Story stones are a tactile and engaging tool for promoting literacy, creativity, and hands-on learning with children. To use story stones effectively with children, it's important to think about and incorporate the HEAD, HEART and HANDS:
HEAD: Children should first understand the elements represented by the stones, such as characters, objects, or actions. This can be done by introducing the story stones and explaining their meaning, or by reading a story that corresponds to the stones.
HEART: Encourage children to connect emotionally with the story or theme. This can be done by asking them to imagine and feel the experiences of the characters, or by having them act out the story with the stones.
HANDS: Finally, allow children to physically interact with the story stones by using them to act out the story or create their own narratives. This helps to bring the story to life and reinforces learning through hands-on experience.
The BUNDLE of 6 sets of story stones I have created have all these 3 aspects covered. I have also used them in story baskets, mats, trays, sensory play and with loose parts.
I created the story stones Where’s Spot? for Sam as they were (and still are) huge Spot fans and had been enjoying hiding the soft toys that we have. However, they were reluctant to share the Spot soft toys with others who also wanted to hide and seek them. I felt the story stones would support sharing and hopefully encourage friendships. Because I made the story stones I could make extras and was not to concerned if I lost some (have children with strong transporting schema happening). I made 3 extra Spot stones but did not put them out initially.
The children gravitated to the felt ‘pockets’ to hide and seek’ Spot and his friends. Another child who was also a huge fan was seated with Sam and when it came to the Spot stone they gave it to Sam sating you Love Spot the most so you can have it. This was touching to hear and what was interesting was to see once they had ‘told the story’ Sam gave the Spot stone to the other child and said “Your turn”. This was the start of a friendship.
Story stones are also fabulous in dry sensory play and I also used them in a memory game where I covered an removed one stone and children had to guess which character was hiding.
There is something special about finding a stone and holding it in your hand! This feeling is similar when you have stones for storytelling. The stones you find at the river or beach can be used but I use ‘white resin stones’ from Bunnings for my story stones as the images appear more natural on them. I find paint works better on beach or river stones (you will need a base paint as they are often porous) as there is no white paper at attach and stand out. If you aren’t worried about this aesthetic then using beach or river stones will work too.
I also believe there are many benefits in using story stones with children.
Encouraging imaginative play and creativity
Developing language and storytelling skills
Fostering social and emotional development through teamwork and cooperation
Enhancing problem-solving and critical thinking skills
Promoting hands-on, kinesthetic learning.
I created a round play mat for a serving tray that had an edge that looked like a fence (from Kmart) and story stones for SHARK in the PARK with Lee as I had noticed they were into rhyming and often wanted to play the rhyme game with me and others (who weren’t sure or as keen to play it). The rhyme game is simply saying a word and then as many rhyming ‘words’ for it and taking turns to say one. SHARK in the PARK offered rhyming play and opportunities and supported others to learn the game with the book and then progress to other words.
What surprised me was that the ‘telescopes’ were so popular and the children all had to have them and find the rhyming object with their telescope. I also used my moveable storytelling mat as I found more space was needed for the PARK and children who wanted to retell the story.
I also like to try and use one set of stones for more than one story and found that Rata and the waka had all the same insects and birds in it as the book Batkiwi. I did have to add a pig, stoat and one more bird which was easy enough to do.
The Atua story stones which are exclusive to bundle and not sold otherwise have been used with the book, in small world play and also in 'sorting' sparked by the children's interest to connect the Atua to their realm or specific area. Here I used the insects, birds and animals from the Rata and the waka story and made some sea story stones from the books Ocean for kiwi babies. Each day I kept one tray the same and swapped one out. 'Sorting' developed into storytelling and they were rich and meaningful to the learning that had been happening.
The number stones from Stack the Cats have probably been used the MOST out of all the stones BUT not only for the story itself but also for loose parts play or in a basket of loose parts to add to a story basket, mat or tray.
If you LOVE story stones then you will WANT my new story stones BUNDLE for 6 books:
Rata and the waka
Stack the Cats (includes number stones)
Tray mat with Shark in the Park story stones (or spoons)
Atua story stones (exclusive to bundle and not sold otherwise)
You can choose to make a set as needed or do them all at once. Cutting out the images and waiting for the mod podge takes the most time!
Overall, using story stones has been a playful and interactive way to engage children in learning processes and help them to develop important skills and competencies.
Until next time.
P.S. there are affliate links and if you use them i may get some moolah at not extra cost to you.