In this week’s Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story, “Sudden Story”, Martin and Sylvia witness impromptu storytelling in a park while they are visiting their Grandma. Delighted, the children try to figure out a way to tell their own sudden story.
With just a bit of planning, you too will be able to tell your own sudden story with this week’s craft – making painted story shells (or stones, cards, etc.) Once you have your set, when the moment is right – or any moment that strikes you, really – you too can tell your own sudden story!
You Will Need
Seashells (Stones or 3X5 Cards also work well)
Sealer (like Mod Podge)
Choosing Your Story or Images
Before you and your little ones start painting, you will need to choose your images (of course, you could just start painting and see what happens – that’s always fun too!) The beauty of a story shell (or stone) collection is that you can always add more pictures as needed. Choosing the pictures for your initial set can seem daunting, but have faith, there is no right or wrong answer! First, talk to your little one about pictures they would like to see. Think about what stories you have been telling or reading lately. Are there any recurring stories or themes? Think about the types of pretend play your child enjoys. How can this inform the images you choose?
A Few More Ideas: Birds, Animals, Vehicles, Art & Crafts, Weather, Nature, Camping, People, Emergency services, Holidays, Plants & Trees, Around the neighborhood, School, or Nursery rhymes.
What To Do
Gather your shells (or stones). These can be found in your home from trips past, or hunted for right outside your door (depending on where you live). Look for light-colored shells that are fairly smooth on the side you will be painting. Make sure your shells or stones are able to lay fairly flat.
Clean your shells. Wash in hot, soapy water and let dry. If your shells continue to smell fishy, soak them in a bowl of water with a bit of bleach for a couple of hours. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and let them dry prior to painting.
Choose your images. If you’d like you can sketch your pictures onto your shells.
Paint your shells. This is where your creativity can shine. Don’t worry if you’ve never painted before; the pictures do not need to be perfect, just visual representations of basic objects. Encourage your little one to join you – they can paint the background or basic shapes onto the shells, which can be filled in by you later. Have your little ones join in the fun of painting the shells. You can then go back, if needed, and add a bit of shape to their images. This is a great opportunity for some beautiful collaborative making!
Let the shells dry for about 24 hours to be sure the paint has set.
Varnish the painted shells with Mod Podge or a similar water-based sealer. This will help prevent the paint from fading or chipping. One or two coats will be plenty.
Finally, find a cozy spot with your little one and tell a story!
Explore More & Make Connections
Go for a nature walk. Besides shells or stones, what else can you use to tell a story? Will you paint it, draw on it, or something else? What other creative mediums can you use to decorate your story shells?
Using your story shells, tell a story about something that makes you feel excited. How about a story about something that makes you feel scared? Can you give your scary story a different ending? Are there any other stories you would like to change?
Andrea & Danielle are the creative makers, friends, and co-founders behind Crafting Connections, a magazine and website dedicated to bringing families the tools and inspiration for living creative lives while raising curious & creative children.
About the Authors
Danielle Reiner describes herself as a creative, a maker, and a mama. At the heart of her story is creativity, though that hasn’t always been the case. She rediscovered her deeply hidden creativity early in adulthood – with a ball of yarn and a couple of knitting needles – and hasn't stopped since. Danielle also runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Andrea Folsom.
Andrea Folsom describes herself as a writer, editor, creative maker, and eternal optimist. She is passionate about learning and sharing new creative techniques, making beautiful spaces, and talking about the social-emotional benefits of creativity and art. She runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Danielle Reiner.