Have you noticed any painted rocks around the county? Just sitting by a building, on a trail, or in the grass? Have you wondered what they’re about? Brittany Roden, facilitator of the Facebook group Lewis County “Rocks” tells us what they are and how you can participate.

awesome ford“I just wanted to do something fun with my young daughters,” she says. She heard about a group in Port Angeles that painted rocks and hid them around the community for others to find. “I belong to the Morton Cooperative Preschool and so I had a pool of kiddos and their families that I thought would be interested in it,” she explains. They all began painting rocks and leaving them in places convenient for other families to find.

So how does it work? Participants paint the rocks, then post pictures of rocks they are going to hide and give hints as to where they’ll be. Giving hints generates a lot of interest and creates “hot spots” of sorts. “People start to gravitate towards those areas if they’re taking their kids out,” explains Brittany.

Lewis County Rocks
Beautifully painted rocks may be found almost anywhere you go. Pick them up, turn them over, and it will say the name of the rock group that placed it. Photo credit: Brittany Roden

Anyone can participate. You simply follow the Facebook page, then start painting your rocks. On the back of every rock, you want to put the name of the group and the Facebook logo so that when people pick it up and see the logo, they can go and search for the group and request to join it. That also helps increase activity within the group.

So what do people do when they find the rocks? Brittany says that if finders aren’t in a group, they would probably keep them if they didn’t know what they were about. Sometimes people just choose to keep them even when they know what they are. “That’s OK,” says Brittany, “The intent is to spread joy. But if people can re-hide them for others to find, that is helpful, too.” It’s also nice if people can post pictures of the rocks they find, it’s encouraging to the artist who hid it. “There are some really talented painters out there,” she smiles.

There aren’t a lot of rules. “It was important for me that this group be family friendly. Also if you are wanting to hide a rock outside of a business, be sure to ask the business for permission first,” advises Brittany.

Painted rocks
Some rocks have inspirational messages for the finder. Photo credit: Ming Haong

The rocks don’t have to be anything fancy. Brittany uses river rocks because they are less porous and less time-consuming to paint. They’re also inexpensive and easy to find. She uses acrylic paints, but says patio paints hold up well in all kinds of weather. Rocks get painted with a base color first, then it gets topped off with whatever someone wants to paint on it such as a flower or a rainbow. Any content or words are fine as long as it is age-appropriate. Brittany adds words to her kids’ rocks that describe it. After painting, it gets finished off with a sealer. Brittany uses Mod Podge for a topcoat sealer, which she says works well for her since she hides rocks during good weather. There is even a webpage for the Mod Podge dedicated to teaching how to paint rocks. Brittany says some people also use spray-on sealers for rocks that will be out in all weather conditions or that have intricate, artistic pictures on them.

Some of the rocks are part of larger purposes, such as inspirational quotes or seasonal designs. One group in Oregon painted rocks and hid them in the yard of a little girl with cancer. She loved to look for the rocks, but had been too tired to go out looking for them so they brought the rocks to her, putting a big smile on her face.

Hidden Rocks
Rocks may be placed almost anywhere, just be sure to ask permission before placing outside a business. Photo credit: Nicole Sampson

Brittany is excited about the hobby and the future of it. “It’s been really neat for me to observe some of the larger groups and see how far-reaching they are. People take them on trips and some rocks have even shown up in Europe. What a great thing to spread it to other communities. There are so many groups across the country, it’s amazing. It’s such a great community-building activity that is so simple and so authentic. The goal is just to bring joy and light to people. I hope that in our group we can extend it beyond our little community as well. In the meantime, I’m just happy painting rocks with my girls,” she smiles.

A larger Facebook group, World Wide Rock Swap #WWRS, has a file listing rock groups around the country, so you could find one almost anywhere you go.

So join a Facebook rock group, find a rock or paint one, post it, and join in this new fun, family-friendly, and active outdoor hobby!

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