Rocks (Weekly Unplugged Project) – Petroglyphs

By , March 30, 2008 7:29 pm

It has been a week full of rocks during Spring Break at our house in Albuquerque: a trip to Petroglyph National Monument, climbing over big rocks on a mountain hike, choosing pretty tumbled rocks to buy at the Natural History Museum gift shop, collecting rocks in the courtyard.

So, although I didn’t realize that we would be so into rocks this week when I chose the Unplugged Project theme last Sunday, it has been an excellent week for a rock project.

My son was too busy with his new Legos this week to care much about projects, but my oldest daughter wanted to make her own petroglyph. The children have both recently studied petroglyphs at school and I think that Petroglyph National Monument made a big impression on them.

We found what we thought would be a suitable flat rock (note: if you try this, make sure you choose as soft a rock as possible), and used a hammer to break a piece of it off to use as a chisel. We were trying to be authentic!

My daughter drew her design on the rock with a pencil. She was trying to reproduce one that we had seen at the Monument.

She then scraped the rock with the other rock to engrave the design.

Well, this proved to be slow going (the rock was not soft enough), so she got fed up and moved on to authentic Native American method number two: the Dremel Tool! My husband supervised this step and the petroglyph was quickly completed.

In case anyone is interested, here’s another fun rock idea that we once did: cracking open a geode!

Other petroglyph resources:

+ Draw your own rock art printable

+ Hawaiian petroglyphs to print and color

+ Info about petroglyphs:

+ Fun art project: Sandpaper Petroglyphs


If you joined us for the Unplugged Project this week, please leave a link in Mr. Linky, as well as a comment in case Mr. Linky fails at his job. If you didn’t join in, please consider taking part next week!


Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:


Hope to see you then!

13 Responses to “Rocks (Weekly Unplugged Project) – Petroglyphs”

  1. Michie says:

    Somehow I put the wrong link in the first time around – sorry about that! Too eager to get in ahead of the pack I guess. LOL

  2. Nature Mama says:

    Cool project! My son would be really interested in trying this one out but I’m not sure if I would know which rock would be a soft one to work with *grin* and we don’t own a dremel either :) I checked out your link to the Geode you had. We have little holes in the side of our rock bluff behind our house that have crystals growing in them naturally. I wonder if they originally were something like the geode and then as some of the rock crumbled off the surface of the bluff it opened it and left it exposed? Hmm, interesting. We’ll have to look into that some more to :)
    Have a great week!

  3. Arwen says:

    This is the first time we’ve participated in the unplugged project, and we had a lot of fun. Thanks! Rocks turned out to be a jumping point for a whole week of fun science study.

  4. […] have to say, this week’s Unplug Your Kids project ROCKS! (Insert groans here.) Honestly, I’ve always loved rocks – and every time I’m outdoors, […]

  5. Piseco says:

    What a neat idea! I can see a Dremel-carved petroglyph in *our* future! We did all kinds of simple things with rocks this week at our house.

  6. Kim says:

    hello! this is my first time joining in. Thanks for your wonderful website!
    Love your rock project. I too found some rock recipes, but decided to skip doing that……but some of them do sound super yummy!

  7. Jenny says:

    What a cool idea! I know next to nothing about petroglyphs, and they look fascinating. We’ll have to plan a trip to Albuquerque I think!

  8. Heather says:

    Very Cool projects! I am definetly going to have to try them with the boys. As for next weeks project, you made Sam’s day. When I told him what the theme was for next week he practically tackled me with excitment.

  9. We took the week off, not that I don’t like rocks but ours were covered in snow or mud this week (and my husband took the boys away for the weekend). I have my idea for books though (hopefully the kids will like it).

  10. Oooh, I love petroglyphs.

  11. warillever says:

    I’m glad to see that you got to use the Dremel.

    My kids loved it too.

    We didn’t go quite so high tech this week — we cut pictures of rock out of paper ;)

  12. Claire says:

    What a great idea. I think I’ll call out to the garage and have a riffle through Craig’s tools while he’s at work. He has all kinds of things so hopefully I will find one of these :-)

  13. MatchMomma says:

    Better late than never right? Sorry so slow joining in this week… I’ve had a cold. So I flopped a bit on the project… but I did blog what we did do… well more what we didn’t do sigh … on to next week!

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