Painting stones with kids
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Are you looking for a fun rainy day activity to keep the kids entertained for the afternoon? Or maybe a unique handmade gift idea for the grandparents? Whatever it is that you’re looking for, painting stones with the kids should definitely be on your to do list this weekend!
It’s fun, its cheap, and its really really easy to do, AND, it’s sure to keep the kids busy for hours.
We’ve been painting stones ourselves this month, and it has been so much fun. We still have a whole carrier bag full of them to paint too, and I’m hoping to decorate the garden with them during the summer.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for painting stones with kids, or you’re just not sure where to start, then keep on reading! I’ll let you know what you need, how to prepare and paint your stones, design ideas, and also what to do with them when you’re finished painting them.
Lets get stuck in!
If you’ve never tried this before, then it’s definitely something you should be giving a go over the summer. It’s really easy to do, it doesn’t take too long and it doesn’t actually create too much mess. It’s a relatively cheap activity too because you’ve probably got everything you need already in your cupboards.
What you need for painting stones with kids
- Paint – Acrylic is best, but kids paints work well too
- A mat for the floor or table
- Some old clothes for you and the kids
- Some fun extras like googly eyes or feathers if you’re feeling particularly creative
How long will it keep the little ones occupied
1 – 2 hours. It depends on how many stones you have and how many designs you come up with.
2+ I wouldn’t have wanted to try this when Cupar was any younger than 2. It can be a little bit fiddly to paint on stones, especially the smaller ones, and younger kids will need to know how to hold a paintbrush.
The how to
First of all, you’re going to need some good stones for this activity. If you’re doing this with toddlers then you’ll need something that is easy for them to pick up and also big enough to paint on. You don’t want anything too small.
You’ll also want to choose something that is quite smooth with no sharp edges, and preferably something that isn’t too porous!
If you want to paint specific designs, like bugs, or fruit, then it can be a good idea to think about the shape as well. A round stone won’t look too good as a banana, and a longer stone won’t look too good as a strawberry!
Where can I find good stones?
My stones came from my mum. She had picked them up from the garden centre to decorate her garden with, but then realised that she didn’t actually need them. Garden centres and hardwear stores always have a good selection of stones, and you can usually find quite big ones too.
You can also find good size stones when you’re out for a walk in the country, and you’re likely to find a range of different shapes here as well. Just be sure avoid the beach, because taking pebbles from there is a big no no (I didn’t know this until recently!)
Preparing and painting
Once you have a good selection of stones in front of you it’s time to give them a wash! This is especially important if you picked them up from outside, as they’ll likely be a bit dirty, and the last thing you want is some stray mud or grit ruining your design.
Once they’re all washed and have dried completely, they’re ready to paint. You can either paint them white to give you a base for your designs, or just simply paint your design straight onto them.
We always have a few paint colours laid out, and then a little mixing tray for making different colours with. Our mixing tray is literally just an old plastic container lid that we’d lost the bottom for.
When you choose your paintbrushes, try and go for something smallish. If you use a big paintbrush you may find that it paints the whole stone in a couple of strokes! Cupar does quite well with smaller brushes, so don’t be afraid to give them a go with toddlers.
Acyrlic paints work best for painting stones, but they are a bit of a nightmare with toddlers!! We tried acrylics once, and I won’t try them again until Cupar is much older.
Acrylic paint sticks to anything it touches (including your hands), and is such a pain to get off. Cupar now has a pair of grey trousers that are covered in paint splotches which make him look like a proper little artist!
So, if your kids are young, I would recommend the usual kid friendly poster paints.
To really make your design pop and bring it to life a little bit, have a go at using some googly eyes or feathers.
There are a couple of good books on painting stones that would make some nice reading with the kids:
Rock Art Handbook – AA Publishing
The Little Book of Rock Painting – F. Sehnaz Bac, Marisa Redondo and Margaret Vance
There are so many things that you can paint onto your stones, and you can even make themed bags to keep them in:
My favourites are the bugs because they look so super cute, and they really work well if you have the right shape stone.
So what can you do with them when you’ve finished painting
Painted stones have so many great uses, and they can definitely brighten up a home or garden that needs a bit of colour.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Decorate the inside of plants pots with them
- Add some colour to the garden
- Spruce up your book shelves
- Leave some in a park or picnic spot for other people to find when they’re out and about
- Pop one in your bag to make you smile when you’re on the go
- Give them to family as gifts
- Put one on your desk at work
Painting stones with kids is a great activity that can really bring out the creative side in all of you.
So get the paintbrushes out and have fun!
Have you ever tried painting stones with the kids? How did you get on?
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