Rock Collection for Kids

Article by Kelly Sarno

Whenever Declan has a new interest, I always go all in.  Right now it is Legos, last year it was Pokemon.  As his mama, I feel this deep need to help him explore whatever it is he is passionate about.  That’s honestly how Declan’s Mining Co. was born! When we first introduced him to mining on our July vacation, his eyes LIT UP!  We couldn’t do just one round, we kept going and going until he had a major collection of rocks after just his first trip.  I would have never thought of having a rock collection for kids in my house.  But I quickly learned that was going to be a constant staple in the Sarno household.

When the pandemic started we quickly learned how hard it was going to be for us to be in lockdown.  Both of my boys are so energetic and crave time outdoors.  We had to cancel our annual family vacation that we all looked forward to so much.  When I saw Declan reaching for that same rock collection for kids that I didn’t think would mount to anything, it struck an idea in my head.  Why couldn’t I create a rock collection for kids that was accessible to anyone! Porch drop offs and drive by birthdays were quickly becoming the norm and I was craving a way to keep my kids outside and connected to nature.  We created Declan’s Mining Bucket as a way for kids to have some ZOOM meetings of their own and “play virtually” without just having a video game in their face.  They could FaceTime with their buddies, safely drop off a bucket and soon enough all of our friends had their own rock collection for kids in their home! 

We got to the point of people in other states wanting Declan’s Mining Bucket so we brought it online, and eventually to social media. WOW. We never could have dreamed up how well received this would have been.  TikTok and our already faithful following on Facebook and INstagram welcomed us with warm and open arms.  And now we have shipped all over the globe and have introduced parents all over the world to how fun a rock collection for kids can be! It’s more than just a rock collection for kids though, let me tell you what worlds this opened up for my kids and all of the other kids around the world! 

The first thing we immediately noticed was that the kids were so FOCUSED on their new rock collection! They spent a minimum of an hour digging, cleaning, organizing and identifying the new stones and minerals that they had found.  I couldn’t believe such a simple concept and good old fashioned fun would occupy my kids for as long as it did.  We also noticed that it brought everyone together in our home. When your kids are SO excited about something, what is the first thing they want to do?  Tell YOU about it!  I don’t know anything that makes my heart sing more than seeing pure joy come over my kids' faces.  There comes a point in every young child's life that they just obsess over rocks.  I loved how the rock collection for kids was lighting up curiosity within them.

Next was the knowledge! When Declan and Everett’s collection started to grow, we worked on identifying and classifying everything that they found.  If it was a fossil, we would try to find out where in the world it came from, how long ago it may have been created, was it from the ocean or an animal?  It honestly was endless. Questions we would try to find answers to included: How was the rock/crystal formed? How did it get it’s color?  Where was it found?  How long did it take to form? Are there others like it?  Is it shiny or rough? This helped us with being able to educate others and creating our Identification Field Guide that we try to update as often as possible.  We certainly aren’t geologists, but we have a thirst for knowledge now and are always open to learning more.

Our goal was to keep the kids off the screen.  As an elder millennial, I grew up riding my bike around to my friends house until the street lights came on.  My children are growing up in an age where knowledge and access to it is endless, but it’s always on a screen.  So how could we incorporate the vast knowledge that they can access, while keeping it hands on? BOOM, a rock collection for kids. And how can we let them work for it? BOOM, Declan’s Mining Bucket!

The last few years have certainly been a wild ride for us here in the Sarno Family.  We have learned to balance life and business, engage with our kids all while growing in an ever changing society.  It’s been an honor to serve all of you and to see your kids fall in love with our version of mining in the comfort of your own homes. My wish for everyone out there is to remember that it’s amazing to keep it simple. Spending quality time together off of social media is rare these days, so when the time allows, I’m grateful for activities for kids like our buckets. It always surprises parents to see how it can bring everyone together no matter what the age or interest of the kids may be.  When we see the reviews and posts that you call tag us in, it warms our souls to know that you are experiencing the exact feelings that we felt when this idea was born.  It makes us feel like we get to share a little of our family with yours, even if we live worlds apart, the common goal is to spend quality time together!

If you have a rock collection for kids that is building up in your home, let us know in the comments below!  We cannot wait to hear about it! 

Love and Light,