Homemade Monday: Story Stones

Here is a simple, fun idea to make storytelling just a little bit different: Story Stones.

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As you can see in the picture above, story stones are nothing more than a stone or small rock with a picture on them used to help tell stories. This is a great activity for sequencing and comprehension.

For my story stones, I found clipart through Google, sized it very small, printed it on a color printer, cut the pieces out, and then glued them using Rubber Cement. Eventually, I’m going to use a little Mod Podge on top to make sure every piece is secure and the pictures do not get ruined.

You can find rocks/stones in the floral area of a craft store for just a couple of dollars. Or go on a scavenger hunt in your backyard with your child. No color printer? No worries. If you have paint or paint markers, you can create your own illustrations on the rocks like they did here. You can use magazine or junk mail pictures. You can even create your own illustrations using fun scrapbooking paper or fabric. The possibilities are almost endless.

Once you have the story stones created, place them in a bowl or basket. Let your child pull out the stones and place them in order (either based on the specific story they are telling or the story he/she wants to tell).

In addition to the materials you use to create them, the possibilities for storytelling with these stones is almost just as endless. Create rhyming rocks with pictures that rhyme and tell a story with the rocks as if you are Dr. Seuss. Create a fractured fairy tale with your child’s favorite fairy tale characters. Ask your child for input on what characters or pictures should be on each rock/stone.

Recycle Those Cereal Boxes

The next time you finish a box of cereal, save the box. It has so much potential. Really.

puzzle-300x225It’s one of the easiest ways to make a puzzle. Just cut it up into pieces. Let your children design their own puzzles by allowing them to draw shapes on the back and cut them out.

Cut out the words or letters and glue them to index cards. Make your own matching, guessing, or identification games using these cards. Or cut out the letters and make different words out of them.

Cut out the characters from the front or back of the box and make them into puppets by gluing them on popsicle sticks.puppets2

Cut out the words from the cereal boxes and then tie a piece of string on one end to make bookmarks.

In addition to using the box at home, visiting the cereal aisle at the grocery store can be a very educational experience for your young child. Turn grocery shopping into a scavenger hunt using the colors, letters, words, and shapes printed on the boxes.

And if that’s not enough, turn cereal that is starting to get a little stale into beautiful art or sorting games. Make a rainbow or sort the colors into different cups.

Homemade Monday: Thanksgiving Books, Crafts, and MORE!

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be just about turkey and stuffing. After Santa makes his way down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it’s time to turn off the television and bring out the games and books to keep your child entertained while the turkey is roasting away. Here are four fun ideas:

1. Thanksgiving M&M Turkeys
This comes from ToddlerApproved and was suggested by one of storytellers. By using the template provided on the website, a few M&Ms, and a few crayons. If you want to add dice into the game, the website suggests making each color of candy correspond with a specific number. Children can make practice pattern making, counting, and color identification with this craft. 1abfinally turkey

2. Tell a story about the first Thanksgiving
This story comes from RovingFiddlehead. It was a big hit at storytime last week! You need just a pipe cleaner and pony beads. As you tell the story, your child can thread each bead on the pipe cleaner. Once you reach the end, have your child tell you the story, using the beads as a visual aid. Threading beads is also a great way to build fine motor skills in younger children. The story is as follows:
Pil­grims left England for a new life (brown bead). They sailed on the Mayflower (white bead). It was a very, very, very long trip over the ocean (3 blue beads, add very slowly). And then finally, LAND AHOY! They reached Plymouth (green bead). But it was a very, very, very long winter (3 white beads, add very slowly). And then spring came (green bead). The Pilgrims met the Native Americans who helped teach them about farming and the resources available in the new world (tan bead). At the end of the harvest, they shared the first Thanksgiving feast with cranberry (red bead), corn (yellow bead), turkey (brown bead), and pumpkin (orange bead).

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3. A Watercolor Turkey
This is one of my favorite crafts, and it’s so easy! You need only a few sheets of construction paper (brown and orange), a coffee filter, and some markers. Color the coffee filter with the markers. Then using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the coffee filter. You’ll want to do this on a covered surface. You could also just dip the filter in a small cup of water. Let it dry. Cut out a turkey shape from the construction paper (don’t forget the legs!). Then glue the pieces together. afaithfulattempt has a great set of instructions and example!

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4. Read Thanksgiving-themed books
Carve out some time to read a few Thanksgiving Day-themed books with your children. Compare the stories. what are the similarities? What are the differences? What was your favorite? Stop by your local SCDL location to check out our collection of Thanksgiving books or click the picture below to go to our online catalog and place your hold today!

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Tell us about your favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions.