10 Ways to Play with Rocks {Sensory Summer}

 It's rock week! Do your kids insist on gathering rocks everywhere they go like mine? I mean we literally cannot cross a parking lot without scooping up like 7 little treasures that they just HAVE to have. So we spent all week gathering the piles of rocks laying around our yard and can't wait to find all kinds of ways to play!

If you want to gather all of your materials before you start, we found almost everything we needed at Target or on Amazon. Here are all the materials we used: 
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Rock Washing:
We started out the week by throwing all the rocks we had laying around in our Under Bed Clear Storage Bin with a little bit of water and dish soap.  Then we got busy washing off all the dirt with sponges, washcloths, and scrub brushes to get them nice and clean for all the fun activities for the week.

Rock Painting with Water:
After washing all the rocks and letting them dry out in the summer sun, we did a little painting..with WATER! I grabbed a big bin of paint brushes and filled a few cups with water then let the girls paint away.  This easy, mess free, taste safe painting was perfect for Madelynn and Aubrey both.

 Rock Painting:
After letting the rocks dry out again, and tucking little sister in bed for nap, we pulled out the tempera paint for some colorful, messy rock painting fun.

 Rock Stacking:
Next up we did some rock stacking. The rocks we had in our bin weren't necessarily flat so this took quite a bit of concentration and patience, but we managed to work together to get quite a few impressive structures built, despite a younger sibling that loves to knock things down. 
 Rock Throwing:
So encouraging small children to throw rocks might not be on the top of my list of good ideas, but we actually had a good time and no one got hurt.  I wanted to recreate the fun of throwing rocks in a pond, but we don't exactly have a pond in our backyard so we used our kiddie pool.  I made sure to lay down some ground rules about staying behind the bowls of rocks when throwing and always watching where you are throwing to be sure no one is in your path.

 Pool Noodle Balance:
With 2 girls we don't have too many of your typical "boy" toys like trucks and construction vehicles, so I try to scoop them up when I see a great deal.  These construction vehicles were perfect for setting up a a rock construction zone. Madelynn loved driving, scooping and building with all the different kinds of vehicles.

Rock Play Dough:
We had quite a few rainy days this week, so we broke out the play dough and played with our rocks inside.  We built faces, castles, shapes, and explored the prints different rocks made when we squished them in the play dough.
 Rock Shapes:
For this activity I drew shapes on the ground with sidewalk chalk and Madelynn built each one with rocks. Aubrey tried to help too, but mostly by throwing rocks in the middle of each shape or by moving rocks from one shape to a new one driving Madelynn crazy. Always an adventure planning activities for 2!
  Rock Counting:
For this activity I wrote the numbers 1-5 on the ground with sidewalk chalk and Madelynn counted out the corresponding number of rocks for each one to make a little number line. I drew the circles so little Aubrey could help too. Even though she's not counting or recognizing numbers yet at least she can practice one to one match.
 Stone Soup:
Finally we had some more water and rock fun with stone soup. All I did was add a set of play dishes to our rock and water filled bin and the girls took over from there.

And that's a wrap on rock week! Do your kids love playing with rocks too? I'd love to hear your creative ideas for rock play, leave me a message with your favorite way to play!

If you missed my previous post, this summer we are spending a whole week at a time using the same sensory bin full of materials and coming up with different ways to play every day. Next week we will be playing with all those plastic pouch lids I've been hoarding ;)  Here are our themes and plans coming your way all summer long:

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