Painting Rocks to hide and find in New Zealand
Want a fun easy way to teach your kids about kindness? The Kindness Rocks Project founded by Megan Murphy is a simple idea, you paint something colourful, fun or inspiring on a rock and leave it for someone else to find. Being outdoors and getting some fresh air with your children, finding something new that is like discovering a treasure while sharing this very simple small pleasure with others, is what has made painted rocks so popular.
Megan Murphy, who accidentally started the Kindness Rocks movement when she painted a few inspiring words on rocks and left it on a beach for unsuspecting recipients in America. Since 2015, The Kindness Rocks Project has gained worldwide attention, including in New Zealand. The goal is simple to “connect many, inspire and empower others to join in creating a kinder world.” You can see how much impact she has made when looking up #TheKindnessRocksProject.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Have a look at Rocks New Zealand Facebook Group which includes tips, clues on where to find them, the hashtags to use to follow where your painted rocks end up and more. Auckland also has lots of rock painting Facebook Groups, such as Westie Rocks, Hibiscus Coast Rocks, Auckland Rocks and others. Just search on Facebook for rock painting groups in your local area to find the one that you like best.
You can start your families kindness adventure by helping your kids to paint a rock or write an inspiring word on them. Then leave the painted rock in a public place for someone else to find and hopefully to bring a smile to their face.
Of course, if your kids come across a rock they like feel free to pick it up and take it home too! Some people like to “find and hide” as they go, so other people can have the joy of finding the same painted rock too rather than taking it home with them. My kids like to keep only one of the rock’s they find and hide the rest.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
You don’t need too many things before you start painting rocks
You can find a rock in your garden, or you can buy flat stones from your local hardware stores. The flatter the rock, the easier it is to paint and write on.
Remember rocks you find elsewhere are part of the habitat and may be some other animal or insect’s home, so you shouldn’t take these.
2. Paint and paint brush
You need to use a paint that won’t wash off in the rain as the rock will be outside. Visit Resene and pick up a couple of their paint test pots which come in thousands of colours which retail for $4.80 each. The difficulty will getting the kids to just decided on a few.
You will probably have a paint brush already at home that the kids can use to paint the rocks. If not you can either buy one at the $2 store, stationary store or hardware store.
3. Marker Pen
If the kids want to write an inspirational word or message on the rock then you will need a marker pen too. You can use a vivid, but if you plan on painting lots of rocks you may be better to buy a marker more suited to this such as a Posca marker which write on virtually any surface, including stones.
You can buy sealant from the hardware store to put on your rock to keep the paint in perfect condition and to protect the environment.
HOW DO YOU PAINT AND HIDE YOUR ROCKS?
Step 1: Get the rock ready to paint
You should wash and dry your rock to get rid of any dirt. Once it’s dry put one layer of paint down as a primer on the side you want to paint.
Step 2: Paint a picture
When the primer coat is completely dry it’s time to paint a picture on your rock. If your kids just want to write a message you can skip this step.
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Step 3: Write a message (plus a hashtag if you want)
Once the paint has dried, it’s time to write a message on the rock. It can be as simple as “Hope” or “Dream” or a quote.
If your children don’t know what to write, you can prompt them by asking them “What is a kind thing to day” or “What would you like to see written on a rock you found?” or “What would you say to cheer up a friend who is sad?” Your kids might not want to put any words on the rock and that is fine too, a picture can make people happy.
You can hashtag your rock with #thekidnessrockproject or with a local New Zealand’s group hashtag.
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Step 4. Seal it
To keep your rock’s paint in pristine condition and stop if from chippping off and damaging the environment you should seal it too.You can buy sealant from the hardware store.
Step 5. Hiding your painted rocks
Be sensible about where the kids hide their painted rocks. Remember do not hide painted rocks in sports parks with short grass, as the painted rocks can damage the mowers or get flicked up by the mowers and hit someone. Do not leave your painted rocks on the road, bike-lane or the middle of a footpath or somewhere that it would be easy for someone to trip over. Also don’t leave painted rocks in New Zealand’s National Parks as visitors are encouraged to leave the parks exactly as you find them, ie: you don’t take anything or leave anything in the park.
Hide the rocks out of the way, but don’t hide it so well that nobody can find them!