Have you ever collected rocks? Maybe I should ask, do you still collect rocks? My husband and I do. Yes, I just admitted that. We have very large rocks from when the stone steps at my mother-in-law’s house were replaced. I have the ‘worry stone’ that my father kept in his pocket. We will collect one rock each day from the place we visit on vacation. I suppose the rock collecting of my adult years is purely sentimental.
I called my mother to ask if I collected rocks as a child. She couldn’t recall but assumed so since she collected rocks as a child. She also said that she has a basket of rocks that her mother had saved. She says it must be genetic.
Read “Everybody Needs a Rock” by Byrd Baylor to your children (or even older students)! A naturalist friend of mine uses this book as an ice-breaker activity with students and even with adults! She reads the book and then passes around a basket of rocks for each person to pick a rock of their own to keep!
I’m still not sure why the fascination for rocks… at least for adults. Stone and rock gathering as a child could be quite natural!
When facilitating a training for early care and education providers, I talk about the loose parts of nature that are some of the best manipulatives available to encourage creative play. Rocks are just one group of natural objects we call ‘loose parts.’ Rocks and stones have their own beauty and have no set script, no set way of organization. You can build with rocks. You can sort rocks. You can put rocks in an order. You can create stories about individual rocks.
Read about an idea called the Stonework Play Model and think about how you can incorporate that into your early childhood setting, even if that is just with your own children!
Loose parts… do you have collections of various loose parts from your yard or neighborhood?