If you’re looking for a fun activity to get your kids outside this summer, try rock painting! Here are some tips to help you get started.

Years ago, I was introduced to the phenomenon of rock painting. I had no idea what was involved, but once I started it quickly became an all-time summer activity fave—not only for me, but for my children too! And don’t worry, your child doesn’t need to be Monet or Picasso to enjoy this activity. If your child can hold a brush, dip it into paint, and use his or her imagination, rock painting will be easy. There’s no age limit, and it’ll help unleash his/her inner creativity!

Here are some simple tips to help you get started.

WHERE DO I FIND THE ROCKS?

Smooth Rocks

I recommend visiting a local landscaping business. You can pick out a bucket of rocks for a reasonable price, and you can also pick out different shapes and sizes. Of course, you can also find rocks at local craft stores or online. Regardless of where you find them, you’ll want to make sure they are large enough to paint (a minimum of 2 inches) and really smooth.

SHOULD I APPLY A BASE COAT OR JUST WASH?

Washing Rocks

This really depends on your preference. Some rocks you can just rinse and scrub under water, allow to dry, and then paint. Others you might want to give a quick base coat on one side (black or white) and then start painting.

 

WHAT KIND OF PAINT?

If your child has been painting for years and feels more experienced, then a brush and acrylics might be your best bet. If you are more the doodling type, paint pens might be the best way to go since they’re easier to control. Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to paint rocks.

 

WHAT KIND OF BRUSHES?

Brushes for Rock Painting

A variety of sizes is key. You’ll want one brush that has a large, square-edge tip to color big spaces, at least one with a medium-size tip, and a few with smaller tips. As your child explores painting, s/he will get the hang of what type of brush works best.

 

WHAT SHOULD I PAINT?

This is where the fun really begins! Kids have amazing imaginations and creativity when they’re inspired. Here are a few themes that might encourage them along the way.

 

  • Kindness Messages (“Hope”, “Choose kind”, “Shine bright”, “You are awesome”, “Be brave”, “Smile today”, “Dream big”, and “You rock”)
  • Animals & Sea Creatures

 

  • Rainbows
  • Flowers & Hearts
  • Ladybugs & Insects
  • Special Messages

After you’ve painted your rocks, the last step is sealing them.

HOW DO I SEAL THE ROCKS?

I’m a huge fan of using a spray-on sealer. You can spray several rocks at once, it’s affordable, and it does a great job. First, look for a sealer that is weather resistant and non-yellowing. You’ll also have to decide whether you want a matte, gloss, or satin finish. Once you’ve selected your sealer, start about 10 inches back and spray a light coat. If you’d like, you can apply 2–3 coats.

NOW THAT THE ROCKS ARE PAINTED, WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM?

Your child’s new art projects are about to take over your entire house! I’ve found my son’s painted rocks in the bathtub, in his dresser, on our outside steps, and even under a couch cushion (no joke). While I love seeing his creativity displayed, you might want a better plan. Here are a few ideas on where you might want these displayed:

  • Donate them to hospitals
  • Display them around your neighborhood
  • Create an outdoor rock garden
  • Participate in The Kindness Rocks Project
  • Wrap them up and give as gifts
  • Decorate your home (although you’ll probably want to set limits on where your child can display them)

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the fun of rock painting for kids, and I hope these tips help you get started. You’ll be amazed at what you and your family can create together, and I encourage you to share your special creations with others! They’re sure to bring warm smiles to anyone’s face who receives one of them. 

Laurie Honza
Laurie Honza

Over 20 years ago, I fell in love with developing educational toys and tools and continue to honor this career at hand2mind while raising my family alongside my husband. As a mom of 2 boys, a 3- and 11-year old, I love seeing and experiencing life through their eyes: playing outdoors, exercising, sharing, reading, baking, and shopping (I’m very frugal and seek out the best deals!). Beyond that, my life mantra is pretty simple: Play. Learn. Laugh. Love. Oh, and eat lots of dark chocolate.

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