Wayne America

Spieker family finds simple fun in painting, hiding rocks in Wayne

Mollie Spieker watches her son, Milo, as he draws on a rock that will be hidden somewhere in town. The idea for Wayne America Rocks has already sparked a lot of interesting designs of rocks that have been painted and hidden around town. (Photo copyright Mikey C Productions)

Mollie Spieker and her family were just about ready to head home from a Memorial Day weekend excursion to Sioux Falls when her daughter looked down and found a colorful rock that turned into an idea for some fun back home.

“We were at Falls Park and Sophia found a rock that said ‘Sioux Falls Rocks’ on the back,” she said. “At that point we were ready to go home, and then I looked on the back and it said to check out their Facebook page, and I realized then that it was a thing and looked really fun, so we stayed two more hours and found another one.”

Rocks like these are being painted and hidden in town by a number of people. Rocks can be kept or re-hidden for others to find. (From Wayne America Rocks Facebook page)

As the family was headed home, Spieker thought it would be a great idea to do something like the Sioux Falls Rocks project here in Wayne, so she quickly created the Wayne America Rocks Facebook page and, in short order, more than 200 people liked the page as the colorful rocks began being discovered in town.

After getting home from their holiday trip, Spieker and her kids – sons Orion, Liam and Milo and daughter Sophia – started painting rocks and placing them in random public locations around town, from local parks to the library and the Wayne Community Activity Center.

“A week later, somebody a pictured that they had found one of my first rocks and somebody else had put it out, and it’s just ballooned from there,” Spieker said.

Before long, more people were painting rocks and hiding them, or finding rocks and then re-hiding them, while some would keep their colorful finds.

“Some people get on the page and leave clues about where they’re hidden, and when somebody finds a rock they take a picture of it and post it on the Wayne America Rocks Facebook page,” she said. “It’s really just low-tech fun.”

Spieker said she will go on walks to look for rocks, and then bring them back for she and the kids to paint. They use inexpensive craft or acrylic paints and Shaprie markers to decorate the rocks, and once they’re done, she and the kids will set out on their rock-planting excursions.

“Anything to get them off their (video) screens is a nice diversion,” she said. “It’s a good diversion for me as well, but somebody has to check the Facebook page.”
And kids aren’t the only ones enjoying the creative process.

Liam Wachter shows off one of the rocks he found on a recent trip to the Wayne Community Activity Center. (From Wayne America Rocks Facebook page)

“The other night I was talking with Chele Meisenbach, and she’s totally into this,” Spieker said. “The other night we were chatting and painting rocks and having a glass of wine. It’s like an adult coloring project, but it’s just relaxing and pretty cheap and a lot of fun.”

While a lot of the fun comes in the designs on the rocks, the real fun comes in looking for a place to hide the treasures.

]“It almost feels like a secret when you hide the rock and you don’t know if somebody’s going to find it, and if they do what are they going to do with it,” she said. “I’ve hidden rocks somewhere and then went back the next day to see if somebody has found them. It’s really increased my step count on my walks.”

There were already more than 230 members on the Wayne America Rocks Facebook page within the first week after Spieker started it up, and at least that many rocks have been circulating around town. She likes the fact that people keep posting pictures on the page.

“I’ve hidden them in public places, but there are a few I’ve hidden that haven’t been found yet,” she said.

It’s a fun activity that more people in Wayne are getting involved in, and Spieker hopes it will continue to be a fun activity for people to participate in, whether they are creating the rocks or finding them in random locations.

“What I hope is that people pick them up and realize it’s not something more complicated than it’s intended to be,” she said. “It’s just some very simple fun.”

(EDITOR'S NOTE: After this story was published, we received information that a Rock The Rocks event is scheduled for Thursday, June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Fellowship Hall at Our Savior Lutheran Church. About 200 rocks are available for decorating in a variety of mediums, and those interested can also bring their own rocks to donate. Information on learning how to decorate rocks will be presented as well.