Have you ever noticed and picked up an interesting rock? Did you enjoy running your finger over the smooth surface, or maybe get a sense of comfort from the weight of the stone in your hand? There is a reason why children, after playing outside or going on a walk, return with pockets filled to capacity with rocks of different shapes and sizes. Rocks, well, rock. These found treasures can be used in a literacy-supporting and inexpensive way for the kids in your life. I promise you’ll never look at rocks the same way again!
To make your own:
Story stones are rocks that you decorate with pictures. This project is so simple and kid friendly, engaging children from start (finding the rocks) to finish (applying the pictures). The rocks can be actual rocks that you’ve found on your adventures, stones that you can buy at a home improvement store, or even
wooden discs from a craft store (an especially great option for younger children still experimenting with throwing or putting objects in their mouth). The pictures can be anything that you have available: stickers, clip art, fabric scraps, or even magazine pictures. After washing and drying your rocks and selecting your pictures, use mod podge (or even Elmer’s glue) to secure the pictures to the rock. Apply a generous layer of product under the picture, as well as over the top to seal and secure. Wait for the rocks to dry completely and you are ready to use them.
There is no right or wrong way to play with story stones. They can be used as story telling aids — I have previously made sets to go along with particular stories, themes, or specific stories) or to encourage storytelling and sequencing. They can be used in creative play as objects or critters in a dollhouse or as accessories for building blocks. Story stones work perfectly for children who are drawn to sorting and grouping and are a great way to incorporate natural elements into manipulative play. Connecting children to nature is a great way to balance the over-stimulating media world in which we now live, and will help children develop and grow into environmentally aware adults.
The story stone set pictured was made using found stones and clip art, downloaded for free from Lakeshore Learning. Environments also has similar free resources. I used satin Mod Podge and a sponge brush to stick and seal.