story starter game

Lately, I have been thinking about story telling and how it seems to be the gateway to highly imaginative and intricate play. I watch Chick create fantasy worlds where nothing but torn pieces of paper become the characters from the last play she saw or a chapter from a book, and it helps me to remember the stories that were in my mind when I was little. The big family joke is that my favorite toys were the tiny ballerinas that were poised on top of one of my birthday cakes. They were made of thin, cheap plastic, and the paint was chipping away from the moment I first saw them, but I really did love them more than most of the bought toys in our home. We rinsed them, and for years they told stories as they danced across my family's globe visiting stages and homes in every country imaginable. For some reason, I chose them to be my imaginary guides, and, to this day, when I see them, they remind me of travel to far away lands. They were the inspiration behind the mouse story stones, which then got me thinking even more about story starters. I created this little game that is intended to create dialogue and story with little ones and their friends and, hopefully, with their grown-ups as well.

little wooden discs (bought at a craft store)
acrylic paint
paint brush
permanent stamp pad
some little stamps from your collection

I painted the wooden pieces with non-toxic paint and then used stamps and a sharpie to create the images. All of the pictures, aside from the cat, are my own hand carved stamps and drawings. The idea is that you flip the pieces over so that the images are hidden and then you take turns adding each element or character into the story. Different minds will interpret and incorporate each image differently, which is what makes the game fun.

xo e


  1. LOVE it! Portable too! xo E love the story stones, too, btw.

  2. oh, your creativity is endless. i love it, em. i know a certain kindergartener and a rambunctious little 3 year old that would LOVE your story stones and the story-telling game too. my wish list for rem's birthday gift this summer is growing. only something homemade for her this year, promise? i'm dying to get my hands on some of these cute little treasures. xoxo, tk

  3. These are remarkably beautiful! Simple. Solid. Appealing in every way. What a great application for those stamps!

  4. These are so precious Emily. Beautiful and purposeful and wonderful.

  5. I just found your blog via the Crafty Crow. You have such great ideas! My dd would love the story rocks, but I'm afraid my 4 y/o son would hurl them through a window. These little wooden story starters are perfect! When you say non-toxic paint, what are you using? Is just the regular craft paint non-toxic?

  6. Hi Renee - Thanks! I used regular old non-toxic craft paint. I'd love to see pictures of yours after you are done!

  7. Love this. Will add it to our list of great ideas! Will link when we finish. :-)

  8. Absolutely brilliant. These I could definately use at school with the children who love stories but hate writing them. They would be great to use in conjunction with printed sticker copies that could then be annotated - a first step towards writing 'real' stories.

  9. Is it permissible to pin this to my pinterest board?

    1. Thanks for checking! Yes, you may. I'd love if you'd pin from my site and put my website in the comments section. Thanks so much! e

  10. What a great idea for my kinders! I can't wait to see them extend their storytelling to include more characters and elements. Videotaping themselves will also give them a purpose and an audience. Thank you!