This month’s regular guest post from outdoors mummy blogger, Leila Balin is all about story stones….
I’ve known about story stones for a while now although I have never really used them, at work or at home. They have been on my to-do list for a while too but I have to admit, I haven’t got round to it. Then this week, Little Man got the opportunity to play with some for the first time and I realised how much I have to bump them up the list!
My friend uses them in her forest school sessions and we headed over to play in the woods with her. At first Little Man was quite shy but he soon took to the story stones and they were a huge feature in his play. He even sat listening intently as an older child lined up a collection and acted out his own story with them.
So what are story stones? They are simply smooth rounded stones that have a picture on them. The pictures can be painted on, they can be stickers or you could use decoupage to add the images. You then leave them out for small hands to find and encourage them to delve deep into their imagination and create wild and crazy stories with them. Many children I have seen using them do so by acting out their stories rather than just telling them, which also makes them a great way to encourage active play. Little Man took a particular liking to a dinasour story stone which was then carried around the woods with him as he ran from dinasours, lions and snakes.
At 2 and a half I wasn’t sure Little Man would really get the gist of story stones. Although he already has a wild and active imagination I wasn’t sure a few stones with some pictures on would really get his imagination fired up but they absolutely did and without any explanation from a grown up either. Imaginary doors were opened for him and he forgot his shyness and played in the woods with all sorts of stories running through his play. There were dinasours, trains, snakes and dragons, it was magical to watch.
So what am I waiting for? Absolutely nothing now! It will be a trip down to a lovely stony beach to collect a bag full of lovely smooth rounded stones and then I will be on the hunt for stickers and pictures that can be pasted onto them. Little Man can then get them out and play with them whenever he chooses. I can’t wait to see where his imagination will take us next!
Have you used story stones yet? Will you be giving them a go?
Leila writes a personal, nature inspired blog at Mud Marvellous Mud. She is passionate about connecting children to nature and writes about her son’s experiences as they explore together. She is trained to Forest Schools and Beach Schools level 3 and is currently studying for an Open University Open Degree.