Pet Rock Craft Kids Can Make


This pet rock craft is a wonderful addition to your camping activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids! You don’t need many materials to get started, and the children can be as creative as they want.

The pet rock activity doesn’t take very long to prep, either. Plus, it’s easy to adjust this rock art project based on your students’ ages and needs. While it’s a very simple idea, you can definitely add more to it as you see fit.

And there are so many ways to extend the pet rocks fun to practice early math and literacy skills along the way.

I can’t remember the first time I made a pet rock, but I recall doing so multiple times as a child. The first time I did as an adult was during a preschool camping theme years ago. The students, my co-teacher, and I all had a lot of fun with it!

While I tend to add the pet rock craft to my camping lesson plans, you can do this any time of the year. Perhaps during a rock theme or as part of a unit on nature. Or even just because your students have had way too much fun collecting rocks one day!

Pet Rock Craft

Read below for what we did for this pet rock painting activity. As always, please keep in mind that you don’t have to do things exactly the same way we did. You and your students might have a completely different take on this, and that’s more than okay!

How to Prep the Pet Rocks

As I mentioned earlier, there’s not much to the prep for the pet rock craft. First, start off by gathering any supplies you’ll need. Here’s what we used (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):

When it comes to the rocks, you have a variety of possibilities! You can take the kids on a nature walk and encourage the collection of rocks. Or maybe task the children with finding some on the playground or bringing some from home (with permission, of course). Store-bought rocks work well, too.

We used acrylic paint for the pet rocks. Tempera paint works, too, but I’ve found the saturation isn’t always the same when it comes to color. Choose the paints that work best for you and your students.

To prep, make sure the rocks are cleaned of dirt and debris, and allowed to dry before starting the craft. Then place paints and paintbrushes out in your art center, along with paintbrushes. We used paper plates for each rock, but trays would work well, too. Now you’re ready to invite the students over to create.

Pet Rock Craft Directions

Welcome the kids to the center and explain that they’ll get to make their very own pet rocks! Point out the paint color selection, and remind the children of your usual art center rules. Then let the kids paint those rocks.

You’ll likely notice a variety of painting techniques during this activity. Some children will use just one color per rock, while others will mix and match. Some will really be into detailed paintings, while others will want to splash some paint and be done. However they paint, set the rocks aside to dry for a bit.

Once the rocks are dry, set out some googly eyes. I tend to have a stash of various sizes and colors, but it’s okay if you use just one type of googly eyes. Let the children add the eyes they prefer to their pet rocks.

If the kids are interested, allow them to add noses and mouths using permanent markers. We had a few who did this, but most really focused on the googly eyes.

pet rock craft made by preschoolers

Finally, let everything dry overnight. Then let the kids play with their pet rocks! And remember, there’s nothing wrong with teachers making their own rocks, too. I even named mine, to much amusement from the kids.

How to Extend the Pet Rocks Activity

Now that the pet rock craft is done, here are a few ways to use the rocks for more play and learning:

  • Add them to a sensory bin filled with small pebbles or undecorated rocks. Or create one with gray shredded paper.
  • Play a game of “Pet Rock Hide-and-Seek” with your students. Take everyone, and their rocks, outside. Hide the rocks and challenge the children to find them.
  • Use the pet rocks as place markers for board games played in the classroom.
  • Encourage your students to write stories about their pet rock craft. What do those rocks get up to when we aren’t looking?
  • Use Lego, blocks, and craft materials to make homes or beds for the rocks.
4 painted pet rocks

How would you set up this pet rock craft for your students? Be sure to save this post for future reference!

More Pet Rock Ideas for Kids

While we went with a simple, more process art focused pet rocks, you don’t have to. Here are some additional ideas to check out and try:

Rock Lesson Plans

Let my sister site, Preschool Teacher 101, save you tons of planning time with our fully-developed early childhood resources. We have hundreds of lesson plans, dramatic play packs, circle time songs, teacher guides, and so much more.

If the pet rock craft was a hit with your students, you need to check out our rock lesson plans! Click on the image below to get yours:

cover image for preschool rock lesson plans

You can also find our resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

kids painting rocks with completed rocks and text that reads pet rock preschool activity

Originally published May 2013.


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