Making Rock Art for Free—an Easy Activity for Outdoor Play and Creativity

By guest artist and author Patti Rokus,

Make rock art as a free outdoor activity

Spending time outside is immune boosting, calming, and a lot of fun if you know what to do. Rock art has limitless possibilities, and the art supplies are free! Here are just three of the many different ways to play with rocks to create rock art.

What You’ll Need

  • Access to the great outdoors, even if it’s just the neighborhood
  • Containers to collect rocks in (used Ziploc bags or used plastic containers work well)
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather, including sun protection, like a hat


Three Fun Options for Play

1. Spell words. Write your nameby placing rocks in the shape of letters. Or leave a kind message for someone on their doorstep written with rocks.

Spell words with rocks


2. Go on a treasure hunt. Choose a favorite shape and collect all the rocks of that shape you can find. The person who finds the most of a chosen shape gets to choose what message to write or what picture to create with all the rocks.

Find heart-shaped rocks or other rocks in a treasure hunt

Tip: If you choose to look for heart-shaped rocks, note that they can be tough to find, so give yourself many outdoor adventure dates to find them. If you look for triangles, you just might discover a heart once you turn the rock around in your hands.


3. Create pictures. Collect odd-shaped rocks, and then spread them all out to see if you can discover a picture they make when put together. Start with just three rocks, and see what you can make.

Create artwork with rocks

Tip 1: A round rock above a long rock can be a person.

Tip 2: Unusual-shaped rocks give you more possibilities.



Got teenagers? Start inside by first choosing a silhouette of a picture. Using Google Images for this is quick and easy. Search for the picture you want, such as a lizard or a tree, and type in the search field descriptions like “tree silhouette image” or “lizard silhouette image.” Print a copy of the chosen image. Take the printed copy outside to find rocks that can combine to make that image. Younger children may find this too advanced. Just let them come up with their own rock formations, as their imaginations are excellent.


Conversation Starter

Putting down a digital device can be hard for anyone. While spending time outside playing with rocks, ask each other how this feels different from playing on a device. What sounds do you hear? What ideas are coming to mind? Notice how your body may feel more relaxed. Talk about why you like being outside as a reminder of just how much your family really does love the outdoors and may want to prioritize more time there


Why This Matters

Being outside can be soothing and inspiring. When we are given something natural to focus on and play with outside, we not only develop our innate creativity, but also release stress and anxiety that may be building. Also, sharing rock art as gifts is a free and fun way to serve each other.

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arts and crafts free activities nature outdoor outdoor activities rocks screen free screen-free play

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