While I’m sure you’ve heard of painted rocks, the question stands: Have you heard of story stones?
I had not, until a few short weeks ago while searching for ways to paint fall themed rocks. My son and I have been planting painted rocks around our neighborhood for people to find, and we stumbled upon the idea for story stones during a quick google search.
Now, we’re having so much fun telling stories with our stones, that we’ve been creating them nonstop. So naturally, I’m ready to share the untold benefits of playing with story stones, and how EASY they are to make!
For some clarity, Story Stones are pictures painted or glued onto smooth pebbles, used as an aid in storytelling.
They can either represent a known story to be placed in order, or they can be a themed selection of images that prompt children to create their own stories.
Storytelling through story stones can be an excellent tool for developing skills such as social communication, creativity, logical thinking and support learning through play objectives.
Stories are an inclusive way to help children learn no matter what their abilities!
For our homemade stones, we coat the printable images in modge podge to seal to them to the stone. So far, it’s been working great! And, it’s a craft my 4 year old can do alongside me.
I decided to create a Fall themed printable to inspire stories about all the exciting pieces that make autumn such a special season. Watch this imagination running wild!
Cut the images out
Use Modge Podge to glue the image to the stone (the entire cut-out should be glossed over, front and back)
Let dry for an hour or so
The fun begins!
The modge podge we use for our stones is linked above!
There are so many ways to enjoy these creative pebbles and promote imaginative play. Try adding them to a sensory bin, or categorizing with flashcards. We like to create narratives with our stones outside under the sunshine.
Let us know how you use your story stones in the comments below!
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You could say I’m a Fall enthusiast, but that would probably be the understatement of the year. I’ve had my Fall decorations up since the beginning of September. Pumpkins, leaves and harvest signs are taking up most of the space in our humble abode, and I’m not one bit sorry about it!
The Fall traditions run thick in this household, and I can’t think of a better time for family activities than during this festive, gratitude-rich season.
In order to galvanize your family members and get the Fall flare going, we’ve compiled a list of our 40 favorite Fall activities that will bring your family closer together. All of these ideas are family friendly for kids of varying ages, and can easily become traditions for the harvest season. Eventually, they become activities to look forward to year after year!
So why are family activities and traditions important?
Additionally, studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture. Some of the many benefits include nurtured bonds between siblings and parents, a further developed sense of belonging, and the making of a memorable childhood. Can’t help but love those perks!
A few of the Fall activities require prior planning and others can be done on a whim. That’s why we love this list and encourage you to add some family fun in your busy Fall schedule.
One of our Fall must-dos is a family hike during the weeks of foliage. It’s wonderful to behold the colorful leaves and to appreciate nature’s beauty that only comes around once a year together as a family. Again, the activity doesn’t have to be extravagant. Something as simple as backyard football can bring your family closer together.
To make planning even more simple here are a few quick links to find Fall activities near you!
To find Fall festivals (broken down by state) check out Funtober.com
To Find an upcoming 5K near you here is Active.com
Spring has (basically) sprung in our neck of the woods, accompanied by all of the outdoor activity we love about warmer weather. Yet with this lovely season of growth and renewal comes a fair share of rainy days as well. With that in mind, we decided to capture and bottle up our own spring scene for the days that outdoor play isn’t optimal. This Spring scene terrarium activity is the perfect creative undertaking, and a wonderful way for kids to exercise the imagination.
A terrarium is typically a glass vessel that contains real plants and soil, sometimes used to illustrate how an ecosystem works. Because the real ingredients can get a bit messy, we’ve come up with our own kid-friendly version that is also re-usable. We’ve decided to focus on the aformentioned, blooming season of Spring as our theme.
The best part is, all of the supplies needed to make this springy terrarium can be purchased at the dollar store for a whopping $5. Unless of course, you already have these basic supplies around the house! The base is play-dough, and can be used multiple times to create new spring filled environments. Have kids dream up their own sunny scenes, and add elements they find laying around the playroom or just outside the door.
Below you’ll find everything needed to create a Spring Scene Terrarium for kids. May the fun ensue!
Dollar store shopping list:
Green moss (found in seasonal section)
Rocks (or go outside and find your own!)
Various spring elements (butterflies, flowers, bunnies, eggs, etc.!)
Pack the play-dough at the bottom of the jar
Add the rocks for texture
Place the green moss on top of the rocks as the third layer (you can add more rocks later if desired!)
Insert spring elements. Be sure to press them into the play-dough so they stay put
Close the jar and your spring scene terrarium is complete!
The play-dough serves as a great foundation and sticking element so the eggs, butterflies, flowers, etc. stay nicely in place. Each terrarium creation has it’s own theme. You could use bugs, easter, or fairy garden as concepts; the possibilities are endless. I love watching my son’s imagination run wild while coming up with new ideas. Don’t forget to display them proudly as Spring decor until the next idea comes along!
Stickers could also be a fun way to add life to the terrarium. Use a sun sticker, clouds or rain drops to capture typical Spring weather patterns. Include a conversation about the changing seasons for educational value.
As you can see, we’ve done this more than once!
The finished products!
One proud little artist happy with the end result. A sweet Spring Scene Terrarium!
For St. Patrick’s Day, we like to make it a celebration around here. I’m talking green attire, lucky charms, rainbows; the works! And since we will be stuck at home again this year, I decided to come up with a fun-filled scavenger hunt that will keep the kids busy and entertained.
Normally we have some fun with leprechaun traps and Irish music, but what better way to to find a pot of gold than with silly clues and a thrilling search around the house?
Keep scrolling for our FREE printable St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt!
These printable hints are easy to follow and generic enough to be used in most homes. I cut mine out, then glued each printable to a gold background to really make them pop and stand out.
Just follow the clues, lay them out in the designated spaces and leave a simple (or elaborate) pot of gold at the end. Magic!
This particular tiny pot I purchased at the dollar store along with the gold, chocolate coins inside. Big fan of dollar store prices!
I decided to add a little green to make it fun with the small pom poms, but glitter, beads, or green candy are other options.
Another fun idea is to make a glitter trail from clue to clue, or leprechaun footprints leading up to each printable. Adding as much magic as you can will make the hunt more memorable and enjoyable for the kids!
As the old Irish blessing goes, “May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and bless you evermore!”
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For me as a child, nothing compared to the magic of Christmas eve.
The memories of warm fires, family time, good company, and the burning anticipation; it all hits me in a wave of nostalgia this time of year, and inspires me to come up with special traditions for my own family to look back on.
My hope is that they will carry the same joyful Christmas spirit in their lives that I do, and subsequently, spread the goodness that accompanies the holiday season.
It warms my heart to think the traditions we begin in our boys’ early lives, will likely be the same ones we practice 10-15 years from now!
But I’m also a firm believer that it is never too late to create a tradition, or to add something new to spice up the holiday as well.
For example, the pickle ornament idea is something my parents incorporated on our holiday traditions list when we were teenagers. Now it’s a Christmas Eve staple!
And we certainly can’t dismiss the importance of family traditions in general. Studies show family traditions are the basis in creating family culture. Traditions nurture bonds between siblings and parents, and develop a sense of familial belonging. All good stuff!
Whether you’re stocking up on ideas for future Christmas Eves or right in the thick of it with your own family, here are 5 Unique Family Traditions for Christmas Eve.
The Pickle Ornament Hunt
This is one of my favorite Christmas eve traditions, and a game that I know my boys will delight in for years to come. It’s quite simple, first the pickle ornament is hidden deep in the branches of the tree.
Then, the hunters search high and low until they discover the bright green pickle and win a prize. We usually make the winnings monetary, but another fun piece to this, would be allowing the winning child to open one gift!
The winner of the pickle prize is also said to have been gifted a year of good fortune.
Link to download your own pickle below!
Make Reindeer Food
How is it fair that Santa gets to eat all the treats, while the reindeer carry the heavy load? Something must be done to balance this careless injustice!
Have your kids whip up some snacks for the reindeer with this fun reindeer food recipe:
Have kids sprinkle the reindeer food on the deck, patio, ground or wherever they’re assuming the reindeer will land for the evening.
For a holiday that can get choked up on the consumer and commercialism, why not get back to the basics with a winter hike!
Bundle up and head out on a nature trail.
Christmas Eve book Exchange
In the country of Iceland there is a Christmas eve tradition called Jólabókaflóð (I think I spelled that right!) where each family member gifts the other a book to read, and afterwards, the evening is spent cuddled up reading together.
Iceland has a rich legacy of being extremely well-read. The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world.
This “Yule Book Flood” inspires a cozy evening with parents snuggled up reading new books to their kids, or quietly by the fire with some hot cocoa after bedtime.
As a big advocate for literacy and a self proclaimed bookworm looking to pass on a love for reading to my kids, I can’t love this tradition enough!
Cookie Baking Contest
Cookies, sweets, treats, whatever your family prefers, make it a baking competition!
Have each person choose a new recipe (or a new spin on a family favorite) and vote on which one takes the proverbial cake.
Another idea on the topic of sweets is to celebrate with Holiday cheer in the form of Hot Cocoa! Warm up the evening with a Hot Cocoa bar.
Allow kids to come up with their own creations, from whipped cream toppings to those super fun Hot chocolate bombs that are everywhere on Pinterest right now.
We hope you’re able to incorporate atleast one of these fantastic traditions into your Christmas eve!
For more holiday cheer- check out our DIY scrabble tile ornament!
What a ride it has been. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say, we will be happy to put this one behind us.
When coming up with an idea for an easy DIY 2020 Christmas ornament, I wanted to keep it light, while still featuring an image that will remind us of what we’ve endured this year, when we look back in the future.
What better way to remember the Holiday season of 2020 than with a masked Santa and reindeer, am I right?
This “Christmasked” DIY craft is easy enough for a child to make (as long as a parent does the drilling!). All you need is our FREEmasked Santa and reindeer printableavailable for download (keep scrolling!) modge podge, a slice of wood, twine, and a drill to create the hole.
Unless, of course, you use the pre-drilled slices which I’ve found on Amazon and other craft suppliers. Both are linked below!
Perfect for your family tree, or as a gift to others, let’s work through this Easy DIY 2020 Christmas ornament, and relish in the holiday spirit that even this tumultuous year can’t deny us.
You will need:
Downloadable masked Santa and reindeer printable below
Start with the wood slice. Drill a hole for the twine at the top. Pre-drilled natural wood slices are available to purchase as well, if you don’t want the hassle of pulling out the drill, or simply don’t have one.
String the twine through the hole.
Cut the graphic in a shape similar to the wood slice so it’s evenly spaced. Apply modge podge to the back of the graphic. Place it on the wood, then cover the image again in more modge podge. I assure you, it does not rip the paper!
Let the modge podge dry completely. And just like that, the ornament is ready to hang!
If Christmas isn’t your celebration, we’ve included a “Happy Holidays” version of our printable, which is also included upon downloading our graphic through the form below.
Download your FREE 2020 Christmasked Ornament printable below!
This Holiday season may we resolve to hold each other a little closer, connect deeper with those we love, and lead with empathy, good faith, and kindness in our interactions with one another.
We wish you the most peaceful of Holiday celebrations this year, and to all of our loyal readers, may you stay safe, merry and bright!
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You ROCK! Download your 2020 Christmasked Ornament printable here.
And if you just can’t get enough DIY Christmas tree ornaments this year, check out our Scrabble Tile ornament tutorial here!