Have you heard about story stones? They’re becoming so popular and I get questions all the time about how to use them AND how to make them. So today I’m sharing how easy it is for you to make your own at home as well as some tips on how to use them.
I absolutely adore story stones. They can be used in SO many different ways and they’re so incredibly easy to make. Throughout this blog post, I’ll share some easy ways that you can create your own story stones (even if you’re not creative!!) as well as share some ways you might like to use them with your little learners.
But first, let’s explore some of the different ways you can make story stones!
Use stickers for your story stones
The easiest way to get started is to just use a sticker sheet and attach a sticker straight onto the stone. This is a great option if you’re not crafty – I am not a drawer, or a painter, so these were the very first type of story stones that I made for my little learners! This kind of story stone is a great one to get your little learners involved in too – Lilly has helped me make a heap of these in the past.
Simply stick the sticker down onto the stone and coat with a layer of Mod Podge from the hardware store. I use the Glossy variety and it works great! You might like to spray some varnish or hairspray over the top to help though as they can sometimes stick together in the humidity.
Use printed pictures or magazine clippings for your story stones
You can cut out pictures from magazines (or print them from your computer) and then use Mod Podge to seal them onto a stone too! My mum made this set for Lilly with all different body parts using pictures from magazines. She gifted these to Lilly with a set of pink kinetic sand and a mirror which she used to create all sorts of funny faces!
Hand-paint your story stones
If you love to paint, why not try to create some hand-painted story stones? Many playful parents actually hide these beautiful hand-painted stones around their neighbourhood for other children to find too. It’s so much fun! My mum painted these for her students and used them for oral storytelling and story writing. She used your standard acrylic paints and sealed with varnish when she was done.
How to create your very own story stones
You’re going to need some stones or pebbles – a lot of people use these Tuscan Path stones from Bunnings. They’re really popular because they’re white and really easy for you to see the picture on the stone as well. Other options could be glass pebbles or wooden disks. You just need a nice flat surface so that you can stick your image down onto it.
You will also need some Mod Podge which is a craft glue – I use the glossy version, but there are a few versions depending on the finish you’re after. Lastly, you’ll need a soft, flat brush to be able to coat the stone easily with the glue.
Firstly lets talk about stickers since they are the quickest way to create story stones. I just searched the $2 shop for stickers that would fit on the stones I had, stuck them on and then simply add a layer of the Mod Podge on top. This is a fun way to create story stones with your little learners!
You can also print out pictures and glue them onto your stones with Mod Podge too! In our Little Play Club play packs, we include image sheets that you can print off for your story stones. The templates have an oval shape around each picture so members can also just laminate and cut them out instead of sticking them onto a stone.
When you cut out the pictures for your story stones, I recommend that you cut as close to the picture as you can because you’ll get a better seal on the stone that way. Remember to go through all of the stones in your pack as they are all shaped differently. So just check to see which picture is going to fit best on your stone.
Once your picture is lined up, grab your Mod Podge and pop a bit on the stone before sticking your picture down. When you’re happy it’s in the right spot, add another layer of Mod Podge on top. I like to just speckle it on first, then smooth it out – if you’ve got too much then just wipe the excess away to get a nice flat finish.
Sometimes stones get a bit sticky in the heat and they will stick together – you can add a layer of hairspray or varnish in a spray can to help stop this from happening.
So what can you use story stones for?
The possibilities for play with story stones are endless! While they are perfect to use for storytelling, they are also great for activities like posting and sorting too. I love to include story stone images in the play packs for our Little Play Club, because they are so versatile! Here are some of the ways we have been using them in the club this year.
The activity below is from our Community Helpers play pack and the pictures on the stones were used for a sorting activity. The pictures were things you could recycle, compost for green waste or throw straight in the trash. The kids then had to sort them into the right bin which was lots of fun as well as a great posting activity!
In our Transport play pack, we had story stones showing all types of vehicles, including cars, planes and even rockets! Many of our members matched their story stones to the vocabulary cards which we also include in our play packs. Other members sorted the stones into land, air and sea vehicles. Some members had their little learners playing with them in sensory trays and during play dough sessions as well. They are so versatile!
Our Dinosaur play pack had lots of images of not only dinosaurs, but other related images like fossils and cavemen – this was a great one for storytelling on the story stone mat that was included in the pack as well.
In the classroom, we’d use story stones as a way to retell a known story. You would take pictures or elements from a story, cut them out and stick them onto the stone for students to assemble in the right order to retell the story. You might create story stones around specific themes like fairy tales, and dinosaurs. The child could pick out some stones from a little bag and then use those stones to create their own story either orally or written.
So as you can see, story stones can be used for so many different things. They are really quick and easy to make – the only limit is your imagination!
If you make your own story stones, I would love for you to tag me on Instagram at @littlelifelonglearners so that I can see what you’ve made and share your creations with my audience as well!