Nature inspires us in so many ways! “Pebbly poetry” and “story stones” provide prompts to create original stories and poems, providing endless opportunities for storytelling and self-expression.

Collect a few stones or other pieces of nature that you find in your yard or on a walk through your neighborhood. Decorate your nature finds with pictures, letters, or sight words. Or combine all three into whatever ways you are inspired by! Next, randomly select a few to give you an idea for a short story. You can write out your creative story, draw it, or even act it out! 

Your “story stones” can also be arranged into a line of poetry or prose about nature. April is National Poetry Month, so celebrate by using nature as inspiration for a cinquain, haiku, or limerick:

Cinquain (5 line poem):
Subject (1 word)
Descriptive Phrase (2 words)
Related Action (3 words)
How the subject makes you feel (4 words)
Word related to the subject (1 word) 

Haiku (3 line poem)
First line (5 syllables)
Second line (7 syllables)
Third line (5 syllables)

Limerick (5 line poem):
First line (8-9 syllables and rhymes with second and fifth lines)
Second line (8-9 syllables and rhymes with first and fifth lines)
Third line (5-6 syllables and rhymes with the fourth line)
Fourth line (5-6 syllables and rhymes with the third line)
Fifth line (8-9 syllables and rhymes with first and second lines) 

Another great way to practice parts of speech (like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) is to make up your own nature-inspired Mad Libs! Check out or for instructions. But the most important instruction is to let your creativity flow and have fun!

The Minnesota Zoo would love to see examples of how you used this activity at home! Please share pictures or comments via email at [email protected], and take less than 5 minutes of time to provide us feedback by completing this short survey.