Most of us that live in the Kansas City metro area know that Kansas City rocks.
There are amazing parks, fabulous shopping, great places to eat (hello, barbecue), wonderful museums, awesome sports teams, and so much more. But lately, Kansas City has literally been rocked.
Painted rocks have been popping up all over the metro.
From Lee’s Summit to Olathe, these hand painted art projects have been found in parks, outside shopping centers, restaurants, and all around area businesses. Some call them kindness rocks, some call them a game of rock scavenger hunt, but whatever you call them, they have been found not just in our part of the country, but all over the U.S., and even the world.
So what is up with these rocks?
While painted rocks are nothing new. The idea of using them to spread messages of hope and bring joy to others seems to be a concept that has spread around the country this summer like wildfire. My own city of Raytown, started a Raytown Rocks group this summer that has now grown to over 2,000 members who are regularly painting, hiding, and hunting for these unique works of art. Even local businesses have gotten in on the action painting and hiding their own rocks and giving away prizes once found and brought in to their stores. Local banks, donut shops, grandparents, grandchildren, teachers, students, young, and old, everyone is having fun painting, hiding, and hunting for rocks around town.
The best thing is everyone is able to be involved.
The beautiful thing about painting rocks is that anyone can do it. My daughter, Madeline, is three-years-old and loves to create. This project has been perfect for her. Rocks are an inexpensive canvas for her to create her masterpieces on, and she loves to be able to have free-reign to create whatever she wants with no real rules. I just lay down a few paper towels give her some rocks, a little paint, a few brushes, and let her do her thing.
Turning them in to kindness rocks.
Since she is only three, most of them don’t really turn out looking like much more than marbled swirls of paint or stripes. While I think they are beautiful little works of art, I’m not sure they are the kind of thing that would make anyone other than her mom and dad (and maybe grandma) excited to find. So, I have been turning her beautiful little masterpieces into kindness rocks. After her thirty layers of paint dry, I add positive words or phrases to her artwork to make them even more special. Madeline, is our rainbow baby (our baby born after the loss of her big brother), and she has always brought so much color, light, and joy into not just our lives, but the lives of everyone she is around, so it seems fitting for her rocks to do the same.
How to get started.
First find some rocks. You can find rocks around ponds, creeks, or your own backyard. You can also purchase bags of rocks at local craft stores or hardware stores. We have found Sutherlands and Westlake Hardware to be the most affordable places to find rocks. You generally want rocks that have a nice flat smooth surface to paint on. Different shapes may lead to different ideas, a triangle becomes a piece of pie or pizza, the smaller rocks make adorable lady bugs. Let your creativity take over or be like me and let Pinterest be your guide. There are hundreds of ideas to be found, from the very simple strawberries to the more complex dragon eyes.
You will want to have several colors of paint, acrylic paint works best, paint pens also work well for writing and small details. There are lots of different tools that you can use to help create your designs. The ends of paint brushes are great for making dots, sponges, stamps, toothpicks can be used too. You can add glitter, gems or even stickers. Modge Podge can be used to decoupage on a more detailed print or photo. You are only limited by your imagination and patience. Once dry, you will want to spray them with a protective sealer so that all of your handy work won’t be washed away by the rain.
The next step is the most fun.
You get to go out and find places to hide them. Parks, shopping areas, downtown areas, outside local businesses, anywhere that people frequent is generally a good spot. Be on the look out for hidden rocks. Re-hide some, keep your favorites, replace with your own, take photos, and share in one of the local groups listed below. Most rocks you find will have a hashtag of the city or group that they are a part of written on the bottom. Find their Facebook page, take a photo of the rock you found.
There are a few general rules.
- Avoid putting rocks in the grass at parks and businesses. We don’t want any mowers to be damaged running over rocks.
- Don’t hide a rock where a child or someone could possibly get hurt trying to get to it (i.e. Don’t hide in the street, too high up in a tree, down a steep rocky hill, etc.)
- Try to keep the artwork G-rated or at least PG, remember kids are looking for them.
- Don’t hide rocks inside a business, only outside, no trespassing, no hiding on private property.
What you need:
- Flat, smooth rocks
- Acrylic paint (various colors)
- Paint brushes (various sizes)
- Paint pens (optional)
- Clear paint sealer (I prefer Krylon UV Resistant)
Join the Club:
- Kansas City Rocks (Kansas City Metro Area)
- Raytown Rocks! (Raytown, Missouri)
- LSMO Rocks (Lee’s Summit, Missouri)
- Inde-Rocks (Independence, Missouri)
- Rocks4edu (Independence, Missouri, but also Nationwide)
- Raymore/Belton Rocks (Raymore & Belton, Missouri)
- KC North Rocks (North Kansas City, Missouri)
- Olathe Rocks (Olathe, Kansas)
- Shawnee KS Rocks! (Shawnee, Kansas)
- OP Rocks (Overland Park, Kansas)
- The Kindness Rocks Project (Nationwide)