Story stones

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Story Stones are fun to make and can be used in a variety of storytelling activities or games. They’re ideal for discovering your own creativity and getting your imagination going, or for seasoned storytellers looking to be surprised!

Here’s how to make them and use them in a range of fun ways.

What are 'story stones'?

Story Stones drawing

If your stones are smooth enough and a light colour you can always draw directly onto them.

Story stones are essentially a collection of story tokens.

Each stone has a piece of art attached to it representing a place, object, character or event (e.g. a castle, car, teacher and party). These can then be used as prompts to help create a story, play a game or even a fun challenge.

Select them as building blocks for a carefully constructed story or pick them out of a bag at random to make things tricky, the choice is yours!

If you need some inspiration be sure to check out our activity ideas near the end of the page.

Making your story stones

To create your story stones you could use the following:

  • Paper
  • Pens/coloured pencils/paint and paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • A clear drying glue/sealer (‘Mod Podge’ is ideal and non-toxic)
  • A glue spreader or something to apply the glue with
  • At least a dozen (ideally more) smooth round stones

When you’re picking the stones, the small white glass stones are ideal but almost any kind will do so long as it’s not too jagged. If you’re collecting your own stones out on a walk, make sure you use gloves to pick them up and clean them thoroughly once you get home.

As an alternative, you can use spare jar lids instead. These are almost always easy to find and allow you to recycle part of used jars creatively! Don’t have jar lids around? Try just using pieces of cardboard or paper.

Once you have your raw materials, follow these steps:

  1. If you can’t draw or paint straight onto the stones, cut out small circles from your paper the size of your stones (or lids). You may wish to use a few sheets to ensure you have a decent number.
  2. Draw and colour in a variety of images on your stones or card cut-outs. These should ideally include places, objects, characters and events. What these are is entirely up to, but make sure there’s plenty of variety. The more different things you have, the greater the storytelling possibilities!
  3. If you’re putting paper on the stones, cover one side of each stone you are using with your clear glue and stick an image cut-out on it. Make sure it’s completely flattened to the stone for the best results. You can apply another layer of glue over the top of the paper but it’s good to test it on a scrap piece of paper first to check it doesn’t make the ink from your pens run.
  4. Wait for them to dry and…

There you are! An original set of story stones, completely unique to you!

Activities and games to play

Now you have an exciting new set of story stones you’re set for a bunch of activities.

Why not try the following?:

Build your own story

Take as many (or as few) of the stones as you like and try constructing a story with them. As a prompt you could use a story book for guidance and then try changing or continuing the story using the stones.

Alternatively, try placing your stones on a sheet of paper or card in the order they happen. Draw arrows between them and write how these things are involved in your story – perhaps even with a few extra illustrations. You could photograph the result at the end to keep!

Create a random story challenge

This can be a fun game to play as a family. Sort your story stones into bags, containers or hats according to the categories mentioned earlier (places, objects, characters and events).

Each player in the game should then pick out a stone from each category without looking. They must then attempt to tell a story based on what they have. Or you can take it in turns selecting stones to keep one story going around the group. The results are often funny, exciting and memorable. If it’s really good, you could even write it down!

Stone categories

  1. Split all your stones between a number of players, keeping the images hidden from one another. The goal of this game is to get rid of all the stones you have been given first.
  2. To play, take turns in naming a category, e.g. ‘an animal’, that applies to some of your stones. When the player announces the category, all the players must place their stones in that category in the centre of the table. Be wary though, you could accidentally name a category another player has lots of stones in!

To make it a challenge you may wish to set ground rules disallowing broader categories… or don’t! You can customise the game however you want to be as easy or hard as you like.

Create your own game

Story stones can have a potentially enormous number of applications, so why not take your creativity a step further and make a brand new game of your own design which uses them?

Player counters in a board game? Decoration for a mantelpiece? A way to quickly create interesting photo collages? The possibilities are endless.

Share your creations!

Our Time would love to see photos of your story stones and the stories you create with them!

Younger readers should ask a parent or older family member for permission and help before sharing to our social media: Twitter @ourtimecharity or our Instagram @ourtimecharity. 

You can also share directly to our email at talktous@ourtime.org.uk 

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