When my friend gave us black rocks (thank you Maryam!) I thought of having the kids paint them for a fun activity. I decided to finish them off by sealing them with outdoor Mod Podge so they could be added to the kids garden outside and played with; however, at some point in the process I realized how much they resembled Easter eggs so decided to use them to have the kids hunt for them as if they were Easter eggs.
- Creatology metallic paint
- Paint Tray, tinfoil, or something to put the paint on
- (optional) Glitter
- (optional) Mod Podge Outdoor for sealing
Creating the Painted Rocks
We started out by laying out a large sheet of paper (from an Amazon delivery box) over the table to protect it. I then tossed an old shirt over both kids’ clothing and gave them the rocks, paintbrushes, water to rinse their brushes, paper towel to dry their brushes with, and paint. I used a paint tray for Zoey but if your kids are older you could easily use something else like a folded up sheet of tinfoil.
Ada loved painting the rocks while Zoey loved sectioning her rocks into the paint tray’s separated sections, mixing her paints, and once I gave her water pouring it into the paint tray.
When they were done painting the rocks Ada still had some paint left on her tinfoil. To use it up I put a rock on the tinfoil, crinkled it closed around the rock so the paint was smooshed onto it, and then opening it up to remove the rock. I did this with several rocks until most of the paint was used up.
When it came time to clean up I laid a piece of paper towel on top of the water in front of Zoey. She ended up creating a new game of pressing on the white (dry) paper towel and turning it clear (wet) which distracted her while I switched them over from painting to cleaning (or water play).
I filled a container for both girls with water and let them wash their paintbrushes, water container, and unpainted rocks.
For older children you can have them paint animals or their name. I painted a ladybug by painting red paint for the shell. using grey for the line down the center and the dots, and then using blue for the eyes. Ada (3 1/2 years) was able to copy my rock for herself with her own choices of colors.
The second time we painted was during Zoey’s nap so I pulled out the glitter. We ended up painting the rocks that weren’t painted the day before and applied a second layer to the ones we did get to. You can start by painting the rocks and either dipping them in glitter or sprinkling the glitter overtop of them. When Ada was done I tried to use up the rest of the paint and glitter by mixing the two together and applying it liberally to the rocks.
Once the paint is fully dried you could protect the rocks with mod podge. I was originally planning on putting them in the garden outside for the kids to play with so decided to go with outdoor mod podge so I could still put them outside after Easter. Follow the directions on the bottle you choose. Our rocks didn’t fully dry as we’re living in a humid location and the plastic wrap I had underneath them to protect my plate may have hindered the progress. Additionally, later after the mod podge was just tacky I kept catching Ada picking off the glitter and the ‘bumps’ on the rock so there was no point applying the mod podge as the water can get under the sealant layer now.
Easter ‘Egg’ Hunt
After Zoey’s nap on Sunday I decided to have the kids go out for a fun Easter rock hunt. Ada and Zoey were so excited. I loved how the glitter and paint shimmered in the sun making the rocks easier to spot in the grass.
I pulled out the Easter bunny ears and then set up the rocks in two different trails for them to follow. The rocks with the most paint on them were the easiest to find as they stood out more. The game of follow the trail of rocks ended up being less organized as Ada started looking for her favorite rocks and Zoey decided to go in a different direction, but they had a blast looking for rocks and putting their find in their bags.
I can see doing this as a fun reusable Easter egg hunt if you want to have multiple events or just keep playing with your kids. I can also see having an older child hide the rocks around the backyard earlier and then having the younger children hunt the rocks down.
The only issue that I can see is if your child (cough Ada) decides she likes to peel the paint off the rocks.