Painting rocks – fun for Outdoors Kids

I don’t think I’ve met many kids who don’t love rocks. They pick them up from the time they’re big enough to toddle around, picking them up and shoving them into their little mouths. Rocks are here to be tasted, shoved into pockets, skipped across the water and painted. This week’s activities will get kids outdoors and using their imaginations.

There are two great ways to approach your rock hunt. What do you want to paint? My painted rock is a lady bug. When we went out to find rocks we knew what we were looking for. We needed roundish rocks. We weren’t particular about the size. My ladybug isn’t tall. It’s a roundish rock that isn’t flat.

ladybug rock


You can decide ahead of time what the kids (and you) want to paint and look for specific sized and shaped rocks. Or, you can find rocks and use your imaginations to decide what to turn them into.

  • Is there a t-rex in that rock? Or, if you turn it, is it a whale? Maybe it’s a bird.
  • Maybe a really great rock isn’t anything but a rock when you find it. Bring it home. Kids have great imaginations. It will turn into something.
  • What kind of rock do you need? How about rock flowers in the flower garden? Frogs and toads are nice garden additions. Rocks don’t have to stay outside. A paper weight or door stop are useful and fun. Kids benefit from feeling useful. Assigning a specific finished project can be a fun challenge.
  • Glow in the dark paint is pretty cool. You can line a walkway with glowing rocks.

Pick a nice day and paint outdoors. You need paint brushes in assorted sizes, acrylic or patio paint, and water. Sponge brushes work well for smooth rocks and are inexpensive. If the rocks are rough you can get the dirt out of the cracks and crevices with old toothbrushes. A few sheets of newspaper on the ground will keep grass and dirt out of the paint and brushes.

Next week we’re going to make buddy burners. Keep your eye out for a #10 can. They hold approximately 100 ounces. They’re a little harder to find than the other supplies we’ll need.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.