Sarah’s Story Stones and Loose Parts – Part 1: Storybook Invitational

Fairy Tale Pack, Glass Gems, Sticks, Golf Tees and Hammer, and Home Made Play Dough

The Invitational

For this invitational, we started by reading The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola. If you haven’t read it, is a wonderful story of a Knight who thinks he ought to fight a Dragon and a Dragon who thinks he ought to fight a Knight. After many days of research and preparation the two foes finally face off only to find that they are not good at fighting each other. After following the helpful advice of the Princess/Librarian, the Knight and the Dragon decide instead to work together and open a BBQ restaurant. Much of the story is told through picture with limited text.

After reading the book, Greta went to the table where I had laid out the loose parts materials in an inviting manner. The materials included Sarah’s Story Stones Fairy Tale Pack, glass gems, sticks, golf tees and hammer and play dough. Greta was very excited to explore the materials. She quickly found the knight and dragon stones from the pack and and brought them to the work surface.

Hammering takes concentration.

Next Greta took the play dough to the work surface and then asked for more (I guess two balls of play dough were not enough!) I did giver her more play dough at that point. She began to build a forest and castle and then turned her attention to building a radio out of play dough, hammering the golf tees diligently in to the mass. After most of her construction was complete, the storytelling play took over.

The Story Developed Through Play

While playing together with the materials Greta and I created the story. The Princes loved music and was very excited about the new radio. She didn’t know how to turn the new radio on so she called the Fairy to come over and use her magic. The Fairy told the Princess that she didn’t need to use magic, she just needed to use the ON button. The Princess found the button and turned it on and started to dance with her unicorn. The music woke the Dragon and he came lumbering up from his cave to the castle. When the Princes saw the Dragon she screamed and the Dragon ran away never to return.

Here Greta is finding the characters and moving them to the party.

The Princess decided that she needed to have a big dance party so that everyone could enjoy the radio music. She started the radio and the Knight, King, Fairy and Boy came to celebrate. (Greta moved each of these Story Stone characters to the work surface, she then added the feast stone because they needed a cake for the party.) The Boy ate all the cake and his face got very messy. Everyone else was sad and upset because they also wanted cake. The Fairy came to the rescue and used her magic to make a new cake. Everyone cheered and then the King ate all of that cake! Soon the party ended, all the characters went back to their homes and Greta was done playing.

Greta is delighted with her story twist; the Boy ate all of the cake!
The King is eating the cake while standing in front of the radio.
I love this expression that Greta is using here as she describes that the King ate all of the cake.

As you can see our story diverged quite far from the original storybook inspiration however, for me that is the beauty of open ended play. The open ended materials allowed Greta to use her creativity and imagination to create a story all her own.

With Sarah’s Story Stones you can play hard, use your imagination and create your own story every day. Tell me about how you use your story stones.

For a Limited Time

Winter Mini-Pack

For a limited time, get this delightful Winter Themed Mini-Pack. This Pack contains 7 winter themed story stones and will come in the same muslin bag, all for $14.00! Add these to another order and save $ on shipping, message me to find out how.

These stones are not recommended for children under the age of 3 as they are a choking hazard.

$14.00 (plus shipping) – Go to Order Form to order your set today!

Story Time With Friends

“Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.”
                                                 — Robin Moore, author, The Green Berets

Sarah’s Story Stones can be used at home or in the classroom to engage young children in the art of storytelling. Storytelling in a group setting can promote a child’s oral language skills, creativity and cooperation.

Sarah’s Story Stones recently hosted a storytelling circle with some preschool friends.  We tried out The Progressive Storytelling and The Beginning, Middle and End story game.  During the progressive session, each of the three children were invited to choose five stones.  Each child chose one stone at a time in a circle.  We started the game by allowing the oldest child to start the story using either some or all of their stones.  From there the next child continued, using characters from the previous player and their own set, and so on. Sometimes the children’s stories were reiterated by the adult facilitator so as to clarify story elements to the other children. During this process the children were encouraged to employ active listening, turn taking and improvisation. 

Writers Speak to the Importance of Storytelling

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” 

– J.K. Rowling

“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”

–Mary Catherine Bateson

Storytelling and Early Childhood Education

“In particular, a growing body of research has argued convincingly that children’s acquisition of certain oral-language skills in their preschool years, including narrative skills, is an important foundation of emergent literacy and long-term school success.”

Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Griffin, Hemphill, Camp, & Wolf, 2004; Kendeou, van den Broek, White, & Lynch, 2009; Lynch et al., 2008; Reese, Suggate, Long, & Schaughency, 2010).

“Contextual learning involves making concepts and ideas relevant to young children by placing them within a context, such as a story. Stories are important vehicles for engaging young students. Stories with visual support can create a “comfort zone” for children – an environment that allows them to openly explore their thinking within familiar settings.”