Rock and Mineral Activities for Kids

Make a wonderful garden with crystals!
Make a wonderful garden with crystals!
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The rock and mineral activities for kids you will find in this article are geared toward children that enjoy art crafts and working with rocks and minerals. Certain rocks and minerals can be fascinating to look at, and a whole lot of fun to use to create crafts.

There are plenty of great ideas in rock and mineral activities for kids, but there is also a little leeway for you to use your own imagination when you feel like it.

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Rock Paint Activity

Learn how to make paint by only using rocks. Try our rock paint activity and see how this paint is made.

Sandstone Carving Activity

Early man used to carve into sandstone to keep a daily record of activities. Learn how to master this ancient technique with our sandstone carving activity.

Semiprecious Barrettes Activity

Create a barrette that will surely stand out of a crowd. Try our semiprecious barrettes activity and make a unique barrette that will remembered for a long time to come.

Birthstone Activity

Do you know what your birthstone is? Find out today with our birthstone activity.

Crystal Garden Activity

Try our crystal garden activity and make a garden without need for any seeds or plants. The crystal garden used to be a favorite of youngsters during the Depression.

Gold Panning Activity

Want to strike it rich? Learn how to do just that with our gold panning activity.

Jump right in and start on the next page with our rock paint activity. Continue reading to find out more.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Rock Paint Activity

Now you can make paint just as people did years ago with this rock paint activity! Make your own paint with materials like rocks, charcoal, soil and clay.

What You'll Need:

  • Safety goggles
  • Crumbly rocks
  • Charcoal, soil and clay
  • Some big rocks
  • Old bowl
  • Cornstarch or corn syrup
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper

Step 1: First, put on your safety goggles to protect your eyes. Then, gather crumbly rocks, charcoal, heavy pieces of soil and clay onto a big rock.

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Step 2: Use another rock to crush them into a fine powder. (Watch your fingers!) Believe it or not, this powder will be the base for your paint.

Step 3: Mix the powder in a bowl with a little cornstarch and water (or just some corn syrup) to make a paste-like mixture.

Now you're ready to create a masterpiece with your own homemade paint! Just dip a brush into the mixture and get to work painting on your paper.

Step 4: Have a look around your backyard and see what other things can be crushed to make paint and what materials don't work all that well.

Try things like grass, flowers, leaves or sticks. Hard rocks won't work too well. See if you can mix different colors that will add some flair to your works of art!

Continue reading to find out more about our sandstone carving activity next in rock and mineral activities for kids.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Sandstone Carving Activity

Ancient peoples often carved their favorite stories into the faces of giant rocks. They left their history behind for us to study and explore.

Try this sandstone carving activity and you too can express yourself in stone if you select the rock carefully.

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What You'll Need:

  • Sandstone
  • Screwdriver or hammer and nail

Be sure to ask before you carve and have an adult help you choose the right tools. Once you have permission, take a screwdriver or a hammer and nail. Carefully chisel your first initial into the side of the stone.

Check back in a week, a month, and even a year to see if your carving has withstood the test of time. Wind and blowing dirt can blast your mark from the stone in a process called erosion.

Create a barrette that's quite unlike any other in the semiprecious barrettes activity on the next page.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Semiprecious Barrettes Activity

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Gently press the ribbon onto the surface of the barrettes.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Gently press the ribbon onto the surface of the barrettes.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try this semiprecious barrettes activity and make your own hair decorations -- no one else will have barrettes exactly like yours!

Match them to your favorite outfits, or make extra-special barrettes to give to your friends as gifts.

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What You'll Need:

  • Three barrettes, 80mm each
  • One foot of cream grosgrain ribbon, three-eighths inch wide
  • Six-inch string of natural stones
  • About nine seashells
  • Dried greenery and flowers
  • Scissors
  • Tacky glue

Step 1: Cut the ribbon into three four-inch lengths.

Step 2: Spread glue over the surface of the barrette. Fold an end of one piece of ribbon under about 1/4 of an inch. Line up folded edge with the end of the barrette.

Step 3: Spread a little glue to the folded area of ribbon and press the ribbon to the glued surface of the barrette. Fold the other end of the ribbon under so the folded edge is even with the opposite end of the barrette.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Apply glue to the ribbon on the barrette before securing the stones.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Apply glue to the ribbon on the barrette before securing the stones.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Step 4: Hold folded ends with your fingers until glue forms a bond. Repeat for other two barrettes. For the stone barrette, apply glue to the top of the ribbon. Press stones into glue and hold until glue forms a bond. Let glue dry completely.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Choose any type of rocks and natural materials for your other barrettes.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Choose any type of rocks and natural materials for your other barrettes.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Step 5: Select the type and amount of natural materials for your other barrettes. Arrange the materials on a table until you are happy with the designs.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Press the stones into the glued ribbon on top of the barrette.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Press the stones into the glued ribbon on top of the barrette.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Step 6: For the seashell barrette, apply glue to small seashells one at a time and press onto the ribbon. Let glue dry completely.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Apply glue to the natural materials you chose and press onto the top of the barrette.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Apply glue to the natural materials you chose and press onto the top of the barrette.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Step 7: For the last barrette, apply glue to greenery and flowers and press onto the ribbon. Let glue dry completely.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              A finished stone barrette.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A finished stone barrette.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

A handmade stone barrette is the perfect accessory for any occasion.

Keep reading to learn more about our birthstone activity.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Birthstone Activity

There are many types of birthstones.
There are many types of birthstones.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Were you born an amethyst, a peridot, or a zircon? Learn all about your special birthstone with this birthstone activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Encyclopedia or rock identifying book
  • Paper clay
  • Tapestry needle
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • String

In ancient times, each month was said to have a special stone. Over time, people came up with at least two stones for most months. That stone -- or stones -- supposedly brought good luck to people who were born in that month.

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For example, the stone for January is garnet, a red gem. People born in January wore jewelry made with garnets.

These special stones became known as birthstones. Many people still wear their birthstones.

Find your birthstone on the list at the bottom of the page. Learn as much about the stone as you can, including what it looks like and where it is found. Look up your stone in an encyclopedia or rock book.

If you can, go to a rock shop so you can see your birthstone. Pay attention to the shape and color of your birthstone.

Using paper clay, create beads that resemble gemstones. Use a tapestry needle to make a hole in each bead.

Let the beads dry overnight. Then paint the beads the same color as your birthstone. Since most stones have various shades, you may want to mix a few colors of paint together in order to get the right one.

After the paint has dried, thread the beads on a short piece of string to make a bracelet or a long piece of string to make a necklace.

Learn how to grow a garden without any seeds or plants. Find out more about our crystal garden activity on the next page in rock and mineral activities for kids.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Crystal Garden Activity

A crystal garden is fun to make!
A crystal garden is fun to make!
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try this crystal garden activity -- no seeds or plants are needed! At one time, these were called "Depression gardens" because they were an inexpensive project for children during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

What You'll Need:

  • Chunks of coal, brick, flower pot pieces or pieces of unglazed porcelain
  • Old shallow bowls about six inches wide
  • Mixing bowl
  • Salt (not iodized)
  • Liquid bluing
  • Water
  • Ammonia
  • Ink or food coloring in several colors

Remember to be careful when working with any broken objects and when pouring ammonia. Have an adult supervise this project. Break coal, brick, clay flower pots or unglazed porcelain into chunks the size of walnuts.

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Place several in an old dish, clustering them near the center. (Don't overcrowd the dish.) For each dish, mix four tablespoons of non-iodized salt, four tablespoons of liquid bluing, four tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of household ammonia.

Pour the mixture very slowly over the broken pieces in your dish. Drip food coloring on the pieces sticking up out of the solution. Set the bowl aside in a place it won't be disturbed. In a few hours you should see crystals "growing" in your garden.

To make crystal blossoms: Make a larger batch of the solution given above but leave out the ammonia. Make enough to completely cover the broken pieces in the dish (keep the pile low, under the rim of the dish.)

Add more solution every day or two to keep the same liquid level. After two weeks stop adding solution and allow the liquid to evaporate completely. Beautiful blossom shapes will form.

Have you ever wanted to pan for gold? Learn all of the subtleties of searching for gold with our gold panning activity, next in rock and mineral activities for kids.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

Gold Panning Activity

You probably won't strike it rich with this gold panning activity, but it's fun to try!

What You'll Need:

  • Gold pan or old pie tin
  • Tweezers
  • Small bottle
  • Magnet
  • Life vest

Most areas of the country have at least a few streams that have yielded gold. Ask at the local Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management office to find out where to go near you.

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Never go near the water without an adult nearby. Also, don't go in water that is deeper than your knees. Find a spot in the stream where the bottom is sandy and without too many rocks.

Scoop up a handful of sand with plenty of water in your pan and swirl it around. Let the lighter sand spill out over the edge of the pan. Heavier materials, including iron and gold, will remain behind. The heavy sand is darker in color, too.

When the darker sand is all you have left in the pan, pour out the water and look closely. If you're lucky you'll see small specks of gold gleaming in it. Use tweezers to pick the gold from the sand and put it in your bottle.

Later, let the gold and sand dry. Use a magnet to lift away the iron-rich dark sand, leaving the gold.

For more fun nature and outdoor crafts, try:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Rock Paint Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner HallsSandstone Carving Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls