When we’re away, we like to be able to visit the beach and one thing we like to do is collect stones. I could say it’s only my children who do this, but in truth, I love it too. I enjoy browsing the beach like a shoe shop, scanning for beautiful and interesting stones which catch my eye. It must be said, my daughter doesn’t yet share my refined taste in stones, and is willing, nay, keen to also pick up stones in car parks and people’s front drives. Of course, stones are available in lots of places. You can even buy them if you like!
This holiday we collected a nice selection, including some lovely flat ones for painting pictures on to add to our collection of story stones. Here’s a list of 12 things you could do with any stones you collect:
1 Make pictures with the stones.
Round stones could be heads, long stones could be bodies. Or lorries. Or a path. Pick a Bible story to tell using your pictures, e.g. make the characters to tell the story of David and Goliath.
2 Hold a stone
Feel it, describe it and chat about what you like about it. God made it, so enjoy it!
3 Make a tower
A pile. A stack. A cairn. Do it for fun. Do it as a prayer, e.g. name someone you want to pray for and place a stone for each person.
4 Make a trail
Make it together. Make it when younger people are out/asleep and let them follow it. What your trail leads through and to is up to you. Make it fun, and include some snacks on your trail. Or maybe clues to a story.
5 Make Story Stones
Simple pictures are best. I used Tippex, but you could use paint or Sharpie pens. I added nail polish to ‘varnish’ them, but you could use PVA glue or actual varnish. This helps the pictures last longer. See here for a list of pictures I used, but you could do your own. This is an activity everyone can enjoy! Once you have loads of pictures you can create or retell Bible stories.
6 Share a story
Pick one stone and share a story it reminds you of. This could be a family story or a Bible story. Make the story length fit the people and context. So if your listeners are quite young, keep it short. Allow them to ask for more.
Create emotistones by painting noses, eyes, mouths, ears, and hair of various shapes and emotions. The stones can be mixed together to make funny faces, but you can also use them to show how you feel. You could also choose a Bible story to read out loud and take a moment to pause at two or three points in the story. Then use the stones to create emotions to show how you think people might feel. And then you can talk about who and why and then continue on with the story.
8 Take them with you
Take a (small!!) bag of painted story stones out with you to the park/doctors/granny’s house and use them there to share a story or play with together.
9 Bible story exploration
Make a collection of stones for two Bible stories and use them to see the connections between the stories. For example, Jesus calling the disciples and meeting them on Lake Galilee post-resurrection. Or the feeding of the five thousand and the last supper. Or the last supper and the Passover/Exodus meal.
Decorate a stone with paint and words of encouragement or blessing to give to someone or leave it out at a park for someone to find.
11 Remember me
Give one of your favourite stones to someone you don’t get to see very often so they will think of you when they see it. It’s even better if you go and visit that person and you both find stones to exchange.
12 Reminder to Pray
On a stone, write the name of someone or a situation that needs prayer and keep it in your pocket to remember to pray for them whenever you feel it.
What else can you do?