10 Easy Ways to Start a Rock Collection

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We’ve had a lot of fun studying rocks in the past, even if I’m not very good at identifying them. You don’t have to be a geologist to try your hand at rock study — but you do have to have rocks! If you’re like me, you may be at a loss as to where to find something other than gravel. So, where can you find rocks to study? Try these 10 easy ways to start a rock collection.

10 Easy Ways to Start a Rock Collection

Where to find rocks for rock collecting

1. Around your yard or neighborhood. Let’s start with the obvious. Go outside! Check around your yard and neighborhood. You may be fortunate enough to live in an area where interesting rocks are readily available to those who look for them.

1. Online friends. Okay, I know there probably isn’t anyone who still does email groups, but back in the day, an email group was a fantastic jump start to our rock collecting. We did a rock exchange with several families in my group and wound up with a nice variety of rocks we might not otherwise be able to find in our area. Everyone who was interested in participating just collected rocks from their area to exchange with families in a different part of the country.

Forums aren’t quite as obscure as email groups, so that or a Facebook group might be a good place to start, too. If nothing else, we probably all have Facebook friends who live in different parts of the country, so post on your page to see if you have any friends willing to send a few rocks your way.

3. Friends and family. If you’ve got friends or relatives in other parts of the country, ask them to send you some interesting rocks. Even those who live in the same area you’re in may be a good source. We got a really nice collection of rocks from the “overstock” of a rock-collecting friends set.

4. Try a Rock Hounds club. We purchased a set of rocks from a local rock hounds club. It turned out to be a really awesome  set because it had an example of each type of rock (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) and included some interesting specimens that we’d probably not have been able to find otherwise.

5. Check at museums. Many children’s museums or aquariums offer rocks and gemstones for sale.

10 Easy Ways to Start a Rock Collection

6. Use a subscription service. Several years ago I did a review of The World’s Most Fascinating Rock Collection. We got some amazing rocks from them that we still enjoy and pull out from time to time. Check out The World’s Most Fascinating Rock Collection for details.

7. Nature walks. Be on the lookout for interesting rocks when you go on nature walks near creeks or on trails. Just be sure that it’s okay to take the rocks. If you’re at a nature center or preserve it’s probably not allowed.

8. Near water. If you live near an ocean or river, take a walk along the beach or shore, keeping an eye out for interesting rocks.

9. Local colleges. Call the geology department at colleges and universities in your area to see if they can suggest local spots to hunt for rocks.

10. Roadcuts and construction sites. Roadcuts are areas where a path has been cut through hills or mountains to build a road. These and construction sites where the earth has been dug up are good spots to check for rocks. Again, make sure you have permission to be in these areas and proceed with caution. Both could be dangerous, especially with young children.

Activities for learning about rocks

After you’ve collected the rocks, you can try your hand at identifying them with this handy rock key. And, of course, you should make some edible rocks! Try these:

Have you discovered good spots to look for rocks?

updated from an article originally published February 26, 2009

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and the Hip Homeschool Hop.

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I’ve got a few rock hounds over here. I can’t wait to get out our geology stuff. I got the kids a rock pick, field guide, rocks to identify, and a mining for gems kit plus some rocks that glow in the dark. Anyways, I’m looking forward to identifying the different characteristics. Thanks for the tips on getting more rocks, I hadn’t thought of those.
    Brenda @ https://www.thetiethatbindsus.blogspot.com

  2. Whoa! We just went to a rock shop on Tuesday! I was telling my kids how I used to collect them when I was their ages, and still do if a small one jumps out at me… like that amethyst crystal did. It was just a buck and a half, and I couldn’t help myself! Anyways, it was fun to read your post so soon after… Thanks!

  3. Thank you very much for this info! I have a son that loves to throw rocks, one that loves to learn about rocks and one that likes to eat them-hee hee… Do you have the name of a good book or field guide to identify rocks? [email protected]

  4. I love the idea of a rock exchange. We did this a long time ago with someone in VA and it was interesting to see the different kinds of rocks.

    We are working on our rock collection this spring so I loved seeing all your resources and ideas.

    Thanks for submitting this to the carnival.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  5. Oh neat!
    I haven’t seen many posts on rock collecting. My daughter…not my sons…is into rock collecting a bit.

  6. My children all love rocks- seems I always have a collection popping up somewhere in my home! Thanks for the great post!
    Pauline in Australia “O)

  7. Great ideas!! We have a big container of rocks my boys have collected it would be nice to be able to identify some of them =) Be Blessed-Angie in GA

  8. This is some really neat information. My daughter LOVES rock collecting and I got her a guide to help. I have never thought of asking others to send rocks. I will definitely have to think about a way to do this.

  9. I found a piece of schist with a tiny garnet in it at an abandoned construction site, as well as a big chuck of rock with beautiful clear quartz crystals covering one side of it. Another good place to find rocks is underground — ask a gardening friend or relative to give you some of the rocks they dig up. Or even better — let your kid help the gardener dig!

  10. We live near Crystal Cave in Kutztown, PA. They have an awesome gift shop where you can buy geodes to break open. They also have an activity where you can use a makeshift filter to scoop up gravel and filter out the grainy stuff. There are always really cool rocks to find in there.

  11. Great list Kris! Both of my kids, 7 and 4 have really become quite the little rockhounds. Their collection has far exceeded mine when I was that age for sure! And their excitement has definitely revived my childhood interest in rocks and minerals. We are heading out to the Oregon coast this weekend to look for agates…expectations are high! Depending on where folks live, a quick drive and you can find yourself in an abandoned or retired rock quarry. We’ve found quite a few good rocks in quarries. Great post. I think making edible rocks will be next on our list.

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