Camping Themed Story Stones

Activity for ages 4 to 7.

I’ve been dying to make story stones ever since I came across them on Pinterest and thought this would be a perfect camp craft to do with my 4 year old daughter, A, while her brother napped in the tent.  I’ve seen story stones made using acrylic paint, permanent markers, decoupaged magazine clippings… even fabric, but I thought the most travel and kid friendly way to make them was using Sharpie oil based paint pens.  These pens aren’t cheap but they almost beat out my hot glue gun as my favorite craft tool so I think they are totally worth the splurge.

I love these!! Camping Themed Story Stones. {Playdough to Plato}

Getting Ready

To prep, I gathered my supplies:

    • Rocks {smooth rocks work best}
    • Paint pens, paint, or permanent makers
    • Drawing materials {crayons, markers}
    • Pencil
    • Writing Paper

Camping Themed Story Stones

My 4 year old, A, and I gathered several smooth rocks while beach combing.  I told my daughter that we needed the rocks to make stones she could use to play and make up stories about camping.  When A saw the paint pens she couldn’t wait to get back to camp and we ended up beginning our craft on a log on the beach.

I asked A what things came to mind when she thought of camping and she immediately started rattling off all the quintessential camping things: a tent, campfire, and bugs.  I brought out the paint pens and invited A to draw those things on the rocks.


After we both made several stones, I flipped each one over and wrote what it was on the back.  I knew A would love these stones and thought it would be the perfect way to get her to practice writing, which requires so much concentration for her.

I love these!! Camping Themed Story Stones. {Playdough to Plato}

At first, I just let A play with the stones, asking her questions as I listened to her make up stories.  My toddler, Q even got into it, asking me to make him his own set to play with.  After awhile, I asked my daughter to choose several stones and tell me a story.  She came up with a wacky tale about camping with a pet worm whom she had to rescue out of a tall evergreen by bouncing off her tent.  I handed her a sheet of writing paper and asked her to draw her story.


When she was finished I asked her to tell me her story again and I would help her write it.  Since A can only write a few dozen words on her own I helped her write all the words except those on the story stones.  I showed her how she could turn the stone over to see the word and use it to copy into her story.

I love these!! Camping Themed Story Stones. {Playdough to Plato}

A easily wrote the words into her story and didn’t complain once that it was too much work- a rarity!  She couldn’t wait to get busy illustrating and writing the next page in her camping story.

“I can staple them all together and make a whole book!” she exclaimed as she grabbed the next sheet of writing paper.  I love it when she gets so excited when learning!


This activity was a huge hit.  My daughter refined her fine motor skills with careful drawing and writing, expanded her vocabulary and imagination through storytelling, and became super excited and proud to make her own stories.  A now has a long list of stones she wants me to help her make.  I have to say she isn’t alone in her love of story stones.  I have plans to make bags of them with different themes.  These would even make awesome party favors for a birthday.  Looks like I gotta go brush up on my dinosaur drawings!

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  1. Susan D

    Love this and I don’t have kids! Can’t wait to do some story stones for myself to make mementos of our camping trips and also to share it with my friends kids when we have cookouts!

  2. Sue Arnold

    Talk about making learning fun! Brilliant idea, so creative and clever! Love this; thanks so much for sharing!! Will plan to do.

  3. Aiko

    I recently made some for preschool class. After 40 minutes of kiddos touching and manipulating, some pictures had chipped spots. Did you have issues with paint chipping? I tried putting a clear nail polish on, but that smeared the pictures…even though the paint was completely dry. I used Michael’s brad oil-based paint pen, not Sharpies. What do you recommend?

    • Noirin

      Hi Aiko,

      We used the Sharpie brand oil based paint pens and I sprayed them after they dried with a coat of clear spray paint sealer. I don’t recall what brand it was but we keep these in a little canvas sack and I’m sure they bang around quite a bit and they still look fine. I hope this helps!



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Hi, I’m Malia.

I LOVE helping Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers save time, stay inspired and give EVERY student bigger results. I’m so glad you’re here!