These easy rock painting ideas are perfect for kids because they can all be considered beginner rock painting projects and a great craft for kids of all ages. Painting rocks and decorating rocks is a fun activity and the results are fun to display, give away or hide in a special place for someone to find.

Rock painting ideas for kids - Colorful Rock Art Ideas - great ways to decorate rocks - 6 different rock painting ideas pictured including a heart rock, tulip rock, galaxy rock, doodle rock, melted crayon rock and sticker decorated rocks for little kids
Oh, so many beginner rock painting ideas for kids!

We have joined the painted rock craze because of the fun we have been having fun with the kindness rocks project. It is a fun way to get the kids outdoors and do something nice (and creative).

Easy Painted Rock Ideas for Kids

There are so many different ways to paint rocks, and we’ve found some of the best rock painting ideas! First, we will discuss how to paint rocks when you are just beginning and then inspire you with some of our favorite easy-painted rock projects.

But there are so many more ways for kids (and adults!) to decorate rocks in addition to painting! 

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Supplies for Rock Painting

Easy rock painting ideas for kids - owl family - 5 painted rocks of different types of owl birds with brightly colored paint and markers.
You can paint rocks to look like an owl family! So cute.

Finding the Perfect Rocks for Painted Rocks

Collecting and painting rocks is a classic activity for kids and one that gets our kids playing outside, enjoying nature, and nurturing creativity. 

For best results, smooth, flatter rocks work the best for most painting and decorating projects. Most beginner painting projects use smaller rocks under 4″ in diameter, but that is a personal choice! I personally like the flat rocks the best.

Smooth round rocks work best as painting surfaces.  This is an oval rock about 4 inches in diameter.
Smooth rocks work best for painting & decorating.

Where we live, there are plenty of rocks along the trails near our home to keep us collecting without disturbing the environment. If you are on a beach, river bed, or protected environmental area, do not take the rocks! It is illegal and can cause erosion. I know it sounds crazy, but you can buy lovely rocks to buy online. Here are a few we like:

Prepare rock surface for painting by washing with mild detergent like dish detergent and then letting dry - sink full of suds
A mild detergent like dish detergent works great to wash rocks.

How do you prepare rocks for rock painting?

You are going to want to brush any dirt or dust off the rock prior to painting. We have found that washing the rocks with a mild detergent not only works really well but is great fun if you fill up the kitchen sink with suds and rocks!

Now that we have talked about rock painting supplies, let’s chat type of paint!

The Best Paint for Rock Painting

You can make almost any type of permanent paintwork, but for beginners, it is best to start with acrylic paint, acrylic paint pens, or permanent markers like Sharpies. This is what we use:

We have also used left-over nail polish, melted crayons, and glued embellishments to paint rocks.

Painting Rocks ideas for kids and beginners - apply a base coat of paint before other decorations.  Shown are a collection of brightly colored painted rocks.
I love adding a single-color base coat of paint before adding additional decorations.

Painting Rocks for Beginners

  1. Collect/buy rocks.
  2. Clean rocks.
  3. Let rocks dry.
  4. (Optional) Paint a base coat of acrylic paint on the rock & let dry.
  5. Paint desired decoration on rock using paint brush, cotton swabs, foam brush, or stamps & let dry.
  6. (Optional) On the back of the rock write inspirational messages for someone with a Sharpie pen.
  7. (Optional) Hide your rocks around your neighborhood.

These rock art ideas will get everyone thinking of new and more unusual ways to create.

Fun Easy Beginner Painted Rocks Projects for Kids

Whether you’re looking to create a series of kindness rocks, treasured kid-made keepsakes, or if you’re in it just for the crafty fun, here are Crazy Fun Rock Decorating Ideas for Kids!

Oh, and I know that we have been talking a lot about how kids will enjoy stone painting and making rock designs, but the whole family will enjoy these fun ideas.

Simple Painted Rock Ideas for Kids

1. Colorful Melted Crayon Rock Craft

Melted Crayon Rocks – We love how simple and colorful this project is. I know we have been talking about painted rocks, but this was the first project I ever did with rock art and they turned out so pretty! The idea of decorative rock is great for smaller and irregular-shaped stones.

Colorful rock project perfect for beginners actually uses crayons instead of paint.  Colorful pink and red glossy color on a rock in child's hand.
The color on these rocks is melted crayons! Such an easy rock project for kids.

2. Cool Rock Monsters Project

Rock Monsters – Kids will have fun creating monsters like these. This is one of the easiest rock projects that even preschool-age kids can get involved in and have some fun. Make a cute rock, a scary rock, or a super fierce rock!

Monster rocks created with Sharpie pens and googly eyes.  Very easy rock art project for kids.
These Monster rocks are painted with Sharpie pens & have Googly eyes!

3. Sharpie-Drawn Pebble Arts

Easy Sharpie Rock Art – Use markers to color rocks instead of paint! Again, this is a super easy rock painting project that even young children like toddlers can have a great time with this rock craft with supervision.

Flower painted on rock with Sharpie pens - shown is a red tulip painted on gray stone.
So many easy art ideas to apply to rocks with Sharpie ink.

4. Lovely Heart Stone Crafts

Heart Stones – Paint encouraging messages onto stones and leave them for others to find. Hopefully, this will give a little inspiration to those you love!

Red, pink and white painted stones with hearts and heart decorations added painted by kids.
Kids love painting hearts on rocks – this one was for Valentine’s Day.

Fun Painted Rock Ideas

5. Scary Rock Shark Painting

Painted Rock Sharks by Sustain My Craft Habit – We love this idea for Shark Week! She has a complete rock painting tutorial and other painted rock ideas we love…you need to check it all out!

shark painted rock in the water from Sustain My Craft Habit website
OMG! I love this shark-painted rock. Genius from Sustain My Craft Habit.

6. Cute Rock-Painted People

Painted Rock People by Non Toy Gifts – The kids made one of these for each member of the family for Christmas one year. I think every year we need to make a new stone family!

Cute people painted rocks with big painted eyes and yarn hair from Non Toy Gifts website.
These are the cutest painted rock people ever! So fun from Non Toy Gifts.

7. Creative Zentangle Rock Paintings

Zentangle Rocks by KC Edventures – Creating zentangles is so relaxing! I know this painted rock project might look too hard for a beginner or kid, but KC Edventures has a full tutorial showing her kids painting and it is really doable! Check out her full instructions.

Zentangle painted rocks idea from KC Edventures site - beautiful zentangle designs on two rocks one big and one small
Get all the painted rock instructions from KC Edventures – it is easier than it looks!

8. Adorable Stone Bug Village Project

Bug Village by Crafts by Amanda – This bug village is seriously adorable.

Painted rock village from Crafts by Amanda is full of rock painting ideas for bugs and set up under acorn trees.
Super cute painted bug rocks from Crafts by Amanda…love the full village!

9. Creative Chalk-Drawn Face Rocks

Rock Chalk Faces by Club Chica Circle – These made our neighbors laugh when they saw them! Just be careful not to leave the rocks in the middle of the sidewalk! Click through to Club Chica Circle to see all the different variations they made. They are all so cute and a great way to use painted rocks for different use.

Painted rock eyes, nose and mouth shown in a chalk created face with hair.  It is so funny and cute from Club Chica Circle site.
This is one of many ways to use painted rocks from Club.ChicaCircle! It is so cute!

10. Colorfully Painted Stone Fish Crafts

Painted Stone Fish Craft by Messy Little Monster – We painted rocks from our vacation into these. Check out Messy Little Monster’s tutorial because she had her preschoolers painting these and they turned out adorably!

Fish painted rocks with felt fins painted by kids from Messy Little Monster
This painted rock project from Messy Little Monster was painted by preschoolers.

More Rock Painting Ideas

Are you inspired yet by all these painted rock ideas for kids? Keep scrolling for even more easy painting ideas for beginners…

11. Amazing Solar System Pebbles Project

Space Rocks by You Clever Monkey – These were perfect when we were studying the eclipse and doing this STEM Solar System craft.

Painted space stones in a basket with space rocks from You Clever Monkey
Paint rocks into Space Stones like You Clever Monkey did!

12. Pebbles Covered with Melted Crayons Craft

Melted Crayon Rocks by Red Ted Art – This is a great way to “recycle” old crayon pieces!

Colorful crayon painted rocks from Red Ted Ar
Pebble with crayons Red Ted Art

13. Beautiful Crystal-COvered Rocks Project

Crystalized Rocks by Happy Hooligans – This is one of the coolest techniques for painting and decorating rocks. Click over to the site to get the full tutorial…you have to try this with your kids!

Crystalized Galaxy Painted rocks for kids from Happy Hooligan - 4 colorful blue and purple rocks shown with crystal edges
Love this crystalized galaxy-painted rock idea from Happy Hooligans!

14. Cute Pet Pebbles Craft

Fluffy Pet Rocks by the Craft Train – My daughter’s teacher had the kids create pet rocks like this for a lesson and the kids loved them!

Fluffy painted pet rock with yarn hair from The Craft Train - one rock with googly eyes and blue yarn hair pictured
These pet rock ideas with fluffy hair are so cute from The Craft Train!

15. Shining Shimmering Painted Rocks Craft

Sparkly Painted Rocks by Craftulate – Sparkles make any craft project better!

Sparkly painted rocks in colors - yellow, orange, purple, green, blue and red from Craftulate
What a fun sparkly painting idea from Crafulate!

Unique and Clever Painted Rocks Ideas

20 Rock Decorating Ideas - how to decorate rocks with paint from Kids Activities Blog - 5 beginning painting ideas for stones
Which painting idea for kids are you going to try first?

Let’s move beyond painting rocks into some other inspiration that kids will embrace for their stone decorations…

16. Clever Sight Word Activity with Pebbles

Sight Word Pebbles by the Imagination Tree – Practicing sight words was never so much fun. I can’t get over how smart this use of rocks is for kids!

painted rocks with sight words and other words so kids can make stone sentences from The Imagination Tree
Painted rocks are ways to learn with this genius idea from The Imagination Tree!

17. Crafty Rocks with Stickers

Sticker Rocks by Fireflies and Mud Pies – Don’t want to break out the paint? Try these instead! Even your youngest crafter can make these decorated rocks.

Sticker decorated rocks from Fireflies and Mudpies - shown are a panda, donut box and flowers on rocks
Sticker decorated rocks make it so any age can play! So smart from Fireflies and Mudpies

18. Colorful Dyed Stones for Kids

Dye Decorated Rocks by Twitchetts – These are really subtle but so pretty! It is a really cool rock painting technique using dyes instead.

Dyed painted rocks in jewel tone colors with angular rocks from Twitchetts
This technique from Twitchetts is as close to Easter egg dying as I have seen!

19. Painted Rocks with Lovely Patterns

Magic Dragon Painted Rocks by Color Made Happy – Make some of the most exciting play accessories with these rocks! You have to see her castle made out of an Oatmeal container too…

Colorful painted rocks that have dots and patterns from Color Made Happy
These painted rocks are almost magical from Color Made Happy!

20. Simple Hand-Painted Gratitude Stones

Gratitude Stones by Fireflies and Mudpies – These are simple but so beautiful!

Simple painted rocks with hearts on them from Fireflies and Mudpies
Sometimes the best-painted rocks are the simplest! Lovely from Fireflies and Mudpies…

21. Cute Rainbow-Painted Rock Craft

This rainbow-painted rock is awesome and so simple. Grab your favorite rainbow paint colors to follow this fun.

Painted Rock Idea - rainbow rock in a child's hand.  Simple and easy painting idea for rocks
Love this rainbow-painted rock idea! So lovely.

22. Rocks Painted with Different Patterns for Kids

Love these simple rock painting patterns for kids. Paint a simple flower using ovals and a circle. Paint what looks like the underside of a parachute with triangles of various colors or make a stripe and polka dot painted stone!

Simple rock painting patters for kids - flower, umbrella, criss cross and polka dots and stripes
Flower painted rocks along with other simple patterns

23. School of Fish Painted Rocks Project

What a fun idea! Paint each rock as a colorful fish and then group them together to make a school of painted rock fish!

Painted rocks make up a school of fish with each painted rock looking like a different type of fish with colorful decorations.
Paint an entire school of fish out of rocks!

24. Lovely Lovebirds Rock Craft

Grab your blue and yellow paint and two stones to create a pair of painted rock lovebirds.

love bird painted rocks sitting in a tree - one bird is a blue painted rock and the other is yellow painted rock
Let’s paint some rock lovebirds!

25. Simple Ladybug Stone Project

Grab red and black paint to make this sweet painted ladybug stone!

Painting rocks to look like ladybugs - this painted rock ladybug is in the grass
Let’s make a painted rock ladybug!

26. Cool Cactus Rock Crafts

Making rocks that are painted to look like cactus is a really cute idea and would make a great gift when placed in a painted flower pot.

Painted rocks that look like cactus plants in painted flower pots colors red, green and blue
Let’s paint our rocks to look like cactus plants and put them in flower pots.

27. Simple-Patterned Colored Pebble Project

You could take this idea and run with it. Start with single-color painted rocks and then use those colors to arrange the rocks into a design like this heart.

Single color painted rocks: red, orange, yellow blue and light blue arranged on grey stones into the shape of a heart.
Simply painted colorful rocks arranged in the shape of a heart is soooo cute!

28. Rocks Painted with Inspiring Words Activity

Paint inspiring words on rocks and then hide them around the world to make someone who finds them smile. I love this painting idea so much!

Words painted on rocks like dream, ecology, day, always, shine, think, moon, flower, better
Painting inspiring words on rocks that you hide in the world…

my Favorite Rock Painting Ideas

My very favorite rock painting idea is to let kids creativity go wild with markers, paint and googly eyes to make rock monsters. We have a version of this rock painting idea listed as #2 in this list and you can imagine that the finished rock monster projects possibilities are endless. Add some glue, yarn and glitter for even more fun!

More Ideas for Kids from Kids Activities Blog

Which rock art project is your favorite to make with your kids?

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  1. My kids wanted to paint rocks and spread them around out small town and it was so much fun to try out a bunch of these rock painting ideas. They turned out so cute!

  2. My 13 year old and I love leaving painted rocks around town. These are some great ideas for us to add to our “to do” list.

  3. My kids found some painted rocks at a local park and decided they wanted to make some to replace the ones they picked up… and eventually, they wanted more rock painting ideas to hide them around our property. I has been a really fun and creative project for the summer.

    1. Aw, love it! I also love that it gives kids a sense of community, and paying it forward, when they hide rocks for others to find!

  4. I’m so glad I saw this!!! My daughter and I have been running out of rock painting ideas! We love to paint rocks and then hide them (in plain sight) outside at the park near our house for people to find!

  5. Squeal! I absolutely love these ideas to paint rocks. They are some of the best ways to get kids outside for a rock scavenger hunt and then some painting rocks time. We also love to then hide the finished (dried painted rocks) back on our walk for neighbors to find.