Keep 'em believin' series Part III
“I got a rock!” exclaims your child.
No, this isn’t a real life Charlie Brown Halloween prank, but a magical hunt for communications from the big man himself: Santa Claus!
Get your kids feeling the magic earlier in the season and feel a connection with Santa and his elves by setting up a North Pole Rock Hunt.
The kids wake up one morning (or come home from school) to find a note from Holly Elf at the North Pole. Santa is missing and she needs your help to find him!
Now, she tells the kids not to worry, he often travels this time of year to check in on the little boys and girls around the world. But somehow they lost track of him. He often leaves his signature North Pole rocks where he has been, to help the elves locate him.
But it is a very busy season at the North Pole, so it would be a great help if you would look around your neighborhood to see if you can find any rocks. If you do, put them near your bed at night and they will be transported back to the North Pole to be analyzed. This will tell the elves exactly where Santa has been! The elves either include a picture of one of the Santa Rocks, or they can leave them a sample rock to let them know what they are looking for. You can compose a note that fits your needs, or just print out our sample letter to make things easier.
The elves might even “assign” a location they need the kids to search. You can make this as easy as having them look in your backyard (hmmm, was he here checking to see if they were being nice?). Or at a park. While I like getting kids outdoors for this, if there are no good options, this could be done inside your home too. Just note that there are natural areas (like our National Parks) that adhere strictly to a “leave no trace” policy that we must respect. Even if you plan to collect them all and leave no trace, park rangers could beat you to it and remove them if they find them.
Once the hunt is over, bring your collection of rocks home and tuck them into a bag or basket near their bed. The elves will be scanning for the Santa locators (aka- rocks) while the kids are asleep.
While they are sleeping, exchange the rocks for a treat. My favorite reward is chocolate coins from the North Pole!
The rocks can be saved for another hunt in another year (or next week, there are no rules), or pass them on to another family so they can help the elves too.
Creating this experience for your family can be as easy as you want to make it. First, you will want to find a good number of rocks with fairly flat surfaces.
You can make it as simple as signing Santa's name with a Sharpie permanent marker (may I suggest silver!) to painting a masterpiece. I chose something in between by stamping an image on to the rocks. That way I could be sure the rocks all had the same design.
Here is what I did: I picked up archival stamp ink and some Christmas stamps at the craft store. I used black, because my rocks were light. I decided not to paint the rock first, as I like the natural look of the rock. But I think next time I would paint it white so it looks like a snowball from the North Pole. After the stamp ink dried, I added some silver leaf glitter paint to give it a little sparkle.
Looking at what I made, I wish my rock was more colorful and sparkly. You know, more North Pole-like. I am already planning to make a new batch. But my kids thought they were perfect. So just a note in case you need to hear this: we don’t have to go overboard to make magic for our kids.
Before hiding the rocks outside you want to cover them with a light clear spray sealer to make sure the art doesn’t smudge in the great outdoors.
And if the kids had fun doing that, they could take it a step further and spread holiday cheer by painting their own rocks and hiding them around public spaces. Groups such as the Kindness Rocks Project have been promoting this activity for a few years as a way to spread kindness and create community connections. Now, more than ever, this is so important for people that may be more isolated this year.
Many communities have dedicated painted rocks Facebook pages. As people find painted rocks within the community, they post pictures of their findings on these pages. Kids love being able to see pictures of their artwork being found and appreciated by others. If you have not tried this activity yet, it is a great time to start. Think about leaving rocks with positive messages around hospitals or nursing homes. As The Kindness Rocks Project Facebook page states, “1 message at just the right moment can change someone's entire day, outlook or life!”
Now go on out and rock!
For additional proof that Santa is real, pick up one of our magical Santa Proof Kits.