If you haven’t heard about the latest craze of rock painting, then you may have been living under a, well, rock. At any rate, this seemingly simple yet incredibly impactful trend has taken the world by storm.
Thankful rocks (or gratitude stones) started from The Kindness Rocks Campaign. The idea behind the campaign is that you use rocks as a method of communicating and connecting with a perfect stranger.
The process is relatively self-explanatory. You collect rocks, paint them with a message of your choosing, and place them anywhere you’d like for someone else to discover. Once the rock is found, people re-hide it to brighten someone else’s day. Many rocks are adorned with a hashtag on the bottom so the images can be shared online before being passed along. The possibilities are endless and the lengths that some artists go to when decorating is amazing!
I had long heard of rock painting but had yet to experience it firsthand. As luck would have it, about two weeks ago, my 5-year-old found his first rock while leaving the local library. You would have thought he stumbled upon a piece of gold in that garden patch! And, in a way, he did. The “beautiful, magic rock” as it became known in our house was the topic of discussion for the next few days. The effect that this had on my children made me wonder how we could find a way to incorporate it into our homeschool studies with our gratitude activities.
Gratitude is a recurrent theme that we all reinforce with our little ones. True thankfulness, though, is something that can be difficult to “teach.” Since these are concepts that can be challenging to address, especially with young children, I decided the rock project could be an excellent way to help them visualize thankfulness.
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How to Make Painted Rocks (Thankful Stones)
1. Get the right rocks for your painted stones.
It feels funny typing this, but I am nothing if not thorough. Ironically, there are more choices in the craft stones category than you would think. You can certainly pick up a few random rocks from outside (river rocks seem to work best), but they often require a bit of prep work. They will need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly before paint can be applied. We opted for a small bag of decorative rocks from the craft store instead. I liked how smooth the rocks were, providing a fresh canvas for painting. As anyone who has ever done a craft project with children under the age of 10 knows, time is limited. The less time having to prep, the better!
2. Select paint for your rocks.
Since the rocks will be placed outside, acrylic paints or paint pen markers is a good choice to withstand the elements. It is also very affordable. We purchased some at the craft store for less than a dollar a bottle, so you can stock up on a variety of colors
(*Painting Tip: to really make your colors pop, try adding a layer of white paint first to the entire rock).
3. Purchase paint brushes for your thankful rock activity.
There is a wide variety of brushes that you can select from to achieve your desired look. My go-to is always something that will be simple and affordable. In this case, I selected an inexpensive variety pack of brushes that I knew we could pitch when we were done.
Optional: I also picked up a medium tipped white paint marker to write a personal message on our rocks. I found this a little easier to control than the paint brush.
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4. Paint your stones!
Once you have collected your materials, you can begin constructing your masterpieces! It’s really that simple! Just be sure to let layers of paint fully dry before moving on to the next layer or color to avoid smudging.
The beauty of this craft is that you can customize your message to whatever you like. Holidays, causes, awareness campaigns, motivational sayings . . . the choices are endless!
In honor of Veterans’ Day coming up, we decided to focus our efforts on those who have served. We selected red, white, and blue paint for our rocks. The kids had a blast painting the American flag, stars and stripes, and more. While they were painting, it provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss the importance of those who have served to protect our freedoms.
We allowed a full 24-hours for our rocks to dry before distributing them. The next day we stopped by our local VFW and American Legion to leave our “beautiful, magic rocks” for others to find as well. While a very small gesture to express our gratitude to those who served, this simple and inexpensive craft provided such an amazing opportunity to spread a little kindness. It also inspired a wonderful conversation about heroism, bravery, and gratitude. Overall, it rocked!
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Samantha Lee is a homeschooling mom and blogger in the Pittsburgh area. As a wife, homeschooling parent, and freelancer, she aspires to grow academically, faithfully, and wholly everyday. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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