R is for Rocks

R is for Rocks in the A to Z Science series for toddlers and preschoolers at Inspiration Laboratories. Rock science is tons of fun!

R is for Rocks - part of the A to Z Science series for toddlers and preschoolers at Inspiration Laboratories

R is for Rocks

Toddlers love rocks. They are little treasures just waiting to be carried home. It doesn’t really matter the shape or the color, all rocks tend to be special. Rocks can be found in many places. Where do you find the best rocks – along the sidewalk, in the woods, near a creek or lake, some place else?

We love to go hiking near a natural rock bridge. The view is beautiful and gives us the opportunity to talk about the rocks in the area.

rock bridge

Types of Rocks

Older preschoolers may be interested in learning about the 3 kinds of rocks. Find some books about rock collecting to help you learn about them.

Igneous rocks are made from melted rocks. Many of them come from volcanoes. Others come from magma that’s cooled beneath the Earth’s surface.

Sedimentary rocks are made from sediments – bits of dirt, sand, rocks, shells, bones, etc. – that settle into layers. You can find fossils in some types of sedimentary rocks.

Metamorphic rocks are igneous or sedimentary rocks that have been changed by heat and pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. {We don’t often find these while out rock collecting.}

Rock Science for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Get your toddler or preschooler excited about rocks with these ideas.

Go Rock Collecting with Kids - Read books about it and head outside to start your own collection! Get started. Get started rock collecting by reading a few books and finding a good location.
rock collection Make it special.

Make your rock collection special. Use a rock tumbler to polish them. Paint some rocks to give them added personality. Place them in special containers. {We used an egg carton.} Find a shelf or a box for them.
Go Rock Collecting with Kids - Read books about it and head outside to start your own collection! Make rock observations.Use a magnifying glass to see the details of the rocks.What color is the rock? Does it have more than one color?Is the rock shiny? Does it have speckles?Does the rock have any fossils? {Can you see small shells or imprints?}What do you like about this rock?
rocks Sort and organize your rocks.Sort them by color.Do you have any that are the same?Can you tell if they are igneous rocks or sedimentary rocks?
fossil Go to a rock museum.Do you have one near you? Our library has a rock collection that Aiden loves to look at when we’re there.
rock collecting2 Don’t discourage collecting.For a short while, Aiden wanted to pick up rocks from every parking lot and place we visited. We had to explain that people buy those rocks and place them there for a reason. We often let him choose just one rock to take with him. Now he’s more selective about the rocks he collects and random pieces of gravel just are special enough.

What to do with all those rocks you’ve collected?

Polish the really nice ones or the ones your child loves the most. Find a place to display these.

Use them in pretend play! We’ve made stone towers, painted pumpkin rocks, and painted penguin rocks.

Make a rock garden outside. Your child can constantly add to his collection without needing more storage space. This is also the perfect place for large rocks you like, too. {My husband has a few large plant fossils that go in our rock garden.}

How have you explored rocks? Share with us in the comments!

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