The Painted Rock Trend Is Here To Stay

by Sara Farrell Baker
Scary Mommy and Valeria Yakovleva/Reshot

A new trend has been gaining popularity among kids, and it is way less annoying than fidget spinners. Kids are finding rocks, taking them home to paint, then putting them back out into the world for others to find. The goal is to brighten up the world around us while spreading some much-needed joy.

On walks, kids are keeping their eyes peeled for rocks that could use a little sprucing up. Smooth garden rocks tend to work best, but you can add a little color and pizzazz to any rough stone you find out in the world. Or some people (me) are putting 30-pound bags of rocks into their Amazon carts because they (read: I) have a real problem with needing to receive a cardboard package in the mail every few days.

On Facebook, parents are starting and joining groups dedicated to the community being built around these painted rocks. They post pictures of their families and friends hard at work, putting their creative energy into these tiny pieces of art. These parents also post pictures of where they have dropped rocks, so other kids can go hunt for them and hide them again. Some show off meticulously detailed and tiny masterpieces. Others post tips for painting and hiding.

As a whole, the sense of community is strong within these groups — online and out in the world. Hashtags, websites, and the like are often painted or pasted onto the backs of rocks so that unsuspecting and pleasantly surprised strangers can find the groups after picking up a colorful rock on a hiking trail or in a local park. New people are welcomed, shown the minimal ropes, and encouraged to participate by painting and hiding their own rocks.

This sense of community is what has allowed this trend to spread across the country and the globe. Originating in the United States, there are painted rocks popping up all over the world. More and more towns and cities are forming groups and encouraging others to join in. One person may find a rock while on vacation at the beach with their family, then bring that rock back to their suburb to drop near a school or doctor’s office.

Becky Bitsy Birmingham

One of the great parts is that, while a lot of the groups are in suburban areas, painted rocks are popular in urban areas as well. They can be used to add color to dreary sidewalks and cityscapes without anyone getting in trouble for defacing property.

And at a time when parents are trying to not only limit screen time but also to keep their kids occupied while they’re unplugged, creative art projects like rock painting offer endless options. Friends can paint together, families can bond, and it’s not like we are looking at a shortage of rocks outside. There’s always a source for materials, which helps keep this project from breaking the bank too often although it can be really tempting to buy all the paint on the craft store shelves.

This is a great way to kill time on long days. Crack open some craft paint, maybe grab a can of sealer, take the kids out for a long walk with a bucket, and come home to make some little pieces of art. You can go for more walks, spend more time outside while dropping the ones you’ve painted, and hunt for ones that might be out in your community. At the very least, it’s a better way to pass the time than cleaning Play-Doh crumbs off your kitchen floor.

And the world can always use a little more joy.