New stone painting activity rocks


Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

Contributed Photo Catalina and Della Vue with a painted rock.

When Amy (Wallrich) Vue and her family visited Amy’s mom in Bullhead City, Arizona, they had no idea they would be bringing home a fun activity that has already engaged more than 300 people.

As Amy’s daughters, Della, 10, and Catalina, 12, were heading to the pool at their hotel, they noticed two colorful rocks.

Amy commented: “It was unusual to see two rocks just lying there. The girls picked one of them up and noticed the words ‘Post to Facebook, Bullhead City Rocks’ written on the back of the rock.

“Later that evening, I found the website. I read about the project and learned the idea is to decorate rocks and hide them in various locations to brighten the day of the lucky person who finds them.

“What is so appealing about this idea is that it can be fun for all ages and abilities. In addition, it doesn’t cost much.”

How the rocks are decorated is a personal choice. You can use colored pencils, acrylics, oil pastels, crayons or chalk.

“A Sharpie works really well,” Amy remarked. “I spotted a huge pack of them at a local store for $19. You can buy them individually too. I saw acrylic paints in assorted colors selling for 50 cents each. A clear sealant should be put on the rocks to preserve the artistic work.”

You don’t have to be artistic to join in on the fun. I have very limited artistic skills. I plan on writing quotes on the rocks I hide. I love Dr. Seuss quotes. Vince Lombardi quotes are also favorites of mine. Amy set up a Facebook group site called Shawano County Rocks. The site was set up on June 1, and already it has more than 300 members and growing daily. Amy mentioned the idea really caught on in Bullhead City where they have more than 6,000 members on the site.

Artists are asked to write “FB post on Shawano County Rocks” on stones they decorate. Participants who decorate rocks can post a picture prior to hiding the rocks. However, do not disclose where you plan to hide them. Those fortunate enough to find a decorated rock are encouraged to take their picture with the rock and disclose the location where they found it.

I enjoy going to the site and seeing the smiling faces of children and adults who have created or found the rocks. If you find one, consider starting your own Shawano County rock garden, or you can re-hide it. It will be fun to hide rocks in other states while traveling. You can take your own masterpieces or someone else’s along on your journey and take the fun outside Shawano. It will be exciting to see how many people who find the rocks will post on the Shawano County Rocks site.

Margaret Wirtz Brunker and Stu Kohlin posted a picture of themselves holding a rock they found at Sun Drop Dayz. Ginny Lynn found one last week at J Doggs. Lori Marie Singer posted a picture of her children seated at a table painting their rocks. She commented “They love the idea.”

Sarah Yunk-Von Deck commented: “Found one! What a fun thing to do, I will put it somewhere new.”

Rebecca-Tourtillott Miesbauer said: “This is awesome! My girly and I will definitely be taking part.”

Sometimes parents look for something for their children to do that is fun, yet not costly. This inexpensive activity can give the kids something to do indoors on a rainy day. On nice days, it can get them outdoors moving around and burning up some energy.

There are so many creative ideas that could make this a fun activity for all ages. Perhaps residents at an assisted living home would enjoy decorating rocks and giving them to their grandchildren to hide. Maybe a Scout group might join in on the fun. Business owners may want to put a message on rocks and invite the finder into their store. Kids celebrating a birthday could have rock decorating and hiding as a party activity. If you have a paint party at one of our parks, please bring something to place over the picnic tables so there won’t be a mess left behind. The creative ideas are endless.

Amy added: “Please be thoughtful of others and the environment when hiding the rocks. If going to a local park do not hide them in the grass where they might cause damage to mower blades and other equipment. We want this activity to be fun, not a nuisance. Also, be respectful of private property and businesses. Rocks should be hidden outside, not inside buildings or businesses.”

Shawano, let’s get rocking!

Answer to last week’s question: Rades Bar & Bowling was initially a drug store owned by Dr. John Williams.

This week’s question: Who was the first female to serve on the Shawano City Council?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.