Storytelling with Stones

This idea is an extension of my previous post on drawing on pebbles.

When I was teaching creative storytelling and writing in primary school, I used to put different picture cards in a mystery bag, and ask children in small groups to pick out a card and each child must contribute a line to the story based on the picture shown on the card. Collectively, the children get to weave together a plot, which often ends up with hilarious outcomes and twists in this creative storytelling process! It also evolved into book-making projects of documenting their stories with drawn illustrations on paper.

With my younger 32 month old, I decided to try out this creative storytelling approach, using pebbles! I drew some pictures on the pebbles with my chalk markers, things that are Rae’s favourite things to talk about; like butterfly. girl, house, flower, whale, etc. Instead of a mystery bag, I recycled a used tissue box instead. The hole on top of the tissue box is perfect for their little hands to reach in for the pebbles, and the plastic sheet prevents the pebbles from falling out. Just put a label like “Storytelling With Stones”, and you are ready to tell a story with your child!

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To demonstrate the storytelling process, I asked Rae to take out one pebble at a time from the tissue box. For each pebble, I continued the story with a line created from the picture on each pebble. For example, from the pictures below, I created a simple story like this:

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful butterfly. It likes to fly to the beautiful princess, RaeAnne everyday. They both like to play around the tree.. that stood in front of the house…”

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Rae was so absorbed with the storytelling that she wanted to have a go almost immediately after the fifth stone. As she reached in for the sixth pebble, she identified the picture as a bird, and continued the story with ” they have a bird too!”. And the magical story evolved in a magical fairytale involving a prince who has a sword to protect the princess from the whale. And they fell in love and lived happily ever after (how else to end a story?! 🙂

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Remember to give lots of encouragement and praise for your child’s attempts to tell their story. Even if your preschooler just shows emergent speaking skills in the form of a word or phrase, you can build up their ideas by echoing their ideas back to them in complete sentences. That way, you are showing value in their contribution to the story, as well as modeling good sentence construction for your child.

For older children, you can arrange the pebbles he or she has picked out in sequence, and it becomes like a story map for your child to write his story on. You can encourage your child to give it more details and descriptions to make the story come alive!

This play-based approach to storytelling and writing taps on your child’s imagination and develops their creative thinking and writing skills. It is fun, hands-on and makes for great collaborative learning in a group of children as well!

Where to buy pebbles:
You can get pebbles at the gardening section in Daiso! Or any plant nursery! 🙂

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