How finding rocks along the hiking trail leads to pleasant surprises in the end ... with a few good stories to tell, too.
Thanks to my dad, Pa, my kids are now infatuated with collecting rocks. We have rocks EVERYWHERE now! You're probably thinking, but why rocks? At first, many people would speculate as to the meaning of collecting rocks. But, as my kids will tell you, it's what's on the inside that counts.
I know, I know. Cliché, right? Well, they're right. On a recent camping trip where we took a two-mile hike to Hubbarts Cave, my kids picked up rocks along the way. We would start off with an empty backpack and it would be filled as much as they could carry by the end of the hike. They couldn't wait to get home to bust them open to see what was inside.
It was all thanks to my dad, as mentioned before. He's always been a collector of rocks. He has his own little rock garden at home. Completely separate from mom's spectacular flower gardens. Now, this next part may come as a shock to you, but under supervision, my kids enjoyed donning glasses armed with a hammer and smashing the rocks one by one. My youngest was so excited to find one with crystals inside that he was running around screaming at the top of his lungs with joy.
While my oldest found only a few she actually wanted to crack open, she had an eye for those unusually shaped rocks. She found some that were shaped like hearts, some with what looked like fossils in them while others were just pretty colors.
The important thing here was that my kids were finding something they enjoyed doing together and building something out of it. We've gathered all their pieces of rocks and have formed a little rock garden if you will in the corner of my own flower bed. Well, if we didn't put them there, they would be mounded up together on the fireplace ... and that just wasn't going to happen! LOL.
Every time they look at those rocks, they tell whomever's in ear shot of them how and where they got them. It's becoming a memory maker of sorts, too. Gives them a chance to retell their stories and share in their findings.
Photo above: My dad's rock garden ... as the one my kids have started isn't anything to show just yet.
More about: Kiera Ashford - Baby Watch Blog
Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of two rambunctious kids and a new baby!