Tyler, Texas Rocks is a Facebook group we started after returning from a visit to my hometown, Silsbee, Texas. While there, my kids were introduced to the creative outlet that is quickly sweeping the nation. It is a very simple concept. Basically, one paints a rock, tags it with the group name and hashtag, hides the rock, finds a rock and post photos of both hides and finds on the Tyler Texas Rocks facebook page.
While in Silsbee staying with friends, my children were able to hunt for rocks and then begged to go back to where we were staying to paint rocks so they could go out and hide a few for others. They enjoyed each step of the process and I loved the sense of community I felt as we painted our rocks together with friends and then again as we were out hiding and looking. Many residents of the small town were actually outside walking around instead of staying indoors watching TV, playing video games or on their phones.
Once we were back in Tyler, my kids couldn’t understand why we could not go hunting for rocks. I was hesitant about starting the group because I just didn’t know if it would catch on in a city the size of Tyler. Looking back, I can’t believe I even doubted it. My kids and I hid the first 12 rocks on June 20th . I started a facebook page and added all of my friends who I thought might be interested. Less than a week later, and we had over 3,000 members. Today our group is less than 3 weeks old and we are continuously approving members. At the moment, we have over 6,000 rock hunters and that does not even include all of our kids who do not have facebook accounts.
I’ve had several people ask me why we do this and there are several reasons. First of all, who doesn’t love to make someone smile? Painting and hiding a special rock that you made is a great random act of kindness, especially when you love your creation and have no idea who will end up finding it. Secondly, painting rocks has been a great summer activity we all enjoy doing together. A lot of mornings we wake up and just paint in our pajamas until lunchtime. We all love being creative and this has been a great outlet for myself, my teenagers, my school age children, and even my toddler. They create rocks for friends, for family, and for strangers while using their imaginations in a great way. Finally, errands have become more fun for my kids because they are always on the hunt no matter where we go. Before it would be a fight to go to the grocery store. Now running into town is more of a game.
Our Tyler Texas Rocks group includes all of our Tyler area friends. We have many members from the small surrounding towns and even those as far as Lindale, Palestine and Jacksonville. As some of us go on vacations out of Texas, we have taken rocks and hidden them along the way. We now have Tyler Texas Rocks that have been found in all over the state of Texas, in Missouri, Florida and California. It will be exciting to continue to see our rocks travel and then pop up from time to time on our Facebook page as they are hidden and re-hidden.
If you would like to join us, please find us on Facebook at TYLER TEXAS ROCKS. Here you will be able to see where rocks have most recently been hidden. Sometimes clues are given and other times the member will just state the place hidden or even give a picture clue. Anyone can find the rocks. Once you find a rock, please take a photo of the rock and post where you found it. Also, post where you are re-hiding OR if you are keeping it. If you decide to keep the rock, please paint more rocks to keep the fun going.
We do have a couple of guidelines about creating your own rocks.
1. Collect rocks to be painted. Please do not steal rocks from landscaping. Clean the rocks and let them dry before painting. Smooth rocks work best.
2. Acrylic paints work best. Use several coats of paint and plenty of time to allow each layer to dry.
3. Once completely dry, flip the rock over and use Mod Podge to adhere a printed copy of the Tyler Texas Rocks tag on the back. This can be found in the Files section on our group page. Please don’t forget this step! This is the only way of tracking our rocks and seeing it pop up again in our group.
4. Use a clear spray sealant (found in spray paint section) to seal the back and front of your rock. This is very important so that the rain and wear and tear does not make a mess of your beautiful rock.
5. Once the whole rock is dry, tagged and sealed, find a fun place to hide it. Don’t’ forget to add clues to the facebook group for each rock hidden.
6. Have fun and help spread joy. #tylertexasrocks
About the Guest Author:
April and her husband, Scott, were both raised in Silsbee, Texas. They met in high school and continued to date as they both went to East Texas Baptist University. Immediately after graduating from college, they married and soon after started their family. April stays home with their five children ages 3-15, while Scott runs Corner Bakery Café in Tyler and Longview. However, according to April, staying at home does not mean sitting at home. April has recently illustrated a Bible study book for Bible Journaling called Sketching Scripture. She and the author of the book travel around the United States showing others how to make God’s word meaningful in their lives. Finally, she was recently chosen to be a Wildflowers Consultant where she will sell creative girls clothing with a designer she has admired for years. She loves spending time with her family creating things, traveling, reading and going to the movies.