Kindness Rocks: Spreading Love One Rock at a Time

Our painted rock obsession started with Kindness Rocks when we stumbled upon this rock in the notch of a Detroit Zoo fence. 

We spend a lot of time with Eye Spy eyes peeled, looking for the unexpected and extraordinary. No surprise my little guy found this! I flipped it over to discover an inscription.

I found the group on Facebook and I couldn’t believe it has over 30,000 members! The About section explains it’s a group who decorates rocks and hides for others, in order to brighten one’s day. We posted the picture of our rock and lost ourselves looking at discovered rocks in unusual places.

I had to know more about this rock thing. I quickly learned Kindness Rocks are a major global movement. A message of love, happiness, encouragement, silliness…can totally brighten someone’s day one rock at a time.

I read tons of testimonials of families unplugging and rediscovering a love of the outdoors. There were stories of adults finding their love of creating and painting; people coping with depression by busying their hands and putting joy out into the world. It was incredible! I joined Downriver Rocks, plus Berkley Rocks and Clawson Rocks. I also joined Kalamazoo Rocks for when we travel to see family. We were hooked!

In a couple of months we discovered rocks at parks, libraries, museums, doctor’s offices, schools, businesses, and events.

This was part of a group of rocks traveling around Woodward Dream Cruise, memorializing a loved one. 

We took pictures for posting, and re-hid them. 

Soon we started painting our own rocks to share the love.

I keep them in the car or my purse to tuck away in special locations. We’ve painted rocks for family and friends and hid them in nooks inside their house, signing our names on the back. We love getting texts later about their discovery! So if you’re not into posting rocks on social media, you and your kids could enjoy painting and giving rocks to special people – family, teachers, classmates, doctors. This ladybug was hidden in our garden by our neighbor. So sweet!

Over and over people tell me, “How do you start?” or “I love that you do this, but I couldn’t paint rocks because I have no artistic ability.” Here are a few tips:

  1. Grab rocks from your yard and get started. Don’t have any? Go to your local landscaping supply store and purchase some rocks. This is a super fun outing for kids because they love digging for special shapes and colors to paint later. You can also buy small bags of rocks at hardware stores, craft stores, and dollar stores. Depending on where you find them, the rocks can be dirty. Wash them in dish soap and let dry thoroughly.
  2. Purchase brushes and favorite colors of small acrylic paint bottles. Use an old muffin tin as a painter’s palette. Or skip paint and brushes and use Sharpie Oil Base paint pens. Super easy! We loved finding rocks covered in paint pen polka dots. 

3. Write down a short list of pictures or words that make you happy. This way when you sit down to paint you aren’t flabbergasted as what to draw. Search social media sites with #thekindnessrocksproject #kindnessrocks #paintedrocks #rockpainting for loads of inspiration.

4. If you feel painting isn’t your jam, clip out small pictures, words or quotes from newspapers, magazines, store fliers or junk mail. Those Scholastic Book order forms would be great for kids to clip. Stickers make decorating easy too. Then you can Modge Podge your stickers or clippings to rocks! 

5. Purchase a good sealer for the rocks (apply after the paint job is dry) to prevent chipping or if you want your artwork to last in outdoor weather. Most people use Modge Podge Outdoor or a spray UV-Resistant clear acrylic coating.

6. Search for a local Facebook group by typing your area/town and rocks to find groups. Join one. This is a great place to find painting inspiration. Plus you can see what tag to write on the back. Most groups ( such as Berkley Rocks) have a file of printable tags you can download, print and attach.

7. Start painting! Do this at home with your family. Host a party with some of your neighbors.  Search for local events – there are local rock painting parties (both adult-only and family-friendly) at libraries or craft stores. We went to a Saturday afternoon event at Michael’s and it was fabulous. ALL the materials were there (including rocks) and we left the mess at the store!

I hope you enjoy the adventure of paying it forward and spreading a little kindness in the world. We absolutely love being part of this movement and creating art is beyond therapeutic. 

Things to remember – please don’t snitch naked rocks from private property or national parks. It is illegal. When hiding painted rocks, keep them close to public walkways to avoid trespassing and away from grassy areas so they don’t get caught in mowers or tossed by trimmers. Also, your own painted rocks may not end up posted on social media. 


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Erica Owens
Erica lives in Oak Park. She's married to Matt and they have an inquisitive and charismatic six-year-old son named Padraig. Erica has worked in the fiber arts industry for years and is currently a knitting instructor at her local yarn shop in Berkley. She has a thirst for knowledge and a passion for exploring new places. By 30 she had traveled to all seven continents. She still has that spontaneous, adventurous spirit and so does her little guy. Her family loves to do anything at the drop of a hat and enjoys exploring the local areas. You'll find them in and around Detroit at museums, unique restaurants, festivals and sporting events. Erica loves to share local finds on Instagram (@FrugalOnTheFly) so more families can join in the fun!


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