Painted stones are taking Aylmer by storm
If you’ve been wandering the streets of Aylmer, you may have noticed some beautifully painted rocks scattered across the town.
These painted stones, commonly called “kindness rocks” have been coloured and hidden by members of the Rocks for Aylmer Facebook group.
The group started back in 2017 but really got going once Noelle Bruce took over the reins on July 16th. Since then, the group has already quadrupled in size.
Noelle’s passion for the project comes from the popularity of the practice back in her native Newfoundland and Labrador where a Facebook group dedicated to the painting and hiding and sharing of rocks, named NL Rocks, has over 23 thousand members.
Delighted by the rapid uptake in popularity of the page, she stated that the practice is “a fun way for people to express their creative sides to make someone else in the community happy” and also “a great way to keep the kids active and happy by painting, hiding, searching for and finding the rocks throughout the summer”.
Daycares, parents taking time off from work and even the Boucher Forest Foundation have jumped on board in major ways.
Multiple activities are currently being planned as part of Boucher Forest Month, such as a rock painting workshop as well as decorating a section of the path located at the end of Antoine Boucher Street for visitors and participants of activities to find.
The date and time of these events will be revealed in mid-August along with the rest of the foundation’s activities for the month.
Where does the practice come from?
Although decorating rocks has been a common practice for thousands of years, the gain in popularity of this form of community creativity and sharing, commonly called kindness rocks, is attributed to the Kindness Rock Project.
Created by American Megan Murphy, 52, in 2015, the Kindness Rock Project began after she discovered a heart shaped stone along the beach at a rather difficult time of her life.
Taking it as a sort of divine signal that everything would be fine, she decided to pay it forward and took a small round rock, wrote “You’ve Got This” in marker, and left it behind for someone to find.
That someone was a personal friend of hers who called to thank her. Seeing the positive effect that such a simple gesture could make, she began writing on and hiding thousands of rocks that were eventually found and shared on social media platforms.
The practice has since then gone global with groups dedicated to kindness rocks throughout Canada, the US, the UK as well as Australia and New Zealand, among other countries.
Although the practice at its origin consisted of words of encouragement, the derivative practise of artistically painting and planting these stones as a sort of Easter egg hunt for kids has also rapidly been popularized.
Whether it be kind words or beautiful drawing, the intent of the movement stays the same, to provide moments of joy for others whether they’re actively looking for them or just happen to stumble across someone’s painted stone.
How to get involved
For information about sharing and finding rocks, you can join the group on Facebook by searching for Rocks for Aylmer.
To start colouring and hiding rocks, the process can vary but is usually as follows:
Step 1: Collect rocks. Palm size is ideal so that kids can safely pick them up and handle them.
Step 2: Clean the rocks to ensure better paint adhesion.
Step 3: Start painting. Acrylic paint is recommended.
Step 4: Let the rocks dry and possibly spray a coat of sealant on top for weather proofing and to prevent the paint from running.
Step 5: Place around parks, public pathways, etc., in spots that are safe and accessible for people to find.
Step 6: Share, search, discover and enjoy.