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 3 year old who does 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 10 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 Paint them – 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 just 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!
6 Pick one of your painted stones 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.
7 Invite the children to use the painted stones to tell you a story.
8 Take a bag of (small!) painted stones out with you to the park / doctors / granny’s house and use them there to share a story together.
9 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.
10 Take a story challenge: place one stone in a space and challenge everyone to think of a Bible story which features the picture on that stone and to choose a stone to represent that story and place it in a circle around the first stone. You could choose a picture offish, water, bread, Jesus…
What else can you do?