Letters on painted rocks opens a world of imagination and literacy, while encouraging time playing with natural materials.
Time: 30 minutes
Age: Under 5s, 5-10 years
River Rocks or smooth rocks
Paint palette, or similiar
Water in a jar
PVA glue or sealant
Set up your painting area and something to paint the rocks on. I chose a plastic mat and a cardboard box.
Put a little paint in an egg carton, palette or ice cube container.
Fill a little jar with water for washing paint brushes.
Encourage children to paint the river rocks. Experiment with how wet to have the brushes by dabbing them dry on the cloth after rinsing. A rather dry brush will apply a thicker coat of paint, and a wet one will give transparent runny paint.
Experiment with ways of holding the rock, is it best to leave it on the cardboard, or to hold it in your hand?
By the time all the rocks are painted, the first ones should be dry. Encourage the children to decide if the rocks are ready to turn over by discussing the feeling of wet, tacky and dry.
Once dry, turn over and use the permanent marker to write a letter on the back. Use upper case, lower case, and different languages as you choose.
After all are dry and each have a letter, they are ready for indoor play. If you choose to have them for outdoor play, apply a sealant or paint over with some PVA glue to make them weather proof. You could also try painting with nail varnish.