Story stones continue to be one of my favorite activity to do with students as well as my own children. I have made many different variations of these over the years, but since I don't always have time to do the whole find/wash real rocks, I usually end up using the great rocks that are available in the floral section of Dollar Tree. To see some other examples and tutorials, click here.
I use these in many different ways...here are a few:
1. Progressive Stories: These are my all time favorite. Place all the stones in a bag and have the children take turns drawing a stone out of the bag. The first child draws a stone and starts the story using the picture on their stone. Each child takes a turn adding to the story using the picture on their rock. These are my favorite because the children have to think how they are going to weave their picture in to the story, but I also love them because they get darn right silly sometimes. I love to hear the giggles from the kids. Before starting I alway go over rules for the game. These can be different depending on your situation. Below are the rules that I use that eliminate most of the issues that can possibly pop up during the activity. I go over these no matter what the age of the children.
- Be respectful (we talk about what being respectful looks like during this activity (listening to the story, not talking when it's not your turn, etc)
- Every child chooses 2 stones (I have them choose two because it's faster than passing the bag around twice, it gives them a choice of which pictures to weave in to the story and it allows them to be thinking of what they can add ahead of time).
- When it's your turn, add a detail to the story using a picture from one of the stones.
- You MUST relate your part of the story to a part of the story that has already been told. If you don't, then you are starting a new story all on your own.
- You may NOT use classmates as characters in our story. Siblings are fair game. (This eliminates hurt feelings.)
- Silly is GOOD!
- Mean is NOT!
- You CAN hold, touch, even clink your stones together, but NO throwing or picking the pictures off the rocks. (I know it seems like you shouldn't have to tell them no throwing, but trust me, you do!)
2. Transition activities: I use the stones in a bag for transition between activities or while waiting in line in the hallway. I will have them draw a stone and make up a sentence using the word, say a rhyming word, describe 3 features of the item and have the other kids guess, etc.
3. Sorting/Vocabulary: I have stones that have pictures of different categories (clothing, food, animals, etc.), and I have them sort the stones in to different buckets/containers. These are so much more engaging that using plain old flashcards.
There's just something about these stones that kids love to touch! Let me know how you are using story stones...