A hide-and-seek game driven by Facebook continues to grow across Tarrant County.
It’s not the least bit complicated and the goal is to brighten someone’s day.
Rocks are elaborately painted.
Keller resident Tyler Thomas and his 6-year-old daughter, Taysen, have been playing a few months.
“She loves the outdoors, period,” said Tyler, 34. “So, when this came along, it was perfect. The rock painting was right up her alley.”
Those who find the rocks are encouraged to re-hide them. But if someone decides they can’t part with a rock they’ve found, they’re encouraged to paint a new rock and hide it.
Using Facebook as its engagement tool, the rock groups are booming Tarrant County.
Other groups are in Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Haslet, Colleyville and Southlake.
Cities are aware of the groups and have embraced the activity.
“We are aware of NRH Rocks and we have helped spread the word about the group on our city’s social media pages,’ said Mary Peters, public information officer with North Richland Hills. “It is a fun activity that allows residents of all ages to be creative, to enjoy our parks and trails and connect with other members of the community.’
Rachel Reynolds, Keller’s PIO, said staff members have stumbled upon the colorful rocks in the community.
“As long as residents are not breaking any laws and their hunting doesn’t become an issue for non-hunters or our environment, we’re OK with it,” Reynolds said.
Facebook and rocks
When Tyler Thomas and his daughter started, they would travel to Mansfield because the game was already going strong there.
Mansfield’s Facebook group was created a year ago by Belinda Daughtry, after she visited her daughter in Washington and discovered the painted-rocks game.
“We found a couple of painted rocks from Port Angeles Rocks,” said Daughtry, 57. “I thought it would be a fun thing to do.”
The rocks “bring a little piece of artistic happiness” to anyone who discovers them, Daughtry said.
Thomas likes the price.
“One of the appealing features is that it’s low cost and almost free,” Thomas said. “It gives you an excuse to do something outside rather than staying inside and playing video games or watching movies.”
Just exactly where the game started is up for debate, though no one seems overly concerned about its origins.
“No one really knows who started the Facebook thing,” Daughtry said. “A lot of people like to lay claim to it, but there isn’t any real way of knowing for sure. However, painted rocks themselves have been around for decades. And if you want to count the earliest known cave paintings in France, then, tens of thousands of years.”
The founder of Port Angeles Rocks Facebook group, Aisha Lesh, 28, says their group played a part in the game’s beginnings — at least on Facebook.
“I heard of rock painting before, not the Facebook thing,” she said. “Maybe we were the first to do that. There were kindness elves and love rocks before us, but I don’t know if they requested for people to post a picture to the specific Facebook site.”
The group has been active since January 2016, Lesh said.
‘Really kind of crazy’
Fort Worth resident Tiera Grissam, 50, is a new member to the Keller group, but is a seasoned “rocker.”
“I was tagged on a Cleburne Rocks Facebook page by a friend I haven’t seen in about 20 years,” she said. “I thought ‘what the heck it this?’ and I checked it out. My grandkids live down that way and one day I said, ‘hey let’s go take the kids to hunt these rocks.’ ”
They ended up finding eight that day, she said.
“It was just so exciting,” said Grissam. “It was like an Easter egg hunt or a scavenger hunt.”
Grissam has painted and hidden about 100 rocks, all carefully painted with great attention to detail. Some portray mermaids. Others show silhouettes of exotic animals behind a golden sunset.
She had no idea she had an artistic talent until she picked up a rock, Grissam said.
“I haven’t drawn anything or painted anything since I was in middle school,” she said. “So, it was really kind of crazy.”
Grissam hopes to see Keller’s group grow to the size of Cleburne’s, which has more than 2,700 members.
“Every place you stop in Cleburne has a rock now,” she said. “People are doing prize rocks where they go in and pay for a root beer float at Sonic and if they find that rock, they can take it in and trade it for a root beer.”
The Cleburne group has been around since last October, said Sonya Spodnick, 51, of Cleburne.
“My son and I heard about Mansfield and thought since he lives in Cleburne we would start a group there so family and friends could do stuff together and meet new people,” she said.
‘All art is great art’
Spodnick doesn’t hunt for rocks, but enjoys painting them.
“I want others to find them and put a smile on their face,” she said.
Cleburne’s group inspired Spodnick’s friend, Shelia Clark, 43, of North Richland Hills to start the Facebook group, NRH Rocks, in March.
“I personally do not hunt rocks, I only paint rocks and hide them and watch the excitement on kids’ faces when they find them,” Clark said.
Clark said she paints about four to six rocks a week.
“All art is great art,” said Grissam. “I don’t care if you put a couple of googly eyes on something and a smiley face — it’s art.”
A lot of the artists will put a hashtag on the back of the rock to lead the finder to the group’s page, Thomas said.
Keller’s group hashtag is #KellerRocks.
“We had one about a month ago that someone found and they wrote on the page that they just happened to be here from Mexico, and they took one of our rocks back with them, so that was pretty cool,” he said.