Storymakery is located in the Irvine Spectrum, in the Target wing. If you are thinking about trying it out, be sure to reserve a time. Although the kids are creating on their own for the most part, there are several steps that do require help from the staff. Plus the store is limited in the amount of computer stations they have so to make it an efficient process, a reservation is a must! My youngest is 7 and he was capable of doing most of the work on his own. Younger kids might need a little more parent involvement but is still an activity they would enjoy doing.
The store is really bright and clean. Everything is set at kid height to ensure they feel in control. There are four different stations where the kids work during the process and the staff helps guide them and answer questions along the way. Prices are between $19 and $55, depending on several factors. It is very easy to see exactly what you’ll, get at each price point, and there is staff at the front counter who can help you choose the best option.
To start, the kids select a few pre-designed, outlined characters. They use computers to choose colors, accessories and personality traits of the characters. Because my son loves to draw his own characters, I was hoping he might be able to incorporate something like that in the book. Maybe down the road they will figure out a way to be able to customize the characters even more. But for now, they do offer a fairly large selection of characters that kids would like. The computer program is very kid friendly and my son was able to navigate his way through the steps without much help.
Once the characters are customized, it’s time to choose what your story will be about. Each colored card holds a prompt for a story idea. This is really helpful. It allows your child to pick a direction for the story to go in. As you very well know, kids can be indecisive. While it did take a minute to decide which prompt to go with, it helped to streamline the process of writing a story. Once my son picked his idea, he spent a little bit of time in the writing studio with a staff member. She asked him all kinds of questions about his character and plot points for the story. It was a quick, thoughtful process. Once she had the outline, we had a little bit of free time to browse the store while she typed up the story. Every staff member that we met was so friendly and truly helpful. You can tell they have a love for writing and it seems like such a great place to work.
When the story was done being written, we moved on to the final station where my son got to layout the book. There are several pre-designed rooms and scenarios to choose from but it was hard to find one that perfectly fit our story. But we made it work by getting creative with the page layout. I loved that they got an opportunity to work on laying out the design. They got to add their characters, resize them and add other visual elements that went along with the story. The book layout allowed for him to design two pages with visuals and the rest of the book is the written story. The cover options were a bit limited but we ended up choosing something clean that just focused on his character.
We had a blast watching the book my son had just created be published right in front of us! That was so special for my son. He couldn’t wait to hold his finished product!
Here, my youngest shows off his very own story book and my older son shows of a poster option of the story book character. They both thought it was so cool that he has a copy of his very own story!
I think Storymakery is a very unique activity for kids. Orange County is full of fun, hands on experiences for the kids and this should certainly be added to that list. Although is uses computers, it is a great way to get the kids off their electronics for a little while and using their brain to create a one of a kind memory. It would make a great gift idea for a creative child! Plus they also host children’s parties! Next time you are at the Irvine Spectrum, be sure to check out Storymakery!
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