The Kindness Rock Project – Rock Swap

If you have been living under a rock then chances it has been picked up and painted and hidden some place as of late so you must know about The Kindness Rock project. Perhaps you didn’t know just how this current craze started of people painting rocks and hiding them in places for others to find and love. The Kindness Rock Project was created by a Cape Cod Massachussetts Mom who found herself dealing with grief. She wanted to bring some joy to others and started writing inspiring things on rocks and leaving them for others to do the same. This rock trend had gone viral and now there are groups around the country, some with over 100k members who all paint and hide rocks to make other people smile when they are found!

The Kindness Rock Project

The local group my family is a part of is about 17k strong called Augusta “Rocks” and this past weekend here in far too sunny Georgia, they had a rock swap! While my family doesn’t so much love dealing with the arm pit of satan heat and humidity, we braved a much too hot day to go trade the kids rocks for new ones. It was a fantastic event and those who set it up should be proud of the joy they brought to so many!

  These are the rocks my kids brought for the swap that our household painted:

kindness rock project rock swap painted stones kids

The kids love painting rocks and from this photo you can see the wide range of talent. Some of the 5 kids have great patience and attention to detail, others just bask in the joy of bright colors and how easy paint goes on smooth stones. It is very satisfying for them! Sometimes they get aggravated when their design plans don’t come out. One thing is for sure, they love doing this! I think we are going to make rock art a part of our homeschool art curriculum this year and include different painting techniques and different mediums.
ghibli collection rock painting kindness project geeks

These stones where specially painted at a Ghibli Collection of Painted Rocks as that is a theme our geeky little family really likes, specially our oldest daughter. That dragon is so cool! Totoro, Ponyo, JiJi, No Face, and the soot sprites are so cute!

A Rock Swap is a great chance to improve good social skills for shy children!

 These are the rocks the kids traded for at the Augusta Rock Swap: the kindness project augusta rocks swap

  This was a great event for my homeschooled kids as 2 of them are rather shy when it comes to talking to strangers. My spectrum baby who is now 9 still rather talk to animals than people. She is cheerful and smiles and giggles and then hides behind someone she knows when strangers tend to talk to her. Storm Baby still has a ways to go when it comes to communicating with strangers. She blossomed though at this event. She found rocks she wanted, she carefully and politely asked if the person would like to trade, often adults, and then offered our box of rocks for them to pick one.

 Our son much to my surprise had a harder time. He liked others rocks but did not want to ask others to trade. He would be fine talking to them about anything interesting but asking for something…. that seems to be a skill he needs to work on and now we have identified it thankfully and can do that! Handsome boy is growing up and in this life, you have to communicate well!

  Now don’t go thinking this shyness is simply because they are homeschooled. Public schooled kids have their own behavior challenges too. In fact some rocks “stolen” from tables that day by kids and I was told who to “watch out” for and yes, they are public school kids. That doesn’t mean all public schooled kids steal, just as not all homeschool kids are shy. Alas, I am getting off topic, this isn’t about how children are educated. I think all educational options are valid and there is no one size fits all. It does bring up something important though!

  Every single person was sweet to the kids! Like a lot of parents I worried that my kids would want to swap rocks with artists and be denied because the kids rocks are… well…. not up to the quality of so many local artists. That didn’t happen though! Artists gushed over the kids rocks and made them feel great about their efforts! Smilie Baby (who is now 7!) was super social and brave! There were so many tables of rocks, collections on the grass, kids with boxes full! Next time we are bringing a table too! And something for shade as goodness the sun was fierce!

augusta rocks rock swap event

Augusta Rocks Rock Swap Even June 2017

It turns out though, a friends child did not have the same kind experience my kids did. We talked about it on my facebook wall after the event.

Lessons Learned At the Rock Swap

HER: Thats how I felt too. My rocks were OK but no where near as beautiful as the artist out there. Skylar hesitated to join in. But he finally did. Some people did have rocks they wanted to trade with better rocks so when he was bumbed when he found a rock he liked his weren’t good enough to be traded.

In the end he finally came around and got a few he liked.
We did score some beautiful rocks. And everyone really enjoyed it. Will deffinently want to do this again.

ME: Sorry that happened to him! I was expecting that actually but it didn’t happen to my kids. They found a few “not for trade” rocks they liked and that didn’t bother them thankfully!
HER: It teaches life lessons. Several of them. You can’t always get what you want.
She said it was the time spent on them that made them special rocks. If you look at the rocks as money or bartering it the trade isn’t fair.
ME:  I am not sure it teaches the right lessons though. The kindness project is how this all started, the idea that a bit of art could bring joy and hope. It wasn’t supposed to be used as a commodity. Not to mention 1 adult hour on a rock is the same as 10 minutes of kid time on a rock respectively. The rocks are about kindness and joy and that includes kids. Kindness and Joy should be what we trade, not time and talent!

HER: I know but just trying to find a positive out of it. I thought about all that.

He did end up with other rocks from her to give as gifts.

And really it’s ok

No matter what we feel about this part of the swap event, both our families will be going back next time and all the kids are motivated to create beautiful pieces of art to make others smile. Till then, we go back to painting rocks and hiding them in the swamp not too far from where we live on the trails for others to find! It is a great excuse to be creative and to get out into nature!
One of the things that pulled me towards this hobby for my family is that I believe the Kindness Project really fits in with our attachment parenting beliefs and crunchy parenting lifestyle. The act of painting rocks and hiding them in nature for strangers to find, to make them smile, doing good for the sake of doing good, lines up with the values we are trying to teach our children. I think doing this together also helps our family bond and goodness, with the oldest being almost 18 and the youngest being nearly 2, it can sometimes be a challenge to find things we all like to do together. Rock Painting and Hiding and Hunting happens to fit wonderfully!
The Kindness Project Rock Painting Teaches Kids

Do you love The Kindness Rock Project?

Does your city have a group too?

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