Pebble Painting For Kids: All You Need To Know
If you are running out of ideas to keep your kids engaged, and have exhausted all the tricks to reduce screen time with no luck, then you have come to the right place. Ever considered pebble painting?
By Vidya Nesarikar
A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away. - Phyllis McGinley, American Author of children’s books and poetry
Rock painting or pebble painting is a great hobby for your child to indulge in! And the best part is that it doesn’t cost much, and the materials are easy to find.
So, fire up your child’s imagination with a session of rock or pebble painting. Once done, the rocks look oh-so-cute, that your kids just might refuse to part with it! Blend these unique, handmade décor items in your home décor – you can use them as paperweights, windowsill decorators, show pieces, garden decor and so forth! And what’s more? You and your children can use it as ‘kindness stones’ for strangers! All you got to do is, paint a pebble and leave it for a stranger to stumble upon – in the hope of brightening up their day! Confused how to go about it? Read it all here.
What is pebble painting?
As the name suggests, pebble painting is simply painting on pebbles or rocks. These pebbles are all around us, you just need to put in a little bit of creativity, to turn these rocks into works of art. And it can be a great hobby for children to take on. Think painted owls, ladybirds, abstract designs and flowers. You can really unleash your inner artist with this medium.
In an age where children find it hard to sit still without an electronic gadget in hand, painting pebbles can be a wonderfully-calming activity. It can bring down stress levels of both parents and children – and can also serve as a great bonding activity.
“It’s definitely a thing here in USA. My daughter Anjali, painted pebbles as part of a school project. People also do it as an activity during birthday celebrations,” says Jessica Mckenzie-Murthy, a mom from Washington DC.
How to go about pebble painting
For starts, all you need is a smooth pebble, some acrylic paint and a paintbrush! Yes, you are good to go. It is as simple as that.
Roshni D’Souza who works towards wildlife conservation and for rural communities is a pebble artist. She says, “I was working in Panna district in Madhya Pradesh, and as a summer camp activity I wanted to teach something different to the kids there. So, I just started picking few pebbles to paint and it all started right there. We generally paint characters on the rocks.”
Speaking on why she loves pebble painting, she added, “It’s a stress buster for me and the kids. It uplifts my spirit. I gave a painted pebble to a child once with the message ‘Plant Seeds of Love’ who would always engage in fights. So, to put the message across I gifted it to her, and this taught the kids to do the same. I have also left pebbles on colleagues tables as paperweights.”
When asked about tips for picking up pebbles she advised, “I pick up the pebbles from anywhere. But I check and ensure that the place I pick up these rocks from is not a habitat or nesting place of any bird or any wildlife.”
If you are not comfortable picking up rocks from nature for rock painting, many beginner kits are available in craft stores and online.
Types of pebbles that can be used and where to procure them
Pebbles or smooth rocks can be found everywhere. The best places to find them are rocky beaches and river sides. Flat stones found in gardens will also do. Most stores that stock gardening supplies will most likely have pebbles in different sizes.
Make it a day’s program with your child – search for pebbles together, spend time outdoors, you can also try and take a picnic basket along. Later, wash the pebbles, dry them and start painting on them with your painting kit! This way, you can spend some meaningful time with your children, and they would surely enjoy the process of looking for the pebbles and creating something from scratch.
What kind of paint do you need?
Pune-based craft teacher for children, Jyoti Mehta says, “Acrylic paint works best. You could use emulsion paint or poster paint as well. Avoid water colours and chalk as the colours would get washed off especially if you want to place it in a garden or use it as a decorative item outdoors.”
How to get ideas for rock painting designs?
One quick tip – give the pebble one coat of a brightly-rich colour, and then do a simple design on it like a flower or a heart of a different colour. Your child and you can slowly progress to try different themes such as cartoons, animals, nature, etc. The Art of Stone Painting: 30 Designs to Spark Your Creativity by F Bac is a good guide. YouTube and Pinterest have a plethora of ideas as well. Explore and discover some creative ideas.
The Kindness Rocks Project
Did you know that these simple rocks can be used to teach values like kindness to your child? Painted pebbles are not just a fun activity, but a way to teach kindness as well. ‘Kindness Rocks’ is a trend in some countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Singapore and is catching on in India as well. Painted pebbles with or without a positive message scrawled on it, are being used to bring a smile to someone (even a stranger). It is a wonderful way to uplift someone’s spirit with a motivating message. There are school groups, Facebook groups that you can join – where you paint rocks, hide them in parks, beaches or gardens for other children to find. This is not only a fun way to get your kids outdoors exploring nature, but the painted inspirational messages are a way of spreading kindness.
With the motto of Lucius Seneca, a Roman philosopher “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness”, the Kindness Rocks Project started off as a woman’s small gesture to spread kindness, and now it has become a global movement of sorts.
“It’s big here in Singapore. We joined a group for Ishika to have a bit of fun. She was painting a lot of pebbles and I thought it would teach her what paying it forward means,” says Aparna Das-Sadhukhan, a jewellery designer and mother.
You can start your own kindness rock project in your community through WhatsApp or Facebook or at your child’s school even!
Things to keep in mind while doing pebble painting with kids:
1. Painting is fun but messy – remember to cover surfaces with newspapers and put on some old clothes or an apron for the kids.
2. Do not allow your child to play with those stones indoors.
3. Enforce a house rule that there will be no hurling of pebbles.
4. Clean the pebbles well before use.
5. Use sandpaper to clean uneven areas.
6. Plan in advance what you want to paint – so you and your kids can look for the right-shaped pebble accordingly.
7. Use a pencil and make an outline of the picture and then let your child fill it in with colour.
8. Start with inexpensive brushes or whatever you have at home. You can buy better brushes as the skill improves.
9. Make each painted pebble personal by asking your child to add their name or date just like any other artwork.
A little painted pebble may seem like just a simple art and craft activity, but it has a lot of soul. In a world addicted to screen time and gadgets, pebble painting is tangible, portable and comes with the ability to de-stress and uplift. Be it starting off a kindness rocks project, or simply a gifting idea or a project to engage the kids gainfully, painted pebbles can offer a lot. Do give rock craft a shot in your home – we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
About the author:
Written by Vidya Nesarikar on 29 January 2020.
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