Guest Post: 4 Ways to Play with Story Stones.
Making story stones is as simple as collecting a number of flat, smooth stones, choosing images that are of interest to your child and drawing simple line drawings with a permanent marker or paint pen (or hand over the pen for older children to draw their own motifs).
Protecting the drawing with a layer of clear varnish will extend the life of your story stones but is something I never quite get around to doing!
Some ideas for images include people, animals, insects, food items, items from nature, weather features (such as the sun, rain, etc), common household objects, buildings and modes of transport.
Perfect for developing vocabulary and oral storytelling skills for children aged 3 and up, story stones can be used in a number of ways…
1. Once upon a time. Start simply by using the stones as prompts to tell your own imaginary stories to young children. This will demonstrate to them the idea of using the stones for making up stories. I find it works best when sitting at a table so this is often an activity we will do as we eat lunch together.
2. My favourite story. Make a set of stones with images that represent a favourite story with strong graphic elements like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Use the stones as a prompt for your child to recall and retell the story.
3. Take a turn stories. Once your child is confident to make up simple stories using some of your stones, it might be fun to try what we call ‘take a turn’ stories. Each person takes it in turns to add one stone to extend the story a little further. You never know quite where a ‘take a turn’ story will take you!
4. Mystery stories. Turn all of your story stones face down. Turn over one stone (chosen randomly) and use this as your prompt to start the story. Continue on, turning over one stone at a time to extend the story.