Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard mumblings from your children or excited parents in the playground about the painted rock craze. Am I serious?  Absolutely – it all started in America with children painting rocks and hiding them for others to find or keep.

The principle

It’s a simple, but fun, concept.  It’s bit like geocaching with a creative twist.  You paint a selection of rocks with patterns, places or words and then head out to the great outdoors to hide them.  The rocks are usually left in plain sight, so they’re not too hard for little eyes to find.  They’re also usually put where dogs won’t get to them for obvious reasons. A quick Google or Facebook search will bring up a string of pages charting the whereabouts of various rocks and tips on how to find them.

What do you do with the rock once you’ve found it?

The choice is yours whether to keep it or take it with you and re-hide it for others to find.  If you choose to hide it, take a photo of where you found it and share it with local groups so they know it’s been moved to a new home. You can even leave pictures or tips on the social pages about where you’ve hidden the rock again for others to find.

Venture out

As well as a great art activity, searching for painted rocks is a great way to get the kids outdoors in the chilly winter months and it’s free!

Wrap up warm and take the kids out to search for rocks they can paint at home. Get them to paint the rocks in poster paint, left-over house paint or acrylics. Remember that water-soluble paints will come off when it rains.  To prevent this, cover them with a clear nail varnish or clear waterproof varnish.

Once the paint is completely dry, snuggle into your warm coats and set out to find great places for your pretty rocks. You can even create a treasure map with clues of where to find them and share this with your kid’s friends at school, or on your local social sites.

Happy rock collecting!