14 Of The Best Uses For Plain Old Rocks
Well despite all my plans for an outdoor day, the weather has beaten us. So for the morning were bringing the outdoors in. We always have stacks or rocks on hand from various beaches we visit and our caravan is very close to a beautiful river bed where the children love to look for pretty stones.
They skim the flat ones, try and find the wierdest shaped river rocks. They’ve been painted , built into huge scultptures, used as targets, turned into a camp for animals and so much more. Here’s a run down of some of our favourites.
Tower Building. (My husband loves this one)
The dog loves splashing and the kids throw sticks or jump in the shallow areas, so when my husband got bored he started to stack the rocks one day and it soon became a competition to see who could go the highest.
One method is just finding flatter stones to stack getting steadily smaller. The other using small stones and gravel and sand to separate and balance each layer.
- Paint your rocks with white masonry or acrylic paint.
- Once they are dry, paint them like your favourite animal.
- Again let it dry then use a black permanent market to go over the lines and make your pet really stand out.
- Then, varnish with clear varnish-especially if your pet is going to live outside. (I use this spray varnish.Standing outdoors though and put some newspaper down. I decided to varnish a pebble on out glass outdoor table and completely ruined the shiny glass!)
- Once it’s dry, try adding googly eyes, whiskers even a tail to make a little pet. We used a hot glue gun to stick these legs on too.
- We even went so far as to make a little house from a cardboard tube and some wrapping paper.
We use the painting instructions above to paint 5 small stones blue and the other 5 red. We used star stickers before we painted the rocks so the while would show up. Then we varnished them all over.
We used a hot glue gun to make the raised lines of the game board and glitter sprinkled over the glue to make the lines stand out on a large flat stone we found. You could use a piece of card too.
When everything is dry it’s time for Tic Tac Toe.
Each player take it in turn to put their colour on a square and the object of the game is to get 3 in a row first.
The Dice Game.
Right everyone stop and pay attention!..this little gem is my all time favourite, The ‘dice’ game.
To play this game you need a bag of around 30 small rocks (mostly marbled sized) and a dice. That’s it!!
You roll the dice, the player gets the matching number of rocks on the dice and you take it in turns till they’re all gone.
The winner has the most rocks. I love this game as it covers any age or ability. You can be anywhere. It’s great to help learning to count and It takes 5 mins to play.
No clean up and it can fit any seasonal event. For example I painted the rocks gold for st patricks day and the winner had the most gold on his rainbow (quick pot of gold made from paper) this also works for pirate week-we just use plastic gold coins as treasure. Little ladybirds and a paper flower to collect them on for a spring game. You get the idea.
Kids learn counting, fine motor skills, rolling the dice gently and turn taking. It’s the game that just keeps on giving!!
Now, this is a cute idea i used to help kids feel part of my home.
They each choose and paint a rock, how ever they like and then we place them in the flower pots on my front door like flowers. We plant them in our flower pot at the front door. There is a sign saying “These Children Grow Here’
We also have a pebble area to the side where we keep ‘family’ stones in a circle. We include names of pets and people who are no longer with us so the kids still feel like they are around.
Jar of memory rocks.
This one is fun from tinywhitedaisies
fits with my sentimental side. Everytime we go somewhere new, we collect a pretty stone and bring it home. We clean it up and write the place name and date on it. After it has been varnished, I keep these in a jar by the kitchen. Each stone is a memory and my 5 year old regularly brings the stones out and asks me to tell them about the ones she doesnt know. Ie the stone from our honeymoon on the beach, the one we collected on our sons first holiday on a plane to Ireland etc. You could paint them with chalk board paint of colours to suit but i feel theyre more tactile just with text.
Allotment vegetable name lables.
This idea came from adventureinabox.com
Now, I know not everyone has an allotment but you can use this idea to lable flowers too. Just paint the rocks following the above instructions. Instead of a pet, paint whatever vegetable you need or the name of it.
We’re half way through are you ‘rocking’ with me yet??
Whole town of rock houses.
This is an idea from paintingrocks.blogspot.co.uk
we use often. We paint 5 or 6 rocks to look like small houses (think Flintstones here.) Then, we play with them in the garden. At the moment the favourite is using the houses in our fairy glen as troll houses for my set of 1980’s original troll figures.
Story telling stones.
This is fab. We have a set for most of the popular stories we know. 3 little pigs. Etc
I have a tray and each pig stone gets a corner with their chosen house bits. Lego for bricks.sticks and straw then the wolf stone in the 4th corner.
As we tell the story the kids love to act out the story. I have a different bag for the gruffalo too.
We got the idea from momalwaysfindsout.com, So we made our stones with the alphabet, numbers and shapes on them. We use them for learning in the garden. I collected square, triangle heart shape and circular stones. And painted the shape on them in matching circles. Then I painted a matching small stone so the children could practise matching them up. We used these to explore. Size. Shapes. Counting. Pairs game etc endless possibilities.
Love Bug stones
We painted our flat stones while and then turned them into love bug paperweight for Valentines Day. The kids made a few of these for their friends in class. So cute.
This is a variation on our pet rocks. During our space theme. We painted small rocks and added faces and googly eyes to make aliens. This was great when we painted the cup shaped part of egg boxes like silver space ship and flicked our stones around in them on the table like alien finger football
We get the ideas for this one from thebestideasforkids.com
painted stones green and gave them different white dots and lines to represent prickles. We added mini dried flowers and pompoms to look like flowering cacti then ‘planted’ them in pots of coloured gravel to look like a potted cacti.
The kids took these home to ‘look after’ them. They still come here and tell me how their plants are growing.
This has saved me lots of energy flapping round my garden and allotment chasing blackbirds who love my strawberries. For years I barely got a look in, but I painted some stones in march, a deep red and made sure they were shiny. We put them all around my plants and enjoyed watching the birds tapping them trying to work out what was going on. By the time the strawberries grew the birds had lost interest in trying.
I get to eat the strawberries- if I can beat my professional strawberry munching kids to them that is.
So there you go a quick run down of my favourite ways to use boring old rocks….can you come up with more?
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