Today, we made “stone” soup.

My preschoolers and I acted out the story of the hungry, famine-stricken town whose residents gather ’round a mysterious stranger and watch as she drops a stone into a pot of water and commences to make “soup.” As the stranger heats the water and tastes her “soup,” she asks each townsperson if they might have just one thing that would make the soup taste better:

  • An onion;
  • A pepper;
  • A carrot or two.

Slowly, the townspeople contribute their meager foodstuffs, eventually creating a delicious, nutritious soup that they all enjoy.

“Who knew,” they marvel, “that such wonderful soup could come from a stone?”

We make stone soup in my preschool class for many reasons:

  • It promotes sharing and team work.
  • It encourages listening and following directions.
  • It engages the imagination.
  • It necessitates patience.
  • It requires sequencing.
  • It illustrates the transformative power of heat.
  • It shows how individual gifts can – when combined – create huge benefits.
  • It creates community.

Making stone soup isn’t always easy. Sometimes, a child doesn’t want to share. Sometimes, another child wishes she could have brought the broth, not the garlic.

But those challenges are minuscule; at least, in the larger scheme of the lesson. Which is this: When we work together, when we put ego aside, we support and fill each other.

It’s a pretty good lesson for a child …

It’s a pretty good lesson for us all.