Kids, and adults alike, all over the country are being kept busy and off their electronics with this fun new art project of painting rocks!
The groups are organized by state, county or town, and often originate on Facebook, gathering local members who wish to join in the fun of painting rocks, hiding rocks and hunting for rocks painted by others.
It's a simple act of kindness that's making a big impact in communities across the country. From Vermont to Arizona, rock painting groups are brightening the days of strangers — one colorful rock at a time.
Megan Murphy is a life coach from Massachusetts who started the Kindness Rocks Project, a movement that many rock group creators credit with inspiring them to organize their own groups. Murphy says she left a career as a retail business owner after fifteen years, in search of a more meaningful way to spend her days.
After spending time completing service projects and exploring her purpose, Murphy began taking long walks on the beaches of Cape Cod, searching for tiny treasures — like sea glass or heart-shaped rocks.
One day, Murphy wrote messages with a permanent marker on a few rocks and left them on the beach. When a friend reached out to her after finding one of the rocks, explaining that the message had improved her day, Murphy knew she had stumbled on the perfect way to help others.
Today, the Kindness Rocks Project has grown into hundreds of smaller subgroups, a majority of which are listed on Murphy's website. And, additional rock groups are indexed on USA Painted Rocks, a Facebook group designed to connect people with rock-painting groups in their area.
"I feel so connected with so many people because people send me messages with their stories every day," said Murphy. "Some of them are sad, most of them are heartwarming, and they are all thanking me for starting the project." But Murphy takes little credit for the spin-off groups of "rockers" that exist around the world. "This isn't about me. The project is about people, it's about after people find a rock and they have that feeling about the rock and realize there's another human being who actually gets them. They realize they are not alone in this world."
Brandy Phillips, an Arizona mom who belongs to the Kingman AZ Rocks group, says she joined her local rock group after finding a painted rock at a local park. Phillips says her town is a small, desert community that has become more connected as a result of their passion for rocks.
"People post pictures of themselves or their kids holding the rocks, and just the smiles on their faces and how excited they are about it are great to see," Phillips told TODAY Parents. "And showing my kids when people find their rocks makes them get excited, too."
It is great to see a community come together and share a common goal of inspiration and created comradery. Look around on Facebook for a group near your neighborhood to get started!