I will admit, I was skeptical when I asked my soon-to-be 3 year old son what he wanted to do for this birthday party: "rocks." What am I supposed to do with that? Turns out, he was a genius all along. 

Children love rocks. There is something about rocks that is fascinating right from the start. The texture, color, shape. The fact that they are all different. The sound they make when you put them in a bucket. I knew my children loved them, but I wasn't sure how much all the others would (especially the little girls). Well, I couldn't have imagined anything being a BIGGER hit with a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds.

How do you throw a Rockin' Birthday Party? We'll walk you through the details below!

Welcome Sign


We decided to host this rock mining party in our very own backyard. A backyard birthday party is a very inexpensive (free!) and private party venue. You get to be creative with your theme, decor and activities without any restrictions, and nature provides its own form of decor and endless entertainment for kids.


Less is more when it comes to decorations. The birthday party colors were earthy to go with a rock/geology theme - orange, green, blue, brown, yellow. I hung a balloon arch on a tree and had a few vases full of yellow flowers and greenery. The most important decorations that always tie the theme together are the signs. We had a welcome sign, cards & gifts sign, birthday chalkboard, and birthday banner.


Balloon Arch
Cards & Gifts Sign

Yellow flowers and greenery


 The table featured a personalized chalkboard for the birthday boy and buckets for each of our little toddler guests. The buckets had their name on them, a shovel, and a rock identification card - which they can use for their activity!

Birthday Chalkboard and Table


Now is the fun part, once they got their buckets they started heading over to the rock mining station. If you know a handyman, this was a super simple project. My husband built this! We used clear plastic storage bins and sand for the rock mining. I ordered 3 lbs of unpolished stones from Madagascar via Amazon, a couple extra digging tools, and a plastic magnifying glass. Bury the rocks and you're all set!

Rock Mining Table
Rocks in sand

Next up...the rock cleaning station! Once they dug up their rocks and matched them to their cards, it's time to clean them. The toddlers played with spray bottles, sifters, and little brushes to clean their rocks. 

Rock Cleaning Table


We had a charcuterie plate of all sorts of snacks for when the guests arrived and served the main course a couple of hours later. For dessert, we made dirt cupcakes with gummy worms to go with the theme of rocks and digging. Another option could've been pop rocks, however my son preferred the cookie toppings.

Tip: I considered using candy rocks, however since these are young toddlers and the rocks looked exactly like the ones they were digging for, I didn't want to take any chances that the kids would get confused.

Party Favor

 The main party favor was their bucket, shovel and the rocks they dug up! As an added bonus, my brother (birthday boy's uncle) is into rocks so he polished a rock for each of the toddlers. It took a month in a rock tumbler to get the unpolished rocks smooth! At the party, we made a cardboard box around the rock tumbler and called it "The Magic Rock Machine." Before the kids left, they could put one of their unpolished rocks in the magic rock machine and my brother would send out a polished stone in its place. It was epic.

Buckets with Shovels

All in all, my son and his friends had such a fun time. And to be honest, I had an {unexpected} fun time planning it. I hope it was a core memory for them!

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