Byrd Baylor and Painted Rocks


We painted some rocks the other day, inspired partly by a painted rock paperweight my grandma has on her desk that one of my uncles made, and partly by one of Byrd Baylor’s books. We’ve been reading them lately after being turned on to them by Ginger Carlson.

I love them all, but Maia’s favorite by far is Everybody Needs a Rock. In all of Baylor’s books the text is wonderful, the message meaningful, and the illustrations (by Peter Parnall) spare and perfect.

The page above reads:

Everybody needs a rock. I’m sorry for kids who don’t have a rock for a friend. I’m sorry for kids who only have TRICYCLES, BICYCLES, HORSES, ELEPHANTS, GOLDFISH, THREE-ROOM PLAYHOUSES, FIRE ENGINES, WIND-UP DRAGONS, AND THINGS LIKE THAT — if they don’t have a rock for a friend.

So good. We’ve been reading this one almost daily.

So anyway, we collected some rocks and decided to paint them with acrylics. Now I know this isn’t exactly the message Byrd Baylor is trying to get across. First of all, rocks are best completely au naturel. And secondly, her book is about choosing the perfect rock for you. And here we are collecting a whole egg carton full of rocks and painting them… But rocks are fun to paint sometimes. And we’re still seeking our perfect rocks. We may follow rule number 1 (If you can, go to a mountain made out of nothing but a hundred million small shiny beautiful roundish rocks.) and look for rocks next time we go hiking.

Here’s our egg carton of painted rocks. Two by me, twelve by Maia.

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  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Keep posting great authors! Ever since you posted about Lio Lionni, we have enjoyed reading his fabulous books. They are great! Thanks for your great ideas here.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 7:25 am

    It is a good book. Another idea so you don’t end up with a gazillion painted rocks (I can easily see this happening) is to color the rocks with chalk. We’ve got plenty of rocks in the garden and my son loves to use chalk to color them. The beauty is that every time it rains, he gets to start all over.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I’ll have to check out that book! Esme and I actually made a pet rock that she plays with in our craft room (along with her favorite sponge) – it’d be cool to have a book that goes with it!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 6:56 am

    I have a rock that one of the kids painted years ago that I absolutely love. I have it sitting on the mantle so that all can see it.
    I’ve been thinking of taking the kids to get more rocks for them to paint.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    June 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    ….speaking of rocks, and books, and Leo Lionni, you might like to try, “On My Beach There Are Many Pebbles.”

  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    That is an awesome idea! I never thought to use egg cartons, I may use this activity next time we head out for a day of swimming with the all the kids. It would be the perfect thing to keep them out of the water during the sunblock reapplies.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Such a simple and fun idea. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Montessori Mama
    June 12, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    In the Montessori classroom there is a rock painting work. The child chooses a rock from a basket of beautiful rocks we’ve collected over the years, next they fill the small jar with water from the sink (this exercise is a write prep.) they simply wet their paint brush with water and ‘paint’ their chosen rock. The rocks are left on the windowsill to dry, which doesn’t take long.
    I once watched one child ‘paint’ all the rocks in the basket and then sit and wait while they dried so that he could do it again! Rocks are magical for sure. Thanks for this reminder.
    In PEACE
    PS Come visit me at Montessori Mama, I wrote a bit about your blog. :)

  • Reply
    June 28, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I’m so excited that I found your wonderful blog. I can’t wait to try some of these activities with my 3-year old tomorrow. I can already tell that the painted rocks will be a HUGE hit.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I painted rocks that I got from the beach. I used rainbow colors and when they dry they will be an incentive my mom can use for chores done right in the house. And for my dolls too.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I used to paint rocks with our kids. Using an old egg carton is a great addition to painting the rocks. Love the idea.

  • Reply
    chloe bennett
    November 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I painted rocks when I was younger! I used to paint little landscapes or make the stones into animals. I added glittery paint and displayed them in my mom’s garden. :)

  • Reply
    December 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    We painted a few large rocks for our garden. What we did is put our Son’s footprint and handprint on each of the larger rocks. On one we painted the rock first and let it dry and then put our Son’s footprint on there with his name and age/date. You do need to put a finish coat/protector so the paint doesn’t come off in the rain.

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