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Rock Sculptures

Set out a variety of small rocks, glue, and squares of cardboard. Let the children glue the rocks on the cardboard squares to create rock sculptures.

Painting Rocks

Have the children collect medium-sized rocks. Let them paint designs on their rocks with tempera paint. If desired, give them bits of yarn, rickrack, and buttons to glue on their rocks to add special details.

Gravelly Designs

Fill a large shallow box with pea gravel. Let the children take turns making designs in the gravel with tongue depressors or with their fingers.

Rock Collections

If you live in an area where there are different varieties of rocks, take the children on a rock gathering expedition. Let the children have fun sorting their rocks by size, color, markings, etc. Have them try washing their rocks and examining them with magnifying glasses. Or have them try scraping their rocks with nails to see if they are hard or soft.

Rock Stories

Have each child collect four or five rocks and play "house" with them. Encourage the children to tell you about each person in their pretend rock families. For example, they could tell you the names of their rocks and what each rock likes to do. Help them to expand their stories as much as possible by asking questions.

Indian Counting Game

Let the children play this version of an Indian counting game. Assemble five smooth pebbles. Paint a half-moon shape on one side of each of four pebbles and a star shape on one side of the remaining pebble. Place the pebbles in a shallow basket or wooden bowl. Let one child at a time hold the basket and give it a shake. Then have the child count the number of shapes that turn up, alloting one point for each moon and two points for the star. The child who has the highest number of points at the end of the game wins.

Rock Sorter

Make a rock sorter by cutting four or five holes from large to small in the top of a shoe box. Give the children a number of different sized rocks. Then let them sort their rocks in the rock sorter by placing each rock in the hole closest to its size.

Making Stone Soup Today

Sung to : "The Paw Paw Patch"

Pick up a stone and

Put it in the pot,

Pick up a stone and

Put it in the pot.

Pick up a stone and

Put it in the pot,

Making stone soup today.

Continue, letting the children name other ingredients for the soup.

Stone Soup

Read or tell the folktale "Stone Soup" before starting this activity. Fill a pot with 2 quarts water. Add chopped carrots, celery, turnips, potatoes, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and a smooth round rock that has been scrubbed and boiled. Bring the water in the pot to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour. When the vegetables are tender, add stock or bouillon and season to taste. If desired, add small pieces of cooked meat or chicken shortly before serving.

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Visitors since July 4, 1998