My painted stones remain a much treasured resource that I continue to adapt and refine. Children like them and are happy to spend time looking and talking about the simple illustrations.
Some are themed. Below is my minibeast collection. Here is is fairly easy to work out what is what. Each stone has a fairly fixed definition. The ladybirds will always be ladybirds, for example.
I have a lots of stones, where the illustration is more open-ended. For example, children may surmise long and hard about what type of animal made the paw-print. The yellow dot could be the sun or it could indicate something else. The eye has been used to suggest someone is watching another character or event. It may be God’s eye. It might be an adult one. Can you work out what’s amiss with the footprint?
I also have some abstract designs. When these get pulled out of the bag, initially there’s confusion over what the patterns mean. People have to decide their meaning. This calls for a little bit of imagination.
I find having open-ended illustrations makes for much more interesting story telling that has twists, turns and variations. And there’s power and control here too. For suddenly a child has to attach their idea to the stone. It becomes what they want it to be.
A little stone can give a lot of empowerment in a funny sort of way. Little tweaks can transform an experience.