How to Paint Rocks for Kindness & Where to Share Them

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Looking for a fun and easy way to teach your kids about kindness? Consider joining the Kindness Rocks Project. This creative project has artists of all ages spreading happy thoughts by way of painted rocks. The idea is simple—paint something inspiring or cheerful on a rock and leave it for someone else to find. Don’t know where to start? Read on!

What It Is

What's a rock got to do with kindness? Plenty, according to Megan Murphy, the Massachusetts woman who accidentally started the Kindness Rocks movement when she scribbled a few inspiring words on a rock and left it on a Cape Cod beach. Her Kindness Rocks Project has since gained worldwide attention, with inspirational, hash-tagged rocks popping up in at least seven countries and garnering millions of views on social media.

"The project isn’t about rocks per se, it’s about connection," Murphy said. "People find a rock, and they relate to the message on the rock. Then they connect with the fact that there is a human being on the other end of that rock, and they don't feel so alone." It can be as simple as scrawling "Hope" on a stone and tossing it on the sidewalk on your way to work, or as complex as painting an entire rock with Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and leaving your masterpiece up for grabs.

 

How It Works

First, you should join a local rock-painting group. A quick Google or Facebook search of "kindness rocks" and your hometown will probably turn up something. If not, rev up the bandwagon and rock it on your own, like this altruistic seven-year-old from San Francisco.

Here's What You'll Need

- Smooth rocks (you can scavenge outside for them or you can find a whole bag at Home Depot or on Amazon)

- Acrylic paint

- Paintbrushes

- Fine point paint pens (optional, but makes writing words way easier)

- clear spray-on sealer like Krylon for sealing rocks (parents should do this)

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Step One: Prep Your Rock

Since rocks are porous, it's best to lay down a layer of paint to act as a primer and backdrop for your finished masterpiece. There's no need to paint the bottom of the rock (that just makes it harder to handle as it's drying.).

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Step Two: Write Something (or Paint a Picture)

When the primer coat is completely dry, let your littles use a paint pen to write something on their rock. To help them come up with something, try asking them simple questions about kindness: What is kindness? What is a 'kind' thing to say? What message would make you happy to see on a rock? What could you hear someone else say that would make you feel special?

And, don't feel bound by words; painting cute or happy pictures works, too (Smiley faces and rainbows, anyone?)!

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Step Three: Hashtag It! 

Write a hashtag on your rock to help whoever finds it realize that they can share it with the world. Our favorite is #thekindnessrocksproject, but there are gobs of smaller groups out there for those who want to keep it local. Don't forget to check your social media channels to see if someone shared your rock! 

 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

Step Four: Seal It

Once your rock is dry, spread a layer of Mod Podge over it. This will keep the paint from chipping and will seal it against water. (Plus it will make your rock look shiny and awesome.)

photo: iStock

Step Five: Leave Your Rock Somewhere to Be Found

Let your kids scatter their well-wishes around your neighborhood, in a park, or on the sidewalk on their way to school—basically, anywhere the rocks can be found by someone else!

Tip: Don't hide your rock so well that it can't be easily found—and don't put it on private property where passersby will think it belongs to someone. 

 

— Melissa Heckscher

 

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