Activity:

Create a Painted Rock Mosaic

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What You Need:

  • Bucket (or other container for rock collecting)
  • Small rocks or pebbles
  • Old t-shirt or smock
  • Newspaper or other scrap paper
  • Paper plate
  • Tempera paints
  • Small paint brush
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that you both are going to take a nature walk (be sure to remember your bucket). While you're walking, tell your kid to keep a look out for small pebbles and rocks.
  2. Ask your child to put the rocks she finds into the bucket. Encourage her to pick out rocks and pebbles that are different shapes and of varying (small) sizes.
  3. When your return from your walk, set up a workspace for your child. Cover the area with newspaper or other scrap paper so that if your little one makes a mess, it's no big deal. Have your child prepare to paint by putting on the smock.
  4. Make small puddles of paint on paper plate. Use at least three different colors. Challenge your child to identify the different colors on the plate.
  5. Encourage your child to dip the rocks in the paint. Explain to her that the goal is to cover as much of each rock with the paint as she can.
  6. Separate the rocks into color groups and let them dry. You might need to adjust the rocks while they're drying to ensure they don't stick to the newspaper and guarantee that they dry completely. After the rocks are dry, if you notice that your kid happened to miss some spots, have her use the small paintbrush for touch-ups.
  7. Now your child can use the pencil to draw whatever design she pleases on the piece of cardboard. The design will serve as her guide for positioning the rocks.
  8. Help your child decide which colored rocks will go where and then label the cardboard with the names of the different colors.
  9. Lay the cardboard on a flat surface. Have your child glue each rock to its designated color area. For example, yellow rocks would go in the "yellow" area, green rocks in the "green," etc.
  10. Let the glue dry, and...voilà! You have a lovely painted rock mosaic. Expand upon this activity by making another mosaic that experiments with new patterns and materials. Encourage your child to try different designs. You may also want to use other items such as coins, buttons, and maybe even ribbon!

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