Rock Collector’s Garden at Wonder Works

The Rock Collector’s Garden at Wonder Works includes a mix of rocks and minerals sold as landscape gravel at local stores. Here’s a link to a PDF version of the handout that identifies the most common specimens found in the garden:


You have our permission to make copies of this handout for personal and education use.

Specimens available at the ESCONI Juniors Booth

Welcome to the Rocks for Play and Learning website and blog!

This page includes links to several pages that identify rock, mineral, and fossil specimens that were available at the Juniors Booth at the ESCONI Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show.

Follow these links to learn more about:

Rocks for Play and Learning at Wonder Works on February 9, 2018

On Friday, February 9, 2018, Wonder Works put out many of our Rocks for Play and Learning activities as our Nature and Science program for the morning. Here are the two rock collection cards we did that morning:

ROCKS FROM VOLCANOES: Pumice and Scoria are lava rocks that have lots of bubble holes. Apache Tears are solid lumps of Obsidian (volcanic glass).



ROCKS BY COLOR:  This collection card has rocks can be identified, in part, by their color:

Rock Hunters: Collection of rocks identified, in part, by color.

You can learn more about these rock types at the Neighborhood Rocks website. Here are direct links to five of the types of rocks shown above:


We also handed out labeled bags with with coal from Illinois and with two kinds of iron ore (shiny Hematite and dull, rounded pieces of Taconite).

The next time we do Rocks for Play and Learning activities at Wonder Works will be on Friday, May 11, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Rocks for Play and Learning at ESCONI’s 2016 Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show

On March 5 and 6, 2016, Wonder Works brought many of our Rocks for Play and Learning activities to ESCONI‘s Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show. Over the next day or so we will post lots of photos of the activities and other aspects of the ESCONI Juniors booth. In the mean time, here are some useful links:

Rocks for Play and Learning at the CEC’s 2016 Symposium

Wonder Works presented Rocks for Play and Learning as a play station at the Collaboration of Early Childhood’s 2016 Symposium (2/27/2016). The theme for this year’s symposium was, “Turning Obstacles into Opportunities: Navigating the Tough Stuff.” Our play station fit this theme both literally and metaphorically as we showed how Wonder Works uses rocks to build play experiences that expose young children to natural materials, simple science concepts, math, technology, literacy, art, and all the social and emotional goodness that comes from engaging in small world play with other children and adults.

Go here to see photos of the Rocks for Play and Learning play station. To read more about the seven themes of our play station, go here or check this blog’s menu (probably on your left on larger screens).

Our play station included lots of examples of the rock-related activities we do during Friday morning Nature and Science programs at Wonder Works. We hope that symposium attendees found at least a couple of ideas worth taking home with them, as well as a few free rocks and minerals to add to their collections.

This Rocks for Play and Learning blog both illustrates and expands on the themes developed at the play station using photos of the activities, lists of resources and resource providers, recipes, printouts, bibliographies, and more.

If you missed us at the symposium, you can catch Rocks for Play and Learning at two places in early March. We will be at the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois (ESCONI) Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, and at the Forest Park Public Library’s STEAM Fair on Saturday, March 12. We will also be presenting Rocks for Play and Learning at Wonder Works on Friday, April 22, and Friday, June 17 (10 a.m. to 12 noon).