Monday, October 6, 2014

DIY Story Stones

This is one of my favorite "games" that I've made for our girls, as well as one of my favorite gifts to make for other children. It's such a versatile, quirky activity for kids (or adults) of any age and the possibilities of play are endless. We take them on long car trips, pull them out when friends are over, and use them during quiet-time when WB is sleeping. 

I've read before that "story stones" come from the Waldorf school of thought, believing that it is far more important to teach children how to creatively weave a story at a young age than it is to teach them how to read and write. After the directions for making story stones, read on for various ways of how to play with them! 

Materials needed:
-colored pencils and paper
-sticker book (optional)
-old workbooks with lots of little pictures (optional)
-smooth stones (found at the dollar store)
-Mod Podge and sponge-brush

First, spend some time doodling little pictures on white paper. Think about what pictures would make up a good story...include people and animals, active words, weather, vehicles, houses, etc. Try to keep some of your pictures a little bit vague. For instance, instead of drawing a plate of spaghetti you could draw a fork, knife and spoon and the child playing could imagine any kind of meal. A picture of a foot could lead to putting on socks and shoes or it could be used for walking/running. A swirly doodle could be used for wind, but it could also be used for music, dancing, painting, water, etc. 

Next, cut out each of your little doodles. If you don't want to draw your pictures, or you'd like to use various mediums as I do, you can also cut pictures out of old workbooks or children's dictionaries, or use a sticker book. I tend to look for such books whenever I'm browsing a flea market, antique store, or the dollar store. 

After the pictures are cut out and ready, go ahead and wash and dry your rocks. Working one stone at a time, apply a little bit of Mod Podge to the smoothest surface of the rock then lay a picture in place. Apply more Mod Podge over top of the picture, making sure you smooth down all edges and avoid any wrinkles in the paper. Mod Podge dries pretty quickly. After the stones are all dry, I like to go over them all with another thin layer of Mod Podge to give them an even smoother look. 

Once the stones are all dry, you're ready to play!

(In case you want story stones the really easy way and you live in the Winchester area, Steamy's Cafe on Piccadilly St currently sells story stones...1 for $1 and 20 for $15! They make great gifts!)

Ideas for Play:

SOLO STORY-BUILDING: Take turns building your own stories.

DICTATING STORIES: This is a good one especially with young children...take turns telling a story, while the other person finds the stones and puts them in order.

PARTNER OR GROUP STORIES: Take turns, picking stones and adding to the story.

RANDOM SELECTION - MYSTERY STORY: Turn all the stones over and take turns randomly selecting a stone to build a story.

ONE STONE STORY: Select only one stone at random and make up a whole story revolving around the stone. Or tell a silly sentence using the stone in the sentence.

CLASSIFYING: Put the stones into groups based on theme, color, likes and dislikes, etc.

EXPLORING: Let your child use the stones while playing with blocks or trucks or coloring or playing house. The stones can become pets, cars, food, etc. If the children are having fun imagining, just let them go with it! 

What other ways have you found to play with your story stones? Please share with us in the comments below! 

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