Homemade Story Stones

Homemade story stones are a great addition to any playroom or classroom. They’re so fun and easy to make, and your kids will get years of enjoyment out of them.

When I first learned about story stones, I knew right away that I needed to make some because A) the crafter in me loves  making homemade toys, and B) the hooligans LOVE playing with stones – we have quite a large collection of stones and rocks of all sizes here at my home daycare.  You can see how we play with our some of our stones here.

Recently, I made a large set of story stones for our playroom.  I had such a fun time making them, and the hooligans are enjoying them in all kinds of ways.

homemade story stones

So, what ARE story stones exactly?

Story stones are simply smooth, flat stones that you can find at the beach or even at a craft store.  Each stone has a picture of a character or animal or object on it.  You can make a story stone by painting a picture on it, you can use stickers, you can draw on your stone with a permanent marker, or like us, you can use magazine cutouts or fabric scraps to make your story stones.  **More about how I made ours in a bit.

How do you USE story stones for play?

Story stones can be used in many ways:

You can use them as story tell aides: the children choose a stone from the basket, and start a story based on the picture on the stone that they’ve chosen.  Another stone is drawn from the basket, and the story continues, incorporating this next picture into it.  One child can be telling this story, or you can pass the basket around at circle time, so that each child draws a stone, and adds another sentence to the story.

The stones can also be used for creative play:  The hooligans often use the story stones at whatever centre they’re playing at. Ours are often used as:

  • characters in the dollhouse
  • animals at our farm cemter
  • in conjunction with our building blocks
  • as food in the play kitchen

Sorting and grouping activities:  The hooligans love to sort our story stones.   The kids will pile up all of the people stones, and then they’ll find the animals, and the food stones.  The holiday stones go into another pile, and so on.  These sorting and organizing activities help with early math skills.

The kids will also line the stones up in a long row. They can be used to make a large circle or square on the floor.

There’s no right or wrong way to play with the stones.  They’re open-ended, and they foster creative and critical thinking.  We LOVE them.

Now that you now WHAT story stones are, and how to play with them, let’s move on to making them!

As I said earlier, there are a number of ways to make story stones, but this is how I made ours.

How I made our story stones:

First I raided my fabric stash for cottons and flannels that had animal prints on them.  I cut out a few animal shapes, and then i moved on to a stack of magazines and old craft books that I’d picked up at a second hand shop a few years back.  The craft books were fabulous.

 

The books were intended for a stained glass-painting type of craft.  Of course, being in a second hand shop, the paints didn’t come with them.  I just thought the pictures might come in handy one day, so I bought them, and tucked them away for a rainy day.  The pages were heavier in weight than a regular magazine, and the colours were vibrant.  The pictures in the book were just perfect for my project.  Hello, rainy day!

easy homemade story stones by happy hooligans

To make your story stones,  put a puddle of mod podge on a stone, and then place the cut-out in the puddle, and use your fingers to smooth out any air bubbles.  With a sponge brush, smooth and dab a little modge-podge over the cut-out, pressing around the edges with your fingers, to get a good seal between the paper and the stone.

The quilt fabric was the easiest to work with because the material was thin and flimsy, and molded to the rock easily.  The magazine pictures worked well too, because of their thinness.  The craft book cut-outs were quite a bit thicker (similar to glossy card-stock), and required more pressing and smoothing, but they turned out great!

holiday story stones

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of using mod lodge to make your story stones, you could simply apply assorted stickers to your stones, and then give them a coat of varnish for protection.

Whether you’re using mod podge or craft varnish, be sure to let your stones dry thoroughly before tossing them all into a basket for storing.  If they’re not completely dry, they could stick together.  I let mine dry for a couple of days until they no longer felt tacky.

Story stones provide a super opportunity for imaginative play, and there’s some great sensory stuff going on too: the colours are vibrant, they’re cool to the touch, and for me there’s something soothing about the sound of stones clacking together as you play with them.

Aren’t they cute?  I’m so pleased with the way they turned out.

story stones - happy hooligans

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