Next time you tell your kids to go outside and kick rocks, make sure they take a look at the rocks first. There’s a rocking new trend sweeping the nation and Raleigh is no exception.
Raleigh Rocks is the Facebook group making the Triangle area a bit more colorful.
Started this year in Raleigh by an elementary school art teacher Sara Roberts, the idea behind this community group is to paint or decorate a rock and hide it for someone else to find and enjoy. This simple idea does have some rules attached-which are kindly laid out on their Facebook page.
Guidelines to Raleigh Rocks: A Community Art Project
First, purchase or find a rock on your own property (home improvement stores have bags of river rocks in the garden section), decorate it with sharpies or acrylic paint, on the back of the rock write “Keep or Hide You Decide. Raleigh Rocks on FB.” Next, you get to hide your rock and take photographic hints for the Facebook page- one of the rock snug in its hiding place, and one of a clue to the location where you hid it. Then sit back and wait to see if someone finds your rock!
While speaking with the creator, Sara Roberts, I could feel the passion she holds for art and this project in particular. Raleigh Rocks was created with the goal of being a “broad community that cares for each other.” But don’t let the name fool you, this broad community includes the whole Triangle area and beyond. Some of the traveling rocks have made it all the way to Niagara Falls and Santa Monica, California!
Some tips from the creator. Read the instructions on the Facebook page. It is important not to take rocks from parks (it can actually be illegal). It is also important to remember that nothing should be placed on your rock that could come off or negatively impact the environment. Hide your rock, but not too well. The goal here is for someone to find it and benefit from your adorable designs or uplifting message. As Sara says, “We want to make people smile!”
While this group was not created specifically for children, (a fact made clear by my own husband’s enthusiastic Bob Ross impression while painting his rock) Sara had a few things to say specifically to parents.
First of all, don’t be afraid of the mess.
I know, I know, the thought of handing the kids a paintbrush and some acrylic paint doesn’t exactly fill you with glee. But we need to get past that, lay down some newspaper, and let them create. Sara says no one cares what it looks like, and that finding a rock no matter the decoration fills the finder with joy. But I will say that I’ve been so impressed with the messages these kids (and adults) are writing on their rocks. My own 6-year-old son who enjoys dinosaurs and potty humor asked me if I could put, “Kind is the New Cool” on his rock. Which leads me to the second message Sara has for parents: This can help teach our children that what they do and say matters and touches others. This can be a small act of service by our tiny budding humans that impacts the larger community positively.
Through nothing but word of mouth, this beautiful project is spreading. Rock painting parties are happening, cheap party favors are being traded out for painted rocks, and large “group paints” are being organized. Join their Facebook page and join in the fun. And keep a look out when you are around town, you never know when you will find a picturesque pebble of your very own.