New Brunswick

New game has Sussex residents searching town for painted rocks

The Kindness Rocks Project has reached Sussex, N.B., and has both adults and children searching the town for painted rocks.

People of all ages seem to get something out of finding painted rocks and hiding them for others

Parker Schriver asks his mom to take him rock hunting every day. (Emily Schriver)

As five-year-old Parker Schriver walked through flower gardens along Main Street in Sussex, N.B., a tiny rock caught his eye.

"Mom! I found one," he screamed to Emily Schriver, who rushed to see the blue rock with a green smiley face painted on top.

People in small towns like Sussex are painting rocks, hiding them, then posting clues online so others can find them.

It's a new game that has been spreading around the world to countries including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, India, Thailand, Haiti, Italy and the United Kingdom over the past months.

The Sussex NB Rocks Facebook group has brought together 170 members in just over a month. And they're all playing the game.

"A friend of mine who lives in the United States came home to visit and told me about this rock game," Joan Miller, a co-creator of the Facebook group, told Information Morning Moncton.

"My daughter-in-law and I talked about how to start a local group and once we had it up and going, it seemed to catch on really quickly."

Miller invited a few families from Sussex to paint rocks with her, and they dropped them along the trails and in parks.

"As word grew and people talked, more people joined and a lot of people are painting rocks now and dropping them and then posting the clues."

Rocks are hidden in places where they are easy to find, such as parks, playgrounds and trails around Sussex. (Shona Millican)

The rocks are hidden in places where they can be found easily: on a trail, in a park or on a playground.

"You then take a picture of the rock and sort of the general hiding area, post it on Facebook, where other group members can see your clues, and then go and hunt for the rocks," said Miller.

Once they find the rocks, they are hidden again, and new pictures are posted.

The Kindness Rocks Project

Megan Murphy, a freelance writer and business mentor, started the game on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Losing her parents at a young age, she found herself looking for "signs" such as heart-shaped rocks or pieces of sea glass during her morning walks on the beach.

"I perceived these small beach treasures as 'signs' or as a divine message and the random inspiration I needed to signify that things would be OK," she wrote on her website, the Kindness Rocks Project.

Years later she started painting rocks, dropping them and creating social media pages to encourage others to join her new project.

And they did.

The Sussex NB Rocks Facebook group has about 170 members after just over a month. (Shona Millican)

She's received messages from people all over the world thanking her for starting this kindness project.

Schriver heard about the rocks from her friends and joined the Facebook group.

Parker "asks almost daily if we can go rock hunting," she said. "He gets so excited when he finds a rock. Especially when it's not even planned."

Inexpensive fun

The game has kids as well as adults walking around the town.

"This game gives us an inexpensive outing," said Schriver. "It gets us outside and helps us to get familiar with our community. We've lived here for 10 years and I'm discovering so many new places to go."

Miller said many parents have messaged her saying it's the best thing that has happened this summer because their kids always want to be outside.

"There's probably 300 rocks around the city now," she said.

About the Author

Maria Jose Burgos is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She is a recent graduate of the journalism program at St. Thomas University. She's originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

With files from Information Morning Saint John