This fun family activity is taking the North East by storm - here's how you can get involved

Some of the painted rocks. Picture: Jeni McAuley.
Some of the painted rocks. Picture: Jeni McAuley.
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It's August - and we've all been there.

It gets to a certain point in the summer holidays and you're absolutely itching for new things to do with the kids - but something that won't break the bank.

Picture: Jeni McAuley.

Picture: Jeni McAuley.

A new activity aimed at getting the little ones creative and exploring the outdoors is sweeping through the North East and across social media, with families from all corners of the region taking part.

The idea starts with buying your own rocks or pebbles, and decorating them however you like. Then, you hide them in a public place for others to find in a bid to brighten their day.

A Facebook group launched only last week by mum-of-two Jeni McAuley - called Tyneside Rocks - has almost 9,000 members, with new pictures of people's artwork flooding in every day.

Families from locations across the North East, including Sunderland, South Tyneside, Newcastle, Northumberland and County Durham, are all getting involved.

Have you seen any of the rocks out and about? Picture: Jeni McAuley.

Have you seen any of the rocks out and about? Picture: Jeni McAuley.

Other groups, including Hartlepool Rocks, Great Lumley Rocks and Darlington Rocks, have also been set up on Facebook. See if you can find one in your local area.

Jeni, from Gateshead, said: "I just loved that this offers opportunities for so many interests; getting out and about, searching for the stones, creativity, but also I love the 'random act of kindness' idea.

"We've had people posting stones they've found after having a bad day [or] bad news and it has really cheered them up.

"I think these treasure hunt-type activities are great for kids of all ages, you had Pokemon then the Snowdogs and there's geocaching. It's great to get kids out and about over the holidays and away from screens, but it also appeals because there's still the link with social media. I'm just blown away with the response."

Group members are being encouraged to write a little note on the back of their stone, with the option to add the name of the Facebook group or a location hashtag, before they hide it to spread the word.

A note on the Tyneside Rocks Facebook page also encourages families taking part to buy their pebbles from craft or DIY stores, out of respect for local beaches and parks.

*Have you decorated or found a stone in your local area? Please share your pictures with us on social media.