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9 Games You Can Play With Rocks




girl painting a pink heart on a colored blue stone

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Keeping children entertained isn’t always easy, but rocks provide a simple, inexpensive way to stimulate their imagination. 

Rocks are abundant in most areas—and collecting them is a marvelous way to spend time outdoors and connect with nature.

Playing games with rocks is also a fantastic way to encourage creativity in children. 

Sometimes simple things are the most fun, so if you want to know more about using natural items as entertainment, look at these nine games you can play with rocks below.  

A girl painting a pink heart on a stone

Game #1 – Rock Painting

Rock painting is a simple activity that will keep children entertained for hours, and the creative possibilities are endless.

You can let children create their own designs or set themes such as painting a pet rock, insects, or animal print. 

What you need:

  • Rocks—preferably smooth ones
  • Acrylic or patio paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Acrylic paint pens or markers—including fine tips
  • Glue
  • Accessories—such as glitter, googly eyes and string


Send the children to find several rocks they want to paint. Wash the rocks with a brush to remove tough dirt and leave them out to dry. 

Next, create an appropriate workspace for painting and let the children paint the rocks. For the best results, you can use a base coat of primer or varnish before you begin.

Children can decorate the rocks with paint and markers and glue things like glitter to the surface. Or you can set educational tasks like painting letters, numbers, or world flags. 

When the rocks are dry, you can cover them in sealer such as acrylic sealer paint or spray to make them last longer, especially if you display them outdoors.

Use the rocks for decoration or attach small magnets to the back and give them as gifts. 

Recycle toy for kid,D.I.Y Tic Tac Toe from old shoe box and pebble rock

Game #2 – Rock Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-tac-toe is a classic game that teaches kids about planning and strategy and improves their visual perception. 

Instead of buying a tic-tac-toe set, you can make a super durable one from rocks. 

What you need:

  • 10 small, smooth stones
  • Paint—at least two colors
  • Paint brushes
  • A board
  • Marker pens


Get the children to find ten small to medium rocks and split them into two sets of five—these will be the pieces. 

Paint each set a different color, or children can customize the rocks and make them into characters using markers and googly eyes, for example.

Next, you must make a gridded board for the game. You can use a large flat stone or a piece of flat wood. You could also chalk one onto the pavement or draw lines with a stick in the earth. 

Little boy playing dominoes at home

Game # 3 – Rock Dominoes

Dominoes is a fun and educational kid’s game that teaches them about numbers, strategy, and sequencing.

You can make the game even more rewarding by creating custom-made rock dominoes. 

What you need:

  • 28 small and medium roks
  • Paint brushes
  • Black and white paint


First, collect 28 small to medium stones, preferably elongated. Clean, wash, and dry the rocks before painting them. 

Paint the stones a base color. Traditionally dominoes are black and white, but you can use any contrasting colors, such as orange and yellow. 

When the base is dry, use small paint brushes or a marker to mark the dots on the dominos—you can find a dominos diagram here. 

Let the rocks dry overnight, then let the children have hours of fun with their new rock dominoes.

Girl with stack of stones at rocky coast

Game #4 – Rock Stacking

Rock stacking has existed since ancient times and is a primitive art form. Children will spend hours captivated by this “rock jenga” while developing patience and creativity. 

What you need:

  • A pile of small, medium, and large rocks—preferably flattened


Rock stacking is a simple activity, and all you need is a large pile of smooth or flat rocks, which you will find in abundance around bodies of water such as streams, lakes, and the coast. 

Use flat rocks for the best results and encourage children to seek out different colors and sizes.

The kids can then build rock totems or stone structures such as walls or cairns. They can even construct the foundations of a house or fort. 

Boy painting colorful rocks

Game #5 – Rock Memory Game

Memory is an entertaining and rewarding game and is a fantastic way for children to improve their concentration, memory, attention span and focus.

Traditionally, kids play memory with cards, but you can make it more interactive if you make it from rocks. 

What you need:

  • Small to medium-sized smooth rocks
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Marker pens
  • Masking tape for stencils


To play rock memory, get the children to gather 12 to 20 small to medium-sized stones. Then, separate the rocks into pairs, matching the similar ones.

Next, the children can decorate the stones with paint and marker pens—each pair must be identical.

Use symbols, shapes, numbers or letters and keep the designs simple so they are easy to replicate. You can create stencils or use thin masking tape to make shapes uniform.  

When the rocks are dry, lay them face down on a flat surface. Each child should take turns to turn two over two at a time. The winner is the one who matches the most pairs. 

Guys playing cornhole game

Game #6 – Stone Cornhole

Cornhole is a traditional American game that kids and adults can enjoy. Traditionally, players try to toss bags of corn through a hole on the board, but you can also use rocks.

What you need:

  • Cornhole board—purchased or homemade
  • 8 medium stones
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes


First, separate the stones into two sets of four and paint each group a different color.

If you or anyone in the family has carpentry skills, you can make a board at home—otherwise, it’s better to buy one.

Kids can play either singles or doubles cornhole, and the aim is to throw the rocks into the holes on the opposing board.

For the kid’s cornhole, you must leave a distance of 2 ft to 15 ft between the boards. 

Ensure the children use underhand throws and don’t stand in the way of rocks during play. 

Game #7 – Build an Outdoor Rock Clock

Building an outdoor rock clock is a simple but educational game that helps children to learn how to tell the time. 

What you need:

  • 2 x sticks—1 short and 1 long
  • 12 large stones
  • 12 small stones
  • A marker pen


To build a rock clock, gather 12 large stones for the main numbers and 12 small stones to represent 5-minute intervals, and a short and long stick for the hands.

Mark the large stones with the number 1–12 and the smaller ones with numbers in multiples of 5 up to 60. 

Let the children lay out the 12 large rocks first and see how much they can do without your help. 

Next, add the smaller stones inside the clock face and use the sticks as hands to tell the time. 

Stone maze in the garden

Game #8 – Create a Rock Maze

It’s easy to make a mini rock maze or labyrinth from rocks. 

What you need:

  • A pile of large rocks
  • Pencil and paper


First, use the pencil and paper to design the maze before building it on the floor and let children partake in the design and construction. The kids can then have fun navigating the maze. 

To make the maze more interesting, time the children to see who can do it the fastest or have them roll a ball around without touching the sides. 

Game #9 – Rock Chess

Chess is a fantastic way to encourage strategic thinking, but sets can be expensive. So why not create your own durable and unique rock chess set?

What you need:

  • A board
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • 32 medium-sized rocks
  • A ruler
  • A marker pen


First, separate the stones into two groups of 16 and paint one set black and one set white. Use the marker pen to draw on the different chess pieces when the paint is dry. 

You can use a concrete slab, flat wood, or strong cardboard to make the board and use a ruler and marker pen or paint to make an 8×8 grid. 

Color the squares black and white like on a chess board—when it’s dry, your rock chess board is ready for the kids to enjoy. 


Playing with rocks is a fun and inexpensive way to keep children entertained. Kids will have endless fun gathering rocks and being creative with them.

Popular rock games include rock painting and stacking rocks, but you can also create classic games such as chess and tic-tac-toe with stones. 

Finish painted rocks with acrylic paint or spray seal to make them last longer.  


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