Ancient Message Stones for Kids

Paint rocks to create petroglyphs -- ancient message stones -- just like people did thousands of years ago. Use your creativity in this nature craft activity for kids.

Painted Message Stones
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Make some painted message stones.


What You'll Need:

  • Crumbly rocks or dirt
  • Bag
  • Hammer
  • Binding medium (such as egg yolks, liquid soap, or liquid starch)
  • Large flat rock

"Petro" means rock and "glyph" means carving, so petroglyphs are rock carvings. Some ancient petroglyphs pointed the way to a stream or a shelter. Some might have told others, "Grog was here." These writings tell us about people who lived thousands of years ago. Here's how to make your own petroglyphs:

Step 1: First, make your paint. Use crumbly rocks, dirt, or a mixture of both. Whatever you use, it should be colorful so it will show up when you paint it on a flat rock. Crush the rocks into a powder. Put them in a grocery bag and pound them with a hammer. Mix the powder with egg yolks, liquid soap, or liquid starch.

Step 2: Now use your fingers to make petroglyphs on a large, flat rock. What do you have to say to people who will live thousands of years from now?

Try out another project where you use the earth to create something, with mud decorating on the next page.

For more ideas on nature-related crafts and activities to do with kids, see: