It’s the latest craze to hit Calderdale and it’s cheap, easy and brilliant family fun! Rock decorating – then hiding and finding and hiding again – is the perfect Easter holiday activity!
Calderdale Rocks – a Facebook group with tips, events and photos shared by other “rockers” – was formed by mum-of-two Karen Lynn Nelson last summer, who spotted rock decorating while on holiday.
“I came across a painted rock whilst on holiday in Tynemouth and wasn’t sure what it was,” says Karen. “A quick Google search led me to discover that painting rocks and hiding them had become popular in Australia, and someone had brought this idea to Tynemouth.”
Later, struck by the beautiful pebbles on the beach, she bought a pack of Sharpies and began to draw.
“I’ve never been confident at drawing, but quickly realised that I could draw a bright rainbow and good drawing skills didn’t really matter – I felt relaxed and happy.
“A few minutes later, my children joined in and it wasn’t long before several children who were also staying on our campsite, arrived to ask if they could help too!”
Karen started a Facebook Page called Calderdale Rocks – which now has over 1,500 members – and hid five pebbles in Lymington. One of her son’s pebbles was found the very same night, and was posted on the Facebook page.
“He was so thrilled to see his rock had been found and we quickly became addicted to this “magical feeling”,” added Karen.
“The next day, my husband also joined in and we began to explore the rock painting, hunting and finding together.
“This activity was cheap, could involve all ages and enabled us to experience the outdoors. I was excited to begin Calderdale Rocks at home and the day I came back from holiday, I began to hide rocks and encouraged my friends and their children to join in.”
Rocks can be hidden in most public places, explains Karen. Rockers often include the hashtag #calderdalerocks on their creations, and popular areas have included Shibden Park, Manor Heath and Halifax Town Centre. But favourite hiding places are being discovered all the time, as the Facebook page membership grows.
One rock has travelled from Calderdale to Tenby, Worcestershire and The Forest of Dean! The beauty of the Facebook group is that every time someone has found it, they post it on the Calderdale Rocks Facebook page and the group can follow its journey.
Karen’s Top 5 Tips:
Buy stones from your local garden centre. White ones are easier to paint and if you share a bag with your friends, you can reduce the cost. I have learned that it is illegal to take large quantities of stones from beaches.
Sharpies permanent pens are often on offer in Tesco, and are great for painting rocks. Acrylic paint works well too. There are also some excellent painting pens called POSCO; you can buy fine ones if you’d like to add some intricate detail (see www.tigerpens.com)
Write Calderdale Rocks on the back of your stone. You may also want to use a hashtag and your nickname (e.g. #rockfan. You can then search this hashtag on our site to see if anyone has posted about it.
Join in one of our Rock Drops – The next one is at Shibden Park on Sunday 25th March. This is where Calderdale Rockers concentrate on one venue to hide and find rocks. It increases your chance of finding a rock. We ask that all rock hunters also bring some rocks to hide!
If you would like the decoration on your stones to last a long time, we recommend Yacht Varnish, which can be bought in Poundland
Ready to get started? Check out some of these simple designs!
Turn rocks into garden insects! Bees, lady birds, butterflies would all make eye-catching designs and really capture a child’s imagination. They would also look fabulous in their hiding places!
Paint faces onto a rock. You could use emoji faces or make monsters or a favourite character.
A favourite but simple shape – like a love heart – can be quick, effective and fun
Add kindness – there are some lovely designs on Pinterest with inspirational quotes or kind words. A real pick-me-up for whoever finds them!
Choose a theme – the whole family could base their designs around a theme, such as Easter, holidays or food
Big Rock Drop at Shibden Park, Sunday, March 25. Please bring some rocks to hide and see how many you can find!
Calderdale Rock Decorating Workshop, Happy Days Cycles, Sowerby Bridge. Thursday, April 5. 1-3.30pm