The Treasure Hunt That Rocks

Has your family discovered the painted rocks craze? People around the country and the world are painting, hiding and seeking out decorated rocks. It’s a cheap and easy activity for families, adds fun to a simple walk and has so many added benefits!

You can be a painter, a finder or both. Painted rocks are hidden outdoors – at playgrounds, in parks, on bushwalks, at the beach – pretty much anywhere (whilst avoiding private property and sacred places like cemeteries). The rocks are labelled to connect them back to a Facebook group where members can show off their finds. It’s a modern treasure hunt.

Getting started

For rock painters:

  • Use a rock that’s reasonably smooth and no bigger than a child’s hand.
  • Paint the rock with any decoration that you like – it could be a picture, pattern or message.
  • Label the rock on the back with your local Facebook group (if you don’t have one, start one up!)
  • Coat rocks in clear varnish (or use exterior paint) to protect the environment.
  • Hide the rock at a local park, playground, beach, etc.
  • Be careful not to disturb wildlife when hiding the rocks and don’t make them too tricky to find.
  • If you like, you can share with the Facebook group the area that you have hidden them (with or without clues!).

For rock hunters:

  • Check your local Facebook group for ideas on where to look for the rocks.
  • When you find a rock, take a photo and rehide it.
  • Post on the Facebook group so the painter can see that it has been found.
  • If you don’t find a rock, you will still have a great time exploring and enjoying the outdoors.

The benefits

Along with encouraging kids to explore the outdoors and learn more about their neighbourhood and surroundings, painting the rocks also encourages creativity and fine motor skills. The activity also builds a sense of community. Facebook groups have sprung up around the globe and some have thousands of members. Simply search Facebook for “[your area] Rocks” and you will find groups for locals.

Families are not the only ones getting involved. Community groups, school holiday programmes and businesses have also taken up the challenge.

Are you a member of a painted rock group? Are you a painter, hunter or both? Share your stories of your treasure hunts!

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her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. dawnblyth 03/07/2019 at 11:15 pm

    An active member of the Christchurch Rock movement here, we paint rocks using the Resene test pots and POSCA paint pens to paint our rocks. We then hide them around lots of local parks and then go hunting for other people’s creations. My boys love finding the rocks. Mr 10 always grumbles when I say we are going out to rock hunt but once he is there he gets right involved and enjoys every minute of it.

  2. Bevik1971 03/07/2019 at 9:50 am

    I wasn’t aware that it was a thing but it’s pretty cool 🙂 I used to paint rocks when I was younger and living on a farm there were plenty! My 6 year old daughter is actually a bit of a rock collector haha, she often picks up rocks she likes the look of when we are out walking and I end up standing on them in her bedroom! We haven’t painted any yet but her Koro is a bit of an artist and he has given her really cool painted rocks he has designed 🙂

  3. Alezandra 02/07/2019 at 10:37 pm

    Never heard of this rock searching. That’s cool…might be good to start looking out for it. My 4 year and I would be interested to hide rocks to especially on our bush walks/biking trips. This is definitely a great outdoor activity and gives us an incentive to go out. This would be a good trip idea for kindy or Playcentre.

  4. MuddledUpMolly 01/07/2019 at 8:32 pm

    The rock painting craze has been and gone for our family, it was a big deal in Wanganui a few years ago and Master 9 at the time really enjoyed both painting and finding rocks. Our girls are getting older now so it may be something that we re-introduce to them in the coming years.

  5. Shorrty4life1 30/06/2019 at 3:27 pm

    We are a member of Timaru Rocks and Ashburton Rocks. We are into the hunting part although one year before father’s day we painted rocks and gave them to their dad as a father’s day present saying they love him etc that was a pretty cute gift. We usually go to my wedding place the garden of harmony and its small there but we can take an hr just hunting for cool rocks in the gardens which have been painted and then we put them elsewhere around the place. Super cool seeing the different painting on them and how talented some people really are with rock painting. So much fun.

  6. kymmage 30/06/2019 at 12:58 pm

    We have a local group called TRON rocks. It is so fun. We haven’t decorated any rocks yet, but I have a number of rocks ready to paint. Local businesses have done some rocks as well. Even McDonald’s got into it! We have several places that you can hide for rocks and be almost guaranteed to find rocks. And a few places where you aren’t allowed to hide them, which is why its quite important to check in with the Facebook group. So we don’t annoy any businesses. Its so fun though and we love finding rocks!

  7. Mands1980 29/06/2019 at 8:57 pm

    I have never heard of painted rock groups maybe it’s because we live rurally and our small town doesn’t have these like cities. It sounds like a fun thing to look out for though now I know what they are. Kids would even enjoy looking for these rocks. My kids to paint rock at playcentre and loved it they ended up in the garden at Playcentre and home.

  8. Micht 29/06/2019 at 4:27 pm

    This has become increasingly popular in local mum circles and on fb groups and its has brought so much excitement to many kiddies…we have yet to get into it ourselves although we have been painting rocks…which is messy but so rewarding…hoping to find a local park to leave them in… similar to pokemon go but without the technology…which is always great to get kids out and away from devices…

  9. SarahBlair 26/06/2019 at 5:00 pm

    My kids love hunting for painted rocks! Going to a park has an added element of fun if there is rocks to find and re-hide! We havent painted any but some of the rocks that we have found are so amazing, beautifully painted! My teenage daughter is very artistic and I have suggested that she paints some for the littlies to hide.

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