Paint Your Own 'Story Stones'



Painted rocks in hand. Photo by Kristen Tool

The soil at our farm in Western Massachusetts is full of stones. We spend hours digging and sifting new garden beds each year to prevent crooked carrots and stunted radishes. But what to do with all the stones once they are dug up? Having piles of stones laying around the farm creates a tripping hazard, and is serious trouble for the weed whacker and lawn mower.

Large stones are great for edging garden beds or building stone walls- the small stuff gets tossed in the dirt driveway to fill potholes. Smooth, flat or round stones are collected, and painted on.

A few years ago I started collecting stones removed from the garden and painting them for decoration, and as teaching tools. At the time I was running a mixed-age after school program for K-6th graders. Children loved using painted stones to dictate stories, and would collect stones from the playground to paint new images on.

This inspired me to create ‘Story Stone’ sets the children could use to share their stories and creativity. A set included about fifteen stones with a different image painted on both front and back. I chose to paint open-ended images, like a tree, a car, a kite, to allow kids to go in many different directions with their stories. Themed sets, like fairy tales, farm animals or vehicles, could be a great addition too.

8/12/2021 11:20:30 PM

Great ideas here ! Really appreciate your caution to avoid removing stones because they prevent flooding/ erosion and they provide habitat for small creatures. Thank you for this thoughtful article !

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