Painted rock hunting: It's the latest craze to take over, not only our spare time, but social media too. You may have seen a few photos flash up on your Facebook feed as 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. Decorated 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.

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 (i.e. TimaruRocks)
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 place them in the way of a council mower, or 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 neighborhood and surroundings, painting the rocks also encourages creativity and fine motor skills. The activity also builds a sense of community. 
Families are not the only ones getting involved. Community groups, school holiday programs and businesses have also taken up the challenge.

Wow what a year so far! From a small creative pebble of an idea, we have created a mountain of rocks and rockers in our community.  In just 6 months, the #TimaruRocks Facebook group has grown to 6 admins and a team of 3000 rockers, all of their time is voluntary with a pay-it-forward feeling. The new creative outlet is bringing our community together, and helping others in ways that they never imagined. From getting families outside into the fresh air for a modern-day treasure hunt, to giving kids and adults of all ages and abilities a new creative hobby, sense of belonging and purpose. Most significantly, the rocking activity has brought new faces to the gallery, and significantly increased the visitor numbers both in the sculpture garden and the gallery. A wonderful way to inspire and celebrate the love of arts in Timaru and reinforce the galleries importance as the art hub for the district...

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We have two community rocks box's that you can borrow for your group to create rocks for us to find. Full to the brim thanks to loads of generous business's in Timaru including the Oxford. You can also now borrow two extension packs, a Fluro Rock Box Kit and a Dotting Rock Box kit. 

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