10 Rock, Pebble and Stone Play Ideas

26 March 2013 · 11 comments

in 10 Outdoor Ideas Series, Early Years Outdoors, Nature Play & Learning, Science Outdoors, Urban

Everyone needs a rock. Enjoy endless hours of play in the forest, in your back garden, at park, on the beach. Here’s some suggestions…

Find your Perfect Rock

It will be not too big and not too small. It will smell right and feel fine. It may be a life long quest.

Pebble Toss

Create a hole. Each player needs 5 stones. Take it in turns to toss a pebble into the hole. The person with the most stones in the hole wins.

Shades of Grey

How many different colours of rock can you find? Build up a rainbow of rocks, sorted according to colour. Is the colour related to size, hardness or any other property of a pebble?


Make a trail of stones that lead to something interesting. Put a little treasure or surprise to let others know they’ve found the spot!

Which Hand?

Hide a pebble in one of your hands. Hold out both fists. Let a friend guess which hand the pebble is in. Take turns and let your friend hide the pebble in one of her hands too. (NB Dogs love this game too when played with a treat they can eat each time).

Stone Stacks

Build a stack of stones. This can be extra interesting if they are built near the sea and the tide comes in around them. Will yours survive?

Returning Rocks

Go for a walk and collect stones. Then go back and try and remember where they all came from.

Sound Keeper

Find two pebbles and tap them together to create a simple rhythm. Play hide ‘n’ seek but guide people to where you are hidden by your tap-tapping. People who find you should sit quietly beside you and wait for the others. They should tap the same rhythm too.

A Pebble Walk

Take a pebble for a walk. Photograph it hanging out in different locations. Where does it look most at home? On a wall? On the beach? Or some other place? Can you recognise it when hidden amongst other pebbles?

Make a Miniature Drystone Wall

This is a wall that is made without cement. The stones carefully laid together keep the wall stable. Experiment with small flat stones. Look at brickwork in houses and garden walls to see how which patterns and stone placements make a strong wall. Put those jigsaw skills to work!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Bedard March 26, 2013 at 20:18

Rocks are great inside, too! I almost always have rocks in my classroom, often in the sensory table. If they are not in the sensory table, they are in the kitchen, in the block area, or the writing area. I agree, everyone needs a rock.


Coombe Mill March 30, 2013 at 17:53

Some fun and interesting ways to inspire rock play, will try some out on our children. Thanks for linking to Country Kids.


Elaine Livingstone March 30, 2013 at 18:35

some nice ideas here, will provide lots of fun for free.


Leyla Brooke March 31, 2013 at 07:36

Some great ideas and our dog loves to play find it


MsXpat March 31, 2013 at 17:11

Oh I like the idea of the pebble walk, I’ll try that some time :0)


Jenny Paulin April 2, 2013 at 07:02

we have a very pebbly beach near us and the boys love picking them up and trying to bring them home but they are too big!
there are some great ideas here for when we visit next thank you x


Juliet Robertson April 2, 2013 at 07:18

Thanks everyone for your nice comments. This is much appreciated. I think there are infinite play possibilities with rocks… and yet I’ve suggested only ten… !


Tracey Whitcher November 14, 2013 at 06:27

Use a finger or brush to draw designs / letters / numbers / secret messages on dry pebbles using water. It acts like disappearing in, especially on a hot sunny day when their message will vanish very quickly as the water evaporates.
One child could draw a 2D shape, for instance, which another must remember and reproduce after it has vanished.
Could make an interesting science investigation into evaporation times linked to ambient temperature.
They could time how long it takes for the message to vanish.
Use them to make a treasure trail that they have to follow before it disappears forever.
Simply pouring a wet path with a bucket of water could quickly create a trail to follow.
When my own children were young, creating and recreating dams with pebbles providing hours of fun in shallow streams in France.


concerned teacher October 28, 2014 at 07:52

We have been trying to make our playground more boy-friendly so decided to introduce stone/rock play. within the first month we have had two injuries, despite close supervision in the garden. First a river stone was dropped from a height(jungle gym) onto another boy’s nose (fractured), then boys were banging small stones with bigger river stones to make “cement” and a finger got caught and fractured. Have other schools experienced the same? What rules to you have in place to avoid accidents etc. We have strict rules and a designated area for stone/rock play but it seems like boys will be boys (and girls will be girls) – breaking rules while experimenting and exploring – another opportunity to sustain injuries?? Looking forward to hearing from other schools.


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