In the past, there has been a lot of movements to get children outside and away from the screens.
Geo-caching was popular for a time, though more geared towards adults, and the popularity faded when dangers of treasures in fixed locations became prominent.
Then the Pokemon Go craze swept the nation, with every child outside hunting for Pokemon creatures. The catch? They were still staring at their phones the whole time, and never really experienced the outside world.
Mudgee’s Sharon Mackenzie, who runs the Twisted Sister Art company, decided that the phone had to be left to the adults so that the kids could fully commit to the treasure hunt, and Mudgee Rocks was born.
The initiative’s aims are simple: get kids and families out into the wonderful parks of Mudgee and the walking tracks around the region.
Sharon and her daughter Anna paint small rocks in the style of popular characters from television shows and video games, then hide them around the parks and tracks to create a ‘treasure hunt’ for kids.
If you find the rocks? You can have them. All that the Mudgee Rocks Facebook page asks is that you “let us know where you found them, and potentially drop your own rock creations for others to find.”
The Mudgee Rocks message is clear – let’s get kids outside, interested in crafting and painting, and away from the screens.
“We really liked the idea of Pokemon Go, but while they were out and about in their parks they were still on their screens,” Sharon said.
“We’re very lucky to live in a country where we have beautiful park lands and councils that spend a lot of money keeping them beautiful – when I saw another lady doing a similar thing in Broken Hill I thought it brought it all together.”
Sharon believes that a ‘pay-it-forward’ style process for the Mudgee Rocks is crucial.
“First thing people can do is go to Mudgee Rocks and like our page,” she said.
“Mostly weekly we will be hosting some drops, but I want to encourage everyone in the community to get their paintbrushes out, decorate the rocks and paint them – doesn’t have to be anything special.
“Then you hide them, take a picture of them and post it on the Facebook page and let others know where to hunt for them!”
You can get involved in the community movement at on the mudgeerocks Facebook page.