In a modern childhood filled with technology and a lot of indoor time, many parents want to get back to basics with their children. The kindness rocks movement encourages you to slow down, create something together, explore the great outdoors, and in the process, maybe even make someone else smile.
Not only do kindness rocks (or painted rocks as they are often referred to) help foster creativity, they also help you to connect with your community and teach children about the power of kindness and empathy. Plus, it can be a great game of “hide and seek” as you and your children go searching for rocks hidden in your local area. And who knows… maybe it could be your rock that brightens someone’s day?
Origins of Kindness Rocks
The movement was started by Megan Murphy in the United States as The Kindness Rocks Project. She hoped that by decorating rocks with a kind message, an inspirational quote, or a whimsical picture and then hiding them in public places around her local area, might help connect, inspire and empower others who find them. The grass roots kindness movement has now grown worldwide with many people wanting to bring the uplifting message to their own neighbourhoods…..and it’s here…yep, right here, in Parramatta!
Kindness Rocks in the Parramatta District
Parramatta Rocks! was created in 2017 off the back of The Kindness Rocks Project, with the hope of spreading positivity around the greater Parramatta area.
How to Play
At its most basic, Parramatta Rocks! is simply a game of hide and seek….with painted rocks! The idea is to decorate rocks and hide them in a public place for others to find. The “finder” posts a picture of the rock they found in the relevant Facebook group (tagged on the back of the rock) and can either choose to keep the rock, or re-hide it for another lucky person to find.
To pay it forward and keep the kindness going, people who choose to keep their rock are encouraged to replace their rock with another one that they’ve decorated and hidden for someone else to find.
Six Easy Steps to Join In
1Get Some Rocks
Rocks can be purchased at gardening supplies stores (like Bunnings) or collected when you are at parks or bushwalking. Smooth rocks approx 10cm – 20cm in length with a flat top and bottom will be easier to decorate. Rocks found near rivers are more likely to be smooth and flat. Bumpy rocks will still work they are just a little harder to handle when painting/writing. Be sure to brush off any dirt before you start painting.
2Decorate Your Rocks
This is where all the family can get involved! Anyone can decorate the rocks. Any age! Any skill level! It’s not an art competition so let your inner creative-type loose! There are a few options for painting/decorating your rocks. For a quick way to paint rocks, paint pens are the best (eg Posca brand you can buy at art supplies stores or Officeworks. The colours are bright and they’re easy to use but they will set you back around $5 each). You can also use acrylic paint that is $1-$2 a tube from Aldi and Kmart. Depending on the rock and quality of paint you might need to do two coats when using acrylic paint and it takes longer to dry. Or you could use permanent markers which are less messy than paint and good for little fingers to use, but aren’t as bright on darker coloured rocks. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you and your family (and your budget!)
3“Tag” Your Rocks
When someone finds your rock, they’ll want to know where it came from, so they can let everyone know it’s been found. So “tagging” your rocks on the reverse side with the Facebook symbol and the name of the group “Parramatta Rocks!” will help guide people to the right place to say thank you, and to learn what the kindness rocks movement is all about.
4Seal Your Rocks
Once you’ve decorated and tagged your rocks, you’ll want to give it a finishing touch of clear sealant to ensure the paint won’t run in the elements. And as an added bonus, your rocks will look fantastic and glossy once the layer of clear coat goes on. You could use a clear spray paint such as British Paints – Spray Easy Paint and Prime, which costs about $8. Spray sealant dries really quick, which leaves more time to paint more rocks and for rock drops. You could also seal your rocks with exterior/deck sealant which is around $30 a tin and will last for hundreds of rocks. It takes longer to dry and it a little more messy to apply, so choose which you think will suit your family best.
5Hide Your Rocks
Ultimately you want people to find your rocks – that’s the whole idea of the movement! So hide them in a public place like a park, playground, near some outdoor exercise equipment, along a bushwalking track, at the bus stop, picnic ground, near footpaths etc. Please don’t place your rock on private property or inside businesses. And please don’t hide your rock where it could cause someone to trip, or where it could fall on/hurt someone.
6Announce Your “Rock Drop” (or Not!)
You’ve got two options once you’ve hidden your rocks.
- You can set it up as a hide-and-seek treasure hunt by posting a photo of your rocks to the Parramatta Rocks! Facebook group and the general location of where the rocks are hidden. That way, existing members will know that there are rocks to be found, and can set out on a treasure hunt to find them. This method also encourages members to try new parks and bushwalking tracks they may never have known about without seeing the “rock drop” posts on their Facebook feed.
- You can do a “stealth drop” by hiding your rocks discreetly without publicly announcing the location, in the hope that someone will randomly discover them and it will bring a smile to their face. This is a great way to allow newcomers to join the movement, as there is a greater chance they haven’t been found by someone already. The element of surprise and unexpectedness is the beauty of a “stealth drop” – someone may never have known about the movement before finding your rock and be delighted when they discover this whole community exists right under their nose in their neighbourhood.
Found a Rock? Now What?
If you’re one of the lucky ones who’ve found a “Parramatta Rock”, don’t keep the happy news to yourself! Let us know! Go to the Parramatta Rocks! Facebook group and post a photo to the group of your find. I can guarantee whoever hid the rock will be DELIGHTED to hear it’s been found, and what will happen to it now.
If you love the rock and want to keep it, good for you! You are welcome to enjoy this new treasure for as long as you like. All we ask is that you “pay it forward” by decorating your own rock and hiding it, so another lucky person has the opportunity to find a rock, just like you did.
Or, you can re-hide the rock for someone else. Either in a similar area to where you originally found it, or take it to another park or public space and hide it there. It’s amazing to see just how far some of the Parramatta Rocks! have already travelled around the Parramatta area, around greater Sydney, and even interstate and overseas!
Some Tips on Decorating Your Rocks
What should you paint on your rocks? The sky’s the limit! It’s time to get creative!
Maybe you’d like to draw a picture of your favourite TV show, movie or book character? Perhaps you’d like to leave an inspiring and positive message to brighten someone’s day? You might be influenced by the seasons or a special occasion on the calendar (like Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day) and want to theme your rocks accordingly.
Even a scribble from your toddler is bound to bring a smile to someone’s face. It’s not a competition. You don’t need to be an artist. Don’t be put off by what other people have done. Be unique. Be you.