Story stones for Imaginative free play
I thought this would spark the imagination in my 2 year old son. He loves me telling him stories & reading to him, its not unusual for us to go exploring & make up stories based on "who lives there" concepts. So these story stones have given him an outlet to make up, create and enjoy telling me stories. I think its a great idea for pre-readers who love story time & it gives it a realistic hands on approach for little active minds. It also aids in speech development, improvising & interaction.
Recently my partner bought an acreage on the river so our new thing is to go exploring, looking for possible homes & stories to make. For instance, the weekend just past we went for a walk along the river bank we seen the usual "locals homes" wombat holes, platypus holes, birds nests, water dragons basking on over hanging tree branches, then comes the story telling. Fairy's that live in leaf house among the tree branches by the river (clumps of leaves& mud stuck in branches from when the river has been high), leprechauns live in tree roots surrounded by clovers, mystical creatures in Madden hair ferns & so on. . . This gives a good opportunity for me to teach him precaution when in nature- the dos and the donts about touching things & to keep a look out for dangerous animals.
This is something I love, it opens the gateway to imagination!
Story stones I think are also a very unique way to develop imagination, or at least open the gateway so you can witness the ice tip of a huge submerged, unconscious ability that children have. It aids in learning, allows creativity, it can be adapted to their interests or emerged into a theme & can be used in "free play" because the child uses initiative and cognitive processes to develop their own stories.
Story stones: What you will need
*stones, rocks, pebbles, or river rocks. We used these pearly white ones from the decorative gift isle at the $2 shop (by the way, the $2 shops would love me they're one of my favourite, cheapest resources)
* paints & brush
*acrylic sealing or enamel spray
*a jar or container to story them in
What i tried to do was base the story stones on things that my little one loves at the moment and has consistently been fascinated by, such as bikes, trucks, cars, fish, sharks, building, pirates.
I didn't have a theme so to speak but you could quite easily adapt a theme for example a farm theme would be great with endless possibilities.
While I was doing these my little boy joined in by doing his own pet rock on a large river stone he held onto while we were out exploring.
Of course you can put is as much or as little effort & artistic talent into these. Put it this way, You don't have to be an Award winning Artist to paint a picture on a Rock that a 2 year old will love. :) So long as they are able to see what it is & go from there.
I am no artist and I am a little time constrained so my pictures are on the rough side on the artistic continuum. I didn't plan on putting too much time into the details of the pictures, I would rather spend that time using them so no comments on the dodgy painting skills please lol.
In this one, the dinosaur climbed up the ladder to get to the top of the tree where he looked out for something to do . He seen a Motorbike so he jumped "really big" off the tree & landed on the motorbike, he rode away but in the process he scared one of the monkeys who lived in the tree. He fell out & hurt himself.
It is interesting to see how little children perceive images as well. The stone you see at the corner was meant to be a worker pointing (being the boss & all) with his hard hat on, he also has a construction digger & a shovel/spade that theme together, well i thought they did but apparently this man is the Daddy waving & he needed a Mummy. where is the mummy? luckily i had some spare matching stones & did a few more pictures based on what was missing, including a mummy. How could I possibly forget a mummy stone ha.
Then there were more..... This is the second addition to the story stones!
He is getting the idea of it. Most of the time I cant hear exactly what the story is & I have to listen very carefully without interrupting him - His stories are much more imaginative when he is left on his own compared to the stories he tells me when i offer encouragement!
Ways to play:
*Take turns telling a whole story
*Pick one stone at random out of the jar & make up a story about that
*Take turns of picking stones for the other person to make a story about
*Take turns, stone by stone to incorporate both your & other peoples favourites themes
*use them with story books that have similar theme or items in them
*use them for word identification "where is the...." what makes the ___ sound"
*Memory game, match partners up & have them upside down until you find the matching pair (eg. fish & crab, fireman & the fire)
*Hide them under cups & do a memory match game
*make up a sequence & a story & then publish it with photos & words.
You get the drift.......
this is the spray that i used to coat them. I think this is the hidden secret because without within 3 plays my boy had ruined a couple of pictures so I re-painted them & used the enamel that dries super fast. I did catch him once again trying to pick the paint off again but this time around he gave up & got a warning not to as they took a long time to make & i plan to keep them to use as his language is developing so fast at the moment, if we pull them out once a week even I am sure I will notice a difference in his preference, language, sentences and in his story telling.