How to Play the Hide and Seek Rock Game (AKA "Kindness Rocks" or "The Traveling Rock Project")

Learn all about rock painting and hiding and why everyone seems to be in on this new hide and seek rocks game!
Have you ever been out and about and found a painted rock? 

Maybe it was at the park or on a hike. It may have even been in a parking lot or on a sidewalk. The hottest hobby of the year isn't virtual reality: it's rock painting! 

If you have been wondering why people are painting rocks and hiding them, you have come to the right place!

Why are people hiding painted rocks?

If you were to ask most of the people who spend their time painting rocks and hiding them for others to find, they would say it's to bring joy to others.

Maybe you are having a terrible day and an unexpected gift left on the sidewalk will make you smile.

Maybe you've been looking for a sign and there it is! 

how to play the painted rock game

Join the rock painting community!

Join I Love Painted Rocks on social media to get inspired, watch rock painting tutorials and connect with rock painters around the world:

How to play the Hide and Seek Rock Game: 

Anyone can play the hide and seek rock game!

Depending on where you live, this game might also be known as "Kindness rocks", "Traveling rocks", "rocks of love" or simply "painted rocks"!

Step 1 for playing the rock game: Paint a rock!

Not crafty? That's ok! I have all kinds of great resources to get you started painting rocks.

Not sure what kind of paint to use? I've got you!

what paint should i use to paint rocks?

Not sure what to paint on your rock? I've got you there, too!

I put together a list of 20 Easy Rock Painting Ideas for Beginners:

how to get started painting rocks

Step 2 for playing the rock game: Label your rock!

Help people know what to do with the rock they just found by labeling it.

There are several ways to do this.

"Keep or Rehide"
This is the simplest. It lets people know they aren't stealing the rock they found.

find painted rocks near me

"Mark me found in (name of rock painting facebook group) (facebook symbol)"
If you joined a local rock painting group on Facebook, leave the name of your group so the finder can post in the group that they found it. Maybe they will want to get in on the fun, too!

Keep in mind that even if you write this on the back of your rocks, only about 10% of rocks will get marked found.

Enjoy it if your rock gets marked found but don't expect that every finder will follow these instructions.

rock painting facebook groups

Some people just write "(name of rock painting facebook group) (facebook symbol)"
This is a good way to label rocks that don't have a lot of room but I personally think giving more clear directions is helpful.

what to do if you find a painted rock

Step 3 for playing the rock game: Seal your rock!

You have to plan for your rock to eventually be exposed to the weather. Sealing your rock will protect the artwork and make sure the art stays on the rock and doesn't end up on someone's hands! Gross!

Most of the time, sealing rocks with a clear spray sealer is going to be your best bet.

For special cases like sharpies or different types of paint pens, I created a guide to the best way to seal painted rocks. Check it out here:
what is the best way to seal painted rocks

Step 4 for playing the rock game: Hide your rock!

Popular places for hiding rocks include local parks, parking lots or outside business establishments.

One place you SHOULDN'T hide rocks? Inside a national park or at a national monument in the USA.

The United States' National Park Service has specifically said that to them painted rocks are considered litter. If painted rocks are spotted in a national park or monument by staff, they'll be thrown away.

Luckily there are THOUSANDS of other places to hide rocks, so just be sure to do it there.

unique unicorn rock painting ideas - paint a narwahl

Are people rock hunting near me?


People are painting and hiding rocks all over the world!

While it is not required, it's highly recommended to find and join your local rock painting group on Facebook.

To do that, try searching for "(your town name) rocks" and see what comes up.

If you are from a small town, try looking for the name of the closest large town or your county name. You may also be able to find regional groups like Pacific Northwest Painted Rocks or Midwest Rocks.

What to do if you find a painted rock:

If you find a painted rock, the first thing you should do is examine it carefully to see if it has any writing or a label on it. 

Sometimes it may be just a hashtag or it may have instructions. Here are some samples of some labels you might see on the backs of the rocks
how to play the rock hunting game

can i keep this painted rock that i found

painted rock hunting directions

If you find any words labeling your rock, punch them into Facebook and see what comes up.

Most local rock painting groups are organized on Facebook. So Hillsboro "Rocks" is the name of the rock painting group in Hillsboro, Oregon. 

There are also regional groups like the Pacific Northwest Painted Rocks Group (#PNWPR) and #WCPR is for West Coast Painted Rocks

You should be able to type the name of the group or the hashtag (the words with the #) into the search bar on Facebook and find the group the rock originated from.

Once you find the group, ask to join and post a photo of the rock that you found and tell them where you found it. 

The painter of the rock will love to hear that it has been found. 

If you are from Texas but found a rock with an Oregon hashtag, that's ok! You can join the group temporarily just to share your find and then leave the group and nobody will be offended.

The most important things to keep in mind about the hide and seek rock game

Anyone can look for rocks! 
Be on the lookout when you visit parks, hiking trails or even just walking around town. Painted rocks are often left on the ground but can be higher up on benches, walls and even in trees!

Anyone can leave a rock! 
You can use our Getting Started guide if you are new to rock painting.

When decorating your rocks, keep in mind that most local rock groups will ask that you NOT adhere items to the rocks like feathers, googly eyes, and sticker as these can fall off and create litter.

And don't forget to keep your painted rocks out of national parks in the United States!

Enjoy the hunt!
What are kindness rocks? A fun hide and seek rock game that has people painting and hiding rocks all over the world! Learn the rules and how to play! #ilovepaintedrocks #kindnessrocks #paintedrocks #rockpainting

About the Author:

Carissa is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. 

The owner and lead writer of both I Love Painted Rocks and Creative Green Living, she has won multiple awards for her craft writing including the Craftys Award for the "Best Craft Blogger" category in 2016 and the ShiftCon award for "Best DIY blogger" in 2018. 

Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Country Sampler Farmhouse Style and more.


  1. Found my first rock... a few days back... couldn't post it at the # address... I'm unsure WHERE to do so... I tried fb, twitter instagram... i like the idea of doing the paint and hide... i also do geocaching and munzee... this would be a creative outlet for a crafty person like me...

    1. If you can't find a group connected to your rock, I would make a public Facebook group on your wall and use the # on the back of the rock to share that you found it. Some people paint and hide rocks just for the joy of it and don't leave a group, hashtags or other finder instructions. If that's what happened with you, just enjoy your rock for now until you decide you would like to rehide it.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

I would love to hear what you think or if you have questions. On posts more than 7 days old, you will not see your comment right away - and that's ok! It's just waiting to be approved by a moderator.