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Tell a Story Tuesday: A Creativity Collaboration Between a Neighborhood Toy Store, Parents and Kids
by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association   |   September 29   |   0 Comments
The title came first.

What came next? A collaborative creativity bonanza between a toy store, parents and local kids that involved storytelling and social media.

David Castillo of  The Red Balloon Toy Store was trying to come up with a cool thing to do at the store that would actively engage the local community. He and the Red Balloon team didn’t really know what they had in mind, but figured the best way to think of something was title first, activity later.

“It started with alliteration. We (a marketing intern and I) started brainstorming names with each other--anything as long as it had alliteration,” said David.

Hello, Tell a Story Tuesday. Through instagram and facebook, The Red Balloon Toy Store would post three seemingly random pictures from inside the store and then ask for parents and kids to leave a story in the comments tying the images together in a fun way. Every week the team members would choose a winner using a random selector (who received a $20 gift certificate to spend in the store) and every month they would choose their favorite for a prize.

“We were trying to be more forward with moms and dads getting involved with their children’s education," said David. "There is a ton parents can do to prepare a child for school and encourage their development at home. Parents loved getting involved, and children loved getting rewarded for taking a chance and getting creative!”

By using  social media to their advantage, The Red Balloon Toy Store got parents and children clicking away on the keyboard every week. The process encouraged kids to think about sequencing, cause and effect, and other story elements involved with writing. The responses and stories that the team got were hilarious.

“They always sent in great stories, but this one seemed like something straight out of Dr. Seuss!" said David, referring to a submission titled "Horton Gets a Pet." The Red Balloon Team collaborated to create a You Tube video of the submission; it helped that one of the managers had a theatre background and David himself had audio training.

{Bet you didn't know the friendly faces at your neighborhood toy store have such hidden talents!!}

Not only where the community members letting their creative juices flow, but soon the Red Balloon Toy Store team members were coming together with creative talents of their own. David recalled how they worked together using various multi-media skills within the team to record, edit, narrate, and splice the audio into their video before posting it on YouTube. Everyone helped play a part.

Dave says the store is looking at ways to improve the concept and do it again sometime. “Definitely taking out what didn't work. Making the stories shorter and keeping the concept to like a one liner-- and keeping people involved!”

The Red Balloon Toy Store has four store locations in Utah, including Salt Lake, Sandy, Provo and Logan. Find out more on their website.


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