In E.M., not your average rocks

Facebook devotees paint, hide and search for them


our years ago this summer, East Meadow resident Amanda Skoros started the Facebook page Rock The Meadow. Open only to East Meadow residents, it now has almost 600 followers.

“When I started it, I figured my kids are young and it would give everyone in the town something to do,” said Skoros, 44. “I thought other kids would have fun with painting and hiding and finding the rocks. We didn’t think it would get this big.”

Skoros’s three children, Ryan, 18, Brianne, 16, and Kellen, 10, helped her paint the rocks and hide them. She said she posted the idea of the group on other East Meadow Facebook pages to get the word out.

“It was a rainy day and we had nothing to do, and my mom suggested that we start a rock group because she had seen it somewhere else,” Kellen recalled. “A lot of the little kids like to keep the rocks they find.”

Skoros, who has lived in East Meadow since 1981, said she thought the rock painting, hiding and finding would just be a summer activity, but it has turned into a year-round community adventure. Participants find rocks around East Meadow, paint them any way they want, add the words “Rock The Meadow” and hide them. Then they post photos on the Facebook page, along with clues about where the rocks are hidden.

“People have told us that their favorite part about the group, besides painting, is the family time and quality time,” Skoros said. “Families go out and look for rocks together.”

“My daughter, Rachael, is 7, and it’s been such an amazing experience for her being a part of the group,” Rachael Chincilla said. “We love arts and crafts. It’s such a great activity for her, and allows us to have special mommy-daughter bonding time. It also helped me show my daughter a fun way to share our art creations with our community.”

The hunters can keep the rocks or hide them again, Skoros said. She has hidden them on street corners, on fire hydrants, in pizza joints and ice cream shops, she said. Any place is permissible, as long as it’s in East Meadow.

“There are some really talented people painting these rocks,” Cindy Rein said. “I’m someone who paints all sorts of crafts, and started doing rocks a few years ago. I’d even get excited when I found some rocks, and I’m guilty of keeping a few myself.”

Skoros said that her family’s favorite part of the activity is seeing the designs on the rocks. They’ve been painted with the solar system, or to look like candy, or designed with holiday themes. Some include months and the alphabet.

“I have honestly painted well over 1,000 rocks,” Pam Kimler said. “It’s so gratifying knowing I might have made a child happy.  I’ve had people request certain ones, like Elsa or Snoopy, or just plain ones with words on them.”

Although the Facebook group is four years old, some participants have gotten involved only recently because of the Covid pandemic. “It was great to see people out and walking,” Skoros said.

“I started painting and hiding rocks when Covid started, and then found the group on Facebook,” Peggy Ann Veronica said. “I love that the children follow and post hints. I found it engaging and exciting when they found mine.”

Kimler said that she and her husband found a painted rock at the beginning of the pandemic, which led her to find the group on Facebook. “When I started painting rocks, it was like therapy for me,” she said. “It was awful being stuck in the house and not being able to socialize, so when someone would post that they found my rocks, it would make me so happy.”

Skoros said that she planned to keep the group just within East Meadow, but she has been encouraging other towns to start their own. “I know so many other towns have them,” she said. “It’s such a fun activity.”