Spread Kindness With These Crafty Rocks

Kindness rocks are a great way to brighten someone’s day and bring some creativity into your life!

We drew inspiration from the turtles on exhibit at Isle a la Cache Museum. The rock on the left encourages, “Slow and Steady.” The rock on the right features a turtle shell that says, “Love your shell.” Photo by Sara Russell

The idea behind kindness rocks is to paint stones with fun images and encouraging words.

The rocks are then left in random places — maybe a neighbor’s garden or on the side of a playground — for others to enjoy.

Here at the Forest Preserve District of Will County, we love nature so much we think it’s a great idea to bring nature into the art on kindness rocks. Paint large owl eyes with the caption, “Life’s a hoot!” or “Be HOO you are.” Stencil “Live large” under a bear print. Use your imagination and the ideas will flow.


Photo by Sara Russell
  • Flat, smooth rocks

  • Acrylic paints

  • Acrylic paint pens

  • Paintbrushes

  • Waterproof sealer

  • Cups for water

  • Napkins

  • Something to put paint colors on (a plate, a piece of cardboard, an old lid, etc.)

  • A pencil and paper (optional)


1. Go outside and find a couple of smooth, flat rocks. River rocks are great because water has eroded away any rough edges. Just make sure you have permission to take the rocks. Don’t forget that you can’t collect any from the forest preserves. Nature in the forest preserves needs to stay in the forest preserves.

2. Wash your rocks with soap and water to get rid of any dust or debris. Let them dry completely.

3. While you are waiting for the rocks to dry, gather inspiration. Look online for cool designs or slogans. Check out books at your library. Go on a walk to see nature in action.

4. Sketch out your design with a pencil on paper. (Optional)

5. Now it’s paint time! Start with a solid background (if you want one). Then paint the details. Use paint pens for any detail work on your picture.

6. Add any words or slogans with paint pens.

7. Let the paint dry completely.

8. Spray waterproof sealer over the top to make your paintings last longer. Let the sealer dry.

9. Hide your kindness rocks for someone to find. Just make sure you have permission to put the rocks on someone’s private property. Kindness rocks also make great gifts. Or keep them to brighten up your day!