An interactive way for both parents and kids to search outdoors for different rocks and then use them as creative art projects.
Looking for things to do around the house with toddlers? Now’s the perfect time to start exploring rock activities for kids. You don’t have to travel far to gather all the materials you need. A trip to the backyard should supply you with more than enough stuff to get started!
Check out our original guide on how to start building your rock collection and a few fun, creative art projects where you can personalize and make the rocks your own.
Building Your Rock Collection
Here’s what to do:
Explore the outdoors with your kids, search for rocks of all different sizes, shapes and colors. Find as many as you can. Here’s a few ways to make it more fun:
Break up the Backyard
Identify which areas of the outdoors each of you will be responsible for excavating or searching. See if different areas yield different kinds of rocks. Take note of the most common rock formations you’re finding. What does it say about where you live?
Add some fun accessories and tools: use a basket or bucket to collect your rocks. Take a magnifying glass so you can look at the rocks more closely. You can even go a step further and get into full costume! Transform the family into a gang of geologists heading out into the field!
Time is of the essence! Make it more competitive by setting a time limit or number of rocks each of you can find within a certain chunk of time.
You can even up the ante by getting specific with the kinds of rocks you’re tasked to collect. How many circular rocks can you find? How many pebbles? How many different colors can you get into your basket?
The more details you throw in, the harder the challenge becomes!
2. Create a Checklist
Once you have found all your rocks, you can use this checklist to catalog all your rocks.
Congratulations! You have successfully started your very own rock collection. Here’s some fun activities you can do with some or all of your favorites rocks.
3. Curate Your Collection
Like any great collector, you need to curate your collection. Select some or all of your most favorite rocks. It’s time to fill out a discovery report on what you have found.
As the collector, enter your name and date. Complete your discovery report by giving each rock in your collection a name, and list where exactly you find it outside.
From there, you can enter the length, weight and color. Don’t forget to list your favorite characteristics, too.
Once that’s done, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve now completed the discovery part!
4. Evaluate Your Collection
Evaluate your collection and select a few of your most favorite rocks to use for some arts and crafts activities. Hint: the ones with flat surfaces will be the easiest to work with.
Now that you’ve picked out your favorite rocks, it’s time for some activities!
Rock Activities for Kids
Here’s some fun activities you can do:
Use your imagination to create a story with your family using rocks! Illustrate your favorite scenes on your rocks, or turn them into some of your favorite characters.
Paint a face on one of your more circular rocks. Use markers to draw a scene on another. You can even glue different materials on the rocks to give it a little texture.
Don’t be scared to get creative! Once you’re finished, you can assign roles to each person in the family. Go ahead and act out your story using your newly decorated rocks.
There are a number of science experiments with rocks you can perform to keep the kids entertained. Start out with the SINK/FLOAT experiment. For this, you’ll want to get your hands on a piece of pumice.
Remember, pumice floats. Drop this stone into a glass of water along with some other rocks from your collection and compare. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your little ones to the concept of density in a hands-on way.
Have your kids been begging for a dog? Introduce them to this low-maintenance alternative: a pet rock! Grab all the arts and crafts materials you’ll want to use when decorating your rocks. You can either model them after existing animals or create your own special creature!
Use the rocks in your collection as your very own canvas! Bust out the paints and settle into this creative exercise. You’ll want to give the rock a quick rinse to get rid of any excess soil before you start painting.
You can be as abstract or concrete as you want here. You can even use paint to turn your rocks into something else! Rock dominos, Easter egg rocks, ladybugs and other little critters are a few easy places to start.
Brighten Someone’s Day
Everyone can always use an inspirational or encouraging word. Use your rocks to brighten someone’s day!
Think about an inspirational saying or word. Use markers or paint to paint your saying or word on the rock (here’s some examples). Give that rock to a loved one or leave behind when you are outside on a walk for someone to find.
BONUS: If you want to brighten someone’s day who doesn’t live nearby, you and the kids can send them a virtual kindness rock! Visit our Instagram and click on the “YOU ROCK!” Story Highlight for instructions.
Skipping rocks is one of the most iconic activities around. Have the kids sort through their collection for the flattest, smoothest rocks they have. If you have a river or a stream nearby, take the kids for a short walk and head that way.
Once you reach the water, grab a rock and get started! If they can’t get the technique down, they can at least have fun trying!
Turn your rock into a fabulous piece of jewelry with this simple exercise. All you’ll need is a wire, pliers, and a plastic lacing, or anything else you want to use as a chain.
Tell the kids to select one of the smaller rocks from their collection. Wrap the wire securely around the rock as fashionably as you can, loop it around the chain, and ta-dah — out comes a beautiful rock necklace! You can always paint the rock beforehand if you want to add a little more flair to the piece.
You’ll want to save this two-step activity for a warm, sunny day. Choose a handful of rocks from the collection. Paint each of them in whatever way you want, though the brighter the colors, the better!
Once they’ve dried, place them in hidden spots around the yard. See how long it takes the kids to find them all!
This is a great way to help kids practice their ABCs. Create a rock alphabet by either using stickers or painting letters onto your rocks. Ask them to spell out a few simple words, or string together some easy sentences. Remember, word play rocks!
If you follow this guide, just like Oliver, you will become a master Rock Collector! Check back in with us soon to see what other at-home activities we can walk you through!