. In this case, they had to work with a snowman.
They did everything from the name to the color, and the writers were guiding them to help them describe what they were like and where they lived — all important parts of a good set-up!
Then they led to another station called “Writing”. The girls had to come up with an antagonist, and a way to map out the story by answering questions the writers had prepared. If your child is old enough, they can type their own answers, but in the interest of time (particularly with Jamie), the writers do it for them.
In the middle of the shop are these writing trees, which hold nuggets and thought starters, that kids can pick out and use to build their own story. Pretty neat!
After that, the girls go into Publishing where they make the scenery and create a few more photos to complete their story, and they lay-out.
Then the writers take it to the back where it actually gets printed. In a few minutes, they have their very own published written work in their hands.
The workshop also included a poster of their main character (as you would in a movie or a new book release).
In the shop they offered differently paraphernalia where the main character could be printed out and given as gifts.
My girls were so proud of themselves. I can’t tell you how many times they read and re-read their stories, and showed it to other people, and they were over the moon when people called them Authors. They felt like such distinguished folk, it was absolutely adorable.
The Storymakery experience is something one can take home too, if you sign up for their annual membership. The family gets access to all the characters they created online, and can actually make more. Kids can go in and make characters and stories themselves, and simply walk into the store to get it printed.
I dare say, it’s also helped Sam with her homework. When they were asked to write a story with a beginning, middle and end for school, Sam knew how to lay it out, with the lesson in the end. Jamie’s story-telling skills have also started to take shape with its own beginning middle and end. So it is quite the tool for imagination, creativity and cognitive development all in one!
One of Sam and Jamie’s friends had their birthday party there too and the people in the store took care of everyone. It was a great place for the grown ups to kick back and relax, get a haircut or a cup of coffee. 😉 Plus, the kids learned about collaborating on a story, and each one got to take home a book they all wrote together. It’s amazing how they were able to fit everyone’s ideas in there so seamlessly.
And if that weren’t enough, the owner of Storymakery is a Girl Scout parent and troop leader, and she also does activities and creative writing for troops to help them fulfill their badges. Our troop has looked into working with them on a Journey, and I don’t know who is more excited to go back, the girls… or me! 😉
If you want to check out Storymakery, they’re on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram): @Storymakery. Or visit their website!