We spent a lot of time looking at rocks, describing them, feeling the different textures, sorting them. Sometimes the girls grouped them by size or color.
Looking for rocks? You can just use some colorful ones from your own yard. You can also purchase rock kits or starter collections. We had picked up a few special ones from rock shops in the past and then also enjoyed the ones from when we went gem sluicing.
Originally the plan was to make pet rocks but the girls had other plans. First we painted the rocks then decorated them with all kinds of goodies–googly eyes, feathers, sequins, glitter glue, gems, pipe cleaners. (We have a plastic bin where we keep all those fun things so that when doing a project like this we can just pull it and go to town).
This project was a big hit. The girls loved their rocks so much they showed them off to their friends who came to play who insisted on making their own rocks. So we started another round of monster rock making!
Get outside and explore some rocks! Check your local area to see where you can do some good exploring. Living in the desert it seems that we have rocks everywhere. We had a blast exploring a local cave (Colossal Cave for my Arizona friends). Now for a moment of mommy bragging–the cave tour had lots of stairs, was dark, and required good listening for a long time. I was worried since I was alone with the girls but they were awesome!
Very similar to panning for gold, this is so much fun! We were able to do this on our cave adventure. But really you could do this at home–just use a screen or sifter and a running hose, stream, bin of water. There are sluice bags you can purchase with gems, sand, and other rocks or you can make your own by hiding gems or your special rocks into sand and dirt.
What’s a rock unit without cracking open geodes? Check your local rock shop to find some. Gift shops for science related attractions also tend to have them or you can order some online if need be. My niece took me to my first real rock shop and I have to say it was quite an experience. I had no idea how interesting they could be.
We made these using air-dry clay (from Crayola purchased at Michaels) for our base. Then the girls pressed small rocks into it to make a design. Once the clay was dry we covered them in a sealant so that their creations could find a home outside. Just be sure to cover the entire thing, top and bottom, in a heavy duty sealant.
Of course we went hunting for rocks outside, just to look at as well as some to use for our crafts. We also hunted for rocks around our house. The girls were surprised to see that rocks were used around the house from the granite in the countertops to their pencil tips.