If you’re looking for a simple and fun craft to do with the kids, especially something that you can put into your Operation Christmas Child shoe box, then painting rocks is the project you need to try. Operation Christmas Child is run by Samaritans Purse. It is a ministry that helps kids by giving them Christmas in a shoebox by packing gifts, toys and prayers for children in a simple shoebox for Christmas.Thanks to Stephanie for this!
Here’s the list of supplies you will need for this project:
- Small- to medium-sized rocks
- Acrylic paint
- Varnish or glaze
- Art smocks or old t-shirts for the kids
- Newspaper or scrap paper to cover the table (if you don’t paint outside)
- Optional glue, googly eyes, and miscellaneous extras
Acrylic paint, rocks, and paintbrushes
1.) Start by scouring the outdoors for rocks. This is something your kids will love to do! The rocks you find should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and somewhat flat. You don’t want them to be too heavy, too sharp, or even too small — remember, little kids will be playing with these! The amount of rocks you collect depends on how many kids will be painting. I had two children painting, so I got two rocks for them to paint and give away and two rocks to paint and keep. I also picked out two for myself to give away and keep. That makes six rocks total.
2.) After you pick your rocks, you need to wash them off. You can either use a hose outdoors and let them dry in the sun, or you can wash them carefully in the sink with soap and water and set them on a towel to dry.
3.) When the rocks are dry, it’s time to cover your work area with newspaper. You may want to tape the paper down to avoid any accidents. Put art smocks or old t-shirts on your children to keep their clothes mess-free. Lay out all your supplies; you may want to have wet wipes on hand for quick clean-up.
4.) Start painting! Make sure to exercise your creative muscles here.
We made a ladybug, an Asian beetle, and a bumblebee, but you can make anything you want, from plants to critters to whatever you can imagine! The kids painted a solid color, and I filled in the gaps after they were done. After that coat dried, I painted on the smaller details while the kids painted different rocks. If you have older children, they can do all the painting themselves.
The kids’ rocks after Mommy cleaned them up a bit and filled in the gaps
5.) As a final touch, I dabbed some glue on the bugs and the kids pushed on googly eyes. Again, you can get creative with things like glow-in-the-dark paint or sequins.
Whether you add any fancy extras or not, you should add a coat of glaze or varnish to make the paint job long-lasting. You’ll especially want to do this if you add extras, for safety’s sake, so that they won’t just pop off. An easy way to make things fancy, without dealing with glue and glitter, is to use a sparkly glaze instead of a normal glaze. Before you add the glaze, make sure the paint is dry or else it will smudge. Depending on what glaze you use, it may take 24 hours or more to dry, so glaze the rocks in a place where they won’t be bothered for a day or two.
And that’s it! This project is so simple and so fun for kids — even I had a blast doing it! This craft is also easy to expand on: you could paint old thread spools to look like trees for the critters to hang out in, or you could sew a little home for the critters. You could even paint or color the inside of your Operation Christmas Child shoe box to look like a garden home for the critters. So get creative and have fun with this cheap and easy project!
- Operation Christmas Child Homemade Purse
- Operation Christmas Child Homemade Bracelet
- Operation Christmas Child Homemade Crochet Purse
- Operation Christmas Child Homemade Notepad
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