So far the summer weather this year has been fantastic for most of the UK, with long hot summer days (just like a certain generation can remember when we were growing up). Remember the 1955 and 1976 heatwaves? Or the more recent 1995 and 1997 heatwaves?
Hot summers are a great opportunity to get the whole family outdoors. But, if we’re honest, a day out can soon empty the family purse. If you are wondering how you can keep the costs down, use up some the school holidays and get the kids away from their games consoles, here’s a fabulous idea that kids of all ages will enjoy.
Rock painting is a craze that has been sweeping the country for a few years now and is still gathering momentum. The principle behind it is you paint a rock and hide it somewhere in the local community for some else to find and re-hide. Some rocks have been known to travel the world! Lots of local communities have their own Facebook pages so you can take a photo of the rock you create or find, post it to the Facebook group and let people know you are going squirrel it away somewhere else.
Here’s a list of what you need to get started.
• Rocks of different sizes (usually ones that can fit into your hand)
• Acrylic paints of various colours (either tubes of paints or paint pens)
Paints: Choosing paint colours from a craft shop will get the kids away from their games console for a while. You could make a trip of it by organising a picnic in the local park before or after a visit to the shop. The Works (link) have a fantastic range of acrylic paint sets and paint brushes and are based nationwide. Or, visit your local craft shop to see what they have in store. Acrylic paint pens are a bit more expensive but much easier and less messy to use if you have tots. They may even stock a sealer to finish off your rocks
Rocks: Collecting rocks can be great fun and again can be a morning, afternoon or day trip out to a beach or river with a picnic planned. Get the children to look out for fun shaped rocks like the kite and heart shaped ones in the photo above. Take a hessian or canvas bag to put your finds. Do be aware of the dangers of being by a river and the beach with young children, and also only take a few rocks you are going to use without disturbing the natural environment.
Painting Rocks: Wash the rock and allow to dry thoroughly (best overnight) before painting otherwise the paint won’t sit well. Adding a base colour to the rock will make it much smoother to use paint pens or brushes for your designs. If you are not sure how the designs will look, use chalk to draw out your design on the rock first as it can easily be washed off. If you are struggling with a particular design you wish to copy from a book, trace it out on tracing paper then turn the pencil side over onto the rock and rub the other side of the tracing paper using a pencil. This should give you a faint outline to work with.
Allow each colour to dry before adding another colour next to it or on top of it, otherwise the paints will run into each other.
Once you have finished your rock, allow it to dry and then spray it with a clear sealant. This will keep the paint new looking for a much longer time.
If you have found your local Rock Painting Facebook group, post an image of your rock on their page and let everyone know you have hidden it. Beware! Rock painting can become addictive!
We’d love to see your rock art. Send us a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pop it up on the blog. Happy painting!