One of the joys of childhood is discovering rocks in unexpected places as you go about your day. Children pick up rocks, examine them closely, taste them, sometimes throw them down, and sometimes put them in their pockets or incorporate them in their play.
Here are some ways we let young children discover rocks at Wonder Works:
Sifting in the sandbox. Children can take home a couple of polished rocks in tiny ziplock bags.
Digging in our gravel pit with bulldozers, diggers, and dump trucks.We use pretty big pebbles in this activity–too big to swallow. (Other children’s museums do similar activities with pea gravel which, if swallowed, passes right through….) We ask children to leave these rocks behind so others can play with them:
Eric Gyllenhaal’s Neighborhood Rocks website describes more places where young children can discover rocks: http://www.saltthesandbox.org/rocks/find.htm
Eric also build a Rock Hound Garden where children can discover rocks (in front of his home): http://saltthesandbox.org/garden.htm
Here are some good children’s books about discovering rocks and the things you can do once you have them:
Baylor, B. (1985). Everybody Needs a Rock. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.
Christian, P. (2000). If You Find a Rock. San Diego: Harcourt.
Lionni, L. (1961). On My Beach There Are Many Pebbles. New York: Mulberry Books.
Salas, L.P. (2015). A Rock Can Be… Millbrook Press.