Rock on! (A rock painting project!)

Guest Post by Karla from, a global art and collaborative storytelling project.

This is Penelope:

She began her life in an elementary school in Missouri, but soon found herself on a cruise to the sunny Bahamas!

This is Mahatma Ghandi:

He is part of the Social Justice Project — one of twelve key social justice leaders honored by the students that painted and showcased them in a local art gallery.

These are two of over 1,300 characters that have been created by children (and adults) around the world in connection with a global art and collaborative storytelling initiative, Rock Thoughts.

The Rock Thoughts project empowers children to connect with others in meaningful ways through creativity. These connections span across countries, races, age, language, religion and even physical location. The process is simple and we’d love to get you involved! It’s easy! Here’s how:

1. Find a rock (or rocks – you can do as many as you’d like).
The rock should be about the size of your palm and preferably smooth. Look for rocks that are interesting and have unusual shapes.

2. Paint your rock.
You can paint your rock to resemble anything you’d like! We are particularly fond of monsters, but we’ve also seen some amazing rock people, animals and even art scenes!

3. Send us a picture of your painted rock.
Place your rock against a white background, making sure it has enough light shining on it (natural light from a window works great!). Snap a picture and send it to hello [at] rockthoughts [dot] com. Include your rock’s location — city/state/country. We’ll use this information to come up with a short, unique code for your rock that you can write on the underside with a permanent marker, along with the phrase: “Please visit”

4. Write a story for your rock.
Once you have finished your rock and penned the code, you get to write the first part of your character’s story! The story can be about anything you’d like (appropriate for children, of course). Then submit the story directly on the Rock Thoughts site. (We also love getting pictures or videos of your rock “in action” — so go nuts and have fun!)

5. Hide your rock.
After you’ve submitted your photo and story, your rock will be posted on the Rock Thoughts site for everyone to see! Anyone can then jump in to comment or continue your rock’s story — Viola, collaboration! You can then hide your rock in a public space for someone else to find. Be creative in your hiding spot (a tree? under a park bench?) and send photos of your rocks in hiding!

Super easy and fun!

Here are a few more characters to inspire you:

Ida Jr. started off in Wisconsin and found her way to a picnic bench in Iowa.

Munch began in a school in Illinois and found himself in the capital of Brazil.

Ssslithers went into hiding in Illinois and showed up on a mailbox in South Korea.

You never know where your rocks might end up or how their story will develop! What you do know is that you will have participated in a global adventure, collaborating with people from all over in the world to create something new and wonderful.

We are happy to help along the way so please don’t hesitate to contact us at hello [at] rockthoughts [dot] com. Have fun!

:: Karla Valenti is the founder of NiSoSa, an enterprise that designs resources promoting the development of children’s creativity. Rock Thoughts, a global art and collaborative storytelling initiative, is one of NiSoSa’s most recent projects. You can learn about other projects at Karla can be reached at

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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 10/02/12 under IF Kids


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