27 Rock Activities for Kids

My 4-year old's arms were full, and the ground was uneven. I watched her balance, take 3 steps, trip, and almost face-plant!  But then she caught herself at the last second! Finally she turned back to me said, "Will you carry two of my rocks?" 

I couldn't help chuckling a little as I looked at her load: two rocks bigger than my hands and four smaller. I knew that two were destined to be painted on and a third was very sparkly, but I didn't know what the last three were for. Yet. Most likely one of her collections.

I can't really blame her for collecting rocks--truthfully, I have more rock collections than she does! But, you can't really blame me either...rocks have a way of jumping into my life! Plus, there are SO many things to DO with them!

I've put together a collection of some of my favorite things to do with rocks with kids...just in case any of you have a couple hundred extra rocks and are interested in doing some cool things with them!  These activities are great for all ages--honestly, I've actually done most of them with kids as young as preschoolers and as old as highschoolers. 

If you have a favorite (or one that I should include!), let me know -- I love emails, comments, or notes on Facebook and Instagram!

I'm dividing this list up into 3 categories: 
Rock Science Activities,
Educational Activities to Learn About Things Besides Rocks, and
Rock Art or Craft Activities.

27 Rock Activities for Kids

Rock Science Activities:

1- Talk about your rocks' observable physical characteristics! This sounds basic, but it's super important! What colors are on your rock? Can you see individual minerals? What kind of texture does it have? You can use these to help identify your rock!

Test your rock to learn more about its physical characteristics! 2- How much does it weigh? Do you get the same results if you use different scales?  3- Can you scratch it with a steel nail?  4- Can you figure out its hardness?  5- Does it react with an acid? 

6- Use the things you observed in #1-5 to figure out what kind of rock you have! Use a guidebook or the internet! If you can find its exact name, wonderful! If you can only figure out if it is igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, that's awesome too!

7- Once you know what kind of rock you have, use that information to figure out your rock's story! Did it come from a volcano? Did you find it in an area that used to be under water? What kind of journey do you think your rock has been on? You can even write your rock's story or turn it into a picture book like this one

8- Eventually rocks get eroded into smaller rocks and dust that mixes with dead leaves and other organic material to create soil. What kind of "dust" would your rock make? Place a cloth or rag (that you don't mind getting destroyed) over your rock, wear safety goggles, and gently crush your rock with a hammer. Lift up the cloth. Does the crushed rock look the way you expected? Are there any unexpected colors or sparkles?

9- Go on a quartz hunt! Quartz is an extremely common mineral, and it is usually easy to find rocks with quartz in it almost everywhere around the world! Most rocks that seem to have sparkly crystals in them are made with quartz. Quartz is harder than a steel nail (so you can NOT scratch it with a nail) and reflects light beautifully. If you find a pure quartz crystal you will see that it grows in a hexagonal crystal.  It can come in many colors, depending on the other minerals present when it is growing -- I have collected rose quartz, smoky quartz, and amethyst!

10- Open a geode! Perhaps you live in an area with geodes, but you can also often find fist-sized rocks near rivers to crack open! Even if it isn't a geode, there are often crystals or colors "inside" rocks that you don't see on the "outside." Wear safety goggles, and set the rock in a sock (or wrap it in a cloth or rag). Hit it hard once or twice to make it crack, and see if there are any surprises inside!

A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze

Educational Activities to Learn About Things Besides Rocks

11- Make DIY Alphabet Pebbles to practice letter sounds and spelling words!

15- Make a set of "story stones" and use them to tell stories as a group or as writing prompts!

16- Use rocks to create a succulent garden! This can be a small or huge STEM project that younger children can help with and older children can learn a ton from planning and building!

Rock Art & Craft Activities

17- Make "pet rocks" by painting and adding wiggly eyes to your rocks!

18- Make "rock bugs" -- you can point out that insects have 3 body parts, but your rocks are only going to have 1!

19- Make "Stone Fish" with paint and felt!

22- Make Owl Rocks! I haven't done this one yet, but owls are one of our favorite animals, so this looks especially fun to me!

24- Make a Stone Snake with cool patterns on it!

25- Make Rock Monsters! There is no wrong monster!

26- Make Garden Markers with stones! This is a practical little craft! We've also painted stones red to try (ha!) convincing birds they don't want to eat our berries!

27- Make inspirational stones -- find uplifting quotes and paint or write them on rocks with markers! You can put them on display for yourself and share some with others!

Remember my daughter from the beginning? I carried her two biggest rocks--she managed the four smaller ones brilliantly! She ended up using three of them for projects and saved three for looking at. After all, a rock collection is one of the most wonderful things to look at!  (I suppose that makes 28 rock activities...I hope you'll forgive me for going one over the title!)

What do you like to do with rocks? Do you have rock collections? How do you display them? I would love to hear from you! You can email me at Carla at TurtleTrailsPublishing dot com, visit me HERE on Facebook, HERE on Instagram, or just leave a comment!

➡️ I also have a VIP Email Club that I share special freebies with, discounts, great ideas like these, and even new products! You can sign up for my VIP Club HERE

Happy Educating!
💖 Carla

PS. Have you seen my picture book A Dinosaur Made Me Sneeze? It's all about the rock cycle! Learn more by clicking HERE and place your pre-order HERE!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Some fun ideas to do with all those random rocks your kids collect!