Here’s a fun idea for a summer activity: Bring your art supplies outside and paint rocks!
This project is versatile. Art can be temporary or permanent,
depending on your desire. If you use washable paint to decorate rocks
(or sticks, planters, bricks, etc.), the art can be washed off of
things that you might not want permanently decorated (for me, most
notably, my children!). You can just allow painted rocks to sit out in
the elements and take their chances, or if you want to preserve the
art, you can seal it with an acrylic clearcoat spray.
For my children, who are under 3, the fun was all in just applying
paintbrush to rocks, but older kids will enjoy painting specific
pictures on rocks, or entirely covering rocks with colorful designs. If
you get a good collection of rocks going, painted rocks are great for
stacking and playing with.
This is even an activity you can join in on. I know it’s simple, but
rock painting is something I can imagine whiling a whole afternoon away
Paint Palettes: I used to-go coffee lids for our palettes (if
you go this route, put a small piece of tape over the hole BEFORE you
pour paint!). Yogurt lids, plastic or paper plates, or even cardboard
squares will also make great palettes.
Paint: Use washable acrylic paint (or if you don’t have
washable, mix a bit of dish soap in with each color of paint to make it
washable!) or if you have older kids, regular acrylic paint is fine,
Choosing Rocks: Really, anything you can find will work. If
you want to keep these rocks around as works of art, it’s a good idea
to wash them with dish soap and water first to remove dirt. Washing
rocks can be its own activity for little kids! Do it the day before, or
in the morning. Be sure to let your kids know if any rocks are off
limits (flagstones, big rock features in your yard, etc.).
If desired, when the paint is dry, seal it with a clear acrylic spray.
If kids want more instruction than “Hey, go paint rocks!” you can give them a jumping off point like:
- Paint your favorite animal
- Paint the first letter of your name
- Paint Daddy’s face on this rock
- Paint this whole rock pink, and don’t leave any spots uncovered!
- Paint three rocks blue and two rocks yellow*
- Any other silly/fun/serious/learning cue you can think of
*You can use this activity as an opportunity for learning (in the
starred example, numbers and colors), but I think there is also value
in just letting your child paint the rocks for fun with no other
agenda. You decide for yourself!
- Use sidewalk chalk to completely cover rocks (instead of paint) – this is really pretty!
- Paint pieces of wood or terra cotta pots, other assorted stuff from your yard
- At the beach? Paint driftwood or shells
- Go on a nature walk first and pick fun stuff up, then come home and paint it