Doña is back with another inspiring post about a DIY she found on Pinterest. I've seen these Story Stones and love how accessible Doña makes them. Read on!
I’m a creative person. I’ve worked hard at building, feeding, and nurturing creativity in my life. As a mother, I love witnessing my young daughter’s innate creativity. How much we are all born with! But I also know how easily that creativity can be squashed.
It might be squashed by teachers who are trying to get a classroom of energetic kids in line, by schools with a focus on academic achievement, by people who don’t understand or who are threatened by the unusual, and sometimes by well-meaning parents.
Because I know she probably has that road ahead of her, I feel it is my duty right now, while she’s young, to build extreme creative resilience.
I do this, mostly, by giving her lots of open ended toys and unstructured play time. We have blocks and peg dolls and play silks and more. I have a whole Pinterest board of Waldorf-style toys that I love for their open-ended playing qualities. I also make sure to let her see me being creative - in the kitchen, in the garden, while playing with her, as well as in my studio with my own craft and art projects. She loves to work alongside me at my “big desk."
One area where my creativity is lacking, however, is story telling. Bean is getting to be an age where she’s making up stories and playing pretend a lot. I wish I could say I tell her stories at bedtime, but after “Once upon a time…” I freeze up. I simply don’t know where to go next.
Recently in an attempt to jumpstart my own story-telling abilities, and also to encourage hers, I started looking into story stones. I had heard of them, but had never seen them, and wanted to make my own. Pinterest, of course, had a wide variety of ideas.
There were these with highly detailed monochromatic drawings. These make the whole stone a character, instead of just having a picture on the top. These use the stones as puzzle pieces to create new character combinations.
I decided to make a set like these – simple, colorful and fun.
I had some rocks leftover from a friend’s landscaping project, so I picked out 10 flat-ish ones and scrubbed them with soap and water to get them pretty clean. These stones are a nice size - a handful for my daughter, but not enough to really hurt if she dropped one on her foot. If you are collecting rocks from a beach or river for this project, just looks for stones that have one flat side for the image and have a fairly smooth surface.
I decided to use images of things that my daughter is drawn to or talks about often already, so my pictures included a house, a baby, some flowers, and a bug. I showed her the first couple and then got her input on what other pictures she’d like. “A bird!” she said, “and a kitty cat.”
I used a combination of Montana acrylic paint pens and Sharpie oil markers, because I had them already, but I think the Infinity Markers that Liz used for these Soul Mantra Stones would work really well. You could also paint your pictures with a brush and some acrylic paint.
The stones I’ve seen for sale are all sealed with some kind of top coat, but I didn’t bother. Since my daughter loves the sound of them hitting each other, I’m sure it is only a matter of time before the pictures wear off. No matter, they only took me about 30 minutes to make!
As with any other new toy, she had a surge of interest when I first introduced them, and then left them to play with something else. It may take a few weeks before they cycle into regular use. I’ve put them in her toy box where she can find them when she’s ready.
PS: If you love the idea of story stones but don’t want to make your own, here’s a seller on Etsy who makes several themed sets.
Disclosure from Doña: Some links are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you purchase from the links.
Doña Bumgarner is a writer, artist, mama and a craft project-collector from way back. She loves Pinterest and uses it to help solve a household dilemma at least once a week (see her “pinned and done” board). She lives in Santa Cruz with her partner, their little one and his almost grown one, and a collection of cats and chickens. She writes about the practice of moms feeding their souls in the midst of raising a family on her blog, Nurtured Mama, where you can also download her free Mothering Moments ebook.