Many people are natural born storytellers—they just don’t know it. This activity challenges participants to create a story with the help of the words written on three stones.


To make the story stones:

  1. Obtain 12 smooth, flat, light-colored stones (1 1/2" to 2" each).
  2. With a dry erase or washable marker, write one word on each stone until you have four objects, four settings, and four emotions of your choosing. Our examples are: kite, dog, flower, and mother for the objects; beach, garden, midnight, and yard for the settings; sillypeaceful, grumpy, and joyful for the emotions.

To use the story stones:

  1. Turn the stones over so you can’t see the words, placing them in rows by category (object, setting, and emotion).
  2. Demonstrate how the story stones work by reading the examples below.
    • If the words picked were dog, beach, and joyful, one story might be:

My dog, Stanley, loves to spend the day at the beach. He is most joyful when digging in the sand or splashing in the ocean. Normally dogs are not allowed on the beach, but Stanley is an exception. He is a surfing dog and can “hang ten” on a board better than most humans. People come from miles around to see him in action. Next, I’m going to teach him how to sign autographs.

    • If mother, midnight, and silly were the words picked, one story might be:

At the stroke of midnight, my otherwise responsible and serious mother becomes quite silly. She has been known to wake up out of a dead sleep, get out of bed, and start dancing. She blames it on restless leg syndrome. My father blames it on hormones gone berserk. No matter the cause, I’ve gotten some hilarious videos that I used to post on YouTube until my mother found out. 3. Then ask the storytellers to pick one stone from each row and have them tell a story using the words they selected. 4. You can change the words as often as you want by wiping off the marker with a damp paper towel. Make storytelling with stones a recurring activity.

Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
1 on 1
Small (2 - 4)
Medium (5 - 8)
Any 30 minutes Assisted Living
Independent Living
Skilled Nursing/Rehab
Facilitator Gender
Any Coed
Wellness Domains

Social, Intellectual

  • 12 smooth, flat, light-colored stones (1 1/2" to 2" each)
  • Dry erase or washable marker
Supporting Research

Good For

Depression, Isolation, Mobility Loss, Vision Loss


Covid-19 Seat participants six-feet apart. Designate one person to turn the stones over or have the facilitator perform the action. Dementia Use only two categories. Have storytellers pick one stone from each row and have them tell a story using the two words they selected. To make the program more challenging: Have storytellers pick two stones from each row and have them tell a story using the words they selected.

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