The Kindness Rock Project

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Painted stones, featuring one with a sailboat on the ocean and blue sky.

The Kindness Rock Project is a viral trend where people, commonly children, paint pebbles or cobbles and leave them for others to find and collect. Photos of the painted rocks and hints of where to find them are commonly shared on Facebook groups.[1] The trend originated in the U.S. and has spread to the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand as well as other countries.[2][3]


The Kindness Rocks Project was started by Megan Murphy in 2015 on Cape Cod. She wrote "You've got this" on a rock and left it on a beach on Cape Cod. After a friend found it, she started leaving more rocks with inspirational messages behind.[2][3][4]

The Kindness Rocks Project.jpg


As the trend of painting kindness rocks has spread, it has many derivatives but remains true to its original intention of spreading kindness. Rocks are painted as a social-emotional learning activity for kids, as well as to support particular charities, events or movements. Sometimes the name of a hashtag or the Facebook group the painter belongs to is written on it as well.[3][5][6]

Generally, rocks which are hidden are intended to be picked up, photographed and put on Facebook, and then re-hidden in a different spot. However, different rock groups may have different ideas; some might be asked to be taken as far as possible, and others hidden in the same city or general region. The Kindness Rocks Project encourages people to set up community Inspiration gardens.[7]

The painting rock trend was revived during the COVID-19 pandemic.[8]


#Islastones was a rock-painting movement in support of Isla Tansey, a girl diagnosed with DIPG, a terminal cancer. Isla asked people to paint stones with the hashtag #islastones, take photos of them, and hide them. Isla died on July 10, 2018 at the age of 7, less than a year after her diagnosis.[9][10][11][12][13]

International Drop a Rock Day[edit]

International Drop a Rock Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated on July 3, in which people are encouraged to leave a painted rock in a public space.[14]


Some parks have objected to people leaving painted rocks on their grounds,[15] including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.[16][17] Painted rocks were banned from several parks in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.[18][19] Disneyland has banned painted rocks from entering the park and will confiscate them.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peters, Terri. "Why thousands of families are painting and hiding rocks... for fun". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  2. ^ a b Guerra, Cristela (August 10, 2016). "One rock, a few kind words, and a movement is born". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  3. ^ a b c Featherstone, Emma (2018-05-06). "Rocking all over the world: the painted pebble trend crossing continents". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  4. ^ "The Kindness Rocks Project". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  5. ^ "Kids Are Going to Love Doing This During the School Holidays". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  6. ^ "This is why you're seeing pictures of really pretty rocks in your feeds". Belfast Telegraph. October 3, 2017. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  7. ^ Maltwood, Hannah (2018-04-08). "The rules you need to know to take part in painted rock craze sweeping Cornwall". cornwalllive. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  8. ^ "Have you spotted some of these painted rocks around the district?". Spalding Today. 2020-04-30. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  9. ^ Thompson, Alan (2018-07-11). "The girl whose simple campaign inspired thousands has died". leicestermercury. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  10. ^ Keen, Anne (2018-06-20). "Find the stone". Gloucester Advocate. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  11. ^ "Stones legacy hope after cancer girl dies". BBC News. 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  12. ^ "Cancer girl's stone campaign rolls on". BBC News. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  13. ^ Dawson, Nicholas (2018-05-18). "Colourful day at Hinckley Parks Primary School to support brave Isla". hinckleytimes. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  14. ^ "It's International Drop a Rock Day!". Parents. 2017-07-03. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Jordan. "Shropshire Rocks craze 'a danger' for Shrewsbury park users, says council". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  16. ^ "Texas Parks and Wildlife: Please stop painting rocks". San Antonio Express-News. 2017-07-28. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  17. ^ Hernandez, Erica. "Popular rock-painting trend in parks violates state laws in some places, officials say". Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  18. ^ Heyward, Emily (November 19, 2017). "Children's craze on rocky ground over fire fears". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  19. ^ EMILY HEYWARD (November 21, 2017). "Rock craze banned from three parks as council publishes 'how-to' guide". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  20. ^ "Disney Cracking Down On Allowing Painted Rocks Into The Parks, Can Be Considered 'Weapons,' Will Confiscate". The Inquisitr. 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2018-07-17.