Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rock Hounding Kids

Smooth. Shiny. Rough. Jagged. Big. Small.

Rocks come in all different shapes and sizes and never fail to entertain kids. How many of you have rock collections in your house, garage, car, or kids' backpack? For that matter, have you ever found rocks in your washer or dryer? I have.

This summer we found a new way to enjoy rocks at a place called The Scratch Patch in Seattle. This small 2-room home-style environment invites kids (and their grown-ups) to come sit amongst their polished gems. I think I had just as much fun as the 3 boys I took searching through the rocks looking for those special ones that spoke to me. Seated on my lily-pad cushion, I sifted through quartz, amethyst, and moonstones while the boys worked to identify each of their special stones with the laminated guides.

Admission is $2, but I challenge you to spend the time picking amongst the stones and not walk out of there with a bagful ($8 for a medium bag, including the cost of admission).
Don't have a Scratch Patch in your area? Don't worry, there are still lots of ways to enjoy rocks. Go for a walk on the beach or in the woods. Get a rock tumbler and polish your own (I have heard that can be noisy, so maybe it can be a garage toy). Pick up a few special rocks and a rock guide at your local children's or science museum. Try one of those geode kits that lets you crack your own geodes. My kids are still hoping to find their own geodes one day, but apparently these rocks are most likely to be found in the volcanic ash beds and we have yet to plan a geode-searching expedition. Happy Rock Hounding!


  1. Wow, I have to take my boys there. I'm just as excited as they will be. Yes, I can confirm that a rock tumbler is loud. We put one under the house while it worked. But despite the noise, it does amazing polishing. Rocks are fascinating.

  2. Glad you like the idea. It's a great rainy day activity or something for one of those early dismissal days.