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Let me be clear—plastic is an amazing invention, and technology is great. I love technology. Modern devices have done and will do so much good for the world. But we've all been in those conversations in which we find ourselves saying outrageous things like, "I think I'll go grab some spider eggs for lunch, you want some?" while the person you're supposedly conversing with says, "Mmhmm...sure" as she continues to scroll. Sometimes technology get the best of our attention, and that's when you think hard about throwing all those plastic distractions out the window. 

Once upon a time...what? Image courtesy of the Disney Wiki.

Storytelling connects and affects people in a profound way. It's one of the oldest and best ways people use to understand each other. People tell stories in all kinds of ways—songs, books, movies, TV, photography, games, fashion, the list is really limitless. But sitting together, looking each other directly in the face, and telling a story is something of a lost art. If you're not used to telling stories (or even if you are), it can be hard to know what comes after "Once upon a time."

I love this activity, because it helps you out with that question without doing all of the imagining for you. Few forms of play require and encourage more creativity, interaction and critical thinking than making up and telling a story. And everyone loves stories.

Here's what you need:

  • Around 15 or 20 small, smooth rocks. 
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrushes
Image courtesy of Think Crafts!

Here's what you do:
  1. Paint pictures on the stones. Anything you want! You could easily make this a Halloween activity by painting spooky things on the stones and having the group tell ghost stories! Hint: the colors will be more vibrant if you paint (and let dry) a white silhouette, then paint the actual picture on top of that.
  2. Put the stones in a bag or hat or something like that.
  3. The storyteller picks a few stones out blindly (the number can be whatever you want, but I'd say somewhere between 4 and 7).
  4. The storyteller regales the group with a tale that somehow includes all of the pictures he or she picked out!
Thanks to apartment therapy and Think Crafts for the images and idea! Click on over for more detailed tutorials and pictures.

If you're in the mood for some amazing real-life stories of empowerment and transformation from around the world, check out some of Heifer's stories from the field. If a way to enjoy stories and help those in need at the same time sounds good to you, you should really take a look at Read to Feed!



Molly Fincher

Molly writes stuff for Heifer International's website, magazine and blog.