Today’s blog revolves around rock painting and story telling; not entirely successful but an interesting insight into the mind of a 4 year old.
Around our local area, there’s a fairly well established Facebook group in which people paint stones/rocks and hide them for other people to find. For the kids, it brightens up a walk to stumble across them or hide our own, and we’ve been enjoying doing that from time to time. If you don’t know about it, have a quick look and find your local group, there’s bound to be one nearby (or why not start one if there isn’t!).
There’s loads of websites about rock painting, but today I thought I would take that idea a bit further to explore how the kids were feeling given that they’ve been in lockdown for months now, with very little contact apart from us as their parents. Generally my wife and I are in some state of mania about balancing our new part time jobs as school and nursery teachers whilst also working full time, and so I thought a quick check to explore their emotional wellbeing might be a good idea. Turns out they couldn’t care less about my efforts at amateur psychology, but I’ll get to that later.
Anyway, the plan was to paint a bunch of rocks with sad faces on one side, and happy faces on the other. We’d then use this as a tool for talking to the kids about what makes people happy or sad, and for any of the rocks they identified as being sad, we could explore why and what we can do to make them happier. Unwittingly the kids would forget they were talking about rocks and reveal through their answers what was actually on their minds. Slightly manipulative but clever ‘eh?
The first part of the plan went okay as a quick bit of art, and using kid’s paints within a few minutes we managed to get 7 rocks painted with sad faces on. Meet the Sad Rocks below.
Unfortunately, once this was done neither of them was the slightest bit interested in why the rocks were sad, and all I could get was a variation on ‘he’s sad because he’s pooed, or he’s pooed his pants, or that one’s wee’d her pants’. We never got around to doing the happy faces on the other side and so now just have a series of rocks looking sad. Keep an eye out in your local walks, you might find one of them.
The Sad Rock stories…
Not one for giving up, I thought of a different idea. Now we’d got the Sad Rocks, we could create stories around them! My father in law used to do stuff like this with my wife when she was a child and she remembers it – who knows, this could actually become a thing! #sadrockstories.
Mystorybook.com is a free to use, fun website for kids to turn their ideas into stories. You have to register but after that can create a library of stories which you can either just save online or ‘publish’ via a .pdf for $5.
I love it, its really easy to use, you just take each page and add text, pictures and choose backgrounds. You can also introduce your own images or even draw directly onto the page using the ‘brushes’. There’s a variety of appealing fonts, and I thought it was a good way to develop some computer and design skills plus use imagination for the story themselves. I’d done one with my son last week and he’d got into it.
Unfortunately today was not the day for getting any sense out of either of them. My son was busy with something else by now and so I sat down with my 4 year old daughter and started to come up with ideas.
We started with her thinking of a title – ‘Hev and the birds’ she said. Great! I thought. I’ve no idea where the name Hev came from but it was an intriguing title. She then chose the background of a desert. Hmmm, okay, maybe its a Western – not sure about that but lets go with it.
After discounting anything to do with Hev having a poo, we finally got the bones of a story. The full version is below but spoiler alert, there’s no happy ending and your opinion of reindeer may change when you know how selfish they can be. There is also no mention of a desert (so don’t just a book by its cover). Maybe she’s destined for a career in French avant-garde cinema.
That was my daughter’s book. I typed but but she told me the words, chose the font, backgrounds and pictures. I still plan on trying to make this into a series of 7 books with them, hopefully they’ll get into it, and fingers crossed Hev will at some point see those birds.
So, to summarise, the plan didn’t go as intended, but they did find it hilarious creating a bonkers story. The moral of it all? – don’t try amateur psychology on a 4 year old, they will outsmart you at every turn. Oh, and don’t trust reindeer.
Why not have a go yourself? www.mystorybook.com