Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock it Out

Ever wonder why your four year old is constantly picking up rocks outside? If it's one thing I've said over and over again, it's that children are natural scientists. Leaves, rain, making jello, clouds, magnets, a visit to the zoo...and even a ROCK can provide children with opportunities to engage in scientific thinking. Here are a few books and activities that may inspire your young geologists.

Rock and Learn:

  •  Find some large rocks with a variety of surfaces. Give children water and various painting tools (cotton balls, q-tips, thin painting brush, larger paint brush, etc). Allow children to "paint" the rocks. This activity helps children practice fine motor skills. They also see the changes that occur as some parts of the rock are wet (and therefore may look darker) while other parts are dry.
  • Decorate rocks with paint, glue, feathers, sequins, and glitter (smooth rocks work best) If desired, make "pet" rocks and place the "pets" in a "cage" (a green strawberry basket works well).
  • Create a class rock collection by asking children to bring in one rock from near their home. Place the rock collection in an egg carton or shoe box display "case."
  • Make a class poster about rocks. Search the Internet for types of rocks and print out various pictures. Assemble the pictures (don't forget to identify each) on chart paper or poster board to display in the classroom
  • Introduce children to the terms "geology" and "geologist".
  • As a math activity, provide children with a balance scale and several rocks. Before beginning, you might show the children some rocks and ask them to predict which are heavy or light. Encourage them to discover what rocks are heavier and/or lighter. Encourage them to also find the combination of rocks that will balance the scale indicating that both sets are equal in weight.
  • Read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
  • Visit the Rock For Kids Site to find more information to share with the children.
  • Do a Rock Experiment with rocks (one of which should be limestone) and vinegar.

Rock and Read:

 Looking at Rocks (My First Field Guides)Everybody Needs a Rock (An Aladdin Book)Geology for Kids (Little Wonders Series)
Rocks and Minerals (Eye Wonder)Let's Go Rock Collecting (Let'S-Read-And-Find-Out Science. Stage 2)If You Find a Rock
Rocks (Early Bird Earth Science)Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough (Amazing Science)Las rocas: Duras, blandas, lisas y ásperas (Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough) (Ciencia Asombrosa) (Spanish Edition)


  1. This is a great post. We love to collect rocks and pebbles. One of my book characters - Nika the gemstone collector loves nothing more than spending time hunting for rocks.
    Here's one of our cool crafts you can do using pebbles or rocks:HOT ROCKS:

    Happy Rock Hunting!!

  2. Hi Marghanita. Thanks for your comment! Who doesn't love a neat looking rock? I have 2 in my office right now!

  3. Very cool post! I just found your blog! You have great ideas for reading with kids and using books to incorporate into learning. I love it. I review books over on my blog, too. :)



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