Whether you’re brand new to story stones or you’re an absolute pro, this camping themed variety is a must-try. The colorful art project doubles as an inspiring way to get kids writing!

Check out the step-by-step below and then download the Writing Center Starter Kit in our shop!

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

I’ve seen story stones made using acrylic paint, permanent markers, decoupaged magazine clippings… even fabric, but I thought the most kid-friendly way to make them was using Sharpie oil based paint pens.  They 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.

Camping Themed Story Stones

My daughter, A, and I gathered several smooth rocks while beach combing and then I explained that we were going to use the stones for story telling.

We brainstormed all of the camping things that popped into our minds: tents, campfires, swimming, bugs…

I brought out the paint pens and invited A to draw each thing on a rock.


After we both made several stones, I flipped them over and wrote the name of it on the back.

I knew A would love these stones and thought it would be the perfect way to get her to practice writing.

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.

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 of the words except the ones on the story stones. Instead, 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}

The 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.

We now have a very long list of stones we need to make!

More Writing Fun

Get everything you need to set up a motivating writing center in one easy download! Grab our Writing Center Starter Kit in our shop!

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

  3. 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?

    1. 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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