Remember the excitement of a scavenger hunt as a child, and the anticipation of discovering hidden chocolate eggs at Easter? If you loved it then, you’ll be happy to know that the thrill of the find is alive and well with a new trend that’s as popular with adults as it is with children. What’s more, this international hobby has myriad off-shoots from social media pages to meet-ups. We’re talking ‘found stones’, a fun pastime that has its origins in The Kindness Rock Project.
The project, which encourages people to leave decorated rocks, painted with inspiring messages, in public places for others to find is the brainchild of founder Meghan Murphy, and the inspiration for what is now a hide and seek craze. Meghan came up with the idea after collecting heart-shaped stones and colourful pieces of sea-smoothed glass from the seashore. Interpreting her special finds as connections to her deceased parents, the objects made her happy – so much so that she decided to share with others the joy of finding simple treasures.
The trend Meghan began now sees hundreds of people around the world finding and decorating their own stones, then hiding them in places for others to find. Not all the stones have inspiring messages; some are simply beautifully decorated objects that the finder can keep and collect, or re-hide for another to find. Some finders photograph their found rocks and collect the snaps in an archive. Others decide to keep them in collections. And that’s not all. There are now YouTube postings, webpages, meetups, Pinterest and Facebook pages devoted to kindness-rock decorating, cataloguing and sharing ideas. Some painters even leave a message on the back of their rock-art asking the finder to post a photo of their find to their Facebook page. And believe it or not, some rocks have actually travelled internationally around the world!
In an unexpected spin-off, some adults with insomnia have found that one of the best ways to spend a sleepless night is to get up and calmly decorate a rock, while some anxiety-sufferers claim the best way to calm their racing minds is get our thpaintbrushsh and decorate! Parents and grandparents who have previously found it difficult to get children to step out into the big outdoors, now find themselves with excited littlies who can’t wait to venture into the local park! Adults who need some incentive to do a little exercise also find the thought of rock-hunting enough to get them moving!
If you’re thinking to yourself that painted stones are just another way to litter-up the world, think again. Rock-hiders are determined that their treasures find their way into the sort of discreet hiding places that could offend no-one (think park-benches, playgrounds and city walkways) and that they are kept out of national parks and off unspoiled nature trails.
If you think rock-painting and hunting sounds like you, check out any of the dozens of webpages which are there to get you started in making and hiding your own creations. Have fun while you spread the kindness!