One storytelling tradition includes using painted stones as inspiration for oral storytelling.

Students can create their own scenery and painted stones to help them tell familiar tales or stories of their own creation. This activity can be paired with a story or song you have read, or a story that you create together as a family.

Finding stones – such as on a morning hike – can be part of the fun! Or, you can use air dry clay and form it into stone shapes. 


  • 3-4” diameter stones/rock or air-dry clay, such as Model Magic
  • Markers or paint
  • Cardstock or cardboard optional (for background scenery)

Note: You can make the optional background scenery with any art materials your child enjoys using. Pictured (above) is a piece of cardstock, folded vertically to create a 3-D scene. The drawing was done with tempera sticks, but you can also use crayons or markers.

Next step: Creating!

1. First, explain the idea of story stones.

The stones feature pictures that help us tell a story, much like in the books we read. But, these pictures can be combined in new ways and different orders to tell new stories. This is a great time to demonstrate how to tell a familiar story with the story stones. Or, you can read a book and do a retelling with story stones.

2. Next, ask your child to think of a story they would like to tell. Some prompts:

  • What characters would be in it?
  • Where is the story happening?
  • Who do the characters meet?
  • Are there any animals or magical tools they find?
  • Is your child a character in the story?
  • Do they want to imagine their own story or use familiar characters?

Maybe they would like to combine different elements from different books to create a new story. It’s good to start with three to four pictures for their stones.

3. Then, ask your child to create images/pictures on the stones that represent characters or scenery from the story.

When the stones are ready, work with your child to act out their story with the stones they created. They can even combine and trade images for endless story telling opportunities.