My daughter has been learning about rocks and minerals in her preschool class which got me thinking about the rocks I’ve had saved for quite some time now. Some were rocks from our yard, some we picked up while on vacation, and others actually came in a bag at my local dollar store. These treasures had been collecting dust for quite a while and now it was time to put them to good use! My daughters and I used the rocks we collected ourselves for one art project and the other is one I made for my 4-year-old for a Christmas present, but can easily be done with children as well. (Yes, I’m starting early with my DIY presents this year. I’m determined not to leave things until the last-minute so I can be as stress-free as possible this year).
Project #1: Painted Rock Tic-Tac-Toe
A couple of weeks ago we were killing some time at Friendly’s while waiting for our dinner, when I spotted some Tic-Tac-Toe grids on the kids place mat, and so I decided to teach Caroline how to play. I’ve always had a fondness for the game and apparently she does too! I decided to make her a Tic-Tac-Toe game of her very own using some of the rocks I picked up at the Dollar Tree. Yes it’s true. I paid for rocks. But these are nice, clean, smooth, flat rocks that are perfect for crafts like this!
What I used:
10 Rocks (the flatter and smoother the better). You can search for your own outside or you can do what I did and buy a bag at the dollar store or a craft store.
A piece of cardboard (or something else to use for the board. I think felt is another great option!)
The great thing about this project is that you can make these Tic-Tac-Toe game pieces as elaborate, or as simple, as you want. You can simply paint them 2 different colors and leave them as is, or you can add designs or pictures (insects, monsters, shapes, etc.). Who says you need to use X’s and O’s? For the Tic-Tac-Toe board I used a piece of white cardboard that I had on hand, and then created the 3×3 square grid using some fun poka dot Washi tape I bought at A.C. Moore. I’m excited for Caroline to open up this present on Christmas day, but even more excited to play it with her.
Project #2: Hot Rocks
I have been working on organizing the kids’ crafts supplies and discovered a large assortment of broken crayons. This art project is one way to put them to good use. All you need are some rocks, different colored crayons (with the labels peeled off), and an oven. **Please note that this is a project that should be done with adult supervision, especially with younger kiddos.**
What to do:
1. Set your oven for 300 degrees and bake your rocks for 10 minutes. (The larger the rock, the more time in the oven it may require in order to get it hot enough. If it’s not hot enough, the crayon won’t melt on contact).
2. Carefully place the rocks in front of your child (They’re going to be hot!). I put the rocks in cardboard boxes to make sure they wouldn’t roll away and so they weren’t sitting directly on the table.
3. Let the kids go to town with the crayons. It’s really neat to see how the crayons melt and the way the colors mix together on the rock.
4. Let them cool and wait for the wax to dry.
We decided to place our multi-colored rocks out in our garden. The girls and I talked about how fun it will be to see if we can find them after the winter is over and the snow has melted. Sort of like our very own treasure hunt!