A creative way for kids to use the stones they stumble across is to turn them into animals, people, or objects.
With just a few supplies -- paint, glue, and clay -- children can try out their skills as rock artists. Like sculptors, they'll learn to judge proportion and form. Like painters, they will need to consider color and shape, along with such pleasant dilemmas as how to create a tapered wing on a rounded rock. Before painting, kids should sketch out their plan: it's easier to envision what the finished project will look like if they draw it first with pencil on paper.
Tempera paint looks chalkier but washes off easily, while acrylic paint has a glossy finish. Cement glue makes the strongest bond but should be used only by parents working in well-ventilated areas. Kid-friendly glues are less durable and are best for rock crafts that will sit on shelves.
- Nondrying clay, such as bread clay
- Cement glue
- Coffee stirrers
- Tempera or acrylic paint
Glue rocks together before painting them, attaching small stone features such as eyes, feet, or beaks before joining larger parts.
After painting, attach whiskers and tails.
Kids can design a project by arranging rocks until the figure looks right. Use little cushions of nondrying clay to support parts while the glue sets; bread clay works especially well. For example, the alligator's hungry mouth is partly supported by his pink tongue (below left). Cut-up coffee stirrers are glued to the fellow's underside for stability (below right) and painted gray.