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Rock Hound’s Backpack – Exploring Rocks with Kids

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Rock Hounds Backpack Kit - exploring and learning about rocks with kids copy

Getting our kids outdoors and exploring the world surrounding them is something we definitely want to encourage. When we take nature walks we might often pick up leaves or talk about the different trees, animals, or bugs we see along the way, but rocks aren’t typically something we do a lot of research on. We have picked up ones that look interesting, but usually that’s where it ends.

Home Science Tools - Rock Hound's Backpack

The last few weeks though, we’ve had a little boy intrigued by rocks in our midst! Kaleb received the Rock Hound’s Backpack Kit from Home Science Tools – full of everything he needed to start a rock hunting exploration – and was quickly out the door on a search for some different rocks.

Inside the Rock Hound’s Backpack Kit


The Rock Hound’s Backpack Kit is ready to use within minutes of opening up your box. There are so many pockets and storage places in the backpack – plenty of room for a growing rock collection! Included in the kit are all of the items you see pictured above (and listed below).

  • Nature Backpack – store all of your tools and collection in this comfortable and compact pack. Padded shoulder straps and back.
  • Rock Pick – This heavy-duty steel rock pick has a hammer on one end and a pointed pick on the other for chiseling off specimens.
  • Safety Goggles – protect kids’ eyes while using the rock pick.
  • Rock and Mineral Test Kit –  instructions and materials to test for properties such as color, hardness, acidity, and magnetism. Includes a 5x/10x double-lens magnifier.
  • Mineral Hardness Scale Set – set of nine Mohs Scale of Hardness minerals lets kids test the hardness of their specimens and see how soft or hard rocks can be.
  • Crack-Open Geode – a fun specimen for kids to open using the rock pick and discover the crystals or mineral deposits inside!
  • Nature Notebook – A small notebook with blank pages that is great for keeping notes, recording test results, and making drawings of rocks and minerals that are too large to collect.
  • Rocks and Minerals Golden Guide – With full-color illustrations and easy-to-read text, anyone can use this guide to learn about and identify common rocks and minerals.
  • Rock and Mineral Display Box – a box with 15 compartments to store or display a growing rock and mineral collection.
  • Specimen Collection Bags – 15 plastic bags of varying sizes for collecting and sorting rock samples on the go (and keeping the backpack clean!).
  • Instructions –  information about the Mohs hardness scale, plus tips on collecting, identifying, and labeling rocks and minerals.

Exploring and Learning About Rocks

collecting rocks to examine

The first step in our rock exploration was finding different rocks. Kaleb went on a little adventure with his Rock Hound Backpack and decided to take a nature walk in the woods around our house, returning with these three rock samples. He thought they looked cool (grins).

exploring rocks with kids

We dropped the rocks into one of our collection bags and later pulled them out one by one to examine them. The Rock Hound Backpack includes a collapsible hand lens. Before doing any other tests on the rocks, we made observations about each of the rocks gathered.

exploring rocks with kids-2

One of our favorite things included in the kit are the nature notebook and Rocks and Mineral guidebook. The notebook is a simple sketchbook, but has plenty of room to take notes, draw pictures, and keep records of all we are observing and discovering. The guidebook is full of wonderful pictures and tips for learning about rocks (a definitely keeper for the bookshelf too!)

Kaleb drew a picture of each of the rocks collected and took notes on them as well, making notes about their color, luster, if they were opaque or translucent, etc… and left room for some additional notes. This is one thing that I loved watching. It’s funny how writing can be such a chore in some instances, but when a subject of interest comes along, writing suddenly becomes something enjoyable – and even attempting to spell and sound out words isn’t as painful.

exploring rocks with kids-3

Our next step was testing the hardness of each rock gathered. The kit included a set of nine Mohs Scale of Hardness minerals, so one by one the minerals were pulled out, scratched against each other and the final hardness of the specimen was recorded in our notebook.

exploring rocks with kids-4

Kaleb’s favorite part of everything was definitely using the rock pick! (I know, shocking, right?) With safety goggles on, we took the rocks outside and cracked them all open.

exploring rocks with kids-5

Some of our rocks broke open a little more easily than others and allowed us a chance to see the different variations and texture in the rock, other than just the external part of the rock.

exploring rocks with kids-6

We traveled recently and grabbed our Rock Hound’s backpack to take along with us to a swim meet. I knew we would have a block of time during the afternoon where we wouldn’t have anything to do, and this was a perfect activity to get us outside and working on something hands-on. What you don’t see in this picture are the other children that gathered around us to watch what we were doing. Everyone was chiming in about different rocks, what they observed – it was so much fun!

We also tested the magnetism of the rocks once we cracked them open (none of ours had any magnetic properties),

exploring rocks with kids-8

The small white rock was definitely the favorite rock to examine and break apart and has been made it’s way into the collection box to save. Not that all rocks aren’t special, but this one was the prettiest and most interesting to him.

Having specimen bags and everything handy to test and examine the bags was a huge help. We still need to run an acidity test on each of our rocks and the fun this week will be narrowing down even further what type of rocks and minerals we collected. We are taking our time on this step, mainly because we have been distracted going through the Rocks, Gems, and Minerals book – too many fun facts and pictures!

The convenience of having everything in one backpack, easy to grab and take along on a nature hike makes this a perfect addition to our homeschool learning! We already have a special spot in our schoolroom where our Rock Hound’s backpack is hanging as a reminder to use it often! Our kids would definitely recommend it as well – and several other kiddos are anxiously waiting their turn.


This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

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  1. This looks perfect for my rock hound. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My son would absolutely love this! What a great gift idea!

  3. Ohh so fun!! Sammy would love any of the robotikits or the k’nex intro to simple machines.

  4. This looks so fun. Would love to give this as a gift.

  5. Green Acorns says

    What a wonderful giveaway! A rock exploration is on our list of home-school studies and this would help immensely!

  6. This looks great. My 8 year old has never studied rocks, but I bet she would love to with this kit.

  7. My oldest has expressed interest in something like this for Christmas! All 3 kids also think a microscope would be cool, or one of those solar powered robots…

  8. Karen Partin says

    My children would love this. The light and optic kits seem like fun as well.

  9. I would like one of the Home Series microscopes! We use Apologia science curricula and a microscope would be a plus!

  10. juliecutshaw says

    Good morning, How interesting to know such valuable and handy kits are available for kids or anyone really that has interest in certain things. I visited the Home Science Tools web site, and my 11 year old grandson would also love the Insect Collector’s backpack kit. Though the Rock Hound’s backpack kit, sure would peak his interest too. He loves to gather rocks from the creeks here in Tennessee, search for Indian arrow heads, or thrill when we go over to North Carolina to pan for gold in the places they have there. I had never heard of The Home Science Tools web site until today. The choices they offer are wonderful. Thank you for letting me know about them.

  11. Woohoo! And we gab a $25 gift card! Wooooohoo!

    This is a great gift. My eldest used it and went out for hours with siblings in tow. Now they are all rock crazy – thanks to Geo matters POS. Go to Mindware and add the digging for Dino’s kits. You picks for the bones and rebuild it. Took K weeks and a lot of plaster of Paris and sweeping. So worth it.

  12. I would have loved this as child and know my son would as well. Thank you for sharing

  13. Kristina Best says

    My oldest would like the SolarLab 1.0 Electricity Learning Kit. My Youngest would like this Exploring Rock or a rock tumbler.

  14. My kids love collecting rocks, but we’ve never done anything with them. This looks like a fun way to finally start learning more about rocks.

  15. Trinity52607 says

    awesome thanks so much

  16. Miranda Welle says

    My kids have been asking for a rock tumbler for years to the Deluxe Rock Tumbler Kit would be awesome!

  17. Janet Johnson says

    So neat! Would go great with our geology lessons this year!

  18. Wow! What an awesome giveaway! I have a couple that would enjoy this. :)

  19. My 4 kiddos would love this! They can’t get enough Science!

  20. Tracy Thiesfeld says

    This is an awesome giveaway! Both of my boys would love this!

  21. We’d like a super microscope, like the 20x i-Explore Stereo Microscope.

  22. My daughter has been hinting for a telescope and a microscope. She just loves to explore.

  23. My kids would love this. We’ve been studying rocks this year.

  24. My daughter loves rocks, but she wouldn’t mind the deluxe frog hatchery kit either….she’s been interested in tadpoles and frogs lately.

  25. My son would love this.

  26. Krista Delaney says

    I have a little guy at my house that is obsessed with rocks right now. He would love this!

  27. This is awesome! We have some boys really getting into geology, any suggestions for some good books for study and fun?

  28. Love this! We will be out of town during those CC weeks, and this is just what I need to do the science on our own.

  29. The motor works engine kit looks cool! As does the Tin Can Robot, it’s already on a Christmas list here :D

  30. We also would love the Snap circuits and Recon the programmable Rover!

  31. Misty Woods says

    The motor works looks fun.

  32. What a fun idea! I’ve seen specialized backpacks in nature centers that can be borrowed, but never thought about having one to use at home!

  33. Darlene Owen says

    I also like the
    Home Microscope

  34. My son would love the crime scene science kit.

  35. this would be great for my daughter who is interested in becoming a paleontologist.

  36. Julie Wasley says

    Science is one of my son’s favorite areas of study! This would be an amazing addition to our homeschool. Thanks for hosting!

  37. My son would love it for the rock pick alone!

  38. Signing up now-thanks!

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