Here’s everything you could want to know about Rock Hunting in Singapore, mama!
Not to mention, it’s a free activity (once you’ve invested in the affordable gear, like art supplies). If you’ve been wondering how to get stuck in to Rock Hunting but don’t know where to start, listen up. We have the complete beginners’ guide, plus info on what materials to use and where to hide your rocks (and where not to!).
How many times have you picked up a piece of colourful tat off the sidewalk thinking it might be an SG Rock? We are a little bit obsessed. And that’s just us parents…which proves there’s no age limit on this fun outdoor treasure hunt.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Rock Hunting
Step 1: Find a rock
Pretty much any rock. Smooth, flat and light coloured ones are best for smaller kids working with permanent markers but older kids using acrylic paints and paintbrushes can paint on rougher, craggy rocks. If you are desperate, garden centres sell big bags of polished rocks for $18-20. (No nicking rocks from condos please!)
Step 2: Paint and Seal your Rock
- Your best bet is to use acrylic paints (Susanna Lo, the founder of SG Rocks, likes the non-toxic FolkArt Acrylic paints as they are affordable and come in a huge range of colours) with paintbrushes. These are available for about $2.35 per tube at ArtFriend stores and online.
- Another option are POSCA paint pens (it’s easier for younger children to hold pens instead of paint brushes), available at Art Friend or Amazon US.
- Permanent marker felt tips will also work (Daiso sell a pack of different colours for $2 – great for smaller kids and super cheap). Don’t use washable paints or markers as these will wash off in the rain.
- Smaller kids from 2 years old might have more fun wielding mama’s nail polish on rocks, as long as you help with dipping.
- Finally, seal your rock so the paint won’t flake off, and to make it waterproof. Susanna recommends a sealant suitable for acrylic paints like the FolkArt Lacquer spray (about $10), Liquitex High Gloss Varnish or Reeves Gloss Varnish. All of them work well with the FolkArt paints but have different results with the paint markers. Be careful not to spray too close or it can melt the paint pens. Do a tester rock first.
Step 3: Hashtag It
Dream up a fun ‘brand name’ for all the rocks your family is going to paint. Like #sassyrocks or try #[yoursurname]rocks. Write this on the back of your rock alongside the game name #SGRocks.
Step 4: Hide It
Hide your painted rocks in green spaces around Singapore (or beyond!). Get creative and think like a ninja, ‘Where you gonna hide that rock’? Hide them at the base of trees (though we sometimes fear for dog wee here), along paths, and maybe put some at eye level too, at the fork of small tree branches, by playgrounds.
Do not hide your rock in Jacob Ballas. It is sadly OFF LIMITS for rock hunters.
Susanna Lo of SG Rocks tells us:
“We have had an overwhelming response so far and a lot of our members have thanked us personally for creating this activity. Not only does hunting the rocks help kids enjoy the outdoors, but painting the rocks is also a fun bonding activity where the whole family – including mums, dads and helpers – can participate.
“We are currently liaising with Singapore National Parks to try to get permission to allow our members to hide and hunt rocks, especially in the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden since it was specifically built for kids. We hope that with more awareness, more people will get involved and more gardens will offer us the chance to teach our kids the wonderful outdoors with the help of colourful rocks that parents and their children have painted together.”
Step 5: Post it
Take a photo of where you’ve hidden your rock (or at least write a clue), and post it on Facebook group SG ROCKS together with your #hashtag so rock hunters who find it can later repost on the Facebook page so you can see that your rock has been found.
Step 6: Keep it or Re-hide it
This is a tough one. In the spirit of SG Rocks, if your little rock hunter can bear to part with their treasure, they can rehide the rocks (maybe another day after they’ve admired them at home) and re-post your clues to keep the chain going. But it’s sometimes hard for little detectives to part with their bounty and that’s ok. Just paint some more and rehide those for another kid to find.
Rock Hunting Parties
Keep an eye out for rock hunting extravaganzas (next one happening here) on designated days of the month. SG Rocks members will be told where to meet; just show up with a bag of painted rocks to hide and find — super fun! It’s basically like Easter egg hunting minus the sugar-crazed ending!
Big Rock Finds: Tessie Turtle and Stan Squirrel
Look out for “big finds” — extra big rocks like Tessie and Stan made by Susanna Lo. She explains more:
“When we hit 1,000 members, we wanted to do something fun to mark the occasion and we wanted to have something to engage the community spirit that was already forming in our new group. The idea also came because my friend Lynn found a gigantic rock which she wasn’t sure what to do with. So we decided to paint it like a turtle, call her Tessie and leave it around Singapore for other members to find and re-hide!
“Our members loved the idea and there was quite a rush to find Tessie! When we reached 2,000 members we decided to do another giant rock, this time it was a squirrel named Stan and he has a blank underside for members to add their own personal messages. We are nearing 3,000 members now so we’re taking ideas on the next animal rock for find and re-hide! Suggestions welcome.”
Special thanks to the creative members of Facebook group SG Rocks for their artsy photos!