If you have been following our blog, you know that we are in the middle of our yearly stepping stones project. Each year, each child that is enrolled in our care has the opportunity to create a decorative stepping stone for display in our outdoor rock garden. We have become known for our display and the children look forward to creating their own stepping stone each year. Many people make stepping stones by purchasing kits from craft stores. We have found that option to be okay if you only plan on making a single stone, but if you would like to make more stones, there is a much more economical way to do so!
We make our stones with Portland Cement that is mixed with play sand. You can find Portland Cement at nearly all do-it-yourself type stores. This makes very smooth stones. You can use a variety of sand, we always use the sand that has previoiusly been part of our indoor sensory tables. (After we have used the sand indoors we either use it in stones or move it outside. Most of the time, this play sand is the colored variety).
I like to mix the crete by hand. I usually double glove my hands for mixing. You can also use a small shovel or wooden spoon. I like the feel of the mixture oozing through my fingers and I feel better about having a good mixture if I can “feel” it. The mixture we use is:
It takes a few minutes to get a good mixture going. If the crete seems too dry add a little bit more water, if it seems too runny add a little bit more sand and portland cement. The consistency you are looking for is almost like cookie dough.
When the crete has been thoroughly mixed, we add some to each form, tapping the form gently on the table to flatten the crete and remove air bubbles.
We add additional scoops of crete, repeatedly tapping the form until we are satisfied with the thickness of the crete.
Some of the children plan out their designs very carefully before they place the decorations in the crete while others prefer to just add items and see what they come up with.
After all of the items have been added. I take a wooden toothpick and write the child’s name in the crete. Each child helps me determine where they would like their name. Then, I place a paper towel over the stone and we set them aside to dry. When the weather is really hot, we spray them down with water rather regularly to slow the curing process. (If you do not do this, you could end up with cracked stones).