How to Make a Rock with Kids

Table of contents for R is for Rocks

  1. 30 Playful Ways to Teach Young Kids About Rocks

In the last post of our R is for Rocks series, I shared about our rock demo activity. After breaking our rocks into tiny bits, I wanted to use some of those pieces for other learning experiences. First we used the little pebbles to make a rock.

I found the specific steps for this activity in Rocks and Minerals. Although the book itself was a little advanced for my preschoolers, it had a lot of great information. We enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading some of the facts on the pages that the kids found most interesting.

We gathered our materials: sand, pebbles, glue, and a disposable cup. I used a clear cup so we could see the layers of “rock.”

Make a Rock Materials

We alternated adding layers of sand, glue, and pebbles until we had the cup about one third full. Then we waited and waited for over a week for our rocks to dry.

When we thought the rocks were completely dry, we cut the cup off of the rock. And we were surprised to find that the rock still wasn’t dried all the way through. I almost scrapped the whole project and dismissed it as a fail, but instead we separated the layers out and left them to dry over night.

Make a Rock Steps

The next day the pieces of rock were fully dry, and we were able to pick them up and examine them. My daughter was very intrigued by the difference between the layer that was on the top of the cup and the layer that was on the bottom of the cup.

Make a Rock

Overall it was an interesting project of the kids, but if we give it a try again. I will (1) use much thinner layers of sand and glue, and (2) let the rocks dry outside in the sun when possible.

We might also try this version of making a rock in a cup. The materials and process are a bit different, so it might be neat to compare the results of both experiments.

You can find more activities and ideas for teaching kids about rocks on my Pinterest boards.

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  1. This is such a fun idea, Shaunna! I loved reading abut your experiences with the experiment. I featured your post and photo in my Montessori-inspired rocks and minerals unit this week. 🙂

  2. I tried making rocks earlier this year before I found this site. My students loved it. I used plastic cups too, but I poked a lot of holes in the bottom of the cup with a pin to let the glue drain. It still took over a week to fully dry but it helped to keep the rock design in place.

  3. I like how you made the rock, what a great idea! Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  4. That is an awesome rock! I never thought of having my kids make them. Thanks for sharing your idea at Mom’s Library!

  5. Neat experiment! Thanks for sharing what worked and didn’t work for you guys, too.

    • Thanks! It was definitely interesting for the kids to try, and I’m looking forward to testing out the process a few more times.

  6. Cool idea! We’ll have to try it.

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