Rocks have to be one of the most versatile real objects to incorporate into fun and learning. Below you will find a list of activities ranging from art to math to science to language.
Rock Activities for Kids
COLLECTING is an easy learning activity that gets your body moving. Grab a basket and go out for a nature walk with children. Discuss the attributes of the rocks being collected as you go along. (I am a big fan of combining learning and movement. Check out why combining learning and movement is so great for children's development.)
SORTING exercises with toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Cater the activity to the child's interests and developmental stage. For younger children, sort by dark/light or big/small, for preschoolers sort by heavy/light or smooth/rough, for older children sort by sink/float or river/ocean.
PAINTING rocks is loads of fun! Lately in our home we've been painting rocks for garden markers. You want to use acrylic paint and mod podge (or some kind of sealer) to make the paint stay a while. You can also use a primer at the start but we just cleaned the rocks up before painting and it worked fine. Oh, and don't forget the googley eyes!
SKIPPING on the water is a fun activity. Incorporating learning into the activity is as simple as discussing why some rocks skip better than other rocks. Early Physics and introduction to great vocabulary.
PATTERN MAKING with rocks is a wonderful early math activity. Simply create a smooth/rough pattern, big/small pattern. Or, if you prepare ahead of time, create an image with a pattern of rocks set out for the exercise. Then have the child match that pattern. Or work with the child, begin a pattern and ask the child to finish it, or ask him which rock comes next in the pattern.
HOPPING to and from large rocks on a playground, in the woods, or on a beach makes for a great obstacle course, providing ample opportunity to work those gross motor skills in a safe way. CLIMBING large boulders is a bit more risky and requires a bit more gross motor strength. If your child is ready for bouldering, go for it. My sons love clamoring up large boulders and taking a look at the view.
WRITING & DRAWING with rocks is always popular with children. I have fond memories of finding the perfect writing tool, a rock, and then drawing until my heart was content onto larger rocks and the pavement. Go on a hunt for the perfect writing rock. Ask the children what the rock might need to look like, what it's shape might need to be like, in order to write on the pavement.
SCIENCE experiments with rocks are always popular with kids. My son loves the SINK/FLOAT experiment. It is so simple and really effective at teaching concepts like “density” in a hands on way. Pumice floats so you'll want to get your hands on a piece of pumice for the activity. Using words like “heavier” and “lighter” works well with younger children, while introducing terms like “density” will be welcomed by older children.
STORYTELLING with stones is on my short list. My sons love story sequence cards like Eeboo's Tell Me a Story: Mystery in the Forest. So, why not do this same activity but with stones of your own creation? With older children you can write words, too, to make a story. With younger children, use stickers or glue real images onto the stones. I love these Story Stones from Happy Hooligans! Another great idea is to create story stones based on a favorite children's story. You can also use play dough with rocks and other materials with rocks to build and create imaginary scenes! Another language related activity with rocks is Sight Word Pebbles like this activity from The Imagination Tree.
MATH activities with rocks is an easy way to bring natural objects into your home or classroom and to engage children. This activity can involve a simple Introduction to Numeration by matching numbers to quantity, or quantity to quantity. You can also arrange piles and ask for estimations and “which pile has more or less”? Another clever math related idea are Rock Dominoes. Older children can create their own dominoes, while simply presenting these beautiful dominoes to younger children will hook them. These Rock Dominoes from Repeat Crafter Me are lovely!
I hope that we inspired you today! Let me know your ideas and activities with rocks. We'll be rocking' this project all spring and summer long. Definitely check out my recent post on Children's Books about Rocks to get you started not this rocking' journey. Ok, I'll stop now.
Have a great day!