I remember when my kids were little and I was teaching preschool Sunday school classes. I was always on the lookout for fun toys that illustrated Bible stories. I bought the Fisher Price Little People Nativity and the Noah’s Ark (which was only available for a very short time), the HABA Noah’s Ark and the Playschool Nativity too. I even bought a few sets of finger puppets for Bible stories, and inexpensive felt boards and things like that. How I wish I had known to make a set of painted rocks to teach Bible stories!
Both at home and in Sunday school, we “played” the Bible stories! My little ones acted the stories out, told the stories in their own words, and memorized those stories through pretend play. My frustration was that you could only find little pretend play sets for these main stories – you could never find a set that let you play and teach multiple stories from the Bible without paying big bucks.
The concept of story stones is pretty simple and inexpensive. You get some small flat rocks to paint and put the different characters from the story onto the stones. Then you tell the story using the rocks to illustrate. Once your child has heard the story, you let them tell the story back to you using the rocks to illustrate. This gives your child a chance to practice verbal skills, storytelling, and listening, all while reinforcing the ancient truths of the Bible.
A few months ago, I published a set of Nativity Story Stones, which are super cute and a fun way to teach the Christmas story. But I really wanted to share a set of Bible story stones that could be used for several different stories at the same time. So our set shown here features a range of more “generic” Bible figures: an old man, an old woman, a king, a queen, a young man and a young woman, a boy, a girl, and a baby. You can use the baby as Baby Jesus, Baby Moses, or Baby Samuel. You can use the king as King David or King Xerxes or King Nebuchadnezzar! All of the characters and accessories in our painted rocks will work for multiple Bible stories!
Different Ways of Using Painted Rocks to Teach Bible Stories
- Depending on the ages of the children you are teaching, you can use our Bible story stones in so many different ways!
- The little flat rocks are perfect for toddlers and preschool kids to hold. These kids LOVE to touch. Let each child hold one Bible story stone, and hold it up for all to see when that character or accessory is part of the story.
- Building on this same idea, have your children take turns telling the story back to you–they each hold one of the stones and tell the part of the story related to their character. Taking turns is an excellent skill to practice in this way!
- Lay the story stones upside down on the table of your classroom or homeschool. Ask children to take turns flipping over the stones and as each does so, incorporate the character or object into the story. This makes it a bit more difficult to tell the Bible story, but you can do it AND it’s super fun for the kids to surprise you and keep you on your toes.
- For older kids, assign each child a story stone character and have them write two or three sentences about the story from that character’s perspective. Get them thinking inside the shoes of each person in the story.
- Have older kids choose one Bible person from the bag and tell a Bible story in their own words revolving around that person. It could be specific to the story of the week, or you could give the kids the option to choose any Bible story they wanted.
- Leave the Bible story stones out during free play time and watch your kids tell the story again!
- Use the painted rocks as writing prompts for Bible storytelling fun!
- For older kids, print out short sections of the story from the Bible for each child to read aloud. Have them match the Bible story stones to each section as it is read.
How to Make Your Painted Rocks to Teach Bible Stories
You will need to purchase or find small flat rocks, one for each character and accessory. The fun thing is, you can keep adding more and they are inexpensive to make! Here are the supplies needed to make your story stones.
- small flat rocks
- paint markers
- Spray on sealant or Mod Podge
- A sponge brush if you use Mod Podge. Honestly, I love to use the sparkly Mod Podge. That’s the way to go!
- Something to store your story stones. We made a little canvas bag with the paint markers and stencils, but you can choose any kind of storage container you want!
Once you have your supplies assembled, follow these steps to make your Bible story stones.
- Wash the stones in warm water with a mild soap.
- Allow the stones to dry thoroughly.
- While the stones are drying, practice drawing the characters on paper until you get them the way you want them. Use the pictures in this post as a guide or make up your own design!
- Outline each character in pencil on the stone first, that way you can keep erasing it until you get it the way you want it.
- Fill in the colors for each character from top to bottom, letting each layer dry before you add the next color or detail. Allow the paint to dry. Add the finer details like eyes in the next step.
- Outline each character with the black paint marker and add the finer details needed.
- Allow the paint to dry thoroughly overnight.
- Apply Mod Podge with your sponge brush, or spray with a clear sealant spray. This will keep your Bible story stones looking fabulous for a lot longer!