Encourage Your Preschooler’s Imagination With Story Stones!
One of the most common things my husband and I hear from our daughter is ‘Mummy/Daddy, tell me a story from your mouth’. Sound familiar? Well, perhaps not quite in that crude preschooler language! Pixie loves nothing better than a story told from memory or imagination, i.e. not read from a book. Which can somewhat put us on the spot.
Confession time: the reality is that because it’s a very frequent request, particularly during mealtimes and car journeys, it can quickly become rather tedious.
It’s usually acceptable to repeat stories she’s heard before, but if it’s going to be different it should be completely different – because otherwise she’ll chime in and tell you where you’ve gone wrong. In fact, that’s almost become part of the tradition of storytelling with Pixie – to the point that I can often get her to tell the story herself without her realising that I’ve outwitted her!
Alas that doesn’t always work, and often we’re left flailing around for inspiration. If I’m simultaneously attempting to write my next blog post in my head / plan a shopping list / remember what else I need to pack in the change bag before we leave the house, it can soon become a chore.
What my hubby and I needed was a set of prompts, which would also engage Pixie. I didn’t even realise this was what we needed until visiting a friend for a playdate and seeing the perfect solution: story stones.
How to Create Story Stones
If you’re unfamiliar, these are essentially ‘stones’ with simple pictures on them which can be interpreted either literally or symbolically. They can be bought, but what fun is that? My friend made hers, and not one to be outdone, I decided to copy.
To create yours, you’ll need:
- Acrylic pens
You might also want to have a packet of wet wipes handy for the mistakes you’ll inevitably make – the pen can simply and easily be wiped away so you can start again.
I recommend coming up with a selection of images which can be simplified and are also versatile; so for example, I drew a wand which could be interpreted as fairy or magic, as well as the literal object – and it wasn’t too difficult! We also included a skull and crossbones (for pirates, obvs); a planet; a rocket; a moon and stars; a unicorn; a mermaid; and a witches hat – all items which feature heavily in our stories!
Once you’ve drawn your pictures (and ridiculed them / scored them out of ten if you’re competing with your significant other), they’ll need to be left to dry for 24 hours. You’ll then need to spray them (I recommend outside!) and leave them for a further 24 hours.
Et voila! Your stones are ready to be played with!
Story Stones – The Verdict
Frankly, ours are probably a poor imitation of my friends’, and I won’t even pretend that’s because I allowed Pixie to join in. Nope, I decided to save myself that headache and instead of using this as a craft for her to get involved in, my husband and I kept them for a makeshift date:
I call it the Who Can Draw the Best Teeny Tiny Cartoon? date.
We don’t get out much, and it was actually quite fun. Pixie loved them too, and that was the point after all. Plus I did save her a couple to
ruin join in – I’m not wicked!
We often have our story stones out on the dinner table as a distraction from being disruptive (we’ve not quite nailed mealtimes in our home yet – needs must with a three year old and a one year old!), and Pixie responds well. We tend to start with the story stones turned upside down and turn them over one by one to weave a tale based on the pictures she picks up. With her attention span being that of a typical preschooler this doesn’t always work, and Pixie often has her own ideas – but they work well as a prompt which the point of them after all!
These have been a win in our house, and as the children get older it would definitely be an activity to do together.