The staff here at Gillette's has seen a lot of painted rocks in our day – some dating back to our grandmother's garden or windowsill. This is a growing hobby and pastime, but a recently added twist involving these rocks is a fun, family camp game that is sweeping the nation.
Imagine a mash-up of treasure hunting, rock painting, camping, time capsules, and geocaching, with a sprinkle of colorful creativity thrown in for extra flavor. We call it RV Rocking! Not really, but we would have if we'd thought of it first.
How Does It Work?
Simple! You can paint the rocks, hide the rocks, find the rocks, keep the rocks, re-hide the rocks after you find them, or any combination thereof! Some folks love the painting part more than the hunting and digging up part, and some love the finding and then "passing along" part; it all comes down to your preference on any given day. We've seen how rewarding it can be to involve your family and friends in the process, and it makes for a really entertaining game while you are exploring or relaxing at your favorite getaway. There is literally nothing like the expression on a child's face when they happen upon a discovery like this!
How To Make Your Own Painted Rock
- Obviously, you will need a rock first. Painting on your hand instead is a jolly good time, but you will likely object to leaving your hand behind for someone else to find. The rock can be just about any size, as long as it is fairly smooth . . . although the hiding part is much easier if you are able to lift the rock. We offer tips like this free of charge.
- Prep the rock for your impending artwork with a good cleaning, as paint dislikes adhering to random dirt or bugs. An old rag or toothbrush can help with tougher spots. Make sure to completely dry the rock, because paint also doesn't get along with water too well. Paint is a picky substance.
- Grab your acrylic paint, brushes, and paint pens and unleash your inner Rembrandt or Renoir! Please note, they may not name a chapel or gallery after you, but the fun you can have and the joy you can spread with your designs may touch someone's life or brighten their day in a way that some old sculpture in Europe never could. Keep your artistry on the family friendly side, since it may well show up on social media later for the world to see. You can include virtually any kind of word or saying, as well as instructions on where to share photos when someone finds it, but you may not wish to add your name or personal contact info. Your choice.
- After the paint dries, finish it off with some clear coat to seal in the freshness and prevent the first sign of moisture from smearing your masterpiece. Don't spray the clear coat on the back of your pets when nobody is looking, it's not funny.
The point of this game, once you've made a painted rock, is to find a good spot (try to make it accessible to children) and hide it! After hiding it, post a photo or two in your local Facebook group as a hint of where the next person can find it. There are quite a few social media groups dedicated to games just like this, and if there isn't one for your location, you can always start one!
You could, of course, chuck your new painted rock into a pond or lake just to watch the splash and ripples, but that would seem like a bit of a waste. Also, fish just don't care that much about rock designs.
If you have a rock that you made or found and don't want to part with it, you can also glue some felt on the bottom so it won't scratch anything, and use it as a doorstop or display it on your bookshelf. Presto – conversation starter!
Here at Gillette's, we were thinking of handing out these painted rocks to customers to hide at campgrounds during their future travels. What do you think?
Dos and Don'ts
Remember the Pokemon Go craze? This game is much less wandering into the street looking for an accident, and much more getting out in nature and discovering fun surprises in a very unplugged and enjoyable manner. It can be loads of fun with much merriment, but please remember a few things:
- DO always get permission before hiding rocks, as most national forests and parks have a LNT (Leave No Trace) policy for visitors. We wouldn't mess around with that, unless you really want a visit from Smokey the Irritated Bear. Hiding places that are also not recommended: a stranger's car, in front of a lawnmower, cemeteries, mountain tops, beehives, predator caves, the South Pole, and any private property.
- DON'T try and hide your rock in a crazy dangerous place, like suspended midair over a vast yawning volcanic chasm guarded by giant alligators and boulder traps. Most of us are not Indiana Jones, and how would you feel if some kid was injured trying to retrieve it? Resist the urge, keep it simple and easy to find.
- DO make super cool designs on your rock, like animals, flowers, quotes, food, sky, emojis, sports, and of course RVs!
- DON'T let your generosity get the best of you and leave behind paint or markers for the next person. The next person might have no interest in pursuing the game, but might have a great interest in defacing the great outdoors with the vivid (and toxic) colors you've provided for them. Be thoughtful in life, but leave the art supplies up to the rock finder.
- DO hide your rocks in unique places, like parks, hiking trails, playgrounds, beaches, hospitals, schools, or nursing homes. Just remember the permission thing first.
In the end, this is just a fun and easy way to spread a moment of happiness to someone else, as well as perhaps the joy of creating something yourself. Have you painted and hid or found rocks while camping or traveling? Tell us about it in the comments below!