Study Shows Playing with Penny Stones® Improves Kids’ Conversation Skills

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Is our younger generation incapable of face-to-face conversation? As they reach maturity and enter the workforce, are our students prepared to effectively communicate outside of technology? Penny Stones® offers a solution that has kids putting down their cell phone and actually enjoying conversation.

Students effectively communicating with Penny Stones

I currently enjoy Penny Stones as my favorite new conversation skill tool. The kids really love Penny Stones and it really helps them start talking in the group, open up about themselves and share with each other.

Is our younger generation incapable of face-to-face conversation? As they reach maturity and enter the workforce, are our students prepared to effectively communicate outside of technology? Penny Stones® offers a solution that has kids putting down their cell phone and actually enjoying conversation.

“Communication skills are a top priority for employers reviewing job candidates. Ironically, communication skills also top the list of skills most lacking in new college graduates.”(1) Penny Stones® icebreakers were recently found to help children improve their conversation skills and become more comfortable talking in a group setting in an observational study conducted by school counselors this year.

Penny Stones are glass stones with conversation-starters like “superpower you’d like to have”, “what you’d love to try” and “favorite summer memory”. Players pick a stone or take turns answering the same stone. Ten counselors worked with 54 students (first through eighth grade) from February through June, 2010. They first introduced topics to the group without Penny Stones and then introduced Penny Stones in subsequent sessions and made observations.

The results spoke volumes:

  •      Counselors found that playing with Penny Stones had a very positive (55.6%) or positive (44.4%) affect on their students’ conversation skills.
  •      Their students really liked (77.8%) or liked (22.2%) playing with Penny Stones.
  •      As a tool for conversation skills, the counselors rated Penny Stones as excellent (77.8%) or above average (22.2%).
  •      Counselors found that with Penny Stones the students were:

         - More comfortable with conversations in a group setting (100%)
         - Actively listening (88.9%)
         - Sharing about self (88.9%)
         - Taking turns (88.9%)
         - Asking open-ended questions (55.6%)
         - The counselors (100%) would recommend Penny Stones to other counselors.

One counselor wrote “I currently enjoy Penny Stones as my favorite new conversation skill tool. The kids really love Penny Stones and it really helps them start talking in the group, open up about themselves and share with each other.”

Since it feels like a game, not an “educational tool”, children responded very positively to Penny Stones. One counselor of first grade boys wrote, “The boys LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Penny Stones!!” And another observed, “The students all loved the Penny Stones. The stones helped the girls that normally would not share much about their life – and gave each girl an equal opportunity to share their opinion.”

As technology takes over our personal communication, conversation skills are declining. One counselor noted, “Students want to talk less – text more due to technology.” In the article, School will revive lost art of talking(2), Stephen Sacco found that two out of six middle school eighth-graders polled in Port Jervis, New York, said they couldn’t go a week without cell phone texting or instant messaging. But, all six agreed talking to somebody face-to-face could be ‘awkward.’

Tactile tools have long been used by teachers and counselors to help modify behaviors. One counselor observed, “They all loved that they had their own stone to hold on to.” Penny Stones are the only icebreaker on the market made of glass. All others are on cards or paper.

Penny Stones, by CMD Gifts, are available in five editions: Original, Slumber Party, Love & Marriage, New Parents and Faith-Based. Each set is $15.00 and comes with 21 stones and a penny (for your thoughts…) in a clear draw-string bag. They’re made in Cleveland by disabled individuals with recycled glass and are available in almost 500 gift stores nationwide and online at http://www.pennystones.com and http://www.amazon.com.

About CMD Gifts
CMD Gifts, LLC, makes gifts to enhance communication and strengthen relationships. CMD Gifts’ premier product, Penny Stones, is an elegant and fun conversation starter. Available at gift stores nationwide, Penny Stones are manufactured in Cleveland, Ohio by people with disabilities. For more information about CMD Gifts and Penny Stones, visit http://www.pennystones.com. CMD Gifts has been recognized as one of the top 10 mom-owned businesses in StartupNation’s 2009 Leading Moms in Business Competition (http://www.startupnation.com/leading-moms-2009) out of several thousand mom entrepreneurs. The competition recognizes the achievements of mothers across the country who run outstanding businesses.

1 National Association of Colleges and Employers, Effective Workplace Communication, Third Edition
2 Times Herald-Record. February 27, 2008

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Deborah Caddock Brown
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