Geology ROCK-n-Learn for kids. Best rocks & minerals play activities.

What subjects, topics, bits of knowledge will excite my kids when they grow up? Geology has always been a bitterwseet spot me: as a child I had some fascinating looking cards from a board game, that was lost long before I was born. All that was left from it were those cards. Yep, the fascinating ones. Imagine this: on a dark background, the little cute gnomes and huge, colorful gems. Minerals. Rocks. Much bigger then the funny gnomes. Regardless what the long-lost game was really about, rocks and minerals still trigger that tender feeling of mystery and awe. And gnomes too. Gnomes are special, of course. But completely irrelevant for this article. This one is all about things my kids like to do with their rocks. Let me tell you: rocks – truly rock!

The Treasure hunt

My kids love rocks no less then I do. Though, for all the different reasons. As I am sorting the laundry – I get quite a treasure of all the rocks that made their way into my kids’ pockets. As I am about to transfer their pants and shorts into the dryer – more rocks surface up, making me wonder, where they happened to be in the first place. My kids LOVE to collect rocks. So do I. Luckily – there are more then enough places for us to go rock hunting: our neighbors usually don’t mind sharing a rock or two off their front yard decor for our scientific explorations (we do ask!); there are more then plenty on the side of the road during quick trips and vacations. But the best place – museums and hiking stores. For just a couple of bucks we bet the rocks that are easier to…

Name it

As soon as we get a rock, the first thing that fascinates me is what type of rock it is. That part we can do together: Igneous, Metamorphic, Sedimentary and how it came to be is a fun discussion to begin with. If your kids want a fun visual demonstration on each of them or on further identifying it – use Free geology educational materials – Interactive Rock Cycle.

Once we tried to guestimate this rock’s credentials, we…

Sort it.

Some rocks head directly into our own little rock collection. Egg cartons work perfect for it: every slot gets filled with two rocks. Yep, two: later we can play “match the rock game – find a pair for each of the rocks, and find a card with this rock’s story (again – what is the rock, how it came to be, what minerals can it contain, what it used for.) It is really interesting to see how many different shapes and forms certain rocks can take – like quarts. This one is really into variety of looks.

Rock Hunters - identifying, sorting, studding rocks with kids.  Fun introduction to Geology.

And if it doesn’t look good enough for our collection (we already have quite of few of those or we can’t figure out what it is) – off into the playbox it goes.

Rock Hunters - identifying, sorting, studding rocks with kids.  Fun introduction to Geology.

It becomes part of a…

Gold Rush

We fill the bag with sand, drop a few rocks inside the boys wash off their “gems and “treasures with watering cans, inside the sand-n-water tables, just straight on the grass. They clean them with toothbrushes and sponges. They like to pretend their “fools’ gold (pyrite) or regular granite pieces are real treasures.

Rock Hunters - Gold Rush Game. Learning about Rocks with kids.  Fun introduction to Geology.Rock Hunters - Gold Rush Game. Learning about Rocks with kids.  Fun introduction to Geology.8T9A5441

And treasures can be not only found, but also…

Bury the treasure

Just as exciting it is to find the treasure, so is hiding it. Deep inside the sandbox. Or in a newly dug out hole in the corner of a backyard. Hiding, drawing a map and digging it back out again to pass to the baby brother for another game…

Load the truck!

Rocks are always necessary parts of any building and construction project. Every truck becomes more exciting with a few trucks loaded in its back. Transporting them back… and forth…

Rock Hunters.  Rock-transportation Games.  Fun Introduction into Geology with kids.Rock Hunters.  Rock-transportation Games.  Fun Introduction into Geology with kids. Rock Hunters.  Rock-transportation Games.  Fun Introduction into Geology with kids.

… and, finally…

Dump them into the river!

All kids love skipping stones. But if it doesn’t skip, if it just flops into the middle of the lake with a tasty swooshy-pop-sound, it gets the baby brother giggling and his older brothers all excited to repeat the experience. Big ones, little ones, everything goes. My toddler’s favorite twist: when mom adds a funny sound after each rock plummets into the river. Plop. Plump. Peep. Pom-pom. Boom. You get the story. Rocks can even attract my kid for a…

Play-fishing trip

Occasionally, they tie a piece of rope to the stick, tie the other piece of rope around the rock… and really enjoy “fishing. Yes, we have real fishing sticks. No, of course the fish are not dumb enough to get caught on it. Yes, it beats me, why they would even bother. No, my kids can spend a ton of time this way.

And yes, they constantly come up with new ways this most wonderful toy, that they keep finding along every pathway that we take.

Rock Hunters.  Fishing with rocks.  Fun Introduction into Geology with kids.

And yes, please share more ways to play and learn with all the rocks that we find!