Make Stone Soup

Remember the story Stone Soup? In this classic tale, hungry but clever travelers—with nothing but stones and water—convince reluctant villagers to contribute food toward a huge, communal pot of “stone soup.” There are countless versions of this classic tale of problem solving, creativity and collaboration told across the world. 

In our Tinkergarten Home trial lesson, we invite your explorer to transform stones, water and the natural treasures around them into their very own marvelous soup.

Not yet signed up? Click here to try this free Tinkergarten Home lesson.

The Guide

Step 1: Watch the Tinkergarten Home Stone Soup video lesson.

Hop into your My Tinkergarten trial dashboard to watch the Stone Soup video lesson. Not yet signed up? Click here to try this free Tinkergarten Home lesson. Kids can watch how Meghan and other explorers make Stone Soup, then get inspired to make their own marvelous soup!

Step 2: Gather a few soup making tools.

Grab the following materials, then head outside to play:
  • Pot, bowl or bucket
  • Container of water (e.g. filled water bottle)
  • Stone or rock
  • Spoon or stick for stirring

Step 3: Give an invitation. 

Ask kids, “How do you make stone soup? Should we try to make some?” Gently help kids recall that you need a pot, water and stones to get the soup started. Produce a pot or bucket and help kids fill their pails with water. Then, hand each kid a stone to “plop” in the pot. Once kids put their stones into the water, they’re ready to make stone soup.

Step 4: Shop for ingredients.

Remind kids that they will need to add other “foods” to make their soup “delicious.” To get them started, look around and find something from nature (e.g. a leaf, stick, pinch of dirt). Add it to the soup, announcing that it is an ingredient (e.g. carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper). Say something like, “Ooo...we could pretend the grass is carrots. What do you think? These will make our soup even tastier.”  Welcome kids to "shop" in their outdoor space for more ingredients.

Step 5: Cook the soup. 

Give plenty of time for kids to continuing to gather ingredients as well as adding, stirring, mashing, etc. Make time to sniff and pretend to taste the soup, oohing and ahhing, remarking about the color and aroma of the broth as any good chef would do.

Extend the Play!

If kids are really enjoying making Stone Soup, try some of these ideas to keep the play going:
  • Watch the story: Watch a read-aloud of this sweet version of the Stone Soup story by Heather Forest. As you watch, pause to ask kids what they think about what’s going on. For example, “Why do you think the villagers are hiding their food?” “Do you think they will really make soup out of stones?”
  • Build a pretend fire: Work together to collect sticks and build a “fire” to cook your soup. Stoke the pretend fire, adding wood as needed. For more ideas, read our Pretend Fire DIY here.
  • Cook up more pretend food: Ask kids what other pretend foods they could make with water, dirt and the natural ingredients around them. You can give them buckets, pots, pie tins, or anything else you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Wrap up with a feast: Set a “table” with sticks, leaves, and other “utensils.” Pretend to sip and savor the soup (without actually eating any, of course). Host a picnic for stuffed animal friends. When finished, dump out the remaining soup and remind kids that all of their ingredients will go back into the soil, which will help make more yummy ingredients for future soups!

Why is this activity great for kids?

As kids transform natural objects into a marvelous pretend soup, they activate their problem solving skills as well as their divergent thinking (one of the core components of creativity). Gathering ingredients, mashing, mixing and stirring activate multiple senses and various behavioral schema, the universal play patterns that support brain development. Best of all, activities like this give kids an easy starting place for imaginative play they can repeat and iterate on any time they are outside. With just a container and a bit of water, the possibilities are endless!

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